The Top 5 Exercises for Stuntmen
To modern humans, physical upkeep is a must, and at least some of us consider it a necessity. To a stuntman, physical upkeep is like taking your life-saving medicine; you don’t forget it.
The concept of your body as a temple should be not be neglected. You only get one, so you had better treat it right with a healthy practice of physical exercise. When you’re a stuntman who uses his body to make a living, that is doubly true. Here are some core exercises that every man in stunts should consider as part of their daily practice.
Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up or “TGU” for short, is the one exercise that builds a totality of strength. The TGU coordinates and synchronizes every muscle in the body to activate. This builds strong joints, mental focus, and motor skills.
As a stuntman you know you will be falling A LOT, so the TGU will improve your ability to handle the fall and get up like nothing ever happened.
It’s one thing to mentally handle the fall and not get hurt; it’s quite another thing to fall and know that your body can handle the impact. The TGU is a movement pattern for life and should be part of your daily practice.
Let’s put it this way, if you don’t know what a pull up is then you have no business being a stuntman!
The pull up needs to be understood as an important necessity to a stuntman. Pull ups are the one exercise that can prepare you for just about anything.
The Pull Up works the upper back, arms, and abdominals, which in turn will help protect your spine. Plus, you never know when life will put you in an odd situation; you may be hanging off a cliff and need the ability to “pull up” to safety.
The Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing is a unique exercise that enhances athletic performance. Just from this movement alone you can become a better jumper, sprinter, and most definitely a better stuntman.
You develop a skill set known in the Hardstyle world as the “What the Heck” effect. It’s called this because that’s exactly what you will say after you go for a run. If you haven’t run for a while but just practiced your Hardstyle Swing you will be shocked at how well your perform.
Just like the Hardstyle Plank, you will be learning a hard and soft movement, but this time with a ballistic motion. This ballistic motion will essentially create a standing Hardstyle Plank.
The rapid sequential muscle contraction will mold you into an unbreakable being.
It will make your joints, muscles, and mind stronger with each rep. As a stuntman the benefits are definitely something you will want.
Building a foundation is crucial; you don’t build a house from the ceiling to the floor do you? Of course not! You build that house from the ground up. The plank is a must-have movement, but what is even better is the Hardstyle Plank.
The Hardstyle Plank is a known starter movement to organizations like Strong First and Dragon Door.
It is especially and specifically taught in their kettlebell programs.
Why the Hardstyle Plank over the standard plank? The standard plank is solely based on endurance and how long you can last in a isometric hold, whereas in the Hardstyle Plank is based on generating tension. If performed correctly, the move should be extremely difficult to hold for more than 20 seconds.
The self-effort you put behind the Hardstyle Plank is everything. In the Hardstyle method you will literally squeeze every muscle in the body, starting with the toes going to the quadriceps, glutes, abs, lats, and finally your grip. While being in control of your breathing, talking during this practice is actually a good practice.
Ultimately, both Plank practices are solid; they both will improve your posture and well-being while strengthening your joints. Most importantly they will prepare any stuntman for the day.
Stuntmen are required to be explosive in order to shock and awe the audience. It’s their job to make the audience believe that the actor or actress they are watching is performing the action for real. Explosive training, also known as plyometrics, is a skill that requires lifelong practice with copious amounts of maintenance.
Actors and actresses need to be sharp in their acting skills and require huge amounts of time dedicated to their craft, so too is that true for stuntmen. Stuntmen must dedicate themselves to their applied skills, especially since they are the ones taking a physical risk. Please caution that any
Plyometric movement has a risk of injury, so make sure that you have the strength and coordination for the movements in the first place.
If you didn’t already know, almost all exercises can be practiced as an explosive, plyometric movement. Take a squat or push-up for example; the squat can be transformed into a box jump or even the more advanced Jump Knee Tuck. The push up can be transformed into a Clapping Push Up, or something more advanced like the Inca Push Up.
Plyometrics will benefit the Martial Artist stuntman the most, but they can be useful for everyone.
Essentially, plyometrics will just plain make you better at life.
Some might argue, “Are these REALLY the best exercises for anyone in or considering stunt work?” The answer to that question is a definite NO! Would I say that this is a great place to start? Yes. The human body is an amazing instrument and is capable of infinite movements and creativity.
Basically, you’re capable of whatever the mind and body will allow.
So get out there and experiment! Just make sure you are having fun and using the entirety of the body in every movement. This mental and physical combination will help create the durability that every stuntman needs to withstand the day.