Celebrity Blog

Harley Pasternak Blogs: How Leading Actors Get Fit for Roles

10/17/2012 at 10:00 AM EDT

  • Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love
    Warner Bros.
  • Daniel Craig in Casino Royale
    Columbia Pictures
  • Christian Bale in American Psycho
    Everett
  • Joe Manganiello in Magic Mike
    Warner Bros.
  • Brad Pitt in Fight Club
    20th Century Fox
A few weeks ago, my wife and I watched Crazy Stupid Love (I know, I know, we're a little late to the party). In one scene, Ryan Gosling seduces Emma Stone by taking his shirt off.

I turned to my wife to see her reaction. She was beet red and had her jaw wide open. When I asked if she enjoyed the movie, she uttered, "Ryan Gosling really was … fit looking."

(I worked out twice as hard the subsequent day, by the way.)

The fact is, Ryan got in amazing shape for the film. He has become part of a long list of leading men who have exercised and dieted to make their on-screen performance more impactful.



After more than 20 years sculpting bodies for film and television, I've noticed the "ideal" male physique is constantly changing.

For those of us that grew up in the '80s, the silver screen was ruled by massive, muscular manly men (try saying that 10 times fast). Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme and Carl Weathers were built more like defensive linemen than actors. The Rambo/Commando era has been eclipsed by Brad Pitt's physique in Fight Club, Matthew McConaughey in Reign of Fire, and Christian Bale in American Psycho.

Today's leading men generally aspire to have more swimmer-like physiques than bodybuilder brawn. It seems that women tend to prefer the leaner longer beach volleyball look, and guys want to look like actors that carry a little more muscle bulk.

So who has the best leading male physique in movies today? I looked to my clients for their opinions on who currently has the edge, and here's who came up most often:

Eric Bana (Troy)
Bale (American Psycho)
Pitt (Fight Club/ Snatch)
Hugh Jackman (Wolverine)
Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Ryan Reynolds (Blade Trinity)
Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love)
Gerard Butler (300)
Will Smith (Ali)
Jamie Foxx (Any Given Sunday)
Daniel Craig (Casino Royale)

Want to look like one of these guys? (or do you want your significant other to look a little more chiseled?) There are a few essential factors that make these actors look fit, lean and mean on screen: Broad shoulders, chiseled chest, defined triceps and six-pack abs!



Here are some exercises that will surely help. Try doing 20 reps of each as a non-stop circuit (do 3-4 circuits, twice a week).

Shoulders: Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Stand with your arms at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand. With your arms locked straight, raise your arms out towards the wall until they're parallel to the ground, then return to your sides.

Chest: Flat Dumbbell Fly

Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended up to the ceiling with a slight bend in each elbow and your palms facing each other. Slowly lower your arms out and away from your body until you feel a slight stretch in your chest, then “hug” an imaginary barrel as you raise them up towards each other.

Triceps: Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms extended up toward the ceiling. Hinge at the elbows and lower the dumbbells down towards your ears/ shoulders, then raise back up to start position.

Obliques: Dumbbell Side Bends

Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart with your right hand against your right temple, elbow up, and left arm hanging down towards your side holding a dumbbell. Slowly tilt your body left, as you slide the dumbbell down your side, then tilt your body right again, as you bring your right elbow down toward the ground.

Before you know it, maybe you will look good enough to make the top 20 movie muscle list!

Who do you find the fittest? Maybe they're not even on the list. Tweet me at @harleypasternak or leave a comment below!

Next week, I will be blogging about the best female bodies in movies!

Check back every Wednesday for more insider tips on Hollywood's hottest bodies – and learn how to get one yourself! Plus: follow Harley on Twitter at @harleypasternak



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