If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last decade’s worth of action films, it’s that age is no barrier to kicking arse on the silver screen. From Liam Neeson’s box office-smashing Taken trilogy to Sly Stallone’s juggernaut Expendables franchise, Hollywood hard men have been rolling back the years to prove that they can still run, jump, punch and kick harder than most men half their age.
The latest elder statesmen to throw his hat into the bullet-case strewn ring is former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, who stars as a ruthless assassin known as ‘The Watchmaker’ in terrorist thriller Survivor. Starring opposite Milla Jovovich, the 62-year-old Irish actor proves that he hasn’t lost a step since handing over his tux and Walther PPK to Daniel Craig, thanks in part to his training regime.
Watch the trailer below, then read on to find a full training plan designed by fitness expert and Mindful Chef (opens in new tab) co-founder Myles Hopper (opens in new tab), designed to help you build functional Hollywood fitness – however old you are.
‘In order to film the chase scenes, Pierce needed to be able to run over a long period of time and not give in to the demands of physical and mental fatigue,’ says Hopper. ‘In order to improve your stamina, focus on improving your aerobic capacity and make your body more efficient at using oxygen to aid its performance. Regular aerobic exercise has also been proven to help delay the ageing process in your arteries.
‘High-intensity work has been proven to be more effective than steady-state aerobic training. A great activity to improve stamina is hill sprints. Find a hill with a decent incline, sprint to the top as fast as you can and use the walk down as your rest period. Repeat this for 30 minutes once a week to improve your stamina.’
‘If stamina allows you to keep going over a prolonged period, conditioning will give you short, sharp bursts of energy, which are needed during fight sequences,’ says Hopper. ‘It will also help you shed body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Try any of the below for a fat-burning finisher to your session.’
Kettlebell swings 1
Kettlebell swings 2
‘Every assassin should have strong legs. You never know when you're going to need to outrun, out-jump or out-climb your enemy,’ says Hopper. ‘To build powerful legs while burning lots of fat give post-activation potentiation a go. You pair a compound exercise using a heavy weight with an explosive movement for a set period of time.
‘The idea is the explosive movement will help you recruit and stimulate more muscle fibres in a short period of time and help induce higher central nervous system stimulation. This will then allow you to subsequently lift a heavier weight in your compound exercises for the following sets.
‘The explosive movement also allows for a large metabolic reaction thus adding some extra fat burning potential.’
‘If you are slightly older and worried about the stress jumping may put on your joints, tweak the exercises slightly – perform wall sits for 30 seconds instead of jump squats.’
‘Assassins need upper-body strength to be able to get themselves out of dangerous situations,’ says Hopper. ‘Bodyweight exercises such as press-ups and pull-ups are great for improving upper-body strength, which in turn will help reduce the muscle loss that tends to occur naturally in men over the age of 50.’
Perform four pull-ups followed by four press-ups, three pull-ups followed by three press-ups and so on until you reach one. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat for a total of three rounds.
‘If you struggle with pull-ups, try an inverted row using either a bar or a suspension trainer such as a TRX,’ says Hopper.
‘The core works on a reflex basis, which means it is engaged by reflexes in response to your actions and reactions,’ says Hopper. ‘Think about this in relation to an assassin who is constantly having to adapt to his or her environment and deal with ever-changing scenarios. Give this exercise a go not only to build a strong core but also increase your shoulder stability/mobility and strength.’
Press-up plank with single leg flexion to extension
‘In a press-up position keep your head and neck in a neutral position with your bum flat and in line with your shoulder joints. Lift one foot off of the floor and very slowly for a count of five seconds bring that knee towards your chest. Then extend the leg at the same tempo to full range without placing it on the floor. Do five reps either side for three sets. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.’
Survivor is out in cinemas nationwide now.
An excellent workout regime is only fully effective if you fuel your body with healthy food. Mindful Chef (opens in new tab) provides customers with lean meal kits, delivered to your door.
Follow Myles @myleshopperMHT (opens in new tab)
Between 2010 and 2016, Ben was the deputy editor of Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Ben also contributed exclusive features to Coach on topics such as football drills, triathlon training plans and healthy eating.
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