CRACKING THE WHIP
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...