Lou Ferrigno: 'Michael's Body Went Through a Lot of Stress'

06/30/2009 at 10:05 AM EDT

Lou Ferrigno: 'Michael's Body Went Through a Lot of Stress'
Jackson (left) and Ferrigno
Joel Ryan/AP, Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos
Michael Jackson was determined not to let his chronic back pain slow him down as he prepared for his comeback tour. So he enlisted the help of The Incredible Hulk to whip him into shape.

"When the promoter hired him to do the tour it wasn't any question for me to train him again because he knew that he trusted me especially with toning and shaping his body," says Ferrigno, who had worked with Jackson on another tour 15 years ago. "Being such an icon and he couldn't afford to have any injuries."

Implementing the same type of routine he had for Jackson years ago – "conditioning, toning, and increasing his flexibility and stamina" – Ferrigno says the entertainer, "wanted to increase strength in his legs.

"The workout wasn't any heavy resistance. A lot of stretching and a light walk on the treadmill," Ferrigno tells PEOPLE. "Being 50, his body went through a lot of stress getting ready for the tour, but he was awesome."

Like others who had seen Jackson rehearse, the singer's death came as a surprise for Ferrigno. "I was devastated. I mean I was shocked. I still think of it as like a joke or a like a dream," he says.

Ferrigno even recalled how Jackson wanted to show him one of his signature moves.

"He heard I was in the running to do Dancing with the Stars, so he said that he would teach me the moonwalk if I did the show," Ferrigno says. "We had a lot of fun."

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