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In Robert Eggers’ new epic ‘The Northman’, out this weekend, Alexander Skarsgård seeks revenge on a man who killed both his parents and usurped the throne from his royal father. It’s a lofty task, which sees his character scale mountains, row through turbulent waters, and engage in brutal, primal combat. Tasked with such body-intensive assignments, it makes sense that the 45-year-old actor would need to make some serious physical transformations in preparation for the film – not just to convincingly take on the role of a Norse Viking, but simply to do it. a scene without breaking down from exhaustion.

Skarsgård’s compelling portrayal as a bombastic warrior with superhuman strength (and seriously ripped abs) is entirely due to fitness trainer and physical movement coach Magnus Lygdback who first worked with the actor on ” Tarzan” in 2019.

“His spirit animal is a wolf and a bear, so we really wanted to incorporate that into the character,” Lygdback said. Variety. “We needed him to move like a wolf, and have the vibe and presence and look of a bear like in the big, imposing way he walks.”

Anyone who’s seen the movie, or even promotional footage featuring Skarsgård’s character, won’t be surprised to find that one main area they focused on during training was the shoulders. His primary weapon is a heavy ax which he uses lavishly – in one scene he chops an enemy off a horse.

His training schedule included six gym sessions a week, one a day, for three months before filming. Balance is key for Lygdback, who disagrees with the grueling 2-3 hours of work a day that other trainers impose on their clients for these types of movies. “All you do after the first hour is just start breaking down your body,” he says.

His strategy seems to be working. He’s become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after trainers, known for his work preparing the body contortions of James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2019 “Glass”, strengthening Ben Affleck for “Justice League” and body shaping Alicia Vikander for the Tomb Raider. film.

So what are Lygdback’s best fitness and wellness programs? Even if you don’t turn into a Viking, here’s how you can get in shape the Lygdback way, from the comfort of your home.

resistance bands

Courtesy of The Magnus Method

“I’m a big fan of bands when it comes to warming up and working on shoulder stability and mobility. Kettlebells are good too. We used a lot of shoulder relief warm ups and then to build up the top we did a lot of weight training.



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Courtesy of Theragun

My meeting [for recovery] is Theragun, for sure. Jason, the company founder, was the first to do this and as a physical therapist he is super smart. They are always one and two steps ahead of everyone. They’re researching this, they’re actually paying for research to see how different kinds of vibrations will treat people differently. They are definitely the best by far. I have all of them.”



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Courtesy of Tonal

“Tonal is a superior machine for many different reasons. For one, you have a big screen with on-demand lessons, even kids’ lessons. Children can train in a group without touching the machine itself. But then you have these two big arms or wires sticking out, which turns it into two. He shows up and he will sense your strength, he will determine your strength and give you the right resistance. And it can also put more load on Essentrics, which is fantastic. And can give you up to 250 pounds of resistance.



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Olly Muscle Recovery Sleep Candy (44% off)

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Courtesy of Amazon

“When I’m traveling or I’m jet lagged and trying to get into a new time zone, I have a little protocol that I do…I really like Olly Gummies. They contain melatonin which is a natural hormone that is released when you are tired, L-theanine which comes from green tea leaves and lowers your stress hormones in your body, and chamomile, lemon balm and blackberry.

Olly Muscle Recovery Gummies


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Un’sweet Wine Zero Sugar Wine

Courtesy of Un’sweet Wine

“Well, personally, I drink Michelob Ultra which is 95 calories. It’s my favorite beer. But Un’sweet Wine, which I co-founded, is by far the best option that is an unsweetened, sugar-free wine. It’s something you can do when you’re training…and there’s no difference. [in the taste].

We were in Belfast Northern Ireland [when we were shooting] so we didn’t have access to sweet wine at the time, but we had a glass of low-sugar wine on the weekends when we were cooking dinner. It was a pandemic, so we were stuck together in our house, so we had a glass of wine and watched football.



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