Alex Skarsgård Tarzan Workout
Have you seen the new Tarzan movie?
And if you thought to yourself, “Whoa how can I get a body like Alex Skarsgård?”—you’re not alone.
This guy definitely got in peak condition for his role in the movie.
He has a broad chest, capped shoulders, and one of the best six-packs I’ve ever seen.
The question here is how can you achieve the same success with your own physique?
I’ll give you a hint—it won’t involve crazy long hours in the gym, eating every couple hours, or anything like that.
In fact, this Alex Skarsgård Tarzan workout will be much simpler than that.
Let’s dive right in…
Alex Skarsgård Stats
For the movie, Alex Skarsgård is 39 years old, 6’4″, and weighs about 196 pounds.
As far as body fat % goes, it’s hard to tell exactly.
In some of the scenes he looks incredibly ripped.
This could be from certain lighting or angles, but my best guess would be that he’s around 8-10% body fat.
Here’s the deal:
It’s easy to look at a Hollywood star like Alex Skarsgård and get discouraged if your body isn’t on par with his.
Remember though he’s 39 and has been training for quite a while.
If you’re only 18 years old of course you’re not there yet.
You’ve haven’t had nearly enough time to build your body.
It takes time to get a body like Tarzan.
So just be patient and willing to put in the work. If you’re young, you’ll have more time now than you ever will to make the best gains of your life. Buckle down now and get the job done.
Alex Skarsgård Diet for Tarzan
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Alex mentioned his diet and training plan being broken up into phases.
During the first 3-month phase, he did a lot of weight lifting and ate an outrageous 7,000 calories a day to bulk up.
Granted he is 6’4″ and physically active, but this is going to be too many calories for the average person.
During the next phase his calories were significantly cut, he ate 6 times a day, and did more cardio to help cut the fat.
He was mostly eating chicken breast, broccoli, and salad for 5 months with only one cheat meal during that time.
This is what you’re used to hearing to get in shape. It worked for him so you need to do it too right?
But there’s a catch.
This won’t work for you—no seriously.
This guy is getting paid millions to get into tip-top shape.
He also has his own trainer telling him exactly what to eat, when to eat, and what to do for workouts.
If someone gave you a million dollars to get ripped, you’d have unstoppable motivation too, but sadly that’s not going to happen.
What are you going to do 2 weeks in when you’re craving buffalo wings?
You’re going to crash and eat the wings.
That’s why you need a better strategy right from the start.
Nutrition plans should allow an average person like you and me to get in shape with ease.
We don’t need money to motivate us (all though that would be nice)!
Here’s a better idea of what you should do for nutrition:
- Eat healthy about 85% of the time and 15% how you please.
- Eat as frequently or infrequently as you like.
- Skip breakfast if you’re not hungry.
- Drink at least 3.7 liters of water a day if you’re a male and at least 2.7 liters if you’re a female.
- Avoid going low carb.
- Consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (i.e. a 180 pound man should eat 180 grams of protein every day)
How to Get Tarzan-Like Abs
The most notable feature on Skarsgård’s body are his abs.
They definitely pop and it’s hard not to notice them.
Chances are good you want a ripped six-pack like his.
The question is—what should you do?
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
- An endless amount of crunches
- An endless amount of sit-ups
- Only focus on diet with no ab training
- Only do ab training with no emphasis on diet
You see in order to have outstanding abs you need to meet these 2 conditions
Have developed abs through training.
If you’re not lean than all the ab workouts in the world won’t help you—your abs will still be hiding behind a layer of fat.
Conversely, if you’re lean but your abs aren’t developed they’ll just look flat.
You’ll have what’s commonly referred to as “skinny boy abs.” Either way isn’t ideal.
Here’s the kicker:
If you’re already lean your job is simple—focus on ab training.
But what should you do if you need to drop some body fat?
You should still hit your abs hard while you’re leaning down.
This way when you do get lean, your abs are ready to go.
It’ll take too long to get lean and then start training your abs. Why wait?
How should you workout your abs? Well I’m glad you asked.
The abs have 2 main functions:
- Flexion-primarily develops the rectus abdominis (the visible part of the abs)
- Stabilization- primarily develops the transversus abdominis (deep ab muscles, necessary for a tight core)
You need to incorporate exercises that will use both of these functions.
Sadly most people will only do crunches and focus on flexion exercises.
Others will say that flexion exercises are bad for your back and only do stabilization exercises.
Both of these ideas are wrong.
The right flexion exercises will be safe on your lower back.
And only doing flexion exercises won’t be enough to complete your six-pack.
Here are my favorite ab exercises:
Best flexion exercises:
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Captain’s Chair
- Cable Crunch
- Bicycle Crunches
Best Stabilization Exercises
- Side Plank
- Ab Wheel Rollouts
Here’s the kicker:
How do you put all of these exercises into a workout? Easy—use supersets.
This means you’ll do a flexion exercise and immediately follow it up with a stabilization exercise.
- Cable Crunch 3 sets of 10 reps
- Plank 3 sets max hold
Once you complete this superset, rest for 1 minute and then complete it 2 more times.
To develop your abs you’ll want to train them 2-3 times per week.
You can stick with the same 2 exercises and change it up when you stop making progress, or have a different workout every time you train them.
For example, let’s say you decided to train your abs 3 times per week.
The following would be a good setup to use:
- Captain’s Chair 3 sets of 10 reps
- Side Plank 3 sets max hold on both sides
- Hanging Leg Raises 3 sets of 12 reps
- Ab Wheel Rollouts 3 sets of 10 reps
- Bicycle Crunches 3 sets to failure
- Plank 3 sets max hold
5 Rules You Must Follow to Get a Body Like Tarzan
Rule #1: Get Stronger
Do you think you would survive out in the wild fighting against gorillas if you’re weak? Definitely not.
You must be strong to survive in the wild, and you must be strong to look like Tarzan.
Strength really is the main key to getting a stellar body.
I used to neglect strength and it hurt me big time.
I thought only the way I looked mattered, but I didn’t realize you must get stronger in order to look better.
Sure getting stronger and building muscle aren’t 100% correlated, but take a look around in your local gym.
You’ll notice the biggest guys are lifting the most weight.
To look like Skarsgård you’re going to need to pack on some quality muscle mass.
The best way hands down to go about this is by getting stronger because your body grows through progressive overload.
When you played Super Mario Bros. where did you start off?
You started at World 1, Level 1—the easiest level in the game.
Then once you beat it, you progressed towards harder and harder levels.
When you completed the later worlds, you were more skilled than when you first started.
Your body is the same way.
Picture yourself only being able to bench press 100 pounds for the next 2 years… Your chest won’t look much different.
Imagine you add 125 pounds to your bench over those same 2 years and you can now bench a solid 225.
You’re chest is definitely going to be bigger than in the first scenario.
How can you actually use this?
The easiest way I’ve found to gain strength is through reverse pyramid training (RPT).
To perform RPT start with your heaviest weight first and then decrease it every set.
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but it’s certainly better than standard pyramid training.
With normal pyramid training you’re fatigued by the time you’re supposed to be lifting the heaviest weight.
With RPT you’ll do a couple of warm-up sets and then jump right into the heaviest weight when you’re fresh.
Here’s an example with military press:
- 2 progressive warm-up sets
- Set 1: 150 pounds for 5-6 reps
- Set 2: 140 pounds for 6-7 reps
- Set 3: 130 pounds for 7-8 reps
With every set you’ll decrease the weight by roughly 10% and then do an extra rep or 2.
The technique alone can easily help you add 2.5-5 pounds per week to your core lifts.
Rule #2: You Must Stay Lean When You Get Lean
As I mentioned earlier Skarsgård ate a whooping 7,000 calories every day while bulking for his movie role.
Eating this much is a surefire way for you to lose your abs or never see them in the first place.
No question about it, you want a body like Skarsgård’s ASAP.
Backtracking by gaining fat doesn’t make any sense.
If you need to gain muscle, do so while putting on a minimal amount of fat.
This can be achieved by eating in a slight caloric surplus.
Simply calculate your resting metabolic rate and then add 250 to that number.
This’ll have you gaining roughly .5 pound per week, which is an optimal rate for building muscle naturally.
But Thomas that’s too slow!
Building muscle is a slow process.
People who try to speed it up gain too much fat.
They’ll have to spend unnecessary time cutting later on. It’s not worth the trouble.
Sure even with a slower bulk you’ll probably gain some fat.
The difference is you’ll still remain within striking distance of your goal body fat %.
Here’s the kicker:
What should you do if you need to get leaner and add muscle?
Should you cut or bulk first?
In a nutshell here’s what I recommend:
- If you’re above 15% body fat, cut until you get at or below 12%. Your testosterone levels will be higher, and it’ll be easier to tell if you’re gaining too much fat.
- If you’re already pretty lean (again 12% bf or less), then go ahead and focus on building muscle.
- If you’re starting out around 13-15% body fat, then you decide. You won’t have to spend too much time cutting so you can start there. Or you can start right off the bat with bulking and do one larger cut.
Rule #3: You Must Maximize Your Shoulder-to-Waist Raito
What are the two most popular muscle groups you’ll see any male workout?
Chest and biceps.
Those muscle groups are good, no doubt, but they won’t give you the dominant alpha-male look. What will?
A killer shoulder-to-waist ratio.
Yes Skarsgård’s abs are breathtaking, however his v-taper is what makes him stand out the most.
It’s also known as the golden ratio, and people are naturally attracted to it.
How can you develop your golden ratio qucikly?
By honing in on the right muscle groups.
These 3 muscle groups hold the key to a perfect v-taper:
- Upper chest
Aside from developing those muscle groups you obviously need to be lean with a tight waist.
What are the best exercises to spark some growth in these areas?
Here’s a list:
- Incline Dumbbell/Barbell Press
- Military Press (any variation)
- Side lateral Raises
- Wide Grip Lat-Pulldown
- Wide-Grip Pull-Ups
- One Arm Dumbbell Row
You need to be strategic with where (and in what amounts) you add muscle.
Sadly most guys want to add as much muscle mass as possible to their frame.
They end up getting way to bulky in the hips, butt, and thighs, which takes away from their golden ratio.
Adding 5 pounds of muscle in the right places will look way better than 15 pounds in the wrong spots.
Does Tarzan look like he’s ready to step on stage and win Mr. Olympia (if so, then good luck swinging from vines and hanging in the trees)? No way!
His body is proportional and athletic.
The shoulder-to-waist ratio will give you that look.
So prioritize it in your training don’t gloss over it.
Rule #4: You Must Do Cardio. Well Maybe…
Cardio is a highly debated topic in the fitness industry.
Some people love it, while others despise it.
The question is—should you do it? The answer depends on your goals.
If your main goal is to burn fat, then yes you should be doing cardio. The benefits are clear:
- Improved health
- Burns more calories
- Provides a little bit of leeway in your diet
- Reach your goal body fat faster
Skarsgård did quite a bit of cardio to lean down for his role as well.
Here’s the kicker:
- What should you do for cardio?
- Should you walk, jog, or sprint?
- Should you use a bike, treadmill, or elliptical?
- How long and how often?
Here are the answers:
- You should do high intensity interval training (HIIT). Essentially, you’ll alternate between a high speed and a low speed for a certain amount of time. It’s the best cardio you can do for efficient fat burning.
- With HIIT you’ll be walking and sprinting. This isn’t to say that everything else is a waste of your time because it certainly isn’t.
- Use whatever cardio machine you like the most. HIIT can be done on any machine you choose.
- 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes.
On the flip side—should you do cardio if your goal is to build muscle?
This is where I would be more cautious of doing cardio.
Too much cardio can interfere with your weight training and impede recovery.
Not only that, but it can also make it harder for you to maintain eating in a caloric surplus.
Stick with something simple like walking 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes.
Walking is a low impact form of exercise.
And if you insist on doing HIIT do it 1-2 times per week for around 20 minutes.
Do it at the end of your weight workout or on a separate day completely.
Rule #5: You Must Not Rely On Supplements
Here’s the cold hard truth:
Supplements aren’t as magical as you think.
Yeah the giants of the supplement industry brainwash us into thinking it’s as simple as taking a pill or a scoop of powder, but it isn’t.
Be thankful it’s not that easy.
If you want a body like Alex Skarsgård in Tarzan you’re going to have to earn, there’s no way around it.
You’ll feel a lot better about achieving something you earned rather than were handed.
Here’s the deal:
Best-case scenario supplements will probably make around a 5-10% difference in your physique.
Keep in mind this is best-case scenario and it only happens with a proper diet and training routine.
Yet most people want to flop this equation around.
They want supplements to do 90% of the work for them.
And it fails them every time.
Don’t buy any supplements until you’re consistently working out and you have a proper diet in place.
Once you do have all of that in place what should you invest in? T
he only supplements I take are protein powder and creatine, and that’s more than enough to help you meet your muscle building goals.
Here’s a list of the supplements I recommend:
Protein Powder: You need protein to build muscle.
You also need protein to help maintain the muscle you currently have.
It’s not always easy to eat an adequate amount of protein, and this is where the powder can help.
It makes getting enough protein convenient and simple.
However, it is by no means more magical than protein from whole food sources.
Creatine: Best supplement to help gain strength and size.
Digestive Enzymes: Improves digestion and helps your body absorb more of the nutrients you’re consuming.
Yes this list is short, but it’s because most supplements are garbage.
Remember you don’t need any supplements to get ripped or build muscle.
The Last Word
Alex Skarsgård definitely took his training and diet to the extreme to get in shape for Tarzan.
Luckily you don’t have to do the same to get amazing results like his.
It’s more about doing the boring stuff nobody likes to talk about—eating right, training hard, being consistent, etc.
Do that and you’ll eventually get there.
Now I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section down below.
What do you think of Alex Skarsgård’s body in Tarzan?
What do you think about the movie itself?