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He may have got in MMA fighter-shape for Warrior, and bulked up to play Batman's arch nemesis Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but British actor Tom Hardy's latest role was arguably his most challenging yet – taking on the iconic title role in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Coach’s sister title, Men’s Fitness, spoke with Hardy and his stunt double, Jacob Tomuri, to discuss staying in shape on set, and the physical challenges that come with shooting such an action-packed film. Watch the video below, and then read on to find out how Hardy gets it done in the gym, with training tips from his longtime coach, Patrick 'P-Nut' Monroe.
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“For Warrior, I didn’t want to train Tom to look like he could fight, I wanted to train him to actually fight,” says Monroe. “We spent three months working striking and the muscles involved in that. We'd take the normal movements involved in striking and add resistance. For example, I would resist him when he was throwing a punch or throw strikes at him while he blocked with weights on his wrists and ankles. I knew it would be impossible for him to interpret the choreography without knowing how to move naturally. You can't act like you can dance if you can't dance.”
“I do something called signalling, which involves sending ‘signals’ to the muscles you want to develop as often as possible. So instead of doing a few sets of pushups to failure over five minutes, you might do ten every five minutes for an hour, or do sets spread throughout the day. The body is purely utilitarian. It gets good at the tasks you set for it, but only those tasks. Considering this, it stands to reason that the best way to condition for true strength is to vary the tasks you give your body as much as possible. Which leads us to the next point.”
“If you always do the same moves, the body will just get more efficient at them. Introduce variables: you might do ten fast press-ups, then one slow one, switch to your knees or place your arms wide or into a diamond position under your chest, and so on. The goal is to make every rep difficult. By making every rep hard and different, you’ll ensure that the body evolves, becoming stronger in multiple areas rather than narrow areas addressed by singular movements.”
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