Since first stepping into the Wonder Woman role in 2016, Gal Gadot has come to embody a superhero in pretty much every way. She prepped for her starring role in the most recent outing, Wonder Woman 1984 (which hit screens in 2020), from early 2018.
Although she was in shape already, Gadot wanted to really tap into that superhuman strength with the help of her trainer, Magnus Lygdback. The pair worked out together for about an hour a day, five days a week for the better part of a year, travelling from Los Angeles, to Washington D.C., to Spain, and to London during filming.
To keep her feeling powerful, Gadot’s workouts focused on resistance training, Magnus says. Which muscles she worked, though, depended on the day. Typically, the duo spent one workout on legs, the second on chest and back, the third on arms and shoulders, the fourth on all-things lower body, and the fifth on all-things upper body. “I’m a big fan of working different parts of the body every day so your body gets to recover and rest in between,” Magnus explains.
They also incorporated HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on the assault bike or treadmill three days a week and finished every session with a little core work.
Though most of her workouts required standard gym equipment, you can build a superhero body like hers from home with a little creativity. This sample leg workout, straight from Magnus himself, will give you a little taste of what it’s like to work out like Wonder Woman.
Part 1: HIIT
After five minutes of warming up on the treadmill, Magnus and Gadot jump into some quick sprint intervals. (You can do these on the tread, at the track, or around your area).
Instructions: Sprint at an all-out pace for 30 seconds, then walk to recover for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
The key here? You have to go hard during those sprints, but don’t worry if running isn’t your thing. “I love sprints but they can be hard on your knees,” says Magnus. “The assault or Airdyne bike is another great option for these.”
Part 2: resistance training (legs)
Gadot’s long filming days involved lots of running and jumping, so a strong lower-body foundation was an absolute must.
Instructions: Complete the indicated number of reps for each exercise below. Rest as needed, then repeat twice more for a total of three rounds before continuing onto the next move.
1. Goblet Squat
Though Gadot typically performed front squats (which involve racking a barbell across the fronts of your shoulders), goblet squats are the next best thing if you’re working with limited equipment.
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in front of chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat. Push yourself back to start. That’s one rep. Complete 12 reps per round.
2. Walking Lunge
How to: Stand with feet together, holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, elbows bent in front of body. Step right foot forward and bend both knees into a lunge, stopping when both legs form 90-degree angles. Press through right heel to stand and step left foot forward, lowering into a lunge. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps per round.
Pro tip: You can also do walking lunges with arms relaxed and dumbbells at your sides—or without weights.
3. Curtsy Lunge
Gal completed her curtsies with a mini band (wrap it around your legs just above your knees), but you can do them without bands, with a dumbbell in each hand, or holding one dumbbell in goblet position.
How to: Stand with feet under hips and arms clasped in front of chest. Engage core, lift right foot and take a big step back and to the outside of left foot. Then, bend at knees until right knee taps floor behind left foot. Drive through feet to reverse the movement and return to start position. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps per round.
4. Banded Lateral Walk
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, with a mini resistance band looped around shins. Keep knees slightly bent and core tight, then step right foot out to the right side. Return to centre. Then step left foot out to left side. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps in each direction per round.
Part 3: Core
Last but not least, Magnus and Gadot finish off every training session with a little core work.
Instructions: Complete the number of reps of each exercise indicated below. Then, rest as needed and repeat for a total of three rounds before continuing onto the next move.
How to: Start standing on right foot at far right end of mat with left leg bent, left foot lifted and crossed behind right leg, left arm bent and crossed in front of body, right arm behind back, and torso tilted slightly forward. Hop to left end of mat, switching arms and legs to mirror move on opposite side. Hop back to start. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps per round.
2. Hollow Body Hold
How to: Lay on back, arms and legs extended and on the floor. Lift arms and legs, leaving bra line and lower back on mat so body looks like a banana. Hold the position for 45 seconds. That’s one round.
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