Explosive Moves continued...
"It required cutting down the cardio and the high reps and increasing the weight lifted and making him more explosive," says personal trainer Brad Bose. He also trained Downey for both Iron Man films. "This required more bench presses, shoulder presses, pull-ups, etc. We basically went back to a modified old-school workout."
High-intensity workouts ran up to 45 minutes. Lower-intensity sessions that focused on what Bose refers to as "detail work" lasted for 70 minutes.
Among the many exercises in a typical upper body workout were pull-ups, dips, instability bench presses, low rows, and pushups done on a Bosu ball. Most were done in three sets of eight to 12 reps.
For many of the exercises, Bose would cap Downey, 47, at 80% of his maximum capability to help prevent injury.
"After age 40, shoulder stabilization becomes important, and pull-ups and dips put an unusually large strain on the shoulder capsule," Bose says. "Doing these to failure risks the shoulder capsule unnecessarily; therefore, we stay at 80% of max reps."
Downey worked his legs with exercises such as lunges, squats, and leg presses. For his abs, he would do a three-round circuit of four to six exercises, spending two minutes on each.
"Our goal was to bring back as much muscle as possible as quickly as possible," says Bose, who boosted Downey's protein intake to promote muscle growth. He also added creatine to Downey's already organic diet. While generally safe when used appropriately, creatine may affect the kidneys at higher doses. If you use creatine, make sure to drink plenty of water and let your doctor know of any supplements you're taking.
Bose uses a variety of equipment when designing a workout. One in particular that he likes -- and which Downey spent a lot of time with -- is the War Machine, which uses a pulley system to provide resistance, stability, and core training.
"It's inexpensive, versatile, and gives really good results," Bose says.
Keep It Interesting, and Stay Focused
Strom says that before she came to work with him, Johansson had had enough of the dull, repetitive workouts a previous trainer had put her through. "She'd lost all interest in training," Strom says.