Athlete/Celebrity Workouts

Colossal Comic: Kevin Hart's Upper Body Workout

It may come as a surprise, but this funny man is also a gym rat.

by
Muscular Kevin Hart holding a kettlebell with red shirt on
Jeff Lipsky/CPI
Jeff Lipsky/CPI
Duration 30 mins
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

It's hard to pinpoint the moment Kevin Hart became a star. Suddenly he was just there, with the baptismal comedy special, prowling the stage, a compact, 5'4" ball of hysterically funny energy, spinning his crowd like cotton candy. We blink—if we even did— and now he’s an A-list movie star, the marquee name on the blockbuster Ride Along movies with Ice Cube, Get Hard with Will Ferrell, and Central Intelligence with Dwayne Johnson, all ridiculous plots and side-crampingly hilarious movies. And he has released three movies of his standup shows. And he plays NFL stadiums. Bruce Springsteen plays stadiums. Comedians, until Hart, did not.

Perhaps Hart pushes himself so hard now because he comes from such humble beginnings. He started his comedy career in a shoe store in Philadelphia, where he was the funny guy cracking up his fellow workers— leading, fortuitously, to his getting tired of being the funniest guy in a shoe store. So he decided to try out his comedy onstage in a local club’s amateur night competition, which he came to win every week, eventually discouraging the club owner enough to cancel the competition, pushing Kevin out of the nest, so to speak, and into New York City’s legendary comedy cauldron.

Torn between playing the top-tier clubs that gave the best exposure but didn’t pay, and the less important clubs that did, he played both, commuting nearly four hours each day from Philadelphia so that no one realized he didn’t live in New York. He was that serious, that single-minded, even then.

GYM FREAK

At 37, Hart is now a fitness fanatic. He’s obsessed with training and working out seven days a week with his full-time trainer, Ron “Boss” Everline, who travels everywhere with the comedian and is basically stitched to him like Peter Pan’s shadow. Mostly they work out in gyms, tailoring their regimen to whatever equipment they find available, but often they’ll work out with bands and otherwise improvise in hotel rooms. They’ll train early if they can, late if they can’t. They’ll run. They even go as far as taking up cabin space to do pushups and situps on a plane, 500 of each. If you’re concerned about whether or not Hart’s a danger in the skies, Everline sheds some light on those in-air workout sessions.

“Kevin’s so small, it’s not like he’s creating any ruckus,” says Everline. “The flight attendants and crew let him get away with shit that most people can’t get away with.”

The fact that Hart is doing 500 pushups at 40,000 feet shows just how committed he is to staying fit, despite his crazy travel and performance schedule. As his trainer, Everline is constantly impressed.

“He’s very driven, very focused,” Everline says, who notes that Hart routinely wakes up at 5 a.m. to begin training. “His main focus is getting better than he was yesterday.” Of course, this isn’t to say that Hart is the perfect pupil. “The difficult part about training Kev is he’s always playing and he never fucking stops joking,” says Everline. “He’s ADD, so if I don’t keep his ass moving, it creates difficulty.”

Through his dedication with Everline, Hart has been creating a well-carved midsection. According to Everline, core work is Hart’s No. 1 priority, leading the comedian to seriously think he has the best abs in the country—“better than anybody,” Hart contends. With just 8% body fat, he’s certainly on the short list.

But with every passion in the gym comes training filled with loathing. “He hates working legs,” says Everline. “He thinks I’m always trying to make his butt big. He says he don’t want a fat ass.”

RALLY TIME

A couple of years ago, Hart became a health ambassador for Rally Health, a digital wellness and fitness company. But he’s not a scripted mannequin for the organization. He leads their Healthfest events, which are full of exercise and health counseling activities. The events are free to the public and draw thousands. Hart’s main message to them: Health improvement is in your own hands.

“My purpose is to inform,” says Hart about his role with Rally Health. “What I really love, and have adapted to, is this healthy lifestyle. Being a health ambassador for Rally has really opened my eyes to the impact that I have. Giving people the message that it is your job not only to live your life to the fullest but also to increase your lifespan.”

For the past four years, Hart says he’s really stepped up his fitness and nutrition game in an attempt to take better care of himself and live the way he felt he should. This is why he now eats a ton of salads, like Caesar salads with grilled chicken. His breakfast is usually egg whites and grilled chicken. (He loves chicken.) When he eats an unhealthy snack, he chomps Doritos. But judging by how insanely cut he is, that probably happens approximately once every superblood moon.

So, you might be wondering, “Does all this training actually help with the comedy?” To this question, Hart gives an emphatic yes. “Working out is very important to my comedy, simply because I’m very energetic, I’m all over that stage, I’m doing multiple shows a night,” he says. “The last thing I want to do is be tired and give a half-assed show.”

Serious Muscle

It's refreshing to see a simple workout. These days most trainers go the trendy route, with routines that are more “YouTube blooper reel” than “proven muscle builder.” Kevin Hart’s trainer, Ron “Boss” Everline, on the other hand, is defiantly oldschool. His routine has no Bosu ball squats, no Olympic lifts, no fancy machines—it’s nothing dangerous and nothing you can’t do at home. But it’ll build you an incredible upper body, as Hart’s physique proves. And it takes just 30 minutes.

How it Works

Hart’s routine focuses on the most basic upper-body builders known to man: the bench press, pushup, row, curl, and dip. Group them and perform them as circuits, and you’ll work the muscles as well as the heart, promoting both size gains and fat loss in a short workout.

Directions

Perform the exercises marked with a letter (“A,” “B,” and “C”) as a circuit. So you’ll do one set of each in sequence before resting as prescribed. Repeat for three circuits each (three sets of each move). Complete all the circuits for the first group of exercises before going on to the next one.

Kevin Hart's Upper-Body Workout

Exercise 1A

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
10,8,6 reps
-- rest

Exercise 1B

General Pushup You'll need: No Equipment How to
Pushup thumbnail
3 sets
AMRAP* reps
-- rest
*As many reps as possible.

Exercise 1C

Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Row thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
90 sec rest
Can be substituted for the sled row. If performing sled row, pull sled 20 yards each set.

Exercise 2A

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench How to
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2B

Standing Dumbbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Standing Dumbbell Biceps Curl thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2C

Bench Dip You'll need: Bench How to
Bench Dip thumbnail
3 sets
AMRAP* reps
90 sec rest
*As many reps as possible.
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