When you first see Apollo Creed’s son Adonis, played by Michael B. Jordan, attempt to step out of his father’s shadow in Creed, you're likely to notice Jordan’s impressively ripped physique like never before. After less-jacked roles in Fantastic 4 and Fruitvale Station, the actor packed on his most muscle ever for the critically-acclaimed Rocky sequel.
“Mike is very athletic,” says Corey Calliet, the personal trainer behind Jordan’s transformation for Fantastic 4 and Creed. “That makes my job a little bit easier.” A former amateur boxer and bodybuilder, Calliet trained Jordan two hours a day—sometimes twice a day—to have him resemble the chiseled builds of peak-period Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa.
“I was really big on how the back looked because there’s a lot of shots from behind," Calliet says. "We carved out the biceps really well and he had really nice triceps already so we just defined those.”
For those hoping to somehow attain Jordan’s buff look, Calliet advises "working really hard at the basics" and paying attention to diet as much as exercises. “Before you train, you want to load up on carbohydrates to give you the energy that you need for your metabolism to speed up and so you’re able to burn fat," he says. "After you finish training, put carbohydrates back in you so your body can replenish the nutrients that it lost."
While Jordan’s full regimen included 45-60 minutes of daily cardio, an ab series three days a week and a day of leg exercises and plyometric training, we’ve narrowed it down to sculpting the perfect arms. Though the reps should stay consistent, the weight is whatever you can handle: "If you're doing 10 pounds, 20 times that’s nothing," explains Calliet "But if you move it up to 15 pounds and you rep out 18 and have to work for your last two, that’s what you want to work with and grow on every day.”
(Note: Descending reps start at 10, the next set includes 9 reps, the next set includes 8 reps etc.)
- Chest — 3x12 incline dumbbell press, 3x12 flat flys, 3x12 incline dumbell press, Push-ups: 10 sets of descending reps.
- Triceps— 3x15 kickbacks, 2x20 cable push downs, Seated dips: 10 sets of descending reps.
- Back — 3x12 one-arm dumbbell row, 3x12 close grip pull downs, 3x12 bent over row (reverse grip)
- Biceps— 3x12 alternating dumbbell curl, 3x12 barbell curl, 3x12 hammer curl
- Full-body— Flat dumbell press: five sets of descending reps, superset with 15 push ups, flat flys, 4 sets of 15 dumbell curls, 3 sets of 12 hammer curls
Give your arms a break and work something else, you beast.
Days 6 & 7
- Boxing—Heavy bag, speed bag, mitts, jump rope. Now go admire those guns in the mirror.