Bradley Cooper is arguably the hottest leading man on the big screen today. Thanks to a string of highly successful films such as The Hangover, American Hustle, and American Sniper, Cooper has established himself as one of the top actors in America.
You can give credit to Cooper’s workmanlike approach to working out as one of the reasons why he has been very visible on the big screen as of late. Despite being in his 40s, Cooper has maintained a very ripped physique. He can give any 20 or 30 year old guy a run for his money with his six-pack abs and well-defined muscles.
In 2014, Cooper added 40 pounds of muscle to his body in preparation for the film American Sniper. Playing the role of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Cooper was noticeably bigger and stronger.
In preparation for the role, Cooper followed a very grueling workout schedule. He would train with celebrity trainer Jason Walsh twice a day, with each session lasting for two hours. His workout routine included a lot of heavy weight training and limited cardiovascular activities.
According to Cooper, he would hit the gym at 6 to 8 in the morning then go back to working out late in the afternoon. His trainer, Walsh, has trained other celebrities like actor Matt Damon and actress Jessica Biel.
Walsh designed Cooper’s workout to be exhaustive and grueling. It utilizes circuit training, where Cooper would go from one set of an exercise then straight into the next routine.
This meant that Cooper would have to do one set of each exercise in circuit 1, then resting for 60 seconds before doing the circuit all over again.
Circuit training helps in burning fats fast, and building muscles. It also keeps the heart rate up. Cooper would often take his sets to failure, triggering more muscle growth.
Cooper is a busy man, so circuit training also means saving him lots of time. Of course, the effect is that he would often leave the gym gassed out.
The first circuit consists of the following exercises—walking lunge, deadlifts, and jump squats.
To begin his workout, Cooper does five sets of walking lunge with each set having 8 to 12 repetitions. He then does five sets of deadifts with each set having six to eight reps, and five sets of jump squats with 8 to 12 repetitions.
The walking lunge not only works the glutes, quads, and hamstrings but also serves as an ideal warm up. It particularly makes for a good exercise of the hip flexors. Like the walking lunge, the deadlift targets the quads and hamstrings. But it also works the lower back and forearms. On the other hand, jump squats tone the glutes and thighs while burning a lot of calories.
After a brief rest he proceeds to the next circuit consisting of squat to press, dumbbell row, and kettlebell swings. For these exercises, Cooper has to complete four sets consisting of 8 to 12 repetitions.
The squat to press is an excellent full body exercise that works the shoulders and legs. It is particularly effective in increasing core strength. Meanwhile, dumbbell row works out the arms and shoulders particularly the lower traps, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. Some fitness experts consider kettlebell swing as the perfect exercise, because it works out the chest, shoulders, arms, while not causing any damage to the back.
For circuit 3, Cooper does the following exercises—seated cable row, bent-over rows, and step-ups. He has to complete three sets of these exercises, with each set having eight to 12 repetitions.
The seated cable row targets the muscles of the back, forearms, and upper arm. It is an excellent, all-around exercise for strengthening the back and working out the arms. You will need to have a weighted horizontal machine, bench, and foot plates if you are to perform this exercise.
The bent over row strengthens the back, ensuring good posture and providing an excellent lower body and core workout. Step ups, meanwhile, target the glutes and hamstrings creating a tighter and lifted rear.
Circuit number four includes the following exercises—hanging leg raises, standing calf raise, and side planks. For the first two exercises, Cooper has to finish three sets with each set having 12 to 15 repetitions. Then he finishes the workout with three sets of side planks, with each set lasting 30 seconds.
This workout regimen helped Cooper bulk up from 185 pounds to around 225 pounds for his role in the American Sniper.
Cooper’s workout isn’t for softies, as seen by the grueling exercises that his trainer had him done. But the hard work paid off as Cooper gained a stronger, bigger frame for his role as a Navy SEAL.