The Upper Body Workout Mehcad Brooks Used to Get Monstrous Arms for ‘Mortal Kombat’

Brooks
Mehcad Brooks plays Jax in 'Mortal Kombat'Courtesy Image

Curious what kind of workout Mehcad Brooks used to transform into Earthrealm supersoldier Jax in Mortal Kombat? Us too. The actor gained 20 pounds of muscle before he even nabbed the role, but that’s a prime example of manifesting your dreams into reality. Once he did get it, Brooks worked with trainer Andrew Scutch to put on 15 more pounds of muscle by the time filming commenced. Aside from drastically upping his calorie intake to about 12,000 calories a day, Brooks focused on heavy lifting to add size to his frame. Here’s a sample arms workout Brooks utilized to build epic muscle mass for his role as Jax in Mortal Kombat.

 

 

The Workout Mehcad Brooks Used to Build Monstrous Arms for ‘Mortal Kombat’

Directions: Do both of these exercises in a three-round progression, starting with weight that’s half your max lift, then adding 10 pounds, then finishing with your max capacity. For example, if your max dumbbell curl is 30 pounds, start with 15 pounds, then up to 25 pounds, then land on 30 pounds, followed by a drop set with the same weights. You’ll cap things off with a heavy-rep round. Take no rest between any sets. The goal is to get stronger over time, and use heavier weight as progress is made.

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Man in athletic apparel doing dumbbell biceps curl
Dumbbell biceps curls are a basic movement that can burn out your arms with relatively little weight. James Michelfelder

1. Standing Bicep Curls

How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides, palms facing forward. Bring the dumbbells up as close to the top of your shoulders as possible, only bending at the elbow and keeping your upper arm steady. Engage your core and keep your back straight, looking forward and preventing any hunch during the movement. Pause briefly at the top, then return to start.

Round One:

First Set (half max weight): 20 reps
Second Set (half max weight plus 10 pounds): 20 reps
Third Set (max weight): 10 reps

Round Two:

First Set (half max weight): 20 reps
Second Set (half max weight plus 10 pounds): 20 reps
Third Set (max weight): 10 reps

Round Three:

Single Set (70 percent of max weight): 70 reps

Standing Triceps Kickbacks With Pronated Grip
More effective than traditional kickbacks, the pronated grip better isolates the medial head. James Michelfelder

2. Standing Triceps Kickbacks

How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides. Hands can be positioned with palms facing one another (neutral grip) or facing behind you (pronated grip) to target the medial head, which is hard to isolate (this variation, shown above, is more effective). Hinge forward at your hips until your torso is nearly parallel to floor. Bring your upper arms close to the body, aligning them with your spine, and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle with the lower arm in a row position. This is the starting position. Once ready, straighten just your lower arms, engaging your triceps with the weight, until arms are in line with the upper arm. Pause briefly at the top, then return to start.

Round One:

First Set (half max weight): 20 reps
Second Set (half max weight plus 10 pounds): 20 reps
Third Set (max weight): 10 reps

Round Two:

First Set (half max weight): 20 reps
Second Set (half max weight plus 10 pounds): 20 reps
Third Set (max weight): 10 reps

Round Three:

Single Set (70 percent of max weight): 70 reps

Cardio Finisher

Burpees x 50 reps

How to do it: Stand with feet at shoulder width. Keep your back straight as you squat down and place your hands on the floor. Brace your weight and jump back into a pushup position. Keep your core tight as you hold the pushup, drop your belly to the floor, or perform a standard pushup, then jump your feet to your hands and stand back up. Immediately jump up as high as you can with your hands overhead and hips extended.

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