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From dishing out vigilante justice in the Kick-Ass movies to his upcoming role as superhero Quicksilver in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to training hard for the screen. His role in 2014’s Godzilla is a prime example, with Taylor-Johnson starring as Ford Brody, a US army lieutenant who plays a key part in the fight against a giant, city-smashing lizard.
‘Ford is really put through the ringer over the course of the film, both internally and externally’, says Taylor-Johnson. ‘His expertise at disarming bombs makes him the kind of expert the military needs and it’s all hands on deck.’ To convince as a member of the armed forces, the actor kept up the rigorous routine he started with trainer Richard Smedley to get him in impressive shape for Kick-Ass 2.
‘Aaron did a lot of TRX work for core training,’ says Smedley. ‘It hits parts of the stomach that it’s difficult to access through floor exercises. In terms of muscular formation, I didn’t want him to get a dumpy bodybuilder’s look – I wanted him to look athletic so there was a lot of carrying and moving with heavy weights, which gives good definition but also boosts functional strength.’
Smedley used his military background to put the actor through his paces. ‘He did a lot of moves that engaged his core in the same way that it would be during stunts on set. Unrealistic, one-dimensional stomach exercises were out – all the kicking and punching he was doing was coming from his core, so he had to address that first before doing hypertrophy work.’
Want to sculpt a beastly body? Try Smedley’s core-busting circuit.
Try this weighted version of a plyometric jump with a dumbbell in each hand. ‘It builds your quads quickly because it hits the fast-twitch muscle fibres and stretches them,’ says Smedley.
Increase your planks' intensity by suspending your feet in the stirrups of a TRX. ‘Work your way up to this move,’ says Smedley. ‘It can put strain on the lower back, so strengthen the muscle by perfecting your floor planks first.’
Arrange three chairs in a triangular formation and assume a press-up position with your feet on one and hands on the other two. ‘It allows you to get much further down and access the outer parts of your pectoral muscles,’ says Smedley.
‘It’s functional,’ says Smedley. ‘Walking with heavy weight plates in each hand is a great core exercise but it also gives good shoulder definition.’
Watch the exclusive video below to hear Taylor-Johnson’s thoughts on the film