It’s no secret that Hollywood actors have to go through brutal training to prepare for various movie roles – just take a look at Christian Bale or pretty much the entire male cast of Marvel – and the latest star to display a serious commitment to the gym for a movie role is Alexander Skarsgård.
The 45-year-old Swedish actor stars in The man from the north, an epic historical fiction film that sees Skarsgård play Amleth, a figure in Scandinavian legend who embarks on a quest to avenge the murder of his parents. Naturally, a Norse Viking who must scale mountains and wield heavy weaponry to assassinate anyone who gets in his way will need serious strength and intimidating size.
While Alexander Skarsgård wasn’t exactly out of shape before he prepared for the role, he needed to build some muscle. And, judging by an image from the film currently circulating the web (posted above), it’s pretty clear that he did just that. But how did he do it?
According to Variety, he enlisted the services of personal trainer Magnus Lygdback, whom Skarsgård previously worked with to get in shape for the 2019 film, Tarzan. Talk to Variety, Lygdback said Skarsgård’s character in the film had a “spirit animal [of] a wolf and a bear, so we really wanted to incorporate that into the character. The goal was to create a character with the agility of a wolf, but the physical size of a bear. Not necessarily an easy task.
To arrive at such a figure, Squire adds that Skarsgård had to go to the gym six days a week for six months, each session lasting around an hour. Lygdback said he doesn’t bother with grueling 2-3 hour sessions because “all you do after the first hour is just start breaking down your body.”
He clarifies by saying, “I like to do a 4-day split normally with my male actors. Which means you target each muscle group much harder and then let it rest while training other parts of the body. Strength training is the main focus.
There is often a debate within the fitness community about which training method is best. Some, like Lygdback, choose to target specific muscle groups on different days. Others will employ a range of push-pull workouts – push one day, pull the next – followed by a leg day. This is repeated twice a week to complete six days of training.
“We trained for 6 months to prepare. If you get less than 3 months, you cannot do a build and cut cycle, you must do a long cut cycle to gain lean mass. When you get over 3 months, like we did, you can do 2 training cycles. Construction and fit.
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He continues, “We did less HIIT training this time and more strength training. We did fewer reps to get stronger.
What Marcus means here refers to the long held belief and knowledge that lifting heavier, with lower reps, is what is needed to build strength, as opposed to size. As we have already discussed, the use of the information provided by Health Line“For muscle strength, you reduce the number of reps in a set (exercise volume) while increasing the intensity (adding heavier weights). Typically, the rest period between sets for the strength is 3-5 minutes.
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“We incorporated a lot of shoulder and hip stability/mobility work to prepare him to swing an ax and run. Alex is the hardest worker in the room, which is why he looks like that. He makes my job very easy. He deserves it, not me.
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Of course, while Alexader Skarsgård had a world-class personal trainer and time to devote to the gym, it goes to show that no one can expect results overnight. If you can commit to a few months or even years of a well-rounded strength training program — and an equally impressive meal plan — you, too, will notice dramatic results.
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