By MH Staff - Posted on 26th September 2013
From Conan to Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo, Jason Momoa, has battled his way onto our screens. Use his workout to build fearsome upper-body strength – and join him at the top of the food chain
1 Weights are boring – hitting stuff is fun
“I’m not a big fan of just doing weights,” says Momoa. “Anything more physical is infinitely better, whether that’s working on my house or hitting at the holes in my driveway with a pick.” At the gym, this translates to kettlebell swings, medicine ball slams or working the heavy bag. Watch your aim, though. “At the end of Bullet to the Head I had to swing this wooden axe at top speed right at Stallone and you don’t really want to clip him. He’s got these slabs of meat for fists.”
2 Keep your diet plan fluid
You can’t be Conan all the time. When Momoa was filling Schwarzengger’s furry boots, he was eating a chicken breast every two hours and not much else, aside from the odd spoonful of sweet potato when he needed a mental boost. Barbarian definition is a tough overlord. But if you’re not training all-out, Momoa suggests a different sort of nutritional credit- and-debit system. “You need to eat big and lift big. But I prefer to eat as much lean meat and green veg as possible and save the kilojoules for beer. It keeps you sane.”
3 Less time means more muscle
When time is short, work your legs. “If I only do one thing, it’s squats,” Momoa explains. “Yes, they ‘release the most testosterone’ and give you a ‘super strong core’ and so on, but if they’re the thing you always get done you’ll feel your whole body change.” Start with a warm-up set of five back squats, then do five working sets of five reps, aiming for your top weight on the last two sets. Rest as much as you need. Do one thing, but do it well.
4 Cut down, bulk up, pig out
When you’re bulking up, going without once in a while can work for you. “I love carbs but denial is good training for the mind,” Momoa says. Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Utah found that a 24-hour fast can spike Human Growth Hormone by up to 2,000%. That you get to reload the next day is just reward. “After finishing a one-month cleanse, I had a giant bowl of pasta and I swear to Christ it was like I was on heroin,” says Momoa.
5 The warrior mindset
Keep your mind on one mission at a time. “You know when you’re working out but thinking about the shit you’ve got to do for the rest of the day?” Momoa asks. “Well your workout is going to be half-arsed. Trust me – I’m ADD as hell.” Science has the perfect strategy: a study published by the British Psychological Society states that picturing your muscles working to move the weight increases muscle activity and strength. Think big.
6 Work hard to play harder
Momoa gets up at 5.30am to run up the two kilometre-long hill by his house in the Californian canyons. Twice. His aim? To sweat out the night before so he can enjoy himself again later on. “I love cigars and booze,” says Momoa. “If you’re going to pound the beers you’ve got to suck it up.” Set a treadmill to a 15% incline then do 10 sprints – 30sec on and 60sec walk at 0%. “It gets you going, man. Then you can have that beer.” Cheers to that.