Daniel Craig’s physique is now as much a part of 007’s arsenal as his Walther PPK. Strength and conditioning coach Drew Price explains how to work out the Bond way
In his 1959 novel Goldfinger, Ian Fleming describes one of Commander Bond’s frequent, gout-inducing meals: two oeufs en cocotte à la crème, a large sole meunière, a bottle of rosé d’Angou and an ‘adequate’ Camembert.
It’s a surprise Bond could move – let alone fit behind the wheel of a sleek Aston Martin. But in 2006, Daniel Craig (estimated body fat: 8 per cent), reinvented 007 as a cold-blooded assassin – with a ripped body to match.
Here, personal trainer and lifelong Bond aficionado Drew Price reveals the secrets behind Bond’s body. Sadly, it doesn’t include Camembert…
“Daniel Craig’s Bond was given an ex-Special Boat Service backstory,” explains Price. “So essentially, the key to matching Bond’s body is to train like a member of the Special Forces. I’ve worked with ex-SBS guys and they have an extreme level of fitness. Simply gaining entry to the SBS requires candidates to carry a 25kg Bergen [rucksack] 40 miles in 24 hours. Once you have attained that level of fitness, it’s drilled into you for life.
“Craig’s Bond has foundation in high-volume cross-country weighted runs [20-40km with a Bergen], and on graduating to MI6, would have trained to fight his way out of any situation, using martial arts including Krav Maga self-defence, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing. So, here’s what you’ll need to do each week.”
(Upper-body weight training)
THE WORKOUT: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps: dumbbell bench press, dumbbell row, barbell overhead press, superset of chins and dips.
“You’ll find that when guys go on active duty they tend to lose weight and strength so generally they’ll concentrate on the stuff they can’t do while deployed [ie gym work]. Then they’ll do the bodyweight and running work when deployed. Good upper-body strength is essential for scaling treacherous cliffs – an essential skill for any member of the SBS – and tackling unexpected obstacles. Dramatically improve your upper body with muscle-ups [pull-ups teamed with dips], rope climbs and kipping pull-ups [a hip drive, kick and arm-pull]. Why kippings? They may be ‘easier’ than dead-hang pull-ups, but they provide a more intense cardiovascular workout.”
(Circuit training with weights)
THE WORKOUT: 3-5 rounds of: 5x60kg cleans, 15 ring or TRX press-ups, 10 swinging/kipping pull-ups, walking lunges with 20kg bar overhead, 10 hanging leg raises.
“I trained with a former SBS soldier recently. The idea was to complete four six-mile hill walks, but he just took out a backpack, filled a water bottle and ran them all in one go. That’s the kind of endurance Bond utilises in Skyfall, particularly during the epic Tube chase. For this reason I’ve included TRX press-ups [performed with feet suspended at chest height in a suspension harness], but I’d also recommend some Fartlek [Swedish for ‘speed play’], a blend of fast sprints [400-800m] and slow jogs. It’s perfect for increasing your endurance as it’s both aerobic and anaerobic. Lastly, I recommend cross-country runs and park-based exercise running and trail circuits, which means running between apparatus, with pull-ups etc mimicking obstacles on a chase.”
(Lower-body weight training)
THE WORKOUT: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps: deadlift, split squat, Romanian deadlifts.
“In the recent film adaptation of Casino Royale, Bond changed from the guy who despatched enemies with a suave karate chop to an expert in brutish, bloody, hand-to-hand combat. This requires power and explosive movements, and that’s where deadlifts come in. I’d also recommend plyometrics, with exercises used by top athletes to improve the elasticity of muscles by jumping from height. This workout will give you the best ‘bang for your buck’ and is key to power-generation for martial arts and thus outwitting larger opponents. To further stimulate the body and brain, I make my clients do sums or ask them questions as they train. Many racing drivers use this technique, but there’s an increasing emphasis on this in the Special Forces – for example, orienteering while taking part in endurance training – to condition themselves mentally and physically.”
(Bodyweight cardio circuit)
THE WORKOUT: 4-5 rounds of: 20 press-ups, 20 kipping pull-ups, 20 air squats, 20 sit-ups.
“It’s Saturday, so you may not fancy pulling weights. Luckily, you don’t need to. Get up, have a black coffee and 400ml of water 40 minutes before training. Proper hydration is the most important performance enhancer. This workout is about full-body muscular strength endurance and it places an incredible workload on the cardiovascular system. This encourages your body to work more efficiently and produce more horsepower. If Fartlek is about catching up with the guy, this strength endurance workout is about finishing him off. In other words, training should get noticeably easier next week.”