The Olympic Lifting Workout That Put 25 Pounds of Muscle on Flula Borg for ‘The Suicide Squad’

Flula Borg as Javelin with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn in 'The Suicide Squad'
Flula Borg as Javelin with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn in 'The Suicide Squad'Courtesy Image

Maybe seeing “Flula Borg workout” wouldn’t have gotten your attention in the past. The German comedian has never been known for being jacked. But if you’ve seen the trailer for the new Suicide Squad, you’ve caught a glimpse of Borg as Javelin, a relatively unknown DC character. He’s a former Olympic athlete who carries around a javelin as a weapon (naturally). So how did Borg, a self-proclaimed “skinny dude,” add slabs of muscle to his frame? He enlisted the help of Los Angeles trainer Paolo Mascitti, whose custom strength-building program scored him 25 pounds of muscle mass.

 

 

“My usual routine used to be working out for 20 minutes, eating nothing, and staring at the television for the rest of the day,” Borg tells Men’s Journal. “Paolo told me that wasn’t going to fly.”

Borg also happens to have a supercharged metabolism, so bulking him up required 7,000 calories a day. Read all about the making of an ex-Olympic supervillain here.

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The Olympic Lifting Workout That Put 25 Pounds of Muscle on Flula Borg for ‘The Suicide Squad’

Directions: This is a sample circuit Mascitti built for Borg to add muscle mass and increase overall strength. The first two movements are done individually as drop and reverse drop sets to get maximum muscle fatigue. That’s followed by three supersets, where two movements are done back to back with no rest between exercises. Complete the four supersets before moving down to the next pair of movements, taking one minute of rest between each.

1. Barbell Bench Press

5 sets x 15-12-10-8-6 reps (increase weight while decreasing rep count)

How to do it: Grasp the bar just outside shoulder-width apart and arch your back so there’s space between your low back and the bench. Unrack the barbell, then lower it to your sternum, tucking elbows about 45 degrees to your sides. When the bar touches your chest, drive your feet into the floor and press it back up to the starting position.

2. Flat Dumbbell Press

4 sets x 6-8-10-12 reps (decrease weight while increasing rep count)

How to do it: Sit on a flat bench, resting dumbbells on tops of thighs. “Kick” the weights off your legs as you lie down and bring dumbbells to chest level, rotating palms so they face forward. Press the weights up until your arms are fully extended, pause for a moment, then repeat.

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3A. Cable Crossover

4 sets x 15 reps

How to do it: Standing with your back to the machine, position the pulleys so they’re level with your shoulders. Grab the handles with each hand and lunge forward into a split stance. Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, press the cables forward in a wide arc until the handles are in front of your face and arms are parallel to each other. Your chest should feel contracted and engaged. Pause for a moment, then slowly let the cables pull your arms back to the starting position.

3B. Incline Barbell Bench Press

4 sets x 6-8-10-12 reps (decrease weight while increasing rep count)

How to do it: Set a bench to a 45-degree incline. Grasp the bar just outside shoulder width and arch your back slightly so there’s space between your lower back and bench. Unrack the barbell, then lower it to your sternum, tucking elbows about 45 degrees to your sides. When the bar touches your chest, drive your feet into the floor and press it back up to the starting position.

4A. Low-to-High Cable Crossover

4 sets x 15 reps

How to do it: Standing with your back to the machine, position the pulleys so they’re low by the ground. Grab the handles with each hand and lunge forward into a split stance (hands should be by hips). Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, bring the cables upward and forward in an arc until the handles are in front of your face and arms are parallel to each other. Your chest should feel contracted and engaged. Pause for a moment, then slowly let the cables pull your arms back to the starting position.

4B. Decline Dumbbell Press

4 sets x 6-8-10-12 reps (decrease weight while increasing rep count)

How to do it: Set a bench to a 45-degree decline. Sit, resting dumbbells on tops of thighs. “Kick” the weights off your legs as you lie back, anchor your feet under the pads, and bring dumbbells to chest level. Rotate palms so they face forward. Lower the dumbbells until your forearms are perpendicular to the ground, then press the weights up until arms are fully extended. Pause for a moment, then repeat.

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5A. Dips

4 sets x 15 reps

How to do it: At a dip station, or using two stacks of plyo boxes on either side, press up and tuck legs. Keeping chest slightly tipped forward, bend elbows to dip as low as you can, aiming for hands to be parallel to pecs. Reverse movement to starting position.

5B. Triceps Cable Pushdowns

4 sets x 10 reps

How to do it: Set the pulley to the top position, then face the machine. Grab the horizontal cable bar or attachment with an overhand grip so, when in hand, it’s at chest level. Starting with elbows at your side, forearms perpendicular to your body, push down on the bar until arms are extended. Your core should be engaged throughout the entire movement. Pause for a moment, then return to the start position in a controlled fashion.

6A. Skull Crushers

4 sets x 12 reps

How to do it: Pick a dumbbell up and lie down on a flat bench. Hold the weight with both hands on either end, then press it over your chest. Bring the weight down in a controlled movement behind your head, flexing your elbows, and keeping upper arms straight. Once it taps the bench, engage your triceps to bring the dumbbell back to start. Start light with the weight, and try not to move your elbows to assist with the lift.

6B. Standing Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions

4 sets x 12 reps

How to do it: Position the pulley at the tallest height and attach a rope extension. Grab the attachment with both hands and lift it over your head so you can face away from the machine, then lean forward and assume a staggered stance. Hold the rope over your head with elbows forward and arms bent. Extend your arms in front of you by engaging the triceps; don’t use your upper arms. Slowly reverse to return to start.

The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6.

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