In Channel 4’s new drama The First, Sean Penn’s physique is certainly hard to miss.
His character Tom Hagerty is one of five astronauts chosen to be the first to visit Mars. The action focuses on colonising another planet and the difficulties they and their families face.
But viewers could be forgiven for finding themselves somewhat distracted by the leading man and his ridiculously henched new self.
The shirtless actor is seen running towards the camera in one scene with muscles and veins pulsating and in others his stacked torso and bulging biceps are impossible to ignore.
Once upon a time Sean was a slip of a man, so just how has he managed to beef up his incredible bod so much?
Here’s what we know…
Sean is notoriously private about his personal life and a man of few words and often unfinished sentences.
He’s made it clear in the past he won’t divulge secrets about his relationships, which includes former wives Madonna and Robin Wright and ex-girlfriend Charlize Theron.
There was much speculation over his physical form in 2015 when he starred in The Gunman. Sean played an ex-Special Forces government sniper who discovered the people he worked for had put a price on his head.
He was seen with his shirt off for many scenes and fans were stunned by transformation.
The actor is known to be a heavy smoker but is also pictured out running and surfing a lot.
While he’s previously admitted he cuts out cigarettes when in training for a role, he’s been reluctant to discuss the details of his work outs in the past.
His character in The Gunman, Jim Terrier, is an expert in the martial art Krav maga, which is a military self-defence system used by Israeli forces, so Sean would have trained extensively in it to pull off the fight scenes convincingly.
In an interview for the film he was asked about how he trained for the role and replied with his typical vagueness: “There were a lot of preparations for this movie. By the time we got there, everything was whatever it ended up being.
“When you move around a lot, things happen. There’s that. I’ve said before I don’t like necessarily to talk about training regimens. It’s actually not too interesting.”
Er, yes it is Sean!
He was equally disinterested to share details on the hours he put into the gym for The Gunman when asked by The Telegraph in 2015.
So what did Sean do to get in shape for The First?
We asked personal trainer Nicola Martin to give her professional opinion on just what prep Sean did before taking on his role in The First. This is what she said:
Sean Penn must’ve put a lot of hard work, dedication and consistency to look as shredded at his age of 57, what an incredible inspiring man. A role model.
Sean looks as though he has a very clean diet judging by his size, lean body mass & low body fat. I would say a high clean calorie diet with good proteins and carbs and eating around 5 to 8 times a day frequently every 2 to 4 hours. Eating as much as this means your training will need to reflect.
To look as ripped as Sean I’d suggest a bodybuilding regime combined with cardio workouts. This would entail compound exercises, lifting heavy weights at low rep range. Also through power movements with speed and strength combined.
Listed below are a few compound exercises that Sean would probably use.
What does compound exercise mean?
A compound exercise is when you use two or more muscle groups for that exercise.
A barbell squat – This is frequently used within training but depending on how you use this exercise it will depend on how it will work for you. Muscle groups used are front leg (quadriceps), behind (glutes), core, inner leg(adductors), calf muscles.
Heavy weight, low reps 1- 6 with 3- 4 sets. For power.
Barbell bench press – this also is a compound exercises there are many variations incline, decline, flat etc this uses muscle of chest ( pectorals), triceps, shoulders (anterior deltoids), back (altissimo summer Soria) again frequently used by weight lifters on chest day this would be a heavyweight, low reps 1- 6 with 3-4 sets
Bent over row – this again is a compound exercise, engages multiple muscles in the back erector spine, middle & low trapezius, latissimus dorsi, Terra major as-well as biceps and core. With a heavyweight will increase muscle mass and strength, low reps 1-6 with 3-4 sets.
Along with cardio to make Sean look so shredded. HIIT workout high intensity interval training for 15-30 minutes at a time.
Example Sprints – treadmill – 12-15, 30 second sprints , 30 second test, speed 18 plus.
Along with continuous cardio for 30-60 minutes at one time on the same speed and resistance.
Example stair master – level 10, 30 minutes without stopping.
To get this look would require hard work, determination and consistency on a plan like this.
Training 6 times a week
Weight training – Minimum 1 hour, 6 days a week.
HIIT 3-5 times a week, 15-30 minutes at a time.
Steady state cardio 3-5 times a week, around 30-60 minutes at 1 time.
You can see Nicola’s work on Instagram nicolapt_fitness & xclusivefitness_
Her website is www.xclsuivefitnessad.com
The First starts on Channel 4 on November 1.
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