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You’ve seen Alain Moussi in such films as X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse—you just didn’t know it was him. The 35-year-old Canadian stuntman, who’s done stunts for Hugh Jackman and Henry Cavill, now moves into the spotlight to play Kurt Sloane in the next installment of the Kickboxer reboot. Here’s how he kicked his training into high gear for the role.
Moussi trains five days per week. Three days are dedicated to martial arts and two are for weight training.
“The goal is to find a balance between intensity and proper technique to create the ultimate human performance machine,” says Moussi’s strength and conditioning coach, Phil Hurtubise, CEO and founder of IPG Wellness Services. “He follows a fitness regimen, for six to eight weeks [at a time], called a training phase, which varies and is dependent on his overall goal.” Moussi’s routine starts with light cardio, hard intervals, foam rolling, and mobility drills. Then he performs Olympic lifts, compound exercises— like the bench press, deadlift, and squat—and a lift with “consequences,” such as a pistol squat on a Bosu ball that transitions to a kick. He finishes with a body-weight circuit followed by more stretching and a proper cool-down to begin the recovery process.
“I swim 50 meters, or two laps, underwater,” Moussi says. “I have to do fight scenes for hours, so that kind of training keeps me going for longer. Now I can do longer sequences. We’re talking about a three- to four- minute sequence with no cuts. That’s a long time.”
The Kicker: Swimming as well as stretching twice a day have helped Moussi increase muscle endurance, mobility, and flexibility.
“I stretch for a good 10 to 15 minutes after every workout,” says Moussi. “It’s not necessarily deep stretching, just enough to loosen everything up. Later in the evening I’ll follow the same routine.” Moussi will run through a basic routine of arm, leg, and shoulder stretches.
David vs. Goliath: Moussi takes on 6’9″, 395-pound Hafþór Björnsson in the forthcoming movie Kickboxer: Retaliation.
Breakfast is toast with peanut butter and a banana, plus Greek yogurt with granola. Lunch is chicken with a sweet potato and broccoli. For snacks, Moussi likes avocados and cheese. Dinner is salmon, veggies, and rice; and eggs with veggies are his late-night snack. Fruit is eaten post-workout and as dessert.
“Precision is really important because I have to be able to hit [my mark] without hitting my fellow actors or stuntmen. In some scenes we set it up to hit in the face, but it’s like a tap that looks like a big hit. You have to have that maximum control and accuracy to be able to do that, so I work on that a lot,” says Moussi, who trains his accuracy by kicking targets off still bags, hitting pads with his trainer, and kicking pads with one leg while standing on a Bosu ball. “I’m able to do a lot of sequential kicks, which I could do before, but now I’m way more stable when I do them.”
As a stuntman, Moussi would set himself apart by matching the lead’s physique. “You’re like a chameleon when you’re doubling. For Henry Cavill, I had to grow my chest more, I had to stay very lean so my abs would show,” says Moussi. His most challenging role was to double as Hugh Jackman. “I had 31⁄2 weeks to gain 10 pounds. I was training twice per day, five days a week, with one workout on Saturdays. Now it’s all about my own look, and that’s what I work on, like, ‘What’s the kind of look that I want for the film?’ ”
“Now it’s all about my own look, and that’s what I work on, like, ‘What’s the kind of look that I want for the film?’ ”
Moussi performs intervals on the stationary bike and rowing machine. He then stretches and foam rolls his body before hitting the weights.
Perform one to three rounds with no rest between exercises.