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James Bond becomes Leaner and More Athletic

It’s late 2007, and Daniel Craig is still being lauded for his Casino Royale performance and workout routine.  Obviously, the results spoke for themselves – recall the famous beach “swimsuit” scene where Craig comes out the water, wired to kill.  However, for his second James Bond appearance in “Quantum of Solace” (2008), he knew that things in the training room had to change:

“Last time I did a lot of weights to bulk up because I had to do it quickly. This time I’m going to do more boxing and more running. I need to be physically strong for Bond and, as much as I looked in great shape, I got a lot of injuries, probably due to the fact that I wasn’t doing enough running and jumping, which is what I needed to do in the film. I won’t look physically much different, but I won’t be as ‘no neck’ as I was last time.”

Daniel Craig’s “Quantum of Solace” Routine

Once again, Daniel Craig enlisted the help of fitness trainer Simon Waterson, who altered the exercise sets his pupil would undertake this time.  If you read the Casino Royale workout, recall that it was based on “giant” heavy weight-training supersets to accelerate Daniel’s muscular development.

While keeping parts of his previous circuit training regimen, Daniel cut back on the heavy resistance training, never going beyond forty-minutes a session and reducing the “Casino” superset loads.  As before, compound “push, pull, and lifting” exercises formed the core of his routine:

  • Dips, Pull-ups, Lateral Raises, Squats, Press-ups
  • Deadlifts, Lunges, Step-ups
  • Bench press, Dumbbell rows, Overhead dumbbell press

For a change of pace, Craig added more treadmill work, as well as trampoline and gymnastics exercises.  He reportedly nearly mastered the “crucifixion move” (Iron Cross), a maneuver in which gymnasts support themselves with both arms extended horizontally.

Upon release of “Quantum”, Craig confirmed to GQ’s John Naughton that, indeed, he was fitter and less bulky than in Casino Royale.

Speed Boating and Stunt Driving on Rest Days?

Knowing the “Quantum” work schedule would be more demanding (believe it, or not!) that his previous Bond film, Daniel Craig used his active rest days to sharpen his speed boating and stunt driving skills, going beyond his regular 10-12 hour shoots..  No doubt he also did some “easier” cardio as well, but it is clear from the movie itself that Daniel’s athleticism was at an all-time high.

Prior to and during filming, rumors circulated in British tabloids that Daniel Craig used Yoga and Pilates routines to improve his flexibility and help prevent injury during the more brutal action scenes.  While we at Free Muscle Building Tips cannot confirm this, either of the aforementioned systems would make sense for someone performing dangerous movie stunts.

The Cannon Conclusion

All praise to Daniel Craig for altering his “Casino Royale” routine – an exercise regime that delivered massive short-term results (muscles, media coverage, fitness community fans, etc.) but was in many ways incomplete.  As a respected English actor, evolving into a “musclehead” made no sense, even if it led to more financially rewarding “Hollywood-style” job offers.  Instead, Craig chose to improve his overall health and athletic ability by improving balance, flexibility, and coordination.

BTW, he still gets “A-list” work, as his roles in “Cowboys and Aliens” (2011) and the upcoming Spielberg trilogy “The Adventures of Tintin” demonstrate.

Although “Quantum of Solace” was not as well received by critics as its predecessor, Daniel Craig continued to be praised for his acting quality, gritty screen presence, and menacingly powerful physique.  He appears to have succeeded in his stated goal of being more fit in the “revenge” 007 flick.  Yet, given the uncertainty surrounding the next installment in the James Bond franchise, have we seen the last of Daniel Craig in this role?  The actor is the perfect 21st century Bond, a refreshing change from cookie-cutter action-spy heroes that rely too much on special effects and computer graphics.  The silver anniversary of the iconic series is not that far away…


Naughton, John. “Spy Harder”, GQ November 2008, pp. 278-335

Palmer, Martyn. “The man with the golden touch.” http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk Nov 24 07    p. 1 Aug 13 10.

“Meet the 2008 MF 25.” www.mensfitness.com June/July 2008.  http://www.mensfitness.com/fitness/287?page=4 Aug 14 10.

Chris Cannon
Chris Cannon

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