A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…
So begins one of the greatest sagas ever told. You’re reading Nerd Fitness, which probably means that the initial orchestral noise that opens any Star Wars movie is enough to make your heart skip a beat.
Right? Come on.
As soon as those trumpets sound, we know we’re in for an epic adventure that makes us our imaginations soar, fill us with hope and glee…and reminds us of at least one character that we want to punch in the face.
No matter who we are, there is a character we can relate to:
- Luke was just a random guy raised by his aunt and uncle…or so he thought; he goes on to bring balance to the Force.
- Princess Leia was a princess that needed saving, until she went on to help saving the world. Turns out, not all princesses need saving!
- Han Solo was a selfish smuggler who found redemption and learned the power of teamwork.
Star Wars has influenced my life tremendously. Heck, Star Wars is the reason the Nerd Fitness Community is called “The Rebellion!”
And let’s be honest, we’ve all watched Star Wars and said to ourselves, “how cool would it be to ACTUALLY be a Jedi?”
In luck, you are, my young Padawan.
Today, your training begins.
Follow the workout below and combine it with a quality diet, and soon enough you too will help bring balance to the Force.
The Star Wars Workout
Workout Summary: This workout includes a number of explosive movements meant to fire up your nervous system, build explosive muscles, and get your body to start thinking “power!”.
It also includes some static holds, whole body movements, and even grip strength moves.
Time: 30-45 minutes
- A wall for handstand practice
- A pull up bar
- A box/workout bench/park bench to jump on
- A place to do rows (either Smith Machine or a table)
- A dumbbell or kettlebell if you are doing dumbbell rows.
If you are a member at a gym, this equipment should be readily available to you. If you are working out at home, each of the above links to things you can purchase.
Part 1: Sky Walker Handstands
- Padawan: Five minutes of regular floor plank work
- Jedi: 5 minutes of wall plank practice (explained in our guide to handstands)
- Master: 5 minutes of handstand practice (balancing or against the wall)
Luke goes from farm boy to epic Jedi badass. Who doesn’t want to do that!? One of his most impressive feats of strength is holding a one hand handstand on Dagobah. Now, we don’t expect you to be able to do 1-hand handstands (not yet, anyway), but we do expect you to work on your handstands.
Set a timer for 5 minutes, and get to work on those handstands! Take as many breaks as you need, but work on completing the 5 minutes with the least amount of rest. Get better each time.
Part 2: Jedi High Jumps
- Padawan: 3 sets of 15 Squats
- Jedi: 3 Sets of 10 jump Squats
- Master: 3 sets of 15 box jumps (STEPPING DOWN AFTER JUMP!)
Young Obi-Wan needed to use his Jedi high jump skills to return to the proper level to meet up with Qui-Gonn Jinn and Darth Maul.
We want you to do the same. Find a box or sturdy bench that’s 24 inches tall. Think like Obi-Wan, and EXPLODE up with your jumps onto the box. After landing softly on the bench (landing on the balls of your feet with bent knees and absorbing the impact), step down carefully, and repeat. The higher the platform, the greater the challenge.
If you can’t do box jumps, work on your jump squats instead!
Part 3: Jabba the Hut Chokes
- Padawan: 3 sets of 10 dumbbell rows
- Jedi: 3 sets of 10 bodyweight rows
- Master: 3 sets of 10 bodyweight rows with feet on bench
Is there anything more satisfying than watching Leia take out Jabba the Hutt? I know I let out a cheer when I first saw the scene:
Leia is strong, and you need to be strong too. Work on your pull muscles by completing either dumbbell rows with the heaviest weight you can manage to complete, or 3 sets of bodyweight rows (with feet elevated)
Part 4: Chewbacca carries
- Padawan: Farmer carry (Farmer’s Walk) dumbbells for 60 total seconds around the gym/house
- Jedi: Fireman carry of sand bag over shoulder for 60 total seconds
- Master: Waiter carry of dumbbell for 60 total seconds
Chewy is strong. Freakishly strong. He has no problem carrying robots, people, ripping people’s arms off, and more:
We want you to channel your inner Chewbacca by working on carrying heavier weight! Feel free to try any of the variations above. The goal is to pick up the heaviest weight you can manage and then carry it around your house or the gym for the required amount of time. This builds up bone density, tendon strength, muscular strength, and fires up your body’s central nervous system.
Part 5: Han Solo Shuttle runs
- Padawan: Shuttle run jog for 3 minutes (6 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
- Jedi: Shuttle run for 3 minutes (6 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
- Master: Shuttle run sprint for 3 minutes (6 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
I love Han. He shoots first (literally) and asks questions later. He also runs into situations where he might not have the upper hand.
Time to think like Han and work on your speed and change of direction. Pick two spots on your floor, outside, or in the gym, and work on jogging/running/sprinting back and forth between the two, touching the floor at both sides. Here’s a quick example of what we mean:
Part 6: Force Push Ups
- Padawan: 4 sets of 8 Wall/Elevated Plyometric Push Ups
- Jedi: 4 sets of 8 Knee Plyometric Push-ups
- Master: 4 sets of 8 Plyometric Push-ups (clapping optional)
This is probably my favorite Jedi move. Channel the Force, and use it to violently PUSH things away? Awesome. Where do I sign up?
Now, although we can’t actually Force Push in real life…yet, it doesn’t mean we can’t build up our explosive Force push muscles.
The master level for this includes plyometric push-ups, where you force push yourself off the ground. If this is too difficult for you, then you can do your plyometric push ups on your knees. Too much still? Launch yourself off a bench or even off the wall while standing in front of it.
Part 7: Jedi Force Choke Holds
- Padawan: Hang from pull up bar while standing on support for 60 seconds of hang time.
- Jedi: Hang from pull up bar for 60 seconds of total hangtime
- Master: Hang with one hand from pull up bar for 60 seconds of hang time for each arm .
Vader was a Jedi who became a sith lord when he turned to the dark side…what a shame….Almost as big of a shame that he now yells “NOOOO!” Come on George.
Anyways, he also has some incredible powers that we’ve all imagined having at one point, perhaps the most famous being the Force Choke:
While we don’t condone Force Choking your enemies, we are more than okay with you increasing your grip strength and endurance. Depending on your weight and your level of fitness, select the appropriate level above and work on hanging from a pull up bar. The goal is to accumulate 60 seconds of hang time, and you can do it in as many sets as possible.
Note: this can be challenging on your joints if you’re not used to hanging, so progress slowly on this one! Start with just a few seconds and work your way up!
If you happen to be heavier than your average Jedi, feel free to skip this move until you are at a lighter weight,
May the force be with you
Here’s a recap!
- Proper Warm Up
- 5 minutes of Skywalker Handstands
- 3 sets of 10 Jedi High Jumps
- 3 sets of 10 Jabba the Hut Chokes (rows)
- 60 seconds total of Chewbacca Carries
- Han Solo Shuttle Runs
- 4 sets of 8 Force Push-ups
- 60 Seconds of Force Choke Holds
- Proper cool down.
Complete this workout with regularity, and work your way up to the Jedi Master levels for each.
Remember, your diet is the most important part of any equation (insert your own “These are not the donuts you’re looking for” joke here).
Eat right, use the Force, and save the Galaxy. It’s that simple!
Well, maybe not THAT simple, but it’s a good start.
We’ll be adding this workout as well to both Men’s Fitness 101 and Women’s Fitness 101, complete with high-definition demonstrations of every exercise (here’s a sample) along with high-definition warm ups and cool downs.
We’ll be adding more themed workouts to The Academy, and sharing some of them here on the site.
What other movies/games/books would you like us to cover in future workout routines?
What kind of questions do you have about this workout?
May the Force be with you.
photo source: Leg0fenris: Dagobah, JD Hancock: Yoda Jump, JD Hancock: Han Solo vs Luke Skywalker, Gramicidin: Darth Vader Choke, Teymur Madjderey, Darth Vader Force, JD Hancock: Han Solo, Pedro Vezini: Chewbacca, metaphorge: Jabba, Leg0fenris: Darth and Leia, Pedro Vezini: Yoda and Luke