Posted by: 4pack | October 20, 2008

“Daniel Craig Workout” Update: How To Be “Stunt Fit”


“…Steve Truglia…a former Special Forces physical training instructor…is one of Britain’s top stuntmen. You’ll have seen him being blown up in a couple of Bond films and running around with his head on fire in Saving Private Ryan. And, just for fun, he is trying to raise funds to set a new high altitude parachute jump world record by jumping from 120,000 feet.

Although I have no real desire to enter rooms through the ceiling or drive into walls at 70mph, I wouldn’t mind looking a bit more like Daniel Craig as I emerge from the bath, so Steve is showing me exactly how he stays ”stunt fit’’.

“It’s a very particular, very extreme kind of fitness,” he explains, “consisting of stamina, flexibility, strength and core stability, balance and coordination.” He reckons anyone can get there with a couple of gym sessions and a couple of runs a week. “The key is variety: do as many different types of exercise as possible. Even 20 minutes a day will do.”

Now we are working on spatial awareness, a subset of coordination which he says is key to being a stuntman. “It’s easy to get disorientated when you are upside down. But if you have a high fall and you don’t know exactly where your body is, you won’t be able to land safely. If you are lucky you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheel chair.”

From where I’m hanging that sounds like a pretty positive outcome. Yet it had all started so well. “We’ll just warm up, first,” says Steve as we enter the very muscly Muscleworks gym in Bethnal Green.

Five minutes on the recumbent cycle and I’m thinking that this stunt lark is a piece of cake. Then we start some strength work, vital for hanging off helicopters, leaping over walls etc. He usually does this at the end of the session: “On set you can guarantee that if you have a big dangerous stunt, you won’t do it until the end of the day when you are completely knackered. So I design my training regime to reflect that.”

At first it’s standard strength-building exercises: dips – pushing yourself up and down on the arms of a high chair, for triceps and chest; some bench presses again for chest, lower back exercises; curls to build biceps. Then it’s time to work on our cores. “All powerful movements originate from the centre of the body out, and never from the limbs alone,” he says. So we’ll be building up the deep stabilising muscles in our trunks, the part of the body from the waist to the neck.

Steve then introduces me to the chinning bar. It’s for building strength in your back and arms. Much to my surprise I can actually do a few. Then he says innocently: “Just raise your legs so they are at 90 degrees to your body.” Pain, pain, pain. “Now open and close your legs in a scissor movement.”

I manage one.

We move on to balance and coordination, starting by walking along three-inch bars. Not easy, but do-able. “Now turn round,” says Steve. Not easy and not do-able. I fall off. Now he shows me how to jump on to the bar. Guess what? I can’t do that either.

Then he ups the ante and points to a two-inch bar three feet off the ground. With feet firmly together he leaps on, balances himself, leaps off, on, off. For good measure he circuits the gym, leaping from bar to bar, using his thighs to generate the power to leap and the power to stop himself from falling when he lands. Despite his heavy build, he has the feet of a ballerina.

Now it’s out into Bethnal Green for some elementary falls. He shows me how to slap the ground when you land, to earth your kinetic energy. He throws me over his shoulder and I arc gracefully through the air, landing painlessly. But when it’s my turn, I don’t so much throw him as trip him up and he smashes into the ground at my feet, well short of the crash mat. Sorry Steve.

It’s clear that I have some work to do before I am ready to amaze the world with my dripping physique and daredevil stunts. But I have taken at least one quantum of solace from my experience among the weight trainers of Muscleworks. At least I’ll never suffer from an anatomical anomaly – which is what happens when your thighs are so massive that other parts of your anatomy look rather small by comparison.

An advanced seven-day exercise programme that helps build strength

Before you attempt these exercises a five-minute warm-up is advisable. These techniques are advanced, so if you have not exercised recently, start and build up your routine slowly. They are not advisable for people with heart conditions.

DAYS 1, 3, 5

Build explosive power in your legs. Squat and jump forward 3 ft into another squat, feet comfortably apart (12 -18in); from that squat jump backwards into another squat. This is a very advanced exercise that places huge strain on the knees. If you suffer any pain, stop immediately. If that’s too difficult, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and repeat. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Upper body strength. Use a bed or a chair to raise your legs and do deep, slow, press-ups, being careful to keep your back straight. If you can’t manage that, start with conventional press-ups. Three sets of 10.

Stomach. Lay on the floor, raise feet six inches, hands touching temples, elbows out. Bring knees slowly up to chest, rotating left shoulder to right leg and vice versa. If that’s too hard, start with normal, bent knee sit-ups. Three sets of 10.

DAYS 2, 4, 6

Jog for 20-30 minutes minimum. Once you are comfortable, vary the speed – short fast bursts followed by a period of rest – over short distances.

You can combine the strength exercises and jogging into three 45-minute sessions, and if you are short of time reduce it to half an hour.


This is your rest day. A yoga class can offer gentle stretching and controlled breathing will allow your body to recover. Once a month treat yourself to a full body massage.


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