Imagine it’s a chill (and chilly) Thursday morning. You wake up and head to an invite-only workout. It’s at The Rosewood, it’ll be fancy, it’ll be cushy.
Massive mistake. Huge. Couldn’t be bigger.
It’s a Creed II-inspired workout. I’ve seen the film. I should have known. I’ve no one else to blame. But Michael B. Jordan has about 45 abs and Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu has 46 and I would quite like one as well and I know you would too so here we go. I did this for you.
It starts with PT Harry Jameson and future-Olympian champion Oriance Lungu who lay out a plan to ruin my day. Or, at least the day after my day.
The session starts with 10 three-minute rounds designed to replicate a fight and condition a fighter. Training should always replicate a fight (or so I’m told).
Get yourself a mat, a kettlebell and, ideally, the Creed II soundtrack.
Round one: The warm-up
Gentle and continuous dynamic movements that mobilise the full body. Use these three minutes to bounce around on your feet and loosen up your muscles and range of motion.
A mixture of heel flicks, light lunges, arm and wrist circles and star jumps.
Round two: Skipping
Alternate between methodical, steady skipping and skipping sprints for 30 seconds each until the three minutes is up.
Take note of the size of your skipping rope – your feet don’t need to come up off the floor any more than the thickness of the rope. Focus on continuous movement – not height jumped. It takes skill to sprint skip so hone the skill of coordination first.
Round three: Shadow boxing
This one can make you feel a bit like Pop Eye. Shadow boxing is a focus on technique. For the full time, practice a mix of jabs (punching straight out), crosses (punching across the body), and upper cuts (imagine you’re punching someone in the chin, in an upwards motion). Try various combinations and envision Drago opposite you, taunting you. You could also play this in your ears for added affect.
Round four: Dynamic core
This is where you start to feel the core burn and you can decide if having 256 abs is really worth it.
Do 10 each of the following and repeat until the time is up:
Toe taps: Lie on your back, lift your knees and straighten your legs so your calves are parallel to the ground. Lower your legs until your toes tap the floor. For extra pain (and gain) straighten your legs while you do this. Core = engaged.
Mountain climbers: Get into a push up position and bring your knees, one at a time, into your chest as though you’re about to push off the starting blocks for a sprint. Go as fast as you can and, as ever, keep the core engaged.
Jack-knife crunches: Get on your back, legs straight out in front of you and just start bringing those limbs together. Engage the core and with arms and legs straight, reach up to meet your toes then relax slightly and then back up again. Hideous – but it works.
Rainbow plank: Get in the normal plank position and when you’re feeling solid, roll over your ankles to follow a rainbow shape with your hips. So, you’ll be leaning on the right side of your right foot and then across the toes to the left side of your left foot. Don’t forget to breathe.
High plank shoulder taps: Still in the plank position, lift one arm at a time and tap the opposite shoulder. Repeat for the other arm five times. That’s literally it.
Round five: Static core
60 seconds high plank (arms extended)
60 seconds low plank (lower arms flat on the mat)
60 seconds side plank (depending on comfort arm can be extended or flat on the ground)
Round six: Lower body strength
For this you need a kettlebell (between eight and 12 Kgs is ideal) and each of these should last 45 seconds.
Start with swings: Keep back straight and core engaged (of course) and bring the kettlebell from between your legs till your arms are parallel with the floor. Don’t swing wildly, you need to maintain control.
Goblet squats: Hold the kettlebell in your arms, in front of your chest. Squat.
Reverse lunges: Stand with the kettlebell in the same position as the previous exercise and with your feet hip width apart. Then, alternating legs, step back and dip the back leg low to the ground.
Sumo squats: Same as regular squats but this time you add in a little jump and, on landing, squat so low that your elbows are touching you knees. Keep your back straight.
Round seven: Shadowboxing advanced
An opportunity to play the iconic song again. Advanced shadow boxing should incorporate quick feet and also some low dips to recreate the dodging of a punch. You need to get in your head a bit for this one and prepare yourself for any situation. Keep on your toes – quick as a cat.
Round eight: Upper body strength
Grab that kettlebell again and it’s 45 seconds of each of the following:
Shoulder press: With the kettlebell firmly in hand and resting on the back of your wrist (take your watch off!) and extend your arm to the air. If you’re struggling to do this in a straight motion then the weight is too heavy and you need a lighter one or you’re going to be in a world of pain tomorrow. Repeat for the other side.
Drop (the kettlebell) and give me 45 (seconds of push-ups).
Get the kettlebell again and take a knee. Start with the kettlebell on the mat and then do seven single arm rows on each side pulling it up to hip height.
KB head circles: Hold the kettlebell above your head and circle it around your head making a halo shape. This is how you get killer traps and shoulders.
Round nine: HIIT
HIIT rhymes with…(and it is).
45 seconds each of:
Burpees (add in the push up if you’re feeling good)
Fast feet: Stand up and run as fast as you can on the spot. Harder than it sounds.
Round ten: Stretch
Ah, my favourite round.
Start with a yogi downward dog, relaxing the neck and leaning back into your hips while stretching the calves out at the same time.
Next, pull up one leg so it’s almost parallel with the front of the mat and, supporting yourself on your arms, stretch out those glutes. Repeat on the other side.
Lie flat on your back and scan your body for aches or tension and add in any other stretches you think are necessary.
Now you’re done! If you do this every day you’ll be in fighting shape in no time and no amount of Christmas turkey and gravy and potatoes and trifle will be able to touch you. You’ll be starring in your own montage in no time. In the words of Adonis Creed, round after round you learn more about yourself.
Creed II is in cinemas now and serves as excellent inspiration if you need to see it before you start this.