The wild man cometh – you’ve seen Jason Momoa flex his acting chops in action hero romps that go from Conan to Aquaman. It’s inevitably left you pondering what exactly the Jason Momoa workout is. Well, we went and got it straight from Khal Drogo’s horse’s mouth. This is how he earns that imposing HD physique (His AR7 workout plan is at the bottom of the interview)
The Jason Momoa workout is mother nature inspired
Though he may look as if struts an iron-forged physique, Momoa’s routine is surprisingly fun and varied.
“I like to workout in the morning, at the crack of dawn, and love to workout outside: whether that’s climbing, hill sprints, boxing, surfing, swimming, skateboarding – it gives me some time to think and focus,” he explains. “It helps me start my day off positively.”
Smart move because a new study in PLOS One found even gentle exercise improved people’s mood and anxiety levels, but the effects were greatest when the exercise took place outdoors rather than in a gym. Even if you’re grinding away in the gym, try to avoid doing your cardio on the treadmill and rather run to a nearby field to do it as nature intended like Momoa does.
Jason Momoa on the importance of cardio
Success in health involves prioritizing the right kind of muscles, the most significant of which you’ll never see. “The most important muscle in your body is your heart, so I like to work up a sweat in the morning,” explains Momoa.
“If you take care of your heart it will take care of you. Whether that’s running, hiking, swimming, surfing, yoga or whatever, just 45 minutes a day getting your sweat on – it makes such a difference physically and mentally.”
While you are a little stronger in the late afternoon because your body has had time to wake up, morning exercise also has it benefits because you’re likely to burn a greater percentage of fat for energy, found a study in the Journal of Physiology.
Just don’t let that sway you into believing that if you can’t do the morning then you shouldn’t exercise at all, because the best time to exercise is whenever the hell you have the time to do it.
Naturally gifted with genetics + work ethic = Jason Momoa
Some guys do hit the genetic lottery but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve on what nature dished out. “Before playing Conan, I hadn’t actually ever used weights. I had to pack on about 25 pounds of muscle for that role in a short amount of time, so I had to hit the weights,” he explains.
“Before Conan, fitness wise everything came from your general sports and outdoor pursuits. I’ve always loved the outdoors and even when I have to be bigger, I want to be strong yet agile. So, it’s a mix of weights and functional workouts and I incorporate the things I love doing outdoors.”
If you’re struggling to find the enjoyment in exercise when you’re wearing a blood red face and an uncomfortably sweaty crotch, invite a friend, though you may want to keep feelings about the latter to yourself.
People enjoy exercise far more if they’re with other like-minded folk, found research at the University of Aberdeen. And the more enjoyable exercise is, the less food you’ll scoff afterwards, so make the changes you need by roping in the right crew.
Varying workouts to combat boredom
Let’s be honest, you don’t love lifting weights, you just love how it makes you feel and look. Jason was no different. “I actually found training with weights very difficult at first, just because of how set in stone it is,” he explains. “I get bored easily, so your general weights routine isn’t best suited to me.
And when I’m not training for a role, whether I’m packing on muscle or cutting body fat, I do go back to climbing, boxing, hill sprints, skateboarding – activities I love. I still do bodyweight exercises though, especially for climbing. I would still do different pull-ups for strength and to warm up when it comes to my climbing.”
You only need to take a look at his super cut rig on the big screen to see proof that there isn’t just one route to a fit and functional body. Instead of locking yourself into a regimented program that may not suit your personality, try experimenting with as much varied activity as you can to give yourself a more complete sense of fitness.
The Jason Momoa Diet and his vices
Some exercisers may chase the cheat cheeseburger but Momoa has thirstier pursuits when a job’s been well done. “I’ve always been about healthy living…apart from the fact that I love a good beer and cigar,” he says with that famously wry smile.
“That said, I do eat clean and lead an active life. Making sure I’m healthy – or at least balanced with healthy food and then beer. It makes me feel better and focused. And because I like my beer, I go for lean meat and green veggies when I’m leaning out because I like to save some calories for a Guinness.”
How does beer fit with exercise? Well, a paper in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found having a beer after exercise doesn’t negatively affect your hydration levels. Just remember to stop at one, if you can. We also wrote a comprehensive guide on a type of beer that actually helps progress post-workout. Yup, you heard that right, beer helps post-workout
Jason Momoa Workout – Accelerated Results 7 plan (AR7)
Everyone has their own methods and Momoa has worked with trainer to refine his training tactics. “I go by a training method developed by my trainer, Eric Laciste, called Accelerated Results 7 (AR7),” he says.
“They’re 30-minute, high-rep sessions that hit every part of your body throughout the week.” In this system, you’d pump out seven reps using 65% of your one rep max, take a seven -second rest, perform another seven reps, take another seven -second rest and continue on until seven sets are done and dusted. Then you’d move onto a six-rep round, doing six sets in total; then a five-set round and so on.
Full body workouts
4-5 days a week
65% of 1RM for each exercise
Sets and reps
Circuit style. When you’ve finished your sets and reps for one exercise, you move on to the next until you finish the round of exercise. Then move to the next round and adjust the sets and reps as below.
1st round – 7 sets of 7 reps (7 second rest between sets)
2nd round – 6 sets of 6 reps (6 seconds rest between sets)
3rd round – 5 sets of 5 reps (5 seconds rest between sets)
What moves were Momoa’s favorites? You guessed it, the basics. “When I am in the weights room, there are a lot of dips, pull-ups, press-ups and squats – changing up my grips.” Follow the AR7 set and rep guidelines for these 3-4 moves for a challenging full body, do anywhere, Jason Momoa workout.
The exercises in the Jason Momoa AR7 workout plan
Use these 4 exercises in your AR7 workout routine. It may seem like very few exercises but come back and say that when every muscle on your body is on fire. After 4-6 weeks, you can split the routine up into upper body/lower body and, if you’re feeling really brave, you can segment the muscles even further and have isolation days (arms, chest, shoulders, legs, back)
1. Parallel bar dips
Works: Chest, triceps, shoulders
A) Grab the parallel bars of a dip station and lift yourself so your elbows are straight, but not locked.
B) Keep your elbows close to your sides and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the floor then press yourself back up.
2. Overhand grip pull-ups
Works: Back, biceps, abs, forearms
A) Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip that’s shoulder-width apart. Hang at arm’s length so your elbows are completely extended.
B) Bend your elbows to pull yourself up until your chin crosses the plane of the bar. Pause then slowly lower yourself to the starting position without allowing your body to sway.
Works: Chest, triceps, shoulders
A) Get into the press-up position with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Keep your back flat.
B) Lower your body until your upper arms are lower than your elbows then forcefully straighten your arms to return to the start position.
4. Barbell back squats
Works: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, abs
A) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Rest a barbell on the backs of your shoulders if you want to add weight and hold it in place with your hands.
B) Bend your hips and knees simultaneously to lower yourself towards the ground. Stop when the bottoms of your thighs become parallel to the floor, but go deeper if this feels comfortable. Keep your back straight and knees in-line with your feet. Rise to the start position along the same path by straightening your knees.
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