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MI6 Conditioning: The James Bond Daniel Craig Workout visits Rich Man's Gym

Updated on August 10, 2016
Secret Agent Conditioning.  Do you have it?  How do you get it?
Secret Agent Conditioning. Do you have it? How do you get it? | Source

Secret Agent Fitness

When you see Daniel Craig as James Bond on Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, or Casino Royal, you have to wonder, Is the physique Daniel Craig puts on to play 007 simply Hollywood's idea of what someone with a License to Kill should look like or is there some merit to it?

Being a spy or secret agent like James Bond will require many things one of which will be to be in top physical condition 24/7.

The ability to look good naked is simply a consequence of the training and not the goal of the training itself.

So let's look at some real life physical training by our elite military and then let's see how to plug that one in to being able to workout anywhere which is the theme of Rich Man's Gym.

Rich Man's Gym is all about not being limited by the standard that to get in shape you have to "go to the gym" rather Rich Man's Gym is about the freedom to achieve peak physical conditioning anywhere you find yourself. Which when you think about it, wouldn't be such a bad idea if you're deep under cover sniffing out a double agent who's got the codes to a nuclear weapon.


Understanding Bond From The Beginning

Before becoming part of the British Secret Service, James Bond was part of the Royal Navy where he earned the title of Commander.

Strength and conditioning in any armed forces branch is crucial to survival in the field. Your level of conditioning very well may be the difference between life and death.

Physical standards in the Royal Navy are just that, standards. Reaching elite levels that get you 00 status is something else entirely. Here's the challenge for the would be Bond just getting started.

  • 2.4km run with an average time of 12 minutes more or less given your age. (which is about a mile and a half - that's 6 laps around the track)
  • 23 Push Ups and 39 sit ups for men and 17/29 for the ladies
  • Shuttle Runs or Wind Sprints for distance 5 sets of 55 meters in 59 seconds for the fellows and 72 seconds for the ladies.
  • Don't forget this is the Royal Navy so be prepared to get wet. You need to be able to swim fully clothed. Tread water for 2 minutes then swim for 50 meters.

NOTE: If you're not serious about joining the Royal Navy but looking for the conditioning, you have my permission to swim in a swim suit. However, I'd challenge you to add one minute to the tread and 10 meters to the swim to make up for not doing it clothed.

This would be your entry examine into the conditioning required to even consider what is necessary to be a secret agent when you grow up. Good news is you can do all of this at Rich Man's Gym. Swimming may be a challenge, but if the goal is swimming for free, get in a lake or the ocean and get to it!


SAS Conditioning (Special Air Service)

If you can even qualify for S.A.S you are a badass dude. Period. The British Special Air Service is comparable to the Navy Seals.

A candidate for the S.A.S. will progress to what is deemed as to the "ultimate physical test", where the candidate goes for a 22 hour march (approximately) with a 55 pound pack, and his assault rifle. This endurance march, which is a 65 kilometer march is also called a TAB. T.A.B. to my understanding means Tactical Advance to Battle. In my opinion it could also mean "Total Assault on Body" because that's what's about to happen.

So, you need to be able to hoof it hard core and being able to function at this level of conditioning is only for the elite. Hence the term.

Keep in mind, this is just to have the honor to train with these maniacs. Once you're in, there's more. Weapons, Navigation, Driving, Camouflage, Observation, Survival, First Aid, etc.

You, as a candidate will also need to maintain strength and conditioning.

So, how do prepare for and build that level of endurance at Rich Man's Gym?

While researching this article, I found this quote:

"Physical fitness, determination, the will to carry on, to be able to go through a pain barrier - that's determination and professionalism, and that's what the SAS are looking for."

Which provided me with the exact Rx on how to incorporate an SAS style workout into Rich Man's Gym...

Enter The Kettlebell!

Kettlebell training when done right will develop physical fitness, determination and the will to carry on. You can also break through pain barriers that you didn't know you had. Kettlebell training will go beyond the physical and deep into the mental aspect of peak physical conditioning and forge the heart of a warrior.

NOTES ON TRAINING TO FAILURE: SKIP IT! ALWAYS LEAVE ONE IN THE CHAMBER. Muscle will grow. You're training for strength and conditioning not Mr. Olympia. Big difference. Besides, you don't have the pharmacist Mr. Olympia does and so your body will react very differently. Muscle failure is just that. Failure.

The Rich Man's Gym Version

James Bond conditioning at Rich Man's Gym really only requires your body weight. However, that being said, there is some standard issue equipment that will suit you well at Rich Man's Gym.

  • Russian Kettlebells.
  • Suspension device such as a TRX or portable Olympic Rings
  • Chest Expander
  • Indian Clubs
  • Chuck Tailors or any flat soled shoe. Barefoot or Vibram 5 Fingers, also acceptable.
  • Coaching. Do not tread lightly into Kettlebell training or any elite athleticism. If you get hurt, it's your fault. Period. Find a qualified instructor.

Looking at Daniel Craig's physique you notice that he has replaced his Deltoids with grapefruits and has massive calves. Body fat content is low somewhere between 9 and 12% if I had to guess. His chest is not massive and his arms are thick. By the time Quantum of Solace show's up, it's clear he's not as pumped up as before, but still lean, strong and thick. Skyfall wasn't out in the states at the time of this writing, but based on the swimming pool still photo floating around the net, Craig made sure he and Mr. Demile were ready for his close up.

Taking that into account and the research I've done on-line (so you won't have to... you're welcome) here's how to get into Bond shape at Rich Man's Gym.

We're going to do a 6 day routine Monday through Saturday with Sunday being a day for active recovery. Active recovery will be on going but that's the day you go for a bike ride, shoot some hoop, get a massage, hit a steam room somewhere and drink a bunch of water. After 6 days of beating yourself up, you want to flush out the system.


Note On Kettlebell Size

Pick a Kettlebell that is consistent with the rep range and is challenging but will also allow for PERFECT form. When you see the word "practice" that means just that that. Practice the movement. Don't "work-out."

6 Days of Strength and Conditioning

Keep in mind a couple things, if you're not in some level of shape to begin with then this may not be the way to go. Also, make sure you're familiar with these drills. DO NOT just wing it. Also, there is a saying in the Marine Corp that pain is weakness leaving the body. While that is true, you also need to know your pain. There's pain like "my muscles hurt, I'm getting tired" and there's pain like, "I'm about to hurt myself." One pain is you busting through a mental barrier and the other means you've had enough. The following workout is what I would do. This is a suggestion to help you develop physical fitness, determination and the will to carry on. Adjust YOUR workouts accordingly and as Pavel Tsatsouline says, "Enjoy the pain."

Day 1:

  • One Arm Kettlebell Clean and Press 5 sets of 6-8
  • Dips 5 sets of ALMOST as many reps as possible
  • Push Ups 5 sets of ALMOST as many reps as possible
  • Wind sprints for distance. 50 yard jog - 50 yard sprint repeat 5 times.
  • Stretch out (I suggest looking at Relax Into Stretch by Pavel Tsatsouline)

Day 2:

  • Pull Ups 5 sets of ALMOST as many reps as possible
  • Ring Rows (think of a reverse push up) 5 sets of 8-10
  • One Arm Kettlebell Rows 5 sets of 8-10
  • Hand to Hand Kettelbell Swings 12 minutes - as many sets of 12 you can muster in 12 minutes.

Day 3:

  • One Arm Clean and Squat 5 sets of 5 per arm
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift holding Kettlebells 5 sets of 3-5
  • Super set Walking Lunges (12 reps) with Jumping Jacks (24 reps) as many sets as possible in 20 minutes

Day 4:

  • Warm Up with Joint Mobility
  • Practice Turkish Get Ups 10 reps per side
  • Practice Kettlebell WIndmills 10 reps per side
  • Bent Knee Raises work up to 3 sets of 40
  • Pump Stretch (see Enter the Kettlebell) 3 sets of 10
  • Face the Wall Squats (see Enter the Kettlebell) 3 sets of 10
  • Halos (see Enter the Kettlebell) 3 sets of 10
  • Go for a swim if possible or bike ride

Day 5:

Escalating Density Training with 2 circuits

  • 1. Double Kettlebell Military Press with Pull Ups (as many sets of 5 in 20 minutes)
  • 2. Push Ups and Chest Expander drill (as many sets of 10 in 20 minutes)
  • 3. Sit Ups 120 reps total. (if that means 12 x 10 or 10 x 12 or any combo you need, just get 120 reps.

Day 6:

Escalating Density Training with 2 circuits

  • 1. Double Kettlebell Front Squats with Step Ups (as many sets of 5 in 20 minutes)
  • 2. 2 Hand Kettlebell Swings and Burpees (as many sets of 10 in 20 minutes)
  • 3. Hanging Leg Raises 50 reps (just like yesterday - getterdone)

The 23rd film in the Bond series opens in Britain on Friday and in the U.S. Nov. 9.
The 23rd film in the Bond series opens in Britain on Friday and in the U.S. Nov. 9. | Source

Who's your favorite 007

Who's your favorite 007

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

So here's the Rich Man's Gym edition of the "Bond Workout." Below are links for you to review the actual work Daniel Craig did with trainer Simon Waterson.

All of these routines are fairly advanced workouts and not for a beginner or someone out of shape. These routines will make sure you look good in a pair of blue La Perla Grigioperla Lodato swim trunks however.

The routines listed above will take your body through a program designed to strengthen and condition you so you can be screen ready to take on any evil villain hell bent on world domination and or destruction AND impress any Bond girl as well!

Make sure you adjust it to your fitness level and that you condition yourself to handle this first. If this was me, I would do this for 6 to 8 weeks at the most. Also, make sure you're getting adequate nutrition. Eat healthy and well. Keep away from the sweets and junk food. Make sure you getting enough high quality protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats.

A few great example meals here would be a grilled chicken breast, black beans and half an avocado. Breakfast would look like a hamburger patty with eggs and cottage cheese with a glass of grapefruit juice. Dinner could be Grilled Salmon and Asparagus with a little lemon butter. Snacks would look like Greek Yogurt and crushed walnuts with a drizzle of honey, or an apple with a spoon of peanut butter.

In the event that you've determined that you need a more solid foundation or have gone through this workout for 6 - 8 weeks and are ready for something different, then to the right are few other workouts to try courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Rich Man's Gym!

Questions, comments or concerns go below...

Warrior Nutrition

Eat like a Warrior with the Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler

"Not actively surviving is passively dying," says Ori Hofmekler in his new revised edition of The Warrior Diet, "and the first sign of not actively surviving is getting fatter and sicker."

  • Failing to improve your physical conditioning no matter what you do?
  • Unable to avoid energy crashes?
  • Can’t get rid of stubborn belly fat in spite of hard dieting and exercising?


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    • ocfireflies profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Trade Specialist for the Town-mechanics, construction, rock mason

      He is also favors Daniel Craig--Big Smiles!

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Thanks for taking a look Kim - glad you found it interesting and appreciate the vote up =)

      What line of work is the sig - other in?

    • ocfireflies profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I love Bond. James Bond. : )

      This is a very interesting hub!

      My significant other does not work out at any gym, but he gets a workout for his job his very physical.

      Enjoyed very much!

      Voted Up!

      Best Always,


    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      jpcmc, anytime you're ready you come out from behind the desk, you'll always be welcome at Rich Man's Gym!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      7 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      OK, that's hard. Good thing I don't need that much physical training behind the desk. :)


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