Want a superhero body? Lean, muscular, but not over-the-top? That’s where the Charlie Cox Daredevil workout comes in — this superhero fitness plan can help you go from skinny to ripped, with Marvel-worthy abs.
Try Functional Strength Training
If you’ve watched Daredevil on Netflix, you know that Cox’s signature look is muscular and seriously defined. Strength training is obviously important — but the key is functional training. After all, you’re not going for huge and meaty, but lean and athletic.
What does that mean in the gym? Don’t bother with huge weights or old-fashioned isolations. Instead of doing a knee extension, try squats. Instead of a cable fly, try a bench press to work more muscles. It’s also important to do a mix of push and pull exercises. (1)
Eat Plenty of Calories
Weight loss and weight gain follow a simple formula — if you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight. If you burn more than you eat, you’ll lose weight. That means that if you want to build muscle, you need to eat more than you’re burning.
The trick? Eating the right kinds of foods. Fast food and ice cream aren’t going to cut it. During his training for Daredevil, Cox eats lots of veggies, lean protein, and complex carbs. Think sweet potatoes, chicken, and fish.
Work in Plyometrics
As part of his Daredevil training, Cox works in plyometrics, or jumping exercises. This is crucial for ripped abs, since jumping requires massive core strength. Every time you jump onto a box or into a squat, your ab muscles contract to help control your body.
There’s no need to do an entire plyo workout. Just work in a few exercises into each day. You could warm up by jumping rope, for example, or do a few sets of box jumps. If you’re short on time, combine plyo and strength training with jump squats or jump lunges.
Burn Extra Fat With Cardio
When you’re looking to get ripped abs, extra fat is the enemy. It can hide your muscles from view, especially if it’s on your stomach. Cox solves this problem with cardio, which burns calories and melts fat.
Plus, cardio helps keep your body in shape, so you can power through strength training. According to The American Heart Association, aerobic endurance activity helps your lungs, heart, and circulatory system. (2) A few times a week, go for a run, take a swim, or do as Cox does and try the rowing machine.
Get Into Sports
If there’s one thing that defines Daredevil, it’s his athleticism. That lean, muscular frame doesn’t just come from lifting weights — it’s also about agility. When you’re sitting at a desk all day, your muscles become less accustomed to quick, unexpected movements.
The key? Sports. Think about the fast direction changes you need to make on the basketball or tennis court. They challenge all of your muscles, but especially your core. Build on your lifting by joining pick-up games, playing hockey, or even taking up racquetball.
Don’t Take Time Off
Cox doesn’t take much time off of his workout routine, even when Daredevil is filming. Why? The longer you go without working out, the more fitness you lose. If you go too long, you end up losing a big chunk of your progress, which means you’re basically starting over.
Of course, it’s impossible to keep a perfect schedule. If you’re out of town for a weekend, get right back to it on Monday. If you have to go on vacation, try to get in short workouts in the hotel gym. Even 15-30 intense minutes can help minimize detraining.
Maximize Your Training Time
With his busy production schedule, Cox usually has just one hour per day to get shredded. If you’re in the same boat, make the most of your training time by upping the intensity and reducing rest. That way, you get the biggest results without spending hours in the gym.
Cox’s trainer often breaks his hour into 20-minute blocks. You can follow suit by picking three exercises, each targeting different muscle groups. Then, rotate through them for the 20 minutes, taking as little rest as possible. Repeat twice, using two other groups of three exercises to work your whole body.
Eat Like an Athlete
As you build muscle and gain fitness, your diet needs to change accordingly. Think like an athlete, and eat for performance. Ditch processed foods, focus on whole foods, and don’t forget to balance your carbs, fats, and proteins.
According to University of Missouri Health Care, vitamins are crucial, especially vitamin D and calcium. (3) Dark green vegetables and dairy can help you meet the recommended daily allowance of each.
Don’t Do Exercises You Hate
One of the fastest ways to stop working out like Daredevil is to do exercises you hate. That’s the great thing about fitness — there’s always an alternative. Cox did exactly that when he swapped out the sled for other exercises.
When you make a swap, make sure that your replacement exercise is working the same muscle groups. Instead of squats, try step-ups and lunges. If you hate burpees, get the same burn with jump squats or vertical jumps.
Know Your Body
For Cox, the trick to sticking to the Daredevil workout is finding the time that works best for him. You can do the same by working out at different times and noticing how they make you feel. Do you feel awful after a morning workout? Don’t do it!
Everyone’s body is different. By finding the time that works for your schedule and your physiology, you make it easier to keep going and build a habit.
Get in the Pool
If you’ve ever tried to swim with technique, you know it is a killer full-body workout. The core is the most important part; it keeps you taut and straight in the pool. When you want Daredevil’s ripped abs, it pays to add swimming to your routine.
Keep in mind that a few lazy laps isn’t going to cut it. The magic is in the technique. If you’re new to the sport, it pays to hire a coach to teach you the basics. After a few months of swimming, you’ll see serious definition in your abs.
Try the Texas Method
When Daredevil is in production and time is limited, Cox’s trainer does The Texas method. This lifting method challenges your body in new ways, helping you to make bigger gains in less time. If you’ve been noticing diminishing gains the longer you lift — which is completely normal — this method can help
The Texas method combines increased weight and different levels of volume to force your body to adapt and build strength. (4) You might have one day that has a high level of reps, a recovery day, and an intensity day. If you want to try this method, it’s a good idea to work with a trained coach to help reduce the risk of injury.
Make Fitness a Way of Life
Building Daredevil-caliber abs takes dedication. That’s why it’s important to make the workout a way of life rather than a short-term solution. When you work fitness into your everyday routine, it becomes a habit, just like brushing your teeth — and that’s where the big results happen.
Cox has a busy schedule, so he plans workouts into his day in advance. If you can aim for an hour each training day, you’re doing well. That way, you always have a steady base of fitness without overdoing it, but you’re not overdoing it or risking injury.
Don’t Skip Out on Your Rest Days
During Daredevil training, Cox never works out seven days a week. His usual routine is five days per week, bumping up to six in the weeks before a shoot. This rest time gives the body time to heal, build muscle, and get ready for the next workout.
As you’re following Cox’s workout for Daredevil, make sure to build two rest days into your schedule. That doesn’t mean you can lie on the couch for 24 hours; The American Council on Exercise recommends that rest days include light activity to improve circulation. (5) You could go for a walk, get some work done in the yard, or take care of errands around town.
Switch it up With Martial Arts
Daredevil is a fighter at heart, so martial arts is an important part of Cox’s training. Take a page from the Daredevil book and hit a Muay Thai or boxing class on your days off from the gym. The options are endless — you can also try Jiu Jitsu, karate, kickboxing, or taekwondo.
Martial arts torch calories, which helps you burn off the layer of fat that’s covering your abs. The kick-heavy moves rely on core strength, so each time you twist, lean, and lift your leg, you’re building stronger abs. Best of all? The workout is fun and constantly changing, so you never need to worry about banging out endless reps.
Get Past the First Few Weeks
If you’ve ever started a new fitness routine, you know that the first couple of weeks are the hardest. Do what Cox did and focus on getting through those first workouts, and everything else should be easier.
In the beginning, it’s also important to measure yourself. Don’t do more than you can handle — after all, if you can’t walk the next day, you certainly can’t workout. Reduce reps, weight, or time until your soreness is manageable, and you’ll start to see results faster.
Have Alternatives at the Ready
Do you ever have days when you just can’t face the gym? That’s natural, but when you’re building muscle and working on your abs, it’s important not to miss too many days.
To make sure you’re getting in all of your workouts, be prepared with alternatives. If you don’t feel like going to the gym, do an Insanity session, or search YouTube for a plyo routine. That way, you can get in a killer workout without extra mental stress.
Get Ripped Like Charlie Cox With the Daredevil Workout
If you’re ready to get lean, ripped abs, now’s the time to start. Whether you’re super skinny or carrying a spare tire around your waist, this superhero workout is a manageable fitness solution. By working slow and building a habit, you can get shredded and stay that way — no special powers needed.