Stranger Things, the science fiction horror drama show that is streaming on Netflix, has become a global phenomenon. And, with each passing season, the threats to the main cast in the show become more extreme, meaning they need to ensure they’re physically capable of seeing them off.
For David Harbour – who plays Jim Hopper, the chief of police in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana – the latest season, Stranger Things 4, sees him finding his way to the icy cold climates of Russia. Speaking to Tudum, he says “It was very difficult this year. For me, it was a lot of cold weather. It was barefoot in the snow in Lithuania 20℉ below, and I wasn’t eating a lot of food because I was very emaciated this season. And so it was a brutal season on me, physically and emotionally.”
Check out David Harbour’s Stranger Things 4 workout
Naturally, David had to prepare himself physically before filming began, and thanks to his personal trainer, Don Saladino, we’re able to see exactly what kind of brutal punishment David put himself through to get into fighting-fit shape.
Taking to TikTok, Don – a celebrity personal trainer who also calls Ryan Reynolds and Sebastian Stan his clients – posted a video of David completing a brutal full body workout. Exercises include deadlifts, medicine ball slams, sled pushes and farmers carries.
So, if you want to get physically strong enough to fight off Demogorgons, here’s what you need to do.
- Deadlift – Check out our complete guide to learn how to perform a deadlift correctly. But, as a quick guide, setup a barbell with some weight (start light to begin), grip it using an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. Squat down until your shins touch the bar, lock your shoulder blades down, look forward and push up through your feet. Make sure to keep the bar close to your body throughout the duration of the exercise. Squeeze your glutes when you’re in a standing position and slowly return to the starting position.
- Medicine Ball Slams – Grab hold of a medicine ball (your gym should have them lying around somewhere). From a standing position, raise the ball above your head with arms out straight and literally slam it down to the floor. Squat down to pick it up and repeat for 12 – 15 reps.
Medicine ball slams are great for working virtually all the muscles in your body. In particular, they can help strengthen your shoulders, upper back and core muscles.
- Farmer’s Carry – The farmer’s carry can be performed using either dumbbells or kettlebells (David uses the latter). What you want to make sure of is that you’re using a heavy weight. Holding a heavy weight in each hand down by your side, walk for either a set distance or a set period of time, it’s entirely up to you. A good starting point is to walk for around 20-metres.
During the farmer’s carry, ensure your arms are kept close to your body, your shoulder blades are locked down and your core is braced. The farmer’s walk is great for strengthening your core, forearms and upper back in particular. Perform the farmer’s carry for 6 – 8 reps at 20-metres per rep, for a total of 3 – 4 sets.
- Sled Push – The sled push also features in many of Chris Hemsworth’s workouts, so you know it’s good, and it’s particularly effective at strengthening your lower body muscles, along with your glutes and your core. To perform, load some weight on a sled (if your gym has one, there should also be a dedicated sled push track). You may not know exactly how much weight you can comfortably put on to begin with, so take time to experiment.
With the weight loaded, get into a low position (this will likely happen almost instinctively) and grab the sled handles with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with your arms either straight or bent. Digging your feet into the floor, start pushing the sled. The first few metres will be the toughest, but once you’ve got momentum behind you, it will start to feel easier.
Make sure to brace your core throughout the duration of the movement, and that the main driving force is coming from the front of your feet. Push the sled down the track, turn around and push it back to the starting point. Perform this 8 – 10 times for 3 sets.