Last Thursday on the Fit & Strong Dads Facebook page, I put a question to the community – who do you like better, James Bond, or Jason Bourne? My intent was to follow the voting up with a workout created in honour of the winning character, showing how I would train someone to be like them.
I kicked things off by saying that I loved Bond, and to be perfectly honest, I found the Bourne movies to be a little on the boring side. To strengthen 007’s case, Bond is a character forged by a vast, and rich history, and the current Bond actor, Daniel Craig, is in my opinion, the pick of the bunch.
So for me, I thought it would be a little preposterous for anyone to vote for Bourne, and I thought that Bond would win hands down.
But it wasn’t quite so easy.
In fact, the Bourne lovers took an early lead in the voting, to the point where I thought that I would be writing this post about Bourne (much to my own heartache!). Justice prevailed, however, and the Bond numbers came back to provide him with a convincing win, and the title name of this post.
So, as promised, this post will be dedicated to highlighting how I would train 007 to live life on edge as he does.
Before we can go ahead and get into the workout program, though, we first need to understand who Bond is, the demands of his job, and truly what it would take to live his lifestyle.
I’m sure everyone knows his back-story, but as a refresher, Bond is an MI6 (British Secret Service) agent, who has a talent for a few things, but mainly –
- Drinking & gambling
- Thwarting evil plans
- Bedding women
Depending on which Bond actor you’re focusing on in particular, his other traits include his incredible charm and refined personality, impeccable dress code, the ability to handle any weapon, and the definite dark side/sordid history that has been brought to light mostly thanks to Daniel Craig’s (the current Bond actor) impersonation of the character.
Oh, and he also has the job of saving the world from bad guys.
In fact, his knack of getting himself into sticky situations in the line of duty means that he requires a definite set of physical skills; and they need to be sharp.
Needless to say, it would suck that if one of MI6’s best agents were to go and get killed because he didn’t have the ability to jump high enough, run fast enough, or his fitness failed him (and I’m sure that someone in the Physical Preparation department at MI6 would lose their job if that were ever to happen).
So he needs to be in shape!
The demands of being a super spy are about as diverse as they come. Here you have a man that needs to be fast, agile, strong, explosive, fit, and has to come with a wide array of technical skills, including those in hand-to-hand combat.
Not only does he need these skills, but he also needs to be first class in a lot of them.
This is actually a nightmare, programming wise, because you have so many physically competing demands, and a lack of recovery can become an issue. This means that we need to prioritise what’s most important, and make sure that gets our focus.
For me, this would be his technical training sessions in combat training, as well as weapons training. The reason is quite simple – no one is going to care how much Bond can bench press if a Norwegian goat herder with one arm can disarm him.
For that very reason, his combat and weapons training sessions will need to be done nearly every day, and Bond will need to have recovered from his physical training sessions enough to ensure that these sessions remain at a high quality.
So, much like a professional athlete’s in-season schedule, Bond’s strength training in the gym would be designed to enhance, not hinder, his other training sessions, and they definitely can’t tax his recovery too much.
This means that he wouldn’t be doing any sets to failure, or beating his body down. In fact, our goal would be for him to come out of these sessions feeling better than when he went in, as any good strength training session should do.
This basically translates into a program designed to consist of a much lower overall volume, with a focus on high-quality movement.
In addition to all of this, we need to schedule in time for Bond to get some more long-distance cardio in (for those odd occasions when he doesn’t have transport available), some yoga (to help with recovery/staying mobile), and some Parkour training as well (to help his ability to run down bad guys, especially Namibian terrorists).
All in all this gives a lot of work to fit into a standard 7-day training week. To give you an idea of what this week might look like, here’s how we’d break it down.
Sunday – Weapons Training AM, Yoga PM
Monday – Strength Session #1 AM, Combat Training PM
Tuesday – Parkour Training AM, Weapons Training PM
Wednesday – Strength Training Session #2 AM, Combat Training PM
Thursday – Weapons Training AM, Yoga PM
Friday – Strength Training Session #3 AM, Combat Training PM
Saturday – Long-Endurance Session, or Pool Recovery Only
Example Strength Training Session
To label this session as strength training only is actually a bit narrow-sighted, as it would encompass not only strength, but also power, agility, high-intensity fitness, as well as some mobility and flexibility work. It’s much more of a holistic physical preparation session.
Something from Amped Up Warm Up, such as the warm up below. This will provide Bond with much of the mobility and flexibility needs required by his job, as well as better prepare his body for the session to follow.
Superset # 1 – Power Work
A1) Box Jumps – 5 sets of 3 reps
A2) Plyometric Push Ups – 5 sets of 3 reps
Note – Explode into every rep of every set for both exercises. This is for power, dammit!
Superset # 2 – Strength Work (Lower Pull/Upper Push)
B1) Trap Bar Deadlift – work up to 3 heavy sets of 3 reps
B2) Close-Grip Bench Press – work up to 3 heavy sets of 3 reps
Note – Weight these at about 90% of 3RM, and you should never fail on a rep of these. If you did, the weight was too heavy, back off a bit.
Superset # 3 – Strength Work (Lower Push/Upper Pull)
C1) Front-Squat Grip Reverse Lunge – 3 sets of 6 reps
C2) Weighted Chin Up – 3 sets of 6 reps
High-Intensity Cardio Finisher
D1) Rope Battle Intervals – 30-seconds of various movements, followed by a 30-seconds of rest. Repeat 8 times.
What you will notice from the session above is that there are no sets dedicated to isolating certain muscles (for improving looks), and truth be told, there wouldn’t ever be much of that for Bond. The thing about the life of being a super spy is that it’s all about performance – and its kind a pass/fail grading system.
You either get the job done, or you don’t.
Besides that, I don’t know a person alive who’d care about how good they look when they were in the middle of dodging bullets. That said, what you find is that when the body is performing well, getting stronger, and isn’t storing excess body fat, the looks will come without the need to focus on it.
So there you have it – my take on the whole ‘how to train like Bond’ topic. Now get to training, and go out there and save the world!
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