This Is the Badass Workout That Got Simu Liu Into Marvel Superhero Shape

Presented by Spartan Training®

We LIVE for stories of perseverance, grittiness, and determination. We hear them all the time from racers in our community, but we also love to report on inspirational, badass stories and studies from OUTSIDE the Spartan Universe — stories and studies that we can learn from, that can help us become even more unbreakable. In Tough News, we share what we're hearing, why it's important, and why Spartans need to pay attention.

Simu Liu is on absolute fire right now. The 32-year-old actor, writer, and stuntman will make history in September 2021 when he becomes the first Asian actor to play the lead in a Marvel Studios film. The Chinese-born Liu — he spent the first five years of his life in China before immigrating to Canada, where he was raised — will portray superhero martial artist Shang-Chi in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set to hit theaters on Sept. 3. 

As if the pressure to deliver on the role of a lifetime wasn't enough, the former accountant-turned-movie star also had to live in the gym to look the part of a superhero (and really make his fight scenes pop).

Related: 3 of the Best Functional Core Exercises and Workouts for Real Athletes

With a background in Wing Chun, Taekwondo, and gymnastics, Liu is no stranger to fitness, athleticism, and combat. He has a strong foundation in each, but getting into superhero shape required getting in another gear.

To get to that next gear, Liu worked extensively with a wide range of Chinese martial arts experts and trainer Bart Kwan. He discussed his preparation for the role — and a myriad of other fascinating topics — in a feature story for Men's Health. He also welcomed the magazine's video crew into his gym for an inside look at the workout routine that transformed him into Shang-Chi.

"Obviously learning the martial arts is a big part of my training, but the other part of being a Marvel superhero is, well, looking like a superhero," Liu told Men's Health. "When we're building that superhero workout, that Marvel body, it was really important for us not to sacrifice range of motion and explosiveness, because I've gotta be able to throw a punch at the end of the day."

Related: 6 Strategies to Take Your Training to the Next Level

Liu further explains that this particular workout, with its "high-contrast dynamic movements," builds explosiveness. 

Check out the full workout below, and watch the video at the top to see Liu crush it. 

Simu Liu's Superhero Workout

1. Air Fan Bike - 5 Minutes

2. Banded Trap Bar Deadlift - 5 Sets of 5 Reps

3. Box Jump - 5 Sets of 5 Reps

4. Sled Push to Sprint - 5 Rounds of 20 Yards

5. Rotational Med Ball Throw - 3 Sets of 5 Slams Per Side

6. Lat Pulldown - 3 Sets of 15 Reps

7. Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 3 Sets of 15 Reps  

'The Most Important Thing Is to Show Up'

At Spartan, we constantly stress the fact that your mental approach is just as critical as your physical one (perhaps even more so). Before you can put in the work, you need to set a goal, pick a date, and commit to it. 

Liu echoed a similar sentiment. As grueling as the workouts are, the most important part is simply showing up. Once you're there, there's no limit on what you can accomplish.

"If anyone were to ask me for advice on what to do, when the perfect workout is, honestly the most important thing is to show up," Liu told Men's Health. "You've just gotta get your butt out there."

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which happens to be the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also stars Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and Michelle Yeoh.

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