The actor pulled three times a day to prepare his body for the ring. Here's a sample workout for your own blockbuster transformation.
Jonathan Majors has the kind of physique you only see in anime: deltoids the size of bowling balls, a welded six-pack abs, teardrop-shaped quads on thighs the size of logs. The actor is a huge man, which makes him an ideal candidate to star in Creed III alongside Michael B. Jordan.
You might recognize Majors from one of his other big blockbuster roles: Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He's quickly made a name for himself for meeting the intense physical demands of his roles with a level of training and preparation that can't be overstated.
In case it isn't obvious, Majors was already in incredible shape prior to Creed III, but he really maxed out on his training. We spoke to the actor about his transformation. He relied on three days (you read that right) to improve his conditioning. He started out with a tough 5K every day, then hit the gym to work on stunts and boxing choreography with stunt coordinator Clayton J. Barber or Jordan (who better to train with than your on-screen opponent?).
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"I've been shadow boxing with weights to build and condition the muscles, all with a lot of core work," says Majors. "We knew the shirts would come loose."
After that, he went to a second gym to complete his workout with strength training. Majors teamed up with Corey Calliet, Jordan's longtime trainer, who designed workouts to complement the actor's cardio and boxing-centric sessions.
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The following workout is an example of an upper body burnout that targets the shoulders, traps, back, and biceps. Majors added additional workouts throughout the week to target other muscle groups until every major body part was affected.
Jonathan Major's Workout: A strength routine to burn out your upper body
What you will need: This is a full gym workout. The exercises require a cable machine, cable machine, lat pulldown machine, flat bench, preacher bench, pull-up bar, barbell, and dumbbells.
How it goes: Perform the exercises in the Triset back to back without a break. These are designed to stimulate and fatigue the same muscle group in slightly different ways for effective burnout. After that, perform the remaining exercises as straight sets, taking short breaks between reps and resting 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
1. Triset Lateral Raise 4 x 12 reps
A. Lateral raises
How it goes: Stand upright, feet hip-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides, palms facing in. Maintaining a slight bend in your elbows as you raise your arms sideways until they are at shoulder height, palms facing down is the tip of the movement. Lower the weights in a controlled manner. Resist the urge to swing the weights for momentum; Keep the increase strict.
B. Front raise
How it goes: Standing upright, feet hip-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing in. Keeping your elbows slightly bent as you raise your arms up until they are at shoulder level, palms facing down. Lower the weights in a controlled manner.
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C. Rear Lateral Raise
How it goes: Stand hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells. Keeping a flat back while leaning at the waist, let your arms hang directly under your chest, palms facing in. Maintaining a slight bend in your elbows as you raise your arms to your sides until they are at shoulder level and palms are facing down. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement, then lower the weights in a controlled manner.
2. Barbell Military Press 3 x 12 reps
How it goes: Stand with feet hip-width apart and grab a barbell with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Clean the bar up to your shoulders (alternatively, place the bar on the supports of a power rack at shoulder height before loading the plates). Squeeze your shoulder blades and tighten your core as you press the bar overhead. Be sure to tilt your head back slightly as you lift the bar in front of your face. As the bar passes your head, push it up and back slightly so that it is vertically aligned with the back of your head. Pause briefly, then lower the bar back to the front of your shoulders.
3. Dumbbell Shrugs 7 x 10 reps
How it goes: Standing hip-width apart, hold a pair of heavy dumbbells by your sides, palms facing in. Keep your arms straight without engaging your biceps and shrug your shoulders up. Pause at the top of the contraction, then lower in a controlled manner.
4. Pull-ups 3 reps to failure
How it goes: Position yourself under a pull-up bar. Grab it with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your knees bent and your ankles crossed. Keeping your core engaged and back straight, pull yourself up until your chin is level with the bar and fix your eyes over it. Pause briefly, then lower slowly. Use a resistance band or assisted pull-up machine if you burn out too quickly from standard pull-ups.
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5. Close-grip pulldowns 4 x 15 reps
How it goes: Attach a V-handle to the cable machine. Grab it overhead and sit at the pulley station, torso upright and eyes in front of you. Arch your back and pull the handle down toward your collarbone. w, keep your hands where they are and lean back so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Pull the handle up to your chest (imagine it as a row). Pause for a moment and then slowly raise your arms and upper body.
6. Seated cable rows 4 x 15 reps
How it goes: Adjust the cable rower to a moderately heavy weight with a V-bar attached to the pulley. Adjust the seat to your body, and then sit with your knees slightly bent. Keeping your back straight, extend your arms to grab the bar. Engage your core, then pull the bar back in a controlled manner and row toward your upper abs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, then reverse the movement.
7. Reverse Lat Pulldown 4 x 15 reps
How it goes: Set the lat pulldown machine for a moderately heavy weight with a straight bar attached to the pulley. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip and your arms straight. Tighten your lats, then pull the bar down until it touches your upper chest. Slowly bring the bar back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
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8. One-arm dumbbell row 3 x 10 reps on each side
How it goes: Bring a heavy dumbbell to the right side of a flat bench. Place your left palm and left knee on the bench. Keeping your back straight and your torso parallel to the bench, reach down to grab the dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in. Inhale, then row the dumbbell toward your chest and exhale at the top once your elbow forms a 90 degree angle. Pause briefly, then reverse the movement. Do all reps on one side, then switch.
9. Barbell curls 3 x 12 reps
How it goes: Stand hip-width apart and hold a medium-weight barbell with your arms straight and palms facing outward. Keep your elbows close to your body as you curl the bar up to chin level. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then return the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner.
10. Dumbbell curls 3 x 12 reps
How it goes: Stand hip-width apart, hold medium-weight dumbbells by your sides, palms facing out. Keep your elbows close to your body as you pull the weights up until they are at shoulder height. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then lower in a controlled manner.
11. Finisher: Preacher Curl Burnout 2 x 21 Wdh
How it goes: Set up a medium-duty EZ Pole on the preacher's pew. Grasp the bar with hands wider than shoulder-width apart. For this finisher, perform 7 reps of three different curl variations for a total of 21 reps.
- Lower half bicep curl x 7 reps: Start with your arms outstretched. Roll the bar from the bottom to the middle. Contract your biceps, then lower and repeat.
- Upper half bicep curl x 7 reps: Start at the top of a curl with your biceps fully contracted. Lower the bar to the middle, pause, and then curl up.
- Full bicep curl x 7 reps: Start with your arms outstretched. Roll the bar up towards your shoulders and squeeze your biceps at the top.
Creed III is in theaters now.