Workout Tips

Eric the Trainer: Get Big, Strong and Hollywood Ripped

Celebrity personal trainer Eric Fleishman shares his secrets for getting a body ready for the big screen.

one-arm cable hammer curl

An actor will come to us looking relatively normal, and sometimes we have only 21 days to get him ready. That’s not a lot of time. You have to simplify the process and hammer the areas that are going to make the biggest impact on-screen—shoulders, lats, pecs, and abs. When zeroing in on these areas, you can’t train them in a traditional sense. A thick physique gives the impression of age, and that’s something we always want to avoid. Meanwhile, a wide physique gives the impression of power.

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To add width without adding density, I use a lot of what I call “jet reps.” These are limited-range-of-motion reps that engorge the muscle. Here’s an example for chest: Hold your hands out wider on the bar when you bench. At 90 degrees, the elbows should be pointing straight out to the sides. Bring the bar down to touch your chest, but press only halfway up. You want the pecs to be stretched for most of the exercise to increase width. This will make them look like two big dinner plates.

When you perform dumbbell shoulder presses, point your elbows back as far as you can. You’ll feel a stretch in your pecs, and this will help hit your rear delts. A lot of guys hit the front and side delts with big moves, then try to do some rear-delt flyes to bring those up at the end. It’s not enough, and it’s easy for the front and side delts to overpower them. If you have no rear delts, it can make your whole back look small.

SEE ALSO: 6 Weeks to Get Lean Workout Plan


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As for diet, a food curfew is mandatory for all my clients. If you want to build muscle while keeping your waist narrow, you have to cut it off around 7 p.m. And everyone knows sleep is important, but sleep before midnight is even more important. Sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is better than sleeping from midnight to 8. People don’t get it. They say, "Well, I got eight hours!", but sleeping with your circadian rhythms is essential to hormone production.

Ultimately, this isn’t about strength— it’s about looking your best. CrossFit is great. Football training is great. But looking good on camera is its own animal. You need to focus on specific areas in a precise way.

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