Chris Evans workout for Captain America movie..
via GQ.com by Jamie Millar
Chris was trained by Simon Waterson, who trained Daniel Craig for both Bond films and Jake Gyllenhaal for Prince Of Persia, among others. “They briefed me on how they wanted Chris to look,” explains Waterson. Ultimately it is about performance rather than just looking good. He has to be able to sprint, throw a shield, jump over a wall. The aesthetics are almost like a byproduct of being an athlete.” Here Waterson tells GQ.com how he turned Steve Rogers from toy soldier to super-soldier…
Your mission, super-soldier…
“Chris’ training routines were very functional with lots of movement and variety. I’d tend to make him wear a weighted jacket of six to eight kilos, simulating what he would have to wear throughout the movie.
We’d always start off with a plyometric circuit: pull-ups dropping into squat thrusts with a press-up and and then jumping back up into a pull-up. Then kettlebell swings, weighted step-ups down into a squat thrust and then maybe some suspension exercises on a TRX. Then overhead barbell squats, for example. Once you add all those five elements together, you’re toning, you’re building muscle, but also you’re working with very high heart rate so you are working the cardiovascular system as well. That would take about 20 minutes.
After that I would go into a split-body routine, which is where the aesthetics comes into it. On Monday we would do a circuit, then [focus on] back and arms: a lot of big deadlifting, shrugging, the usual bicep curls. On Tuesday I would do a little bit of cardio and abs. On Wednesday we’d do a circuit then heavy, heavy legs. On Thursday, cardio with some abs. On Friday, a circuit then chest, arms and shoulders.
I like to work with a lot of different angles and grips so for chest I would do close-grip incline press, incline bench flies, incline press-ups with your feet raised. Kneeling shoulder-press so you incorporate more abs – that makes it harder because when you’re stood up, it’s easy to bend your knees and use that recoil to muscle the weight back up in the air. When you’re on your knees, you can’t use your recoil and also you have to have your abs engaged so you’re getting a secondary benefit.
Saturday would normally be a rest day and then Sunday would be what I call a “catch-up day”, if something hasn’t been fatigued or needs working on or is looking a bit out of place. Or perhaps the posture’s looking bad so we have to do more retraction work – rear delts, romboids – because obviously when you start working very heavy on the arms, chest and back, you’ve got to be so careful that the shoulders don’t start rolling forward and you end up looking gorilla-like instead of having amazing posture and presence.”
Every superhero needs a sidekick
“We worked out together – I did the same for Daniel and Jake. It’s great having that competition and seeing your trainer in pain, and they can watch my form without feeling like I’m teaching: you’re just watching and mimicking set for set, rep for rep. You become like buddies and the competition is good – you push each other. The things that we felt we were getting the most gains from were the bodyweight exercises. But again, we took it past that to where bodyweight wasn’t enough, so we were having to hang weight off us to add even more resistance. Pull-ups holding maybe a 15-kilo weight in between your feet and still being able to do three sets of 10-12 – we were getting to that kind of stage. Dips, again with 20 or 30 kilos dangling between your legs. Press-ups with a 25-kilo plate on your back. Those types of exercises are very simple but once the body starts to adapt to it the gains you get are just phenomenal.”
“The cardio training that Chris did was fairly standard. I’d maybe add a few sprints in there, just to make sure that his hip flexors were loose and that he was capable and conditioned. What we forget is when we watch the movie, we see the one shot of him running down the street after someone. That shot was done in eight takes: that’s like doing eight 100m sprints right after each other. You’ve got to condition for that and be very aware that is potentially what could happen. If it ends up being an absolute nightmare where you’re out of breath and it takes five or ten minutes to recover then more make-up has to be applied. Then you start sweating so you’ve got to change your top. You’ve got to be really careful because being out of condition eats up a lot of time with all these other departments as well. We’d warm up and do some intervals for ten to 15 minutes. Really though the cardio training comes from doing the circuits, which are much, much more effective because you’re working at a much higher heart rate.”
Dining on the Captain’s table
“As far as the nutrition goes – not diet; the first few letters of that are die, which is what people do when they diet – the philosophy was very simple in that it was very high protein-based. The equation is around 1g of protein for every pound of bodyweight, so 180g of protein a day, or 2g of protein for every kilo of bodyweight, whichever you use. That would be achieved with as much protein as possible from actual food and then supplements, so a couple of protein shakes a day. I would also use some branched-chain amino acids, a little bit of glutamine and that’s kind of it. The BCAA are basically there to fill the chain of repair of protein, which in turn makes up the majority of muscle, and that’s what you’re trying to do: keep hold of as much muscle tissue as possible. Glutamine again is another substance you use to stop you going catabolic or burning muscle tissue as energy. It’s also great for your immunity because when you’re working at such a high intensity for such a long period of time, you’re very susceptible to getting ill. Then 500mg of Omega-3, -6 and -9 every single meal to make sure that your joints are functioning well – it also gives you very good, healthy skin. The protein shakes during the day would be normal whey-based shakes containing around 30g of protein. Prior to going to bed I would use a protein shake that was primarily casein, which is a slow-release protein to feed the muscles overnight.”
“It’s so difficult when you’re working to have the perfect day nutrition-wise because every day because there’s so many different factors that come into that day. An ideal day would be waking up in the morning and having a good, hearty breakfast: porridge, walnuts, raisins, mixed in with low-fat Greek yoghurt, a scoop of protein and sliced banana. You’ve got all the factors in there that are going to give you a lot of energy. Then you would work out an hour after that and maybe 20 minutes beforehand you would have an energy drink. After an hour and a half working out with a litre of water, you would consume a little bit of fruit and nuts straight away to replenish your depleted glycogen. Then you’d have a protein shake and two hours after that, lunch. The best thing to do is have a good protein source – fish, meat – with salad. Lots and lots of salad. Two hours later, a snack: a protein shake with a handful of almonds. Two hours later – you can see a pattern emerging; you should be eating every two hours- a protein source again with a lot of dark green, leafy vegetables. In the evening, your casein protein shake and again almonds. With 500mg of omega-3, -6 and -9 with your three main meals. That would be just about right.”
Even superheroes need a day off
“Weekends are your own nutrition-wise – I normally say from six o’clock on a Friday to eight o’clock on a Sunday morning. To be honest, I always say that but [when you’re training] by that time you’re not really craving [forbidden] things. You think you’d be saying, ‘Oh I really fancy a pizza and a big bowl of Häagen-Dazs.’ But you don’t really crave those things anymore because you get into such a routine. It’s just good psychologically saying that [you can cheat] because if I tell you, ‘No, no, no,’ you always want to go, ‘Yes, yes, yes.” In actual fact, you’re not.”
Advice for superheroes-in-training
“I don’t think you can ever give anybody who’s joining a gym one single piece of advice. There are so many things. Look at your own genetics. Be realistic. Set yourself micro-goals through the month on a week-to-week basis. Even if the goal is just getting to the gym three times in a week, you’re constantly achieving. Don’t over-commit and announce, ‘Right, I’m going to the gym five times this week.’ Be realistic: three times a week for an hour and take the weekends off. That is the start point and that is the hard part. Try to enjoy it. For a lot of people, it ends up becoming a chore rather than leisure time: time when you can think and you’re doing something for yourself.”
Taking patriotic pride in your work
“I don’t know if ‘pride’ is the word for how I feel when I see the end results. When I’ve got six producers sat there who have put me in a hotel in Boston for five months and my job is to make Chris look like that in order for them to film him for two or three days, “relief” is the word I would use. The only recognition I want is when the head of Marvel says, ‘That’s absolutely perfect, thanks Simon.’ I’m like, ‘Cheers mate, no problem.’ That’s it – it’s my job. But every day you’re going, ‘God, I hope this is all right…'”