How Chadwick Boseman Trained for Battle in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Chadwick Boseman Avengers
 Courtesy Marvel Studios

The Avengers are facing their biggest foe ever in Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, and the battle is coming to Wakanda. So in order to prepare, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman had to take his conditioning up a notch for the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s highly anticipated finale. The studio’s decision to shoot the final Avengers movies back-to-back, right after Black Panther wrapped, meant Boseman spent nearly a year in constant training.

Boseman already had a background in martial arts, which helped him pull off the ruler of Wakanda’s fighting style, but to add superhero size to his frame, the actor worked out up to an additional four hours a day with his personal trainer, Addison Henderson. His appearance in Captain America: Civil War was the first time that King T’Challa was to be played by a human, so the pair went to the comic books for inspiration on the right physicality.

“Chad and I go into these comic stores to pick up every Black Panther book that we can get our hands on,” Henderson told Men’s Journal. “The run done by Christopher Priest was the most important part for us.” There was special attention paid by Henderson to make sure that Boseman didn’t get too bulky, and could be believable performing those agile fight sequences. “The guy has some of the best arms I have ever seen, and his body looks great with length,” Henderson says. “I wanted to make sure that he was as long and lean as possible, more like an NFL wide receiver than a lineman.”

The end game went beyond aesthetic, though, and the pair worked hard to make sure that Boseman had the conditioning to survive marathon moviemaking and the intense battle scenes in Infinity War. “We rarely stopped moving during our sessions,” he says. “We trained like we were going into the fight of our lives.” Here is a glimpse at how they did it, courtesy of Henderson.

DAY ONE: CHEST AND ARMS

Run (10 mph): 1 mile
Stair Climber: 10 minutes
Mitt Work (5-minute rounds): 5 rounds

Circuit A
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with one minute of rest in between.

Incline Dumbbell Press: 13 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl: 13 reps

Circuit B
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press: 13 reps
Standing Two-Arm Hammer Curl: 10-13 reps

Circuit C
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Single Arm Decline Machine Press: 13 reps (each arm)
Prone Reverse Dumbbell Curls: 13 reps

Circuit D
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Cable Chest Fly: 13 reps
Single Arm Dumbbell Concentration Curl: 13 reps

Burn-out Circuit
Complete 1 round of this circuit, with easily manageable weight.

Chest Press Machine: 50 reps
Seated Machine Preacher Curl: 50 reps

DAY TWO: SHOULDERS AND TRICEPS

Run (10 mph): 1 mile
Stair Climber: 10 minutes
Heavy Bag Work: 20 minutes

Circuit A
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Arnold Press: 13 reps
Overhead Tricep Extension: 13 reps

Circuit B
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Standing Barbell Shoulder Shrugs: 13 reps
Cable Tricep Pushdowns: 13 reps

Circuit C
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

One-Arm Cable Side Lateral Raise: 13 reps (each arm)
Cable Triceps Overhead Extensions: 13 reps

Circuit D
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, with 1 minute of rest in between.

Incline Shoulder Rotation: 13 reps
Machine Dips: 13 reps

Burn-out Circuit
Complete 1 round of this circuit, with easily manageable weight.

Kettlebell Rear Row: 50 reps
Dumbbell Standing Tricep Extension: 50 reps

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters April 26, 2018.