Spoiler: There is no one-of-a-kind Jason Momoa workout to become an Aquaman. It's also important to acknowledge that this is probably how Momoa woke up to some degree (you can't cheat on being massive or having a tendency to gain muscle easily). But that doesn't stop the Apex Badass from enduring the most brutal workouts in preparation for every warrior role he plays.
We recently visited Momoa's interim residence in Toronto to speak to Damian Viera, a dynamic movement and recovery therapist who has worked closely with Momoa for the past dozen film productions. Viera (not all heroes wear cloaks) describes the holistic approach he prescribes to physically prepare Momoa for roles ranging from the apocalyptic nomad warrior to the king of Atlantis.
From Viera's perspective, the primary goal is to avoid injury by staying ahead of the stunts. And rightly so – with his rapidly increasing occupations in film, production, crew and schedules, Momoa's sound health and form depend. "When it comes to preparing Jason, we see those stunts in the scripts long in advance," explains Viera. “It's about deconstructing the stunts and bringing the body into this space, this framework. The more often you bring the body into this room with this stress, the more pleasant it becomes – the body itself develops. "
Viera demonstrates this with her training program for the second season of See, in which Momoa plays a blind samurai, for Apple TV +. "If you imagine a samurai moving – he's deep in his stance and the movement goes from his legs up through his body until the point of the sword finally makes the cut," he says. “The sword is the final expression, but the movement actually begins at the feet. The more Jason's body can absorb the stress of this low posture and movement, the faster it can recover and the more it can challenge his body. We analyze what he has to do in the future and train for it in the present. "
A Jason Momoa workout for every movie: The secret sauce to shape a superhero
1. Bulgarian squats
For example, when recording a scene at sea, Momoa may have to crouch in and out of a deep crouch for several hours. It's not quick what the final scene will be like. And although it may seem different, he's not a real samurai, so his body is like: what the hell ?! It's a deep position that you can hold all day. At the center of most of See's fight scenes, Momoa goes from crouched to crouched low, back to crouched. "But Jason usually stands upright and has a long torso," explains Viera. “In order to be stooped or in low horse position for a long time, we really have to be one step ahead through our training.” The answer: Bulgarian split squats.
Example of a Bulgarian split squat workout by Jason Momoa: The lower body exercise is a great way to prepare the body for this type of stress and to recover faster. “We're blowing up legs,” says Viera. “The split squats are also good for hip rotation. We'll be doing six sets of split squats for each leg, with 10 to 12 reps for each kettlebell size. Right now we have 53, 61, 70, 88, 97 and 106 pound kettlebells. ”To increase the intensity, they do variations with single and double kettlebells and put on a weighted vest.
2. Kettlebell work
"We do ladder workouts with kettlebells to actively activate and strengthen the muscle tissue," explains Viera. “If certain tissues worsen, it can lead to injury and impair the ability to make certain movements. They want to release the tension and approach the wear and tear passively and then actively attack the possibly weak tissue to make it strong. ”Viera turns to kettlebells because they allow one-sided training and offer more versatility than dumbbells.
Sample Jason Momoa Kettlebell Trainer: It includes a range of double KB squats, double KB deadlifts, double KB swings, one KB swings, and one KB cleans. For each of these exercises, he typically does 6 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions for each kettlebell size. "We're going to work up the ladder to get them all."
3. Strength training with medicine balls
"The diet, exercise and healing work are very different when we switch from the samurai sword in See to the trident in Aquaman," says Viera. It all depends on Momoa's size, exercise and need for relaxation. “Aquaman is very aesthetic with some fight scenes. Since the trident is a heavier weapon, it's a completely different movement that uses more leverage and requires more work to avoid injuring the rotator cuff. "
Example of a Jason Momoa medicine ball workout: To train for the trident-throwing King of the Seas, Momoa does a lot of exercises with 10, 15 and 20 pound Dynamax medicine balls. He will mix up isolated chest passes, hammer turns, bilateral passes, and other throws. "And somewhere in there we do other things like dips, push-ups and training with resistance bands," says Viera.
"Jason is an excellent climber and is constantly testing himself with hard problems and difficult routes," says Viera. “A climbing wall serves as primary movement therapy for him. This helps keep his body supple so that injuries are avoided when moving dynamically. ”The good news for Viera is that he doesn't have to teach Jason how to climb – he's damn good at it. “There is already an integrated knowledge base and posture pattern with its advanced climbing skills. He got all of this intuition from a lifetime of experience. You can't train this level, but you can inspire him to perform at his best. I'll build the base and he'll make the climb on his own. And when he's at that level, at his peak and back down again, I come into play and heal him. "
As Viera points out, the activity doesn't have to be climbing. “Use physical activities that you love to perform dynamic movements that test your performance and expand your range of motion. I'm not teaching you how to run, ride or play golf, I'll equip you to do these things to the best of your ability. "
5. Wu-Tang Yoga
"We don't dare to use the Y-word here – there is a gentle element that makes yoga a festival of snoring for Jason," says Viera with a laugh. "When I integrate postural medicine into his routine, I call it 'Wu Tang Yoga' or 'Slayer Stretching!'"
Do you want more momoa? Read the actor's cover story here July / August 2021.
Subscribe to YouTube for access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more!