He's so hot with his massive abs and chest - thought you guys would want to know how he did it!!
Taylor Lautner isn't a naturally strong guy, but his career depends on becoming brawny. Between the first and second Twilight films, his character grew into a powerful werewolf. That meant he needed to gain 30 pounds of muscle in a year. Which he did.
Think about that: Taylor Lautner used to be a 5'10", 140-pound, bony teenager, and now he's a rippled fitness animal. If he can overcome physical shortcomings, anyone can. "Inexperience works to your advantage," says Jordan Yuam, Lautner's trainer and the owner of Jordan's Virtual Fit Club. "The less muscle you have, the easier it is to gain muscle mass more quickly."
Your strategy: Eat right and follow a smart, strategic workout regimen. "Maximize your genetic potential," says Yuam. "There's no reason you can't gain pounds of muscle in a year."
Lautner is counting on it: The third movie in the Twilight series is due out in mid-2010. "My character continues to grow," he says, "so I'd like to pack on at least a few more lean pounds."
Here's how to follow Taylor Lautner's lead and build strength at frightening speed--without working like a dog.
PUSH YOUR LIMITS
To grow large, your body needs to become comfortable with heavy loads. "That's why I had Taylor 'taste' a much heavier weight," says Yuam, who would stack a bar (or use dumbbells) with about 40 percent more weight than Lautner could normally lift 10 times. So if you can lift, say, 120 pounds 10 times, go with 170 pounds. Then, using a spotter, perform only the lowering half of lifts. ("It's critical that your spotter be strong enough to lift the weight back up by himself," Yuam says.) For a bench press, that means slowly lowering the weight to your chest. This lets your body adjust to the new weight even before you're ready to raise it. The move is taxing on your muscles, though, so limit your "tasting" to 2 or 3 sets of 5 reps every other week.
VARY YOUR VOLUME
Heavier isn't always better. To maximize gains, Lautner regularly varies reps and the amount of weight he lifts. "If you want a balanced body, you have to do that," says Yuam. The more your muscles are forced to adapt to a new routine, the more they grow. Instead of always doing 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, for example, occasionally reduce the weight and shoot for 4 sets of 15 reps. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that men who regularly varied their rep counts and trained different muscle groups increased their bench strength by 28 percent and their leg-press strength by 43 percent.
Free weights are best, but they have a drawback: Some parts of a lift are easier than others, so your muscles aren't being worked consistently. That's why Taylor Lautner often attaches giant rubber bands to a bar or dumbbell he's going to lift, and then anchors the bands to the base of a power rack or a pair of heavy dumbbells. "The bands create more tension, making the lift harder and forcing your muscles to peak out at the top of the movement," Yuam says. As a result, your body recruits more muscle fibers and works them harder, accelerating growth. Bands are available in most gyms.
CUT DOWN ON CARDIO
"I was exercising so hard that I began to lose weight," says Lautner. Sound great? Not if you normally have trouble building muscle mass. When it's combined with weight training, cardio saps strength and limits muscle growth, especially if you spin your wheels for longer than 20 minutes before or after lifting, according to researchers at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Texas. So be careful not to overdo it. "If you're trying to gain lean mass, focus on weight-lifting with the proper technique and the right plan," Yuam says.
DON'T OVERWORK YOUR ABS
"A lot of guys hit their abs every time they hit the gym," says Yuam. "That's why so few of them have six-packs." Your abs are like any other muscle group, and the same rule of muscle building applies: Don't overwork them. Lautner targets his abs only 3 days a week, and does a combination of exercises to work his entire core. "The result is a balanced, more detailed musculature," Yuam says. One of his favorite combinations is the hanging leg raise to reverse crunch, holding for 7 to 10 seconds. That works your whole core, preventing a muffin top. (For complete exercise descriptions, visit MensHealth.com/lautnerabs.)
STEP TO THE SIDE
Most weightlifting exercises involve moving forward or backward; they don't train your body to explode in other directions. Lautner needs a versatile body because he does his own stunts on the screen. (And you need one for everyday life. Your basketball crossover will be lousy without it.) The solution, Yuam says, is to perform side-to-side exercises in addition to traditional lifts. These boost your ability to move in any path. For example, work a few sets of lateral hops and lunges into every leg workout.
HAVE A RECOVERY PLAN
Training and eating are only two-thirds of the muscle-building equation. "The other third is recovery," says Lautner. He takes every third day off and never works out more than 5 days a week. "If you constantly pound your muscles, they'll never have time to repair."
FEED YOUR NEW BODY
Your hard work begins in the gym, but your kitchen plays an equally big role in your transformation. "How much you'll eat depends on how much you want to weigh," says nutrition expert Alan Aragon, M.S. Use his calculations to add as much as 10 pounds of new muscle next year.
Step 1: Set Up Your Daily Calorie Coal
goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5) = daily number of calories
Example: Say you're 180 pounds and want to add 10 pounds of muscle. Your goal weight, then, is 190. If you plan to work out 3 hours a week, do this: Add 3 + 9.5, and then multiply the sum (12.5) by your goal weight of 190. Result: 2,375. That's your daily calorie goal.
Step 2: Set Your Daily Nutritional Goals
Use this key to figure out how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrate you should eat each day.
goal weight = grams of protein
half your goal weight = grams of fat
daily calories - [( protein grams x 4) + ( fat grams x 9)] / 4 = grams of carbs
Example: For your goal weight of 190, you'll eat 190 grams of protein and 95 grams of fat. For carbs: Multiply 190 by 4 ( to yield 760), and 95 by 9 (to yield 855). Add them together: 1,615. Now subtract that from your 2,375 daily calories, to yield 760. Divide that by 4. Result: 190. That's your carb goal, in grams.
Step 3: Balance
Determine how many meals you'll eat each day, and then break down your total allotment into equal portions. "It doesn't matter if you eat three meals a day or six," says Aragon. "As long as you stay within your guidelines, you'll see results."
SCULPT A MONSTER 6-PACK
Eclipse star Taylor Lautner's secret formula for big screen abs
Walk into any gym, and you'll see the same thing: Lots of guys doing lots of reps of just one or two abs exercises. "And that's one reason why so few of them have six packs," says Jordan Yuam, NCEP, who helped actor Taylor Lautner pack on 30 pounds of lean muscle (and a monster six-pack) for the blockbuster film New Moon. "Your abs are like every other muscle in your body, and the same rules of muscle-building apply."
In practice, that means targeting your core no more than three days a week (on non-consecutive days), and hitting it with a variety of exercises that work every muscle between your hips and chest. Here are five moves that helped Taylor Lautner land the number one spot on Access Hollywood's "Top 5 Hollywood Abs" list. Weave them into your own workouts for similarly impressive results. And if you want maximum gains in minimal time "superset them," advises Jordan. "Pick two exercises, and do sets of each back to back without rest in between."
Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Do three sets of 15 reps.
Swiss-Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl
Do three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Hanging Leg Raise
Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Hold this position for 60 seconds, then rest one minute. Repeat three times.