Being a Hollywood actress might seem like an easy job, but that is far from the case. Gal Gadot’s first appearance as Wonder Woman came in 2016, but her preparation for the role began way before that. From sword-fighting to jumping tall buildings and flying, the role of Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is challenging on many levels.
The actress was quite fit even before taking the role of Wonder Woman, but she wanted to hone her skills and reach the next fitness level to portray the part in all of its grace, athleticism, and sheer strength. Wonder Woman’s training primarily consists of weight training, but she also does HIIT and core-specific work.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the details and see how you can train like Wonder Woman.
The role of Wonder Woman
Getting ready for a role in a movie seems simple enough, but consider the true meaning of doing so: The actor or actress doing the role has to embody all of the physical and psychological characteristics of the character they portray. That is the only way to truly nail a role and make it believable on the big screen. The actor or actress has to get as close to the character as possible. They have to feel the role, understand what the character is all about, and embody that when the director shouts “Action!”
In the case of Wonder Woman, Gal had a tall order on her hands. Aside from being truly strong, quick, and athletic, she had to portray confidence, decisiveness, and superhuman ability. One might say that aside from training to get more athletic, the actress did so to prepare herself mentally and become the superheroine we all enjoyed watching in the cinema.
The importance of Guidance
Gal has said numerous times that she has always been of the athletic type, even as a child. Thanks to her athletic inclinations, she found it easy to excel in various physical endeavors and maintain a good shape.
Before even thinking about a career in Hollywood, Gal served her mandatory two years with the Israeli Defense Forces from 2005 to 2007. Before that, she won the 2004 Miss Israel, thinking it would be a fun experience but never expecting to win.
But, despite her sporty nature and ability to move and be athletic, Gal knew she needed a good trainer to help her step up her game for what arguably became the most prominent role of her life. So, the actress began working with Magnus Lygdback, the world-renowned Swedish expert and lifestyle coach.
The two would work together for over an hour a day, five to six times per week, for over a year in preparation for her first Wonder Woman movie. Magnus focused her training on lifting weights, but the actress also had to do aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Gal’s Transformation from Miss Israel to Wonder Woman
We previously mentioned that Gal won the Miss Israel title at 18. We also shed some light on the fact that the actress later served in the military for two years. While the two events in her life might not seem all that significant, we could argue that it is precisely thanks to the latter that she managed to land her iconic role. According to the actress, military training instilled a sense of self-discipline, which she credits as a crucial trait in her success and need for self-improvement.
Preparing for the role of Wonder Woman
Gal’s trainer was gracious enough to share the process of preparing the actress for her role. Aside from having her do a bunch of training to get in shape, Magnus had to understand what the objective was for the part of Wonder Woman.
In his words:
When you start preparing for a marathon of a movie like this, you want to make sure to build a strong foundation. Included in that is to screen someone physically and see how they move.
Magnus also added:
When building a character, you really need to break down what a character needs. If you look at Wonder Woman, she obviously needs the physique. But she also needs strength, ability, agility, and endurance.
Aside from getting her in shape, Magnus had to keep Gal healthy and injury-free because any issues could push back production, costing millions of extra dollars. What we can take away from this is that the training principles her trainer used were based on longevity and are applicable to the average trainee.
A good warm-up is essential for good athletic performance, well-being, and injury prevention. Gal’s trainer had her start with some light movement on an Assault Bike for at least five minutes. He also had to prepare her for every action scene to keep her safe and injury-free during filming.
2. The Split
The split Gal had to follow was interesting. It consisted of five weekly workouts that trained her entire body twice. Her first three workouts trained all major muscles in her body, then the final two workouts trained these muscles again but less intensely.
- Day 1 – Cardio and Legs
- Day 2 – Chest, Back, and Core
- Day 3 – Arms and HIIT
- Day 4 – Legs, Core, and HIIT
- Day 5 – Chest, Back, and Arms
Her training focused on resistance training, and Gal performed numerous great exercises, including:
- Wide-grip lat pulldowns
- Alternating bicep curls
- Tricep pushdowns
- Alternating dumbbell rows
- Reverse flyes
- Incline dumbbell fly
- Crossover mountain climbers
- Front squats
Gal also did plenty of cardio to build up her endurance for the role of Wonder Woman. The activities she did include running, sprinting for half a minute at a time, assault bike, and rowing machine. Thanks to the routine, Gal built an amazing and balanced physique, capable of incredible strength, endurance, and agility.
3. Martial Arts
Of course, Martial arts were a big part of Gal’s preparation for such an action movie. However, it was not her favorite thing, but it did help her to become Wonder Woman and understand the role better. In an interview, Gal mentioned she expects to bulk up a little, thanks to this super-intense training:
It’s the physical preparations that I’m starting now. A very serious training regimen: Kung Fu, kickboxing, swords, Jiu jitsu, Brazilian…1,000 and 1 things…I’ll gain body mass.
4. The no-diet
When you are working out like this, a healthy meal plan is key. Gal’s daily diet had to be locked in to keep up with the physical demands of being Wonder Woman. So she ate three main meals and two snacks every day to keep her energy level up. The meals and snacks focused on whole foods and a balance of complex carbohydrates (wild rice, for example), healthy fats, plenty of vegetables, and of course, lots of proteins. Her trainer Magnus had an interesting main rule: Focus on nutrition in 17 out of every 20 meals. Gal could enjoy things like pasta and even wine for the other three meals.
All this does not sound too much like a diet or difficult menu plan, huh?
As a conclusion
You might or might not like the movie Wonder Woman, but you will agree the actress’s physical performance is impressive. Of course, Wonder Woman’s arms are her best weapon, and they rightly always stand out. Interestingly, her trainer Magnus, had a particular and surprisingly simple secret behind them: Push-ups for 30 seconds, then holding a plank for 30 seconds – and then repeat this combo four times (total workout time of four minutes). Sounds simple, no? It does not seem like much, and whit dedication; this can bring great results.
While not everyone can train with Magnus, you might want to explore other excellent “guides” to improve your performance. Be it Fitbod, Freeletics or Alpha Progression; fitness apps can significantly impact your fitness and health progression. And of course, there is also an app from Magnus Lygdbback. Interested to learn how Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is keeping his incredible shape? Check this article and start to train like the Rock.