Get Fit With 4 Stuntman-Inspired Exercises

Above: Stuntman Alain Chanoine
Above: Stuntman Alain Chanoine

Do you watch your favourite action flicks and wish your full-time job was as a stuntman? While you may not be able to switch careers to become one now, you can work out like one. Alain Chanoine, a stuntman whose work can be seen in Immortals, Percy Jackson & the Lightening Thief, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Blade: Trinity, says his line of work calls for using every muscle group every day. “So it’s important to be ready and in gerat shape to be able to perform the stunt or take the hit,” he says. His regular routine includes gymnastics, mixed martial arts, yoga and crossfit. We got Chanoine to share four exercises he feels are mandatory to his stunt work.

The exercise: The snatch grip dead lift on podium

“Being a stunt fighter, I use my legs a lot, for the foot work, high kicks and jump kick and this is one of my favourite exercises to improve my vertical. It gives a great work out for the whole body and specifically for your legs and muscles used for jumping,” says Chanoine.

  • Stand with two 45-lb plates placed side by side on the floor or a very low podium with the Olympic Barbell in front of you.
  • Take a snatch grip, wide grip outside the lines on the bar, with your backside very low close to the ground and explode up until full extension of the body with a control tempo on the way down to your starting position.
  • Make sure you keep your back straight, head up and prioritize form before weight.
  • Complete a minimum of 8 sets of 5 repetitions.

The exercise: Glutes strengthener

“To kick above your head with control and keep your foot up there for the camera is not the easiest thing but it is something we stuntmen often have to do. To do so you need crazy gluteal muscles,” says Chanoine.

  • Adjust the pulley as low as possible on the cables and use an ankle strap.
  • Hold on with one hand and lift up the opposite leg. Keep your body as straight as possible; keep the leg lifting totally straight. Also, make sure your hip is not bent — you are trying to do a front split standing up with weights. “I’ve been doing it for years and I can’t lift it all the way up with weights but as soon as you take those weights off you’ll feel like Bruce Lee right away. Just dont get in any fights!” says Chanoine.

The exercise: Plank

“As stunt performers, we often do not land on our feet and we are often asked not to make it look pretty. It has to look like it hurt,” says Chanoine. As for how not to get hurt doing so? Adjusting your position with a strong core. “These exercises take less than five minutes and improve your overall performances drastically,” he says.

  • Push up position, elbows to the ground, and stay there as long as possible.
  • Switch to side planks and try to hold these as long as possible on each side.

The exercise: Frontal split

“The more flexible you are, the less you’ll get hurt. I do lots of yoga but my favourite stretch is the frontal split,” says Chanoine.

  • For the frontal split, go down as low as possible and keep the position for four minutes. “The mistake people make when they want to get more flexible is that they go to fast to hard and get hurt. It does not have to hurt,” says Chanoine. Instead, just feel the stretch breathe and relax, he says.
  • “Do the stretch as often as possible so your muscle gets used to being stretched and your brain understands that it is now normal to let that muscle go,” he says. Chanoine performs this four-minute split stretch three times a day. “The first time in the morning after my workout is always the worst but as the day progresses it just get easier and you’ll be doing the splits in no time. Just make sure you’re warmed up before that first stretch in the morning,” he says.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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