It seems that every year, he gets a little bit bigger and hunkier.
The Fighter's workout
"Boxing really is the ultimate workout,” says Mark Wahlberg. “You’re constantly moving, you’re alert and afterwards you feel amazing.”
The star has become an expert on the noble art, and this played a big part in earning The Fighter an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
“You need a strong core to be a boxer: it’s where your power comes from,” says Micky Ward, the real-life champion Wahlberg plays in the film.
Do this circuit three times, resting 90 seconds between each run through, for abs that look as good as they perform.
Muscles worked shoulders, chest, triceps, abs
1. To play Ward, Wahlberg needed to develop real punching power and this move is an old friend to all those who get their dukes up. Support your body with the balls of your feet and put your hands shoulder-width apart. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that your chest muscles are worked hardest during the lowering part of the exercise. Take home message: put your lowering on the go-slow. Take your time and you’ll come away with a bigger chest.
2. Bend your elbows, keeping them tucked in to your sides, to lower yourself to the floor. When your chest touches the floor straighten your elbows to push back upto the starting position. This exercise demands a fairly long-winded 15 reps, so stop to rest if you find that you need to. But remember: those who go hard for a brief time look good for a long time.
Muscles worked abs
Reps 15 on each leg
1. The “McGill” refers to Dr. Stuart McGill, who is widely recognised as the world’s top spinal researcher, so you can be sure this is healing rather than harming your back – while building a solid set of abs, of course. Lie face up: right leg straight, left leg bent, so your foot is flat on the floor. Stick your palms under the arch of your lower back. “This isolates your entire abdominal muscle complex while keeping your lower back in its naturally arched position,” says Brad Morris, a sports scientist and former UFC fighter.
2. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground without bending your lower back. Pause, then lower yourself to the start position. “It minimises stress on your spine while increasing the endurance of the muscles, which helps prevent and even relieve lower back pain,” says Morris. And yes, it builds abs that perform faster and more powerfully, too.
Muscles worked core
Reps 15 on each side
1. Are you prepared to be punched? Maximising your hitting power is one thing, but stepping into the ring means you’ve got to be ready to suffer pain as well as hand it out. An iron-solid set of abs will buttress your core confidence and help you absorb your opponent’s spirit-crushing body blows. While normal crunches can be a little taxing on your spine, the side-on version actually helps shore it up against injury. Lie straight on your right side and brace your feet against a wall or a heavy object. Rest your right hand on your chest and place your left hand behind your head. “This wedges your body into a tight position so that your core does all the work,” says Morris.
2. Crunch your torso toward your hip. Pause and then return to the starting position to carve out a V-shape bed of muscle that sits above your Calvin Kleins.
Muscles worked core
Reps 10 each side
1. Strong punches and powerful abs are all in the hips. To get yours in shape, lie on your left side, propping your upper body up with your left elbow and forearm and keeping your knees straight. “This move strengthens your abs and hips, so you’ll throw balls further and hit a heavy bag harder,” says Morris.
2. Raise your hips so that your torso is beyond parallel to the floor and your body is in a straight line from your head to ankles. Pause for 2-3 seconds, then slowly lower back down to the start. A few of these and you’ll feel a satisfying burning sensation across your torso. And the benefits go beyond boxing. If you play team sports, the added snap will make your turns quicker.
Medicine ball twists
Muscles worked core
1. Here’s your prescription for a more muscled core. Hold a medicine ball at chest level with your arms straight out. Keep your back straight. “Even in this position, stopping your torso from drooping forward works your abs,” says Morris. Now it’s on to the hard stuff.
2. Without moving your torso, rotate your arms far to the left, then far to the right. That’s one rep. Continue back and forth as fast as you can. A study at West Virginia University found this move helped tennis players improve their balance. Even if you don’t wield a racquet you’ll still be able to restack book shelves in record time without so much as a single back problem.
All the power in boxing comes from your core, so with this workout, you can totally blast your core!