CRACK­ING THE WHIP

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - words AMELIA JEAN JONES

How Ali­cia Vikan­der got ripped to play the new Lara Croft

She’s stronger, tougher and pack­ing 16lbs more bat­tleready mus­cle – we spoke to the trainer who prepped Ali­cia Vikan­der to take Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft to the next level

Long gone are the days in which An­gelina Jolie would pout and strut her way through two hours of camp set pieces and sassy one-lin­ers – where not a sin­gle hair would break free from that trade­mark plait. In the new Tomb Raider, Ali­cia Vikan­der’s Lara Croft is the lat­est in a line of badass fe­male leads, from Jen­nifer Lawrence’s Kat­niss Everdeen in The Hunger Games to Gal Gadot’s Won­der Woman. And that’s not all Ali­cia and Gal share – they both have celebrity trainer Mag­nus Lygdback to thank for get­ting them in shape to run, jump and fight their way through a gru­elling ac­tion block­buster. Oh, and in Ali­cia’s case, all her own stunts, too – in­clud­ing be­ing re­peat­edly plunged into river rapids with her hands tied. Lygdback’s Mag­nus Method is de­signed to boost metabolism and build mus­cle, mak­ing him the per­fect man for the job. ‘As a trained bal­let dancer, Ali­cia has al­ways been in shape,’ says Lygdback. ‘But her work­outs were fo­cused on car­dio, so she wasn’t as strong as the role re­quired her to be. Along­side our train­ing sched­ule, Ali­cia prac­tised mixed mar­tial arts, rock climb­ing and archery to pre­pare for every­thing in­volved in the film. ‘My goal was to build lean mus­cle so she looked – and ac­tu­ally was – ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing those feats for real.’ But even in Hol­ly­wood, there’s no quick fix – Ali­cia’s tran­for­ma­tion took seven months to achieve. To be­gin with, Lygdback fo­cused on gen­eral strength and mo­bil­ity train­ing to prime Ali­cia’s body and re­duce her risk of in­jury. Three months later, he stepped it up a gear with eight weeks of heav­ier weights and com­pound moves (phase one), fol­lowed by eight weeks of lighter weights and higher reps, while eat­ing lit­tle and of­ten to stay en­er­gised (phase two). No one said get­ting a body like Lara’s would be easy. ‘Ali­cia’s years of bal­letic train­ing mean she’s used to in­tense work­outs,’ says Lygdback. ‘In fact, the most dif­fi­cult thing to per­suade her to do was to take a rest day.’ What a trooper. The re­sult? Ali­cia packed on 16lbs of rock-hard mus­cle dur­ing her train­ing. Boom. Feel­ing up to it? Try the Mag­nus Method your­self – minus the archery...

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