We all love movies and look up to actors who possess stunning physiques built naturally. One of my favorite actors who you can find in this category is Jason Statham. I am inspired by him because he maintains an awesome and muscular body in his fifties. That’s certainly my goal when I reach his age.
Now, some actors use steroids and other shortcuts to being in their best shape for movie roles but Statham is not one of them. He actually does the majority of his action packed combat scenes from the movies and we all know that’s not at all easy. You cannot perform those fighting moves if you are not fit, strong and flexible.
When I did the research for this article I found out that Jason Statham’s workout contains lifting weights but the base is compound bodyweight movements. I believe that this is the main factor in building and maintaining a muscular physique at any age. The benefits of pullups, pushups and squats are extremely diverse and you can see that even in your fifties. One of the obvious ones is that you won’t look like a fifty year old guy. You’ll look much younger with a good amount of muscle mass and a low body fat percentage.
Let’s dive into the workout
Jason Statham trains mainly in a circuit style with full body routines that are meant to build his conditioning and maintain his muscle mass. One example is this: a circuit of three exercises in which you hold the position for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then change the exercise. It looks like this:
- Ring Dip Hold. Hold yourself at the top of the position for 30 seconds.
- L–sit on parallel (dips) bars.
- Bodyweight Squat Hold. Lower yourself to the bottom position of the squat with your thighs parallel to the ground and hold.
This is the warm up.
One of the actual workouts comes next:
- Decline pushups with feet on a ladder
- Knees to elbow.
He performs these exercises in a circuit style with no rest in between and the reps go like this: 10 reps of each exercise in the first set, then 9 reps in the second, 8 in the third and so on until he does 1 rep of each movement.
The third part of his workout is the interval training containing sprints. Six intervals of 500 m sprints. Between each sprint, engage in active rest of 3 minutes walking.
As you can see, the hard part of his training style is not the number of reps or sets but the minimum or no rest time. This keeps your muscles in a state of constant tension. For example, to perform over 50 pullups with no rest in between sets is no joke for anybody and if you train in the old school calisthenic way you know what I mean.
Jason Statham does Bodyweight Workout
As I said about Zach McGowan in a previous article: “I can easily tell only by judging bodily aesthetics what type of training someone did”. You can’t help but agree with me that Jason Statham possesses a jaw dropping raw physique and it is more than obvious that his kind of body can only be built by doing various sports during childhood plus a couple of years training with compound bodyweight moves.
Jason inspires at every level looking like this, keeping an extremely low bodyfat percentage in his fifties. But everything he does comes purely from his mindset as he states:
“Once your mind is polluted with consequences it can be a disaster. So it’s the real purity of the focus which I find fascinating and admire it to such a high level”
All successful men share this common mindset. They all fear failure but they somehow stay focused on their path and do what needs to be done. I could easily say that it is the same with training as it is with career.
Eliminate those polluted thoughts that constantly say that you can’t achieve something. A great physique is built over the course of several years and if you are not grounded and disciplined you’ll never reach your fitness goals. Jason was always committed to sports since childhood when he practiced different types of Martial Arts, High Diving, Skiing, etc. These sports were the corner stone to how he looks today. However, a physique muscular as his cannot be built without doing a lot of strength exercises and hence calisthenics (bodyweight training) was part of his life always.
Contrary to popular beliefs, calisthenics is not always about freestyle. For Jason it was a powerful weapon to build his musculature. He basically got inspired by US Navy Seals as I was when I started calisthenics. Their style includes a lot of basic bodyweight exercises like: jumping jacks, planks, sprints, runs, pullups, pushups, sit-ups, hangs from pullup bar, rope climbing, squats etc.
The techniques and training methods are not as important as working with them and always pushing the limits:
“If your pushing your skills a little bit or if you try to do something that you are not sure whether you can do I think that there’s a real reward in that by getting to do it.” Jason Statham
Seeing Jason Statham posing in a human flag position is extraordinary. It is one of the toughest isometric exercises and takes years of bodyweight training to achieve it. He pushed himself always like everybody should do.
Nevertheless, this idea of always pushing yourself and progressing isn’t supposed to stress you too much. You should always do things with passion and look for good feelings. It is enough to stay confident that one day you’ll get there and the stress will disappear because you know it is just a matter of time. Jason says:
“I like feeling good. Working out is part of feeling good. The mind is in tune with the body”.
Transform anger and frustration into good energy. Seek the light at the end of the tunnel. Greatness will be achieved after sweating and fighting a lot. I personally chose, as Jason, to enjoy the journey. When asked about his nutrition he responded that it is always based upon the circumstances he is placed in.
I never wanted to be pointed out as the difficult guy that cannot enjoy a good scotch, steak or soda because fitness goals were above absolutely everything, even above personal rewards. If your entourage invites you to party in the city at a disco club, then enjoy it. Recover and get back to what needs to be done when nobody sees you.
I’ve mentioned about Navy Seal training and only numbered the exercises, but how they organize them is quiet interesting. I was extremely happy to observe that Jason includes techniques similar to Old School Calisthenic ones, methods based upon old style, with no machines, relying only on bodyweight pullups and pushups. For instance:
Ladder Type of Workout:
- 10 pullups superseted with 20 pushups
- 9 pullups superseted with 19 pushups
- 1 pullups superseted with 10 pushups
This is but one example; I’ve tried them hundreds of times and know they work efficiently. Now I know that many of you may start thinking ‘How the heck can a workout like that build something like this?’:
When you do basic, compound exercises for several years with consistency and pay general attention to your nutrition then you need no gym membership nor weights for achieving a nicely chiseled body and maybe even a big physique.
It comes down to what you want to do. If you believe that you can build a great physique with bodyweight training then that is exactly what you’ll do. The power of will determines the outcome.
The exercises he usually does besides what I’ve told you so far are:
- rope climbing
- press ups (pushups
- explosive exercises
- pullup variations
He is involved in any physical activity that sounds interesting. The sprints allow him to maintain or even build physical condition and even build massive legs. Rope climbing is great for building strong forearms and biceps, plus it builds functionality through your entire body. Pullup variations and explosive exercises (such as clapping pushups or pullups, jumps etc.) keeps him shredded and strong.
- Circuit Workout:
10 Close Grip Pullups or Chinups
20 Diamond Pushups
10 Leg Raises
Do it as a circuit, with minimum pause and for 5-10 cycles.
- Full Body Workout:
1 min. Jump Rope -> 1 min. Burpees -> 1 min. Pushups -> 1 min. Jump Squats -> 1 min. Floor Leg Raises -> 1 min. Plank
(This circuit is a superset. Do 5 of them) No rest between exercises. Rest 2 minutes after each superset and as little as you need to while working out.
- Sprints Workout:
15 – 20 min. Jog
200 meters Sprints X 3 sets (4 min. rest)
100 meters Sprints X 3 sets (2 min. rest)
50 meters Sprints x 3 sets (2 min. rest)
Jump Rope for 10 min. straight (do very short breaks when needed).
These routines are very close to what Jason does. My training buddy Horea is doing something very similar as well:
“I personally use the circuit way of training at the end of my actual workout. I am about to complete a full month of training with L-sit close grip pullups and chin-ups and L-sit dips. I decided to do this to develop my abs more and build muscle doing sets of 10 of each exercise. Regular pullups and dips started to be too easy for me so I needed to add something new to my workout routine.”
Back in July, I became bored with doing over 200 reps of pull ups and over 350 reps of pushups per workout. That way of training started to be detrimental to my goals so I needed to change something.
Since I began implementing L-sit pullups and L-sit dips, I’ve noticed development in my abs, forearms and back. That’s exactly what I was aiming for. So after I train around 45 minutes in which I do 100 L-sit pullups and 100 L-sit dips, I do like 15 minutes of 5 pullups, 15 pushups with 10 seconds rest in between sets. So that completes 1 hour of upper body training. After that, I do 10 sets of 100 m sprints.
We can all implement something different in our workouts and if we can get optional inspiration from actors like Jason Statham, I think is the best case scenario to achieve our fitness goals.“
Old School Calisthenic shares the same old school mindset and training method. Therefore, to develop a physique similar to Jason’s or ours you can always check out our calisthenics program linked below. The routines I published within this article can be found in the programme, plus dozens more, all meant to increase strength, functionality, stamina and muscle mass. Check out more about how to forge a Greek God Physique: here