After the successful 2014 release of Kingsman: The Secret Service and a sequel flanked by the likes of Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton had to up the ante. Keeping up with the film’s demands, the actor had to get in better shape than ever in a short amount of time—but he didn’t do it alone. Backed by trainer Dalton Wong, of Twenty Two Training and co-author of The Feelgood Plan, responsible for training little-known celebs like Jennifer Lawrence and Kit Harington, Egerton endured months of daily multi-disciplinary strength, high-intensity cardio and flexibility workouts. “Lifting is sexy, but you can’t just lift all the time,” says Wong of Egerton’s goals for the sequel, “Flexibility is just as important as strength. During pre-production, it was all about lifting and strength training. But during production, it was all about maintenance and recovery. We needed to make sure his body was structurally sound.”
Having trained Egerton since the original Kingsman, Wong emphasized a balanced approach and the importance of warm-ups. “For every chest workout, he does a push-up series, activating the chest, triceps, and rotator cuffs. We use dumbbells, cables, elastic pulleys, each for two to three sets. He does so many action sequences so he can’t be injured.”
Wong’s best tip to nailing Egerton’s physique? Varied chin-ups. “We focused a lot on body weight training, doing different types of chin-ups to define his back, using grips of varying size. People at home can wrap a towel around their bar to imitate a fat grip. For chin-ups, most people’s limiting factor is not their back, it’s their grip strength.”
One particular opening scene in the sequel, in which Egerton jumps on top of a cab, required its own tricky workout, “It’s wicked. To prepare him, we did a variation of wall-walks, walking our feet up the wall, and a lot of shoulder stability – moves that left his body essentially hanging.”
Egerton’s diet also focused on balance, rather than elimination of fats or carbs. “I don’t believe in omitting anything. It’s all applicable to his needs. Pre-training, he was eating a good amount of carbohydrates, and lots of proteins and fats. During filming, we reduced carbs and protein and leveled off fat. It helped to reduce inflammation in his body. Carbs and all of those micronutrients are good for you, but should be tailored to your specific needs.”
Wong continues to train Egerton daily, saying the actor’s cancelled one or two sessions in the nearly four years they’ve trained together. “Because I put so much effort and commitment into him, he always shows me the respect back,” though even incredibly committed actors still have their complaints, “Like most guys, he doesn’t like doing legs,” Wong says, “I had to add arms on our leg days. Everyone likes to do arms after all.”
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