It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost four years since Black Panther hit movie theaters and collectively blew the minds of millions of people. Part of what made the movie so memorable—aside from Chadwick Boseman’s star-making performance (RIP)—was its action-packed fighting sequences. And no doubt, fans of the Marvel blockbuster will be looking for similar feats of fitness from the sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is slated for release next July, pandemic willing.
Unsurprisingly, the stars of the next installment are already conditioning for their turns on the big screen. Two of them, Winston Duke (M’Baku) and newcomer to the franchise Michaela Coel, creator of the hit series I May Destroy You, are doing so under the guidance of celeb trainer Percell Dugger, CPT, founder of Good Wrk training studio in New York City. (Yes, he trains non-famous people, too.)
“No matter the individual, whether a box office star or an accountant, my training technique tackles many variables such as your nutrition, hydration, fitness goals, sleep patterns, and most importantly mental health,” says Dugger. He personalizes the workout plans for who ever he’s working with. For example, with Duke, their goal is to change his body composition (body fat-to-muscle ratio) so that he has a higher percentage of muscle mass. Doing so requires an emphasis on high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT). While he and Coel concentrate more on mobility.
Below are 7 exercises Dugger has Duke and Coel do to get fit for the roles in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Because Duke is focused on building muscle, while losing body fat, Dugger has him do HIIT exercises regularly. A favorite drill? Burpee punches, which are a compound exercise that strengthens your total body, while also taxing your cardiorespiratory system and getting your heart rate up. Since they’re so intense, do two sets of 30 seconds of burpee punches with 10 seconds of rest in between.
High knee jacks
Another bodyweight HIIT move Dugger has Duke do are high knee jacks—in which you clap your hands underneath the thigh of the elevated leg every time you drive your knee toward your chest. Pro tip: Keep you core engaged to help with stability and balance. So not only is your leg working to move, your entire core is working to help it. Do three sets of 45 seconds of high knee jacks with 15 seconds of rest in between.
Finally, to help build strength and muscle mass, you need to be lifting weights, and Dugger has Duke do exercises like dumbbell presses because they target your arms, shoulders, and chest, but also works your core. Using a weight that feels challenging for you by the last two to three reps of a set, perform three sets of 10 to15 reps with 60 seconds of rest in between.
Single leg reaches are a mobility move Dugger has Coel do because they work the hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves. As such, they’re one of the best ways to develop strength, balance, and coordination, while reducing pain and/or discomfort in the knees—and they’re also great for building core strength. Do three sets of 10 reps her leg with 60 seconds of rest in between.
Lunges are a great functional exercise, meaning they mimic the way you move in everyday life—like climbing staris. Dugger developed this lunge progression as a mobility challenge that helps increase the range of motion of the joints and muscles of the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and toes. Doing lunge progressions with proper form can not only increase mobility in these areas but also put your entire lower body to work! Dugger suggests doing this sequence daily.
Coel love yoga, according to Dugger, which fits right in with their focus on mobility work, while also offering flexibility, stability, and balance training, too. Plus, it helps develop a deeper mind-body connection and has all sorts of benefits for you mental health.
Dugger has both Duke and Coel lace up their running shoes for cardio. Rather than focus on distance, though, Dugger suggest using your time on the treadmill or outside to focus on speed interval training: Start jogging, then increase your pace every 30 seconds until you’re in a full sprint. After 30 seconds all out, recover for one minute at an easy pace and repeat. Alternatively, you can try playing with your incline by increasing it by one level every minute until you’re running uphill. Or, outside, you can create the same effect by doing hill drills or running stairs.
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