The Star Wars Workout: Begin Your Jedi Training!


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.

Star Wars Intro

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

Leia

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.

Alternate it with a regular strength routine workout (like Beginner Bodyweight, Angry birds, etc., or an Academy workout), with a day off between workouts.

Time: 30-45 minutes

Equipment needed:

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.

ALWAYS: Start with a warm up and end with a cool down stretch.

Part 1: Sky Walker Handstands

yoda rapping

  • 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.

Luke 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

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.

Obi-Wan Jump

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

jabba

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 Chokes Jabba the Hut

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

Chewbacca

Chewy is strong. Freakishly strong. He has no problem carrying robots, people, ripping people’s arms off, and more:

Chewbacca

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.

RRRPRHPPPPPGHGHNG!!

Part 5: Han Solo Shuttle runs

HanSolo

  • 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.

Han Solo Runs

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:

NFL Shuttle Run

Part 6: Force Push Ups

TheForce

This is probably my favorite Jedi move.  Channel the Force, and use it to violently PUSH things away? Awesome. Where do I sign up?

Force Push

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

Choke

  • 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:

Darth Vader 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

Jedis

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.

-Steve

###

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

 

 

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  • John

    Love this article! Grip strength is one that I definitely want to work on.

  • Gene Davis

    Love the idea and the theme. Thanks for this. One question about timing your workouts. Let’s say I want to do this and the Angry Birds workout. Do I do this on day 1 and the Angry Birds workout on day 2, or Jedi on day 1 and Angry Birds on day 3, skipping 2, or doing some interval training on day 2.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work.

  • BarefootDawsy

    You’re awesome. I don’t know how I missed the handstand post, but that was great too. Any tips on redirecting blaster fire?

  • Rosie Dodds

    I think he means you leave a day between any workouts. Work out every day and you don’t give your body chance to recover, risking injury that might mean you can’t work out for weeks.

  • Kat

    Create a work-out inspired by The Hunger Games, please!

  • Immitus

    A Matrix inspired workout!!!!!

  • Katerina

    So glad I saw this! I just googled “how to increase grip strength” this morning, found a few things, but this was waiting for me in my inbox not more than 20 minutes later. Great looking work out — will be trying it out.

  • Correct! On day 2, you can go for a walk, do yoga, hike, play with your kids, go for a jog, whatever…just something to keep you active.

  • Matthias

    I would love and Asterix/Obelix workout routine, but i have no idea if it’s even popular in the states or if u know it.

  • FaceAK

    Awwww yeah, I’m looking forward to integrating this into my Academy dumb bell workouts. I assume there will be a similar spreadsheet type of thing available via the Academy? Thanks!

  • Nate

    You had me at the theme song…
    Or maybe it was the handstands…
    I would say that I can’t wait to try this workout, but we all know “there is no try.”
    Stay away from the carbonite chamber, rebels!

  • Nate

    Complete with 360 degree jump kick holds.

  • This is a really great article. Thanks!

    A question about table rows: I’m tall and lanky and my table isn’t tall enough for me to fully extend my arms while doing rows. I’m maybe an inch or two off. Should I be particularly concerned about this?

    Also, I’m not currently able to touch my chest to the edge of the table while my legs are straight. Is it better for me to just go as high as I can and keep working on getting higher or should I pull my legs in a bit to shave some of the difficulty off the exercise?

    Thanks again!

    Mike

  • Josh

    This was awesome! I like the Jabba exercise and I am going to add it to my workout routine. I do however think you misspelled “Qui-Gon Jinn”. I only noticed because Liam is my hero. Thanks for all you do!

  • oedalis

    I second the Hunger Games. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls, but that would be cool too. Or maybe Skyrim.

  • Qui-Gon Jinn

    Qai-Gonn Jinn?!? QAI?!?!?! Steve, you have failed me for the last time. *force choke*

  • gilgunn’s island

    Matrix theme just seems like it would be as perfect as Star Wars!

  • Obitim

    I saw Jabba the Hutt and thought “How can he benefit my fitness????”

    Any recommendations how often we should do this along with a strength building program? The endurance training looks pretty awesome along with bodyweight exercises!

    Any chance of a new Assassins Creed workout?
    I’d imagine you need lots of bodyweight, parkour and also some martial arts?

  • Trent

    How about a Hunger Games workout. I’d love to be able to saw off a limb and drop a hive of angry tracker jackers on to my enemies. Is that nerdy enough?

  • steve

    Steve,
    Love the site, i have a silly question for you. Do you do all the lego pictures or is that something off the web.
    Thanks

  • steve

    my bad, i guess if i looked up i would have saw the photo credits..

  • Charlotte Nauert

    YES! As someone who distinctly remembers her first use of the Internet being to Ask Jeeves “how to become a Jedi,” I am all over this one! Great post 🙂

  • Simply awesome. Really like two things…1) there are different levels to each exercise and 2) you have instructional videos for those of us who don’t exactly know what the exercise is that you describe.
    RegularHealthyCompetition.com

  • Taylor

    You’ll want to alternate with a strength workout, but always include a rest day in between! (generally, don’t work the same muscle group two days in a row!)

  • Taylor

    HA! Great idea, that might just happen 🙂

  • Taylor

    Probably coming soon 😛

  • Taylor

    Do what you can with what you have! You could look for any other taller object, doens’t have to be a table!

    Either modification works. Just make sure each time you push yourself and are getting better.

  • Taylor

    Will be coming soon to The Academy, along with some other goodies!

  • Ann

    I second that!!!

  • Loved the star wars concept. Really good workout too with high intensity. Thanks!

  • silence

    Quick stupid question here, how does one hang from a pull-up bar while standing on support? Am I just totally missing the obvious or it’s a typo of some sort?

    Otherwise enjoyed. I’ll admit I was kinda expecting this one closer to the new star wars movie release 🙂

  • Awesome!

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  • Sarah

    For the Padawan handstand. do you need to try and hold a plank for 5 min straight?

  • Taylor

    Nope! Just 5 minutes of working on them total! Slowly decrease the amount of rest in that time period, and increase the amount of time planking !

  • Alex Mertz

    I love this. I think I might start doing this on Saturdays. On Tuesday and Thursday I’ve been doing the beginner body weight workout, but I did the advanced body weight one for the first time today. I was only able to get 2 circuits of that (I did inverted body weight chinups, and pull-up-grip dumbbell rows instead of chinups and pullups, respectively), so I want to keep working on it. But I love all things Star Wars, and I’ve been thinking that only doing 1 set of max reps of pushups, pullups (negatives), squats, and plank on Saturday is kind of lame.

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  • Thanks for this great post! I love doing wall handstands and now I have an excuse to jump on tables and blocks.

  • James Spann

    very informative and interesting article! I didn’t know that carrying weights around the house or gym had any great benefits. I will give it a try on my next visit to the gym.
    http://fitnessandhealthmatters.com

  • Paul

    In regard to the exercises with multiple sets of reps… How much time is recommended between sets?

  • Paul

    in regard to the exercises that are multiple sets: how much time is recommended between sets?

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  • A minute or so, longer if you need it! minimizing the time between sets works more on muscular endurance, while a longer break with more force available for the movements = more focus on strength

  • Stand on the support, and then either bend your knees and ‘hang’ while your feet are still on the support…putting more emphasis on the pulls. You can also just hang by sitting back with your body until your upper body is doing most of the work 🙂

  • These are not the typos you’re looking for

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  • Rock Capuano

    This includes all the targeted muscle areas like shoulders, arms, core, legs…a great complete body workout.

    Kudos Steve for tailoring it around a film theme we can all appreciate!

    Now, if only we could think of a workout framed around fighting the eborsisk in “Willow”…

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  • Peder

    this is awesome!! I’ve been a fan of star wars since i was six and this is a wonderful home workout if I don’t feel like going to the gym. Thanks Steve!! Good luck.