Posted by on Sep 11, 2014

Eric and Ryan Johnson are the Sons of Strength. They’re brothers and New York City based coaches. Do you want to get trained by Eric and Ryan? Experience first hand how the Sons of Strength, Eric and Ryan Johnson, prepare their clientele of A-List celebrities and champion fighters for feature films, photoshoots, and title matches. Check out Eric’s new Fitocracy Team, Action Hero Physique.

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles”
– Christopher Reeves (a real life Superman)

What makes someone an action hero? It isn’t the arsenal of weapons they have at their disposal (although we have helped our clients develop some serious guns). It certainly isn’t their sexy uniforms.

White Trash Marvel Cosplayers, we salute you.

White Trash Marvel Cosplayers, we salute you.

The definition lies within their beating hearts and the actions performed. Coming face-to-face with adversity, the action hero displays the fearlessness and tenacity to rise to any challenge.

Off the movie screen, the action hero cannot rely on super powers. Instead, they must depend on their character and inner workings of physical prowess, brainpower, and confidence to become their own action hero.

1. Athleticism.

Although the coveted Action Hero Physique shows off ideal body composition of lean muscle mass and low body fat, he or she must also be able to perform. You must have the SHOW and GO.

Yes, we want you to look damn good in that uniform. However, you never know when you will be called to action. The action hero is strong, athletic, and agile.

That means their training must target mobility, power, and strength.

2. Intuition.

Without being able to fly, reach super sonic speeds, or lift up buildings (yet), the Action Hero must use their knowledge, experience, and intuition to achieve their goals.

That begins with having a plan.

Now you don’t always have to follow the plan because the enemy may throw you a curveball. So be ready to make changes on the fly. Going into every adventure (also known as your workouts), listen to your body and don’t be afraid to adjust. Lower the intensity, try a different variation of an exercise, spend more time in your mobility, or just do a recovery session instead.

As you train more, you will develop this keen sense of what your body needs. Become aware of it, but do not make it an excuse not to train hard.

Below, we will present to you a new plan to supercharge your workouts. Think of it as Warm Up 2.0 or the Action Hero Warm Up.

3. The Mindset.

The workout is your battle. It’s You versus You. Every rep and set calls for you to overcome not only the iron, but the voice in your head holding you back.

Going into every workout, we want you to dig deep and pull out any motivation you can find. It can be the reason why you’re training in the first place. Watch YouTube videos, listen to a speech that fires you up, read quotes, find pictures on Instagram, play your favorite music.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Just put yourself in the mindset to absolutely dominant your enemy and come out victorious in your adventure.

The Action Hero Warm Up


Think of this as more of a template. You should place this after your self myofascial release work (foam rolling), specific corrective exercise, and basic dynamic mobility drills. This is a perfect opportunity to stay on your routine but spice up the beginning of training session.

The Action Hero Warm Up will improve your physique and performance by elevating your heart rate, priming mobility, activating your core, and getting your central nervous system firing on all cylinders.

1. Prime Mobility

We begin with priming the mobility we already have. You will look to increase flexibility and fix movement patterns before this in your corrective work. These movements will be more dynamic in fashion and mobilize the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine together.

Dynamic Mobility:
Bear crawls (our favorite!)
Inchworm (aka hand walk outs)
Spiderman lunge
Chops and Lifts (mostly done in a half kneeling position)

2. Activate the Core.

Core strength: a favorite among all action heroes, and not just because the spandex shows off the six-pack. You must be able to carry your artillery so you might as well build up those abdominals. We have found that loaded carries are an excellent choice to activate the core while integrating proper breathing patterns, focus on weak areas (like overloading the overhead carry), and getting the supporting musculature, like the lats, involved. You will see a huge carry over (no pun intended) to your main lifts while building that Action Hero Physique.

Loaded Carries:
Farmer’s Walk
Suitcase Carry (1 Arm Farmer’s Walk)
Waiter’s Walk
Rack (single and double) Walk
Turkish Get-Up to Overhead Walk

3. Fire Up the CNS.

Here, we will use plyometrics for the upper and lower body to stimulate the central nervous system. These are explosive movements that work the type II muscle fibers and promote overall athleticism. Be sure that you have sound movement patterns before performing. In other words: before you think of doing a box jump, make sure you can do a body weight squat.

Lower Body:
Jumps: both legs – box jump, squat jump, depth jump
Leaps: one leg to the other – lateral bound
Hops: one leg to the same leg – hurdle hop

Resistance (weights/vests/bands)

Upper Body:

Explosive Push-up
Depth Drop Push-up

Medicine Ball Throws:
Side Toss
Overhead Throw
Chest Pass
Eric’s Fitocracy Team, Action Hero Physique, will utilize this unique warm up strategy in certain phases of the program. So we don’t leave you hanging, here are some advanced examples:

The John Snow Show and Go

A1. MB Slam + Lunge Matrix

A2. Bear Crawl

A3. Box Jump 2 -> 1

A4. KB Rack Walk

Game On with Gamora

A1. 3 Hurdle Drill

A2. Spiderman Lunge

A3. MB Side Toss

A4. BU Carry

Featured image and “We Have Recognized Your Unique Abilities” courtesy of Colin Dunn. Find more of his work at White Trash Marvel Cosplayers courtesy of V Threepio. All photos used under a Creative Commons License.

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