Tarzan is the epitome of ultimate male physique.
He’s strong, athletic, and muscular – and it was all honed by the jungle.
So when Alexander Skarsgard landed the iconic role, he needed to build an incredibly ripped physique fit for the jungle man. And did he ever succeed.
So how the hell did the usually lean actor get so ripped for the role? It’s not CGI, makeup, or good lighting – those ridiculously cut abs are 100 per cent real.
And it all came down to good old fashioned hard work and a diet of 7,000 clean calories.
The Swedish actor went through a strict four month training and diet plan to get him in shape for the new Hollywood blockbuster Legend of Tarzan, which also stars Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz.
Speaking to JOE, Skarsgard’s trainer and nutritionist Magnus Lygdback, who prepared the True Blood star for his toughest role yet, revealed the actor’s training plan.
Lygdback, who’s behind Skarsgard’s incredible transformation, said that Alex was ‘super lean’ when he started training his body for the role.
And the first thing he got him to do was stop running, so he could start putting weight on, saying:
His cardio was great coming into the project. But he had to stop that and expend all his energy into lifting weights and building muscle mass.
And they only had four months to do it.
Skarsgard told the Telegraph: “I am naturally quite lean so I had to put on a bit of weight. So for three months I bulked out.”
His routine was consuming 7,000 calories a day, with ‘lots of steak and potatoes’ combined with heavy workouts in the gym, sometimes up to five times a day. Skarsgard added: “The trick was to maintain the volume, but get rid of the body fat, so I was put on a very strict diet.”
When asked by Conan if he started to ‘psychologically lose it’ after all the hard work, Skarsgard said they gave him six meals a day but the portions were quite small, so he was constantly hungry.
I had to eat every three hours which meant I spent the entire day thinking about food. So when I finished a meal, I would go ‘alright, 2 hours and 55 minutes until my next meal’.
He also admitted to falling off the wagon completely after filming stopped.
Each workout session started with big lifts – like bench or squats – for 12 reps on a lighter weight, and working heavier while dropping the reps through 10, eight and six reps, JOE reports. He then further exhausted his muscles by finishing it all with a 10 rep burner.
Designed to hit muscles from every angle, his programme had a range of different exercises on each body part – but they all adhered to an eight to 12-rep range.
Obviously, his core training was equally important to get those ridiculous abs. He did a mixture of static core work (like planks and obliques) every other day.
We did work out really hard while we were filming, so a lot of the scenes you see in the movie when he’s looking super freaky that’s half way into filming and towards the end.
Basically, it’s not easy to look like Tarzan.