Alexander Skarsgård had to do his best to become actually bear-like for the role of Amleth in Robert Eggers' 'The Nortman' – and truly live up to his character's "Bjorn Ulfur" berserker mode.
Alexander Skarsgård is no stranger to impressive body transformations – after all, we've already seen him acquiring quite a physique for 'Tarzan', but in 'The Northman' he appears to have outdone himself.
And his hard time in the gym has not gone unnoticed.
It appears that one does not, in fact, need to bench-press Volvos to transform one's body that way. At least that's what Skarsgård's trainer says.
Magnus Lygdback, the actor's personal coach who helped him to bulk and shred for 'Northman', shared with the Coach magazine a bunch of tips for those who are curious about Skarsgård's gym routine.
First of all, one needs to train five times a week – or really "a four-day split, with the fifth day spent on recovery stuff."
Secondly, it's important to train in the morning, because if you do this after a long day of exhausting work, you can abandon hopes for a Viking body.
Standard training schedule included high-intensity interval training: first you do a bit of running (5-10 minutes to warm up), then – some banded exercises to warm up specific body parts, and finally – hitting the weights.
"I use higher weights and medium-low reps for something like this. We mostly did eight to 12 reps. Sometimes a pyramid, sometimes in a flat set, and three to four sets normally."
Without proper dieting, the training is also unlikely to work, Lygdback adds.
"People always ask me 'how much is diet and how much is training – is it like 50/50? 60/40?' I say you can't even compare them with each other," says Lygdback. "You need to get on top of both. It's 100/100."
Another important thing is to target different body parts – although that would do the trick only if you have time to actually work out five times a week. In case you can only train twice a week, then you should opt for full-body workouts, the coach recommends.
Last but not least – one does not actually need to go hard on oneself and work as quickly as Skarsgård did.
"I'm a man of balance. I preach balance in food and training and life," the coach says. "I do think that all the programming is great and works, and people can do it, but they should allow themselves some more time."
According to Skarsgård himself, he, as an actor, is "spoiled" and didn't really have to do anything. Speaking to Empire about his preparation for Eggers' movie, the Swedish actor praised the studio for helping with "the best trainer", "the best nutritionist" and "the best plan". All he had to do was simply follow it meticulously.
So, all in all, getting a Viking body does not sound all that hard. But getting a bucket of popcorn and going to see 'The Northman' sounds a lot easier – so if you're up for this instead, the movie already hit the screens on April 21. You know what to do.