Saturday, October 10, 2009

Action Hero Training

The more I work out, the more energy I seem to have on a day-to-day basis, and I find myself jumping, running, and doing pseudo-parkour movements at random times. This usually elicits a "What is Darren smoking?" look from my coworkers or friends, but I enjoy it anyway. It got me thinking - how would someone need to train to be a real-life action hero? That is, what would be the best training regimen to attempt to mimic the stunts that movie action heroes pull off with startling regularity? Having just watched the amazing initial chase scene from "Casino Royale" again, this may be biased towards becoming a bad-ass Daniel Craig James Bond, but here goes anyway:

1) Massive grip strength. All action heroes sooner or later find themselves hanging precariously from a ledge, cliff, window pane, crane, etc. Time to get cranking on those finger tip pullups! Throw in some dead lifts without the whole "lift" thing, too (i.e., load up an Olympic barbell at mid-thigh with a ton of weight, lift it off the power rack, and just hold it there for awhile). For good measure, make sure to practice weighted hangs with both arms and with each arm individually.

2) Abs of steel. As you enter into your life of hand-to-hand combat as a real-life action hero, you will increasingly find yourself being punched, kicked, kneed, or headbutted in the stomach. Better build up a ridiculous core to withstand the attack. Crunches, planks, captain's chair, etc. These are all your friends. Btw, word of warning: you have to flex to withstand the impact.

3) Sick anaerobic capacity. All good action heroes can chase a villain at full tilt for 3-5 minutes. Give up on the slow jogs - being an action hero is a sprint, not a marathon. High intensity interval training is your friend. Specifically on foot, since most action heroes find motorcycles or cars for non-foot chases.

4) Lats that block the sun. Whether you're hauling Trinity up the side of a skyscraper or pulling your own sorry ass up over the edge of the cliff that your enemy kicked you over, you need strong lats. I'm talking Christian Bale Batman lats. Lats that let you do pullups with your damsel in distress wrapped around you, hanging on for dear life. Lats that let you pull a 50-foot tree (see Predator) into a spring-loaded booby trap. Any type of large pulling exercise is your friend - pullups, seated-rows, bent-over rows, etc.

5) Crazy explosive leg power. Make no mistake, you will be leaping across rooftops, jumping onto moving buses, escaping oncoming traffic vertically rather than horizontally, and other high probability maneuvers. You better throw some power exercises into your workouts, cause plain weight-lifting won't get the job done. Plyometrics are your new best friend. Box jumps are your palate cleanser between meals. Sprints are your passion.

Congratulations! You are now well on your way to becoming a real-life action hero. All you need is some martial arts and marksmanship training, and a catch-phrase, and you're good to go.

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