The Daniel Craig Workout: Build Lean Dense Muscle!
I get a lot of guys asking how they can look like Daniel Craig from the modern James Bond series.
…and it’s not hard to see why. Daniel Craig has brought a lean, dense physique to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and most recently, Spectre.
Nobody knows what workout routine Mr. Craig follows, aside from him and his personal trainer, but from my 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, it isn’t hard to guess.
Daniel Craig’s physique is dense and lean — a sort of “macho,” but not overly shredded appearance. A lot of guys crave a physique like this, and today, I’m going to break down how I think Daniel Craig attained it.
First: The Principles
Before I delve into the Daniel Craig workout, I want to discuss the principles that will lead to a body like this. The first thing to realize is that he probably does a workout that’s focused on compound lifts and strength.
He probably adds in some auxiliary exercises for his arms, and potentially for his shoulders, but based off of my experience in the fitness world, his workout routine is probably based around the following exercises:
- Overhead Press
- Chin ups
- Power Cleans
In addition to this, the Daniel Craig workout likely has zero emphasis on hypertrophy — in other words, he’s not focused so much on building size, but rather dense muscle. You accomplish this by doing low repetitions and high weight, which I will discuss further.
As for his diet, he’s lean, but he’s not sub 12% bodyfat. So, he’s probably counting his calories, but isn’t utilizing any sort of carb-loading or ketosis programs.
Daniel Craig Workout Routine
In my opinion, Daniel Craig likely works out 3 days a week — this allows him to focus on building strength and lean, dense muscle, but it doesn’t make him look like too much of a bodybuilder.
In other words, it’s a very natural looking physique, that’s also functional and strong. For the Daniel Craig workout, we’re going to have two days: Day A and Day B, similar to Starting Strength. You rest one day in between each of these, and alternate them each week.
- Day A
- Incline Bench: 3×8
- Squat 3×8
- Power Clean 3×8
- Weighted Chin Ups 2×10
- Day B
- Overhead Press 3×8
- Barbell Row 3×8
- Deadlift 3×8
- Weighted Dips 2×10
The incline bench works your pecs, with an emphasis on your upper pecs and shoulders, giving you that nice, natural-looking V-Taper. The squats aren’t too frequent to give you bulky legs, but just enough for toning.
The power cleans will work your whole body, and give you explosive power, and the weighted chin ups are a great auxiliary exercise for your biceps, and work your back, too. Then, on Day B, the overhead press will help develop a wide back and shoulders.
The barbell row will increase the muscular density of your back, the deadlift will work your entire body, with an emphasis on your legs and lower back, and the weighted dips are a great auxiliary exercise for your triceps and lower pecs.
Notice how you never do less than 8 reps or more than 10 reps, too. This is crucial.
Less than 8 reps is more focused on strength, which is important, but won’t give you size — more than 10 reps is focused almost entirely on hypertrophy, which will give you size, but not strength.
This is why the Daniel Craig workout that I’ve designed is right between 8 and 10 reps. This will build strong, but also dense muscle; a good balance between power and size.
Daniel Craig Diet
First off, keep the martinis to a minimum — yes, James Bond is known for his preference of alcohol, but the truth is that alcohol is bad for muscle gains.
I believe that, when preparing for his role as James Bond, Daniel Craig likely counted his calories. He probably didn’t do any sort of carb-loading, because that typically leads to more pumped up muscles, and he probably didn’t do ketosis, because he would be far leaner.
I believe that he probably ate 500 calories above his maintenance, in order to build this physique.
He probably ate a balanced meal, 4–5 hours apart, each and every day. He may have utilized intermittent fasting, in order to keep fat gains to an absolute minimum, but this isn’t certain. The main thing here is that he had a lot of slow digesting carbs and quality protein sources.
For the Daniel Craig physique, I recommend you get most of your protein from fish and lean steak — this will boost testosterone, but isn’t so high in fat to have a lot of calories. For carbohydrates, go with slow digesting complex-carbs, like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa.
Avoid anything white — white rice, white potatoes, white bread, and sugar. You want to minimize fast-digesting carbohydrates, because they generally lead to fat gain. The only exception to this is immediately after your workout routine.
Cardio: Steady State or HIIT?
If you’re doing the Daniel Craig workout routine, I also recommend that you pair it with some light jogging and HIIT once a week. The reason for this is that any time you’re trying to bulk up, you want to do light cardio a few days a week to minimize fat gain.
I recommend jogging a mile just three days a week, and doing high intensity interval training once a week. This will boost testosterone, enhance recovery, and improve fat loss.
It doesn’t matter which days of the week you do your jogging, because it’s going to be light. You don’t want to over-work your legs here, because you’re already going to be doing squats and deadlifts.
The goal of the light-jogging is to just burn an extra 50–100 calories a day, speed up your metabolism, and flush out lactic acid from your legs. The goal of the HIIT, however, is to give your legs more of a workout, which is why I recommend you do it only once a week.
For the HIIT I recommend you do it over the weekend, so that you have a day of rest before your next workout. Start off by walking for 1–2 minutes, and then sprint for 30 seconds. Rest for 1:30, and then sprint again for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 4–6 cycles.
What About Abs?
As you can see, Daniel Craig’s physique isn’t that lean. Like I said, he’s got a low bodyfat percentage, but it isn’t below 12%. You can tell, because he has a very vague ab outline, but they aren’t super defined.
For the Daniel Craig physique, you don’t necessarily have to do abs. You can get a vague ab outline just from dieting down to 10–12% bodyfat.
But, if you want to have more defined abs, you can do my Alpha Ab Workout twice a week. It’s got a combination of weighted exercises and body weight exercises, to not only give your abs some nice definition, but also deep grooves.
If you do decide to add in some ab exercises to the Daniel Craig workout, I recommend you do them after your workouts. So, putting it altogether, it might look like this:
- Monday: Day B, Abs, 15 minute jog
- Wednesday: Day A, 15 minute jog
- Friday: Day B, Abs, 15 minute jog
- Saturday: HIIT
Then, every other day, you’d rest. I prefer doing abs after my regular workout routine, because I want to have a whole rest day to myself, without any exercise, but it’s honestly up to you.
Want A Complete Muscle-Building Blueprint?
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It’ll show you how to build lean, proportional muscle, AND build massive strength…at the same time. It covers recovery tactics, diets, supplements, and more.
Originally published at www.masculinedevelopment.com on April 4, 2017.