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In the 2010 action-war summer blockbuster “The Expendables”, five-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Randy “The Natural” Couture (b. 1963) trades in his trunks for military fatigues and an amazing ride through some explosive on-screen mayhem.

Couture’s Expendables character, demolitions expert Toll Road, is the intellectual within the team.  However, don’t think for a second that the mixed martial artist (MMA) nicknamed “Captain America” does not bring it alongside Sylvester Stallone and the other action superstars.  Randy knew as well as anyone about the high amount of testosterone that would dominate the scenes during production.  Therefore, with strength and conditioning coach Jake Bonacci, he constructed a devastating circuit workout that would push his physical limits and help him survive the rigors of “no holds barred” filming.

What follows is the exact nineteen exercise, forty-five minute circuit that Randy Couture used in preparation for “The Expendables” as first revealed on bodybuilding.com :

Warm-up: 5-minute jog followed by 30-second rest

5 minutes on Agility Ladder followed by 30-second rest.

– Alternating Leg-up Crunch: 1 set of 12 repetitions per side.
– Windmill: 1 set of 8 repetitions, per side
– V-Crunch: 1 set of 12 repetitions
– Superman: 8 repetitions

– Hip Crossover: 1 set of 6 repetitions, per side
– Ab Wheel: 1 set of 15 repetitions followed by 45-second rest.
– Stiff-Legged Deadlift to Shrug: 1 set of 5 repetitions followed by 30-second rest.

– (Kettlebell) Hang Clean: 4 sets of 3 repetitions, 30 seconds rest between sets; 45 second rest upon conclusion.
– Front Squat: 3 sets of 4 repetitions, 30 second rest between sets.
– Jump Squats: 1 set of 5 repetitions

Superset #1: Three Rounds; 30 seconds rest between rounds

One-Arm Stability Ball Dumbbell Press: 1 set of 7 repetitions, per arm.
(Medicine ball) Chest Throw: 1 set of 4 repetitions followed by 45-second rest.

Superset #2: Three Rounds; 30 seconds rest between rounds

Dumbbell Row with Bands: 1 set of 8 repetitions
Overhead Slam on Bosu: 1 set of 5 repetitions followed by 45-second rest.

Giant Set: Two Rounds; 45 seconds rest between rounds

Supinating Dumbbell Curls: 1 set of 8 repetitions.
Overhead Alternating Lunges: 1 set of 10 repetitions or 5 repetitions per leg.
Dips: 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Couture’s Sage Words of Advice

  • Don’t overtrain; allow yourself adequate recovery time (tapering) within the overall workout schedule.
  • Find a dedicated training partner.
  • Carbohydrates early in the day; proteins late to promote recovery after tough workouts.  Greens are good!
  • Change your eating habits, but allow yourself the occasion treat.  Eat when hungry, and eat a lot!

Cannon’s Conclusion

Randy Couture’s Expendable circuit is one mean workout.  Three or four circuits per week will go a long way towards building lean muscle mass and losing fat.  There is a cardio element built in, especially within the “no rest” superset stuff, but Couture admits that strength gains are the main goal 10-11 weeks prior to filming or a MMA bout.

If you’re up to it, you can hit the treadmill or the bike for 10-15 minutes at the end.

Don’t think Couture is serious in the gym?  Have a look at Randy’s video, in which he goes through each and every exercise.

Randy may no longer be at his MMA prime now, but he continues his Hall of Fame career with a bout against former world boxing champion James Toney in UFC 118.  In addition, he keeps making positive inroads as an actor and business owner (the Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts training organization).

Thanks to Randy Couture’s appearance in “The Expendables”, more people will take a look at mixed martial arts to see whether they offer something for their personal fitness.  Another small step towards legitimizing MMA and moving it towards the mainstream of sports entertainment…

Source:  “Randy Couture’s Expendables Workout.” www.bodybuilding.com  http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/randy-couture-expendables.htm 20 Aug 10.


Chris Cannon
Chris Cannon

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