Learn He-Man’s recipe for great guns

Laura Williams
WHATEVER your feelings about the acting skills of Swedish action film star Dolph Lundgren, the man has guns. That is, insanely sculpted arms and a physique that suggests super-human strength. So when an opportunity arose to go and train with him while he was in London to promote his new film the Expendables, I couldn’t resist. And with the calories and booze of Christmas parties around the corner, it seemed a prime opportunity to kick-start some Little Black Dress body sculpting.

And so I found myself in LA Fitness’s Holborn branch where Lundgren was in situ – putting trainers and members through their paces – for the launch LA Fitness’s new crew class, the brilliantly named Guns Workshop.

The Guns Workshop is as it sounds – an upper body routine that promises to “get you guns like an action movie star”. As Dolph’s most famous line ever is: “I must break you” to Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV, you can understand why myself and my fitness peers were somewhat apprehensive about a training session with this man.

Luckily the session was neither ludicrous nor impossible for anyone bar the shiniest Hollywood musclemen. Lundgren had a pleasant manner and a realistic workout vision – rather than being a terrifying ordeal, this was a punchy upper body workout that simply and efficiently does what it says on the tin. You’ll be left with a respectable amount of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – the posh term for feeling sore and achey after a good workout) – but not paralysis. Best if all, if you repeat this workout regularly, your upper body will be noticeably more toned in a short space of time.

So what’s a crew class and what’s this one about? Crew classes are led by LA Fitness instructors who recruit five or six members during peak times for a short, sharp class on the gym floor. It might be a blast of interval training, say, or in this case a 20-minute upper body circuit session, in order to add variety and intensity to members’ workouts.

The circuit-style workout is suitable for both men and women – both for guys who want bigger, buffer arms (especially those who have reached a size plateau) and also for the ladies wanting to boast sculpted shoulders. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want those shoulders gleaming under the party season’s cutest frocks? Exactly.

For more information on the Guns Workshop and LA Fitness, visit www.lafitness.co.uk. Club locations include London Wall; St Paul’s; Leadenhall, and West India Quay.


Training with Lundgren himself was a one-off. But you can still take yourself through the workout yourself. Here’s what you need to try it out in your own gym or at home.
l Perform 3 circuits of each exercise with no rest between each exercise or each circuit
Circuit 1 = 1 x 20 reps of each exercise
Circuit 2 = 2 x 15 reps of each exercise
Circuit 3 = 3 x 10 reps of each exercise
l Each circuit should consist of the
following exercises:
• Barbell curl
• Skull crushers (see 3)
• Standing dumbbell curl (see 1)
• Tricep kickbacks (see 2)
• Hammer curl
• Close-grip press up
• Incline dumbbell curl
• Overhead tricep extension (see 4)


l Don’t forget the puff stuff: You can use the cardio component of your routine to help tone your arms too – boxing, swimming and rowing all use the upper arm muscles and the shoulder muscles too, helping to create definition. As they’re aerobic forms of exercise, they’ll help to shift any overlaying fat sitting on top of the muscles.

l Mix up your routine: If you’re a guy who’s used to performing 3-4 sets of 10 reps, in order to increase mass, try the Guns Workshop one day a week for a month to shock your muscle fibres. This should help to prevent any strength and size gain plateaus.

l Work to failure: Make sure you’re lifting a heavy enough weight to ensure that your arms are sufficiently fatigued by the end of the set – that means being unable to squeeze that last rep out.

l Watch your weight: If you’re going much above 10 reps per set, the chances are you’re not lifting heavy enough weight to achieve sufficient growth in muscle size. Make sure you select a weight that enables you to fail at around 8-10 reps; 12 maximum.

l Don’t forget to replenish your stocks: If you’re really serious about getting great guns, it’s worthwhile supplementing your diet with a sports nutrition product that will help with everything from boosting muscle growth to aiding in muscle repair and recovery. A great one is Maximuscle’s Progain and Cyclone (maximuscle.com).