Los Angeles CrossFit Trainers Create Movie-Stunt Workouts

BY: Dan Caffrey |Jul 10, 2015
Los Angeles CrossFit Trainers Create Movie-Stunt Workouts

Like trainers in any city, Los Angeles CrossFit instructors help students boost their strength through a mix of aerobic exercises, gymnastics, and weightlifting. But since the gyms are so close to Tinseltown, two instructors—Eric Gressett of CrossFit Radius and Penelope Morgan of Golden State CrossFit—were also game to explain how their workouts can assist in something a little more extravagant: training for iconic movie stunts. And while no one should try the stunts themselves, these tips will come in handy if you’re ever in an avalanche or being pursued by a hungry dinosaur.

For running up and down stairs during a training montage

CrossFit Radius (CR): Weighted 20”–24” box step-ups will make climbing stairs seem like a walk in the park. 

Golden State CrossFit (GSC): Well, there's no practice like the real thing, so run up and down the stairs, obviously. If you want to really make it tough, do the stairs as sprints. It helps to wear a hoodie. You'll look more legit that way.

For swinging from vine to vine in a jungle

CR: The rope climb will build grip and bicep strength, and get the athlete accustomed to [feeling] like Tarzan 20 feet in the air. 

GSC: The most important factor in vine-swinging ability is clothing choice. [It] absolutely cannot be done in anything but a loincloth. Once you're set up with your loincloth, rope climbs [will] strengthen your grip and your shoulders, and teach you to control the momentum of your body while you're swinging.

For leaping out of the way from an oncoming locomotive

CR: Agility dots are a plyometric exercise that effectively increase speed, agility, and stamina. This functional exercise primarily focuses on the ankle complex, building up strength and endurance to allow for quick directional changes and balance recovery. 

GSC: You can build your speed and agility simultaneously with suicide sprints. Just don't do them directly before you have to avoid the train. They're pretty exhausting.

For running downhill to escape an avalanche

CR: Timed interval runs at 200, 400, and 800 meters [are] sure to increase metabolic conditioning, speed, and confidence in the wake of an avalanche. 

GSC: Ideally, you probably want skis, or just not to be trying to outrun an avalanche in the first place. Failing that, however, [do] sprint sets to build your aerobic capacity and a ton of back squats to strengthen your legs.

For outrunning an angry tyrannosaurus rex

CR: The sled is most useful in developing sprint speed and power. You’re going to want to incorporate this with the agility dots previously mentioned, as an adult “tyrant lizard king" can weigh up to 7 tons and run 45 miles an hour. Much like a gazelle running from a lion, at some point you are going to need to change direction! 

GSC: Outrunning might be a little bit optimistic for this situation. Your best choice here is to shame the T. rex for its teeny, tiny arms. Practice your Olympic lifts with perfect form so when the time comes, you can bust out your perfect, beautiful, heavy snatch and embarrass it. T. rex arms are way too short and tiny to properly perform a snatch and so, ideally, it would just give up when confronted with your awesomeness.