Bradley Cooper has put on some serious ripped muscle to play the part of Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck in 2010’s ‘The A-Team’. The very next year he was voted as People magazine’s Sexist Man Alive, no doubt thanks to his newly forged body.
How did Cooper go from scrawny to super buff in just a matter of months. We’ve got the inside scoop on his body transformation.
Building Serious Muscle
In order to get ready for his role on The A-Team, Cooper knew that he needed to prepare 3 ways. Firstly he had to pack on a decent amount of muscular body weight. Secondly, he had to get those muscles as ripped and fat free as possible. Finally he needed to develop an advanced level of cardiovascular fitness to carry him through the many stunts demanded by the script.
In order to achieve all three goals at once, Bradley decided to make use of what is known as the 3-2-1 workout. Here’s how it works:
The workouts take a total of 60 minutes each to complete. They are done three times per week on alternate days (Cooper did his sessions at 7am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The workout is divided in time blocks during which you focus on different aspects of fitness.
The cardio component is catered for by way of three 10 minute cardio sections. There are two 10 minute strength sessions and one ten minute core session. The workout is an entire body session.
For his A-Team prep, Cooper began his cardio sessions with 10 minutes of running on a treadmill. From there he would move to a series of jump rope exercises, interspersed with traditional compound weight training moves like squats and lunges, using light weight and high reps.
The mass training portion of the workout focused on the basic mass builders such as the bench press, deadlift, squat and military press. Bradley would first perform a light warm-up set before going into a heavy up-down pyramid on each exercise. Here’s how it looked for the bench press:
- Set One – 12 reps – 165 pounds
- Set Two – 10 reps – 180 pounds
- Set Three – 8 reps 190 pounds
- Set Four – 6 reps 200 pounds
- Set Five – 8 reps 190 pounds
- Set Six – 10 reps 180 pounds
Cooper’s core training workout featured a non-stop succession of moves to work all areas of his core musculature. Here’s the exact routine that he used to rock his abs for his A-team performance:
Reverse Curl – 10 reps
Lie on the floor on your back. Put your hands by your sides with your feet up and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. They should not go lower than this during the movement.
Using your lower abs, roll your pelvis to lower the hips towards the floor. Your legs will now be at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Return slowly to the starting position.
V Crunches – 10 reps
Lie on the floor on your back with your hands by your ears. Raise your upper and lower body at the same time to meet in the middle to form the letter “V”. Control your upper and lower body on the way down.
Sit-Up Ball Throw – 10 reps
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet close to your buttocks. Hold onto a basketball with both hands. Sit up with the ball and throw it to a partner in front of you. Catch the ball as they throw it back.
Ab Crunches – 10 reps
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abs and place your hands by your ears. Curl your upper body forward while ensuring that the lower back does not lift from the floor. Keep the chin tucked toward the chest throughout the movement. Once the shoulders are lifted from the floor, lower slowly back down.
Knee Cross-Over Tucks – 30 reps
Assume a face-down position on the ground with palms on the floor under your shoulders and your legs extended with the balls of your feet touching the ground. Raise yourself up using your arms, maintaining a straight, upright torso. Holding this position, slowly lift one foot off the floor and raise the leg, bringing the knee towards and across your upper body. Stop raising the leg at the point you feel your lower back bending and slowly lower back down to the starting position.
Now, rest for exactly 1 minute, then go through the above 5 exercises again for a total of 100 reps!
Cooper’s goal was to get big and ripped at the same time. That’s not easy at any time, but when you’ve got just a few short months in which to achieve it, it is especially challenging. It requires special attention to what you are eating.
Bradley decided to adopt for a low carb, high fat / protein approach to getting the ripped mass that he was after. By severely restricting his carbohydrate intake he was able to put his body into a ketogenic state. This means that it was being forced to rely on stored fat reserves rather than ingested carbohydrates for energy. In other words, he was able to transform his body into a fat burning machine 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A danger with going very low carb is that you can easily go into a state called gluconeogenesis. In this state, your body is calling on stored muscle, rather than stored fat for energy. That’s the last thing that Cooper wanted. To avoid it, he needed to keep his protein intake high.
Using a baseline of one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight meant that Bradley was taking in 290 grams of lean protein per day. This constituted 25% of his daily macronutrient intake. Fats, the healthy kind, made up 70%, while carbs were restricted to just 5% of his daily caloric consumption. That worked out to a maximum of just 20 grams of carbs per day.
Here’s what a typical day of eating looked like under this regimen:
- Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, avocado omelet
- Mid-morning snack: Whey protein drink with BCAA’s and glutamine
- Lunch: Lima beans with rice and garden salad
- Mid-Afternoon snack: tuna, lettuce wraps
- Dinner: Pan fried salmon with Caesar salad and broccoli
To give himself an extra boost toward his lean mass goal, Cooper also used a few key natural supplements. In order to infuse his body with energy and provide a wicked pump while training he used an NO2 supplement.
Post workout, Bradley would consume a protein recovery shake fortified with branch chain amino acids and glutamine. He also took a thermogenic fat booster to speed up his metabolism and help shed those stubborn last few pounds.
An A-Team Effort
The results of Cooper’s hard work can be seen in the physique he displays in the role of Paceman in the A-Team movie. It is a testament to his hard work and dedication to his profession. If you want a body resembling that of 2011’s sexiest man alive, you might want to give his style of training a try for yourself.
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