Behind every superhero, there’s a super stuntman. For Chris Evans’ Captain America, that man (at least for the character’s second standalone outing, The Winter Soldier) was Sam Hargrave.
But Hargrave is more than just a human crash test dummy. The action specialist is a veritable multi-hyphenate, with credits for acting, fight and stunt coordination, and now directing. His first feature is an upcoming Netflix film, Extraction, starring another Avenger, Chris Hemsworth, slated to hit the service on April 24. The Men’s Health team dropped in Hargrave’s training space and stuntman haven, 87eleven Action Design, to find out how he preps for stunt work, directing, and more.
Whether he’s behind the camera or in front of it, Hargrave’s goal is to come correct. “Physical fitness has always been a huge part of my life, and now even more so,” he says. As a director, he had to make sure that he was able to capture all the action, which in turn meant that he had to be in good enough shape to keep up with all of the actors and stuntmen. That led to a self-developed workout program, so he could take on high-level camera maneuvers like balancing on a moving vehicle while shooting.
As a stuntman, Hargrave took part in possibly the most iconic action sequence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Evan’s double for Winter Soldier‘s elevator fight, when Captain America realizes S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by Hydra and takes on a small army on his own. “When you’re part of something like that, you don’t want anybody looking to you as the weak link,” he says of the scene. “You’ve got to be able to do your backflips, you’ve got to do your martial arts, and you have to do take after take—and that was over three days we shot that sequence, so you have to be physically fit to do your job and look like a superhero doing it.”
Hargrave’s training, then, is heavy on martial arts work, functional exercises, traditional core work, and aesthetic exercises. If you want to try to train like him, remember that he’s doing these exercises for very specific outcomes—he’s taking on challenges that you won’t in your everyday life. Consider plugging these exercises into your normal routine where you can, rather than recreating it move for move.
The Superhero Stuntman/Director Workout
Martial Arts Conditioning/Sparring – 3 sets of 1 minute rounds
Stability Ball Kettlebell Squats – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Neck Crunch – 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps
Toes to Bar – 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Hanging Knees to Elbows – 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps
L-Sit Flutter Kicks – 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Windshield Wipers – 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Hang Clean and Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
Wide Grip Pullups – 3 sets of 7 to 12 reps
Bodyweight Skullcrusher – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Office Work on the Hour
Bodyweight Squat – 1 minute
Pushups – 1 minute
Planks – 1 minute
Want more celebrity workout routines? Check out all of our Train Like videos.
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