Train like Tarzan!

The Lord of the Apes swings back onto cinema screens this Wednesday in the new film “The Legend of Tarzan”. Based on the classic Tarzan novels by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, the newest incarnation of everyone’s favourite vine-swinging, alligator-wrestling, jungle adventurer is portrayed by Alexander Skarsgard. Ever asked yourself what it’d be like to train like Tarzan?

Well, as our leading man can tell you himself, crafting the body of such a revered and iconic character is no piece of cake – something that Alex literally had to steer clear of during his rigorous training regime!

For an action-packed summer blockbuster like “The Legend of Tarzan”, Alex Skarsgard had to get in the leanest, meanest shape of his life, and as you can see from the trailers and pics from the film, it looks like he’s achieved and passed that goal with flying colours. Under the tutelage of his personal trainer, Magnus Lygdback – who is currently serving as Ben Affleck’s trainer for the upcoming “Justice League” – our new Tarzan remolded his entire physique into one that would enable him to take on the film’s varied and demanding action sequences.

In the process, he also happened to develop probably some of the most impressively carved and defined abdominal muscles seen in recent cinema history!

Now, you too can transform your body into one on par with the Lord of the Apes by following Alex’s own training and nutrition program for the film, kindly provided to us by Warner Brothers. Our training tip: remember, consistent, persistent practice makes perfect whether you’re practicing your tree-climbing, gorilla wrestling, or unconventional mode of vine-swinging, jungle-transportation technique…Good luck!

The Magnus Method – A Day on the Tarzan Diet

Chive omelet with avocado and sunflower seeds.

Morning snack:
Chilli, lime and ginger prawn kebabs with shredded mange tout and sesame seed salad.

Walnut stuffed salmon with tahini dressing, lemon speckled quinoa, roasted broccoli and sauteed kale.

Afternoon supper:
Tuna sashimi, seaweed and pickled ginger salad with wasabi and soy.

Evening supper:
Pan fried fillet of sea bass, coconut rice, okra, rainbow chard and lentil dahl.

Tarzan’s Workout Program

Morning workout:

  • Jogging: x 10 min, sprints
  • Sprints: 6 x 1 min, 1 min max sprinting
  • Stationary jogging: 1 min

Evening workout:

  • Bear crawls: 5 x 1 min
  • Deadlifts: 4 sets (12, 8-10 reps,  6 , and 12 reps (pyramid set)
  • Pull ups: 4 sets (2 wide grip -max reps, 2 narrow grip -max reps)
  • Standing alternating rows (with dumbbells): 20 x 3
  • Kettlebell swings: 15 x 3 
  • Lateral raises (with dumbbells): 12 x 4
  • Moving front plank (on exercise ball): 1-2 min x 4

Tarzan Lean Muscle Build-up

Day 1 – Legs

  • Squats: 4 sets: x 12, 10, 8, 6, reps (pyramid set)
  • Deadlifts: 4 x 8-10 reps
  • Leg press: 3 x 12 reps
  • Skate jumps: 3 x 30 reps
  • Frog jumps: 3 x 10 reps

Day 2 – Chest

  • Bench press: 4 x 12, 8, 6, 10 reps (pyramid  set)
  • Dumbbell press (on incline bench): 4 x 10
  • Cable cross flyes: 3 x 10
  • Sitting front shoulder press: 3 x 10
  • Burpees: 3 x max

 Day 3 – Back

  • Chins: 4 x max
  • Seated rows: 4 x 10
  • Standing alternating dumbbell row: 3 x 20
  • Wood chop: 4 x 10

Day 4 – Arms

  • Alternating Bicep curls (with dumbbells): 4 x 16 reps (8+8)
  • EZ Bicep curls: 4 x 10
  • French tricep press: 4 x 10 reps
  • Triceps with cable cross: 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Bicep curl (straight grip): 3 x 10 straight into Tricep push down 3 x 10

Core Exercises (every other day)

  • 1: static core and straight abs
  • 2: obliques and rotation exercises

Movement Program (2 mornings per week on random days)

  • Yoga
  • Obstacle course in the house
  • Bear crawls: 5 x 3 min
  • Plyometric exercises: (ie. frog jumps, bunny hops)
  • Pull ups
  • Parallel-bar walking
  • Speed training
  • Short sprints
  • Stretching
  • Various other movement drills: 10 min

Tarzan Bulk-up Menu


Scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil and garnished with chives, sirloin steak cooked in rendered fat with rosemary, sliced avocado and roasted vine cherry tomatoes. 220ml slow pressed green juice of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, mint, coriander stalks, lemon, lime, fennel and broccoli.

Morning snack:

Monkfish kebabs with griddled courgettes and peppers. 100ml slow pressed juice of kale, lemon and ginger.


Cannon of lamb marinated in herbs served with garlic roasted beetroot, pickled golden beetroot, roasted broccoli, spelt (cooked in chicken stock) and salsa verde. 220ml slow pressed green juice of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, green apples, parsley, mint, coriander stalks, lemon, lime, fennel and broccoli.

Afternoon snack:

Poached salmon superfood salad with edamame beans, broccoli, radish, quinoa, sesame seeds, spring onion, kale, avocado and a ponzu ginger dressing. 100ml slow pressed juice of carrot, ginger and argan oil.

Post workout smoothie:

Hazelnut milk, flaxseed, chia seeds, avocado, dates and hazelnut butter.


Lime marinated chicken thighs served with a black beans, pepper, spring onion and coriander, quinoa salad with guacamole, charred corn, alfalfa sprouts and chilli salad.

Evening snack:

Oregano and garlic roast chicken salad served with kale salad, toasted seeds, cherry tomatoes and balsamic lemon dressing. 200ml chamomile tea.

Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Kung-fu Kingdom