How does Marvel’s newest hero get in shape?
Marvel’s newest superhero film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is coming to theaters in September. It’s quite a departure from many of the entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not only starring a hero whose abilities are rooted in Chinese martial arts, but starring an Asian American actor for the first time in the MCU’s history. Simu Liu, who is playing the titular Shang-Chi, is certainly no pushover in the strength department, but to be a Marvel hero, you gotta look the part to a tee.
“Obviously, learning the martial arts is a big part of my training, but the other part of being a Marvel superhero is, well, looking like a superhero,” Liu explained to Men’s Health. “So when we were building that superhero workout, that Marvel body, it was really important for us not to sacrifice range of motion and explosiveness, because I’ve still got to be able to throw a punch at the end of the day.”
Liu’s new superhero routine, as he explained, is all about building strength and flexibility in equal measures. He needs explosive power behind his movements, but those movements also need to be smooth and flowy. To get his body accustomed to pressure, he warms up with five minutes on the airfan bike. After that, he’ll perform five reps of either the banded trap bar deadlift or box jumps, followed by five rounds of sled pushes to sprints and three sets of rotational med ball slams. Finally, he closes out with either three sets of lat pulldowns or three sets of dumbbell lateral raises.
Once you’ve seen yourself as a superhero, the possibilities are endless. ⚡⚡⚡
— Men's Health Mag (@MensHealthMag) May 19, 2021
This particular order of operation primes his body to work against some form of resistance. That way, when he takes the resistance away in the second part of the menu, his body can output explosive strength, because it’s already in heavy lifting mode. This set also keeps his back and shoulders buff and tight, which you gotta have for those dramatic close-ups.