Chris Evans had to transform his body for 'Captain America' after years doing basic 'college workouts' that left him with big arms and little legs, his trainer says

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  • Chris Evans' trainer said the actor had an imbalanced body when he was cast to play Captain America.

  • The trainer said Evans was previously focused on working out only his biceps, chest, and core.

  • Evans' body transformation included learning different principles of athleticism and fitness.

Chris Evans' character Steve Rogers went through a dramatic body transformation from a skinny kid to a swole supersoldier in the 2011 film "Captain America: The First Avenger." But behind the scenes, Evans went through a similar yet less dramatic transformation, according to his trainer Simon Waterson.

Waterson, the author of the newly released "Intelligent Fitness: The Smart Way to Reboot Your Body and Get in Shape," told Insider that when he started training Evans for the first "Captain America" movie in 2010, the then-28-year-old actor had the body of a college guy — disproportionately muscular in his biceps, chest, and core.

"He was quite athletic, but as he said to me, he typically did 'the college workout,' so he was a bit imbalanced," Waterson told Insider. "He just trained his biceps, and his chest, and his abs, and that was it."

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He added: "He could do a lot of pushing exercises but not a lot of pulling exercises. So he didn't deadlift, he didn't do many pull-ups, he didn't have very overdeveloped legs."

Waterson said he helped Evans master a workout routine that built strength in the muscles that weren't getting enough work, which allowed the actor foster a more balanced physique and improve his mobility for action scenes. Waterson said the training routine he devised in 2010 was the same one the actor followed throughout his nine-year run as the character, which ended after the release of "Avengers: Endgame" in 2019.

The 'college workout' — also known as a 'pub workout' — can cause long-term back problems, according to Waterson

Waterson has another name for Evans' approach to fitness before they met.

"What he called a college workout in the US is what we call a pub workout in the UK," Waterson told Insider. "It's just about training your pub muscles, and your pub muscles are the ones that are on show for everyone else and not there for yourself."

Waterson said that kind of training not only caused an imbalance in the appearance of your body but also put strain on your spine — especially if you focused too much on your chest without reinforcing your back muscles to balance it out, Waterson said.

At an extreme, that is the kind of imbalance that can cause curvature in the spine, such as kyphosis. It can also increase the risk of injury.

Waterson added more movement circuits and lower-body workouts to Evans' 'Captain America' training

Waterson's mission with Evans was to instill a transformative workout routine that focused on athleticism just as much as aesthetics. The point of the changes was to ensure Evans could perform most of his own stunts as Captain America, Waterson said.

"It was a mixture of heavy lifting but then also dynamic circuits," Waterson said. "I would make it so he had really great movements because, obviously, Captain America has really good movements. We were working both angles, the aesthetic and the athletic to give him the ultimate performance."

Waterson's dynamic circuits were based on body-weight workouts. They included:

  • Sprints.

  • Mountain climbers.

  • Lunges.

  • Total resistance exercises.

  • Sit-ups.

One area that Evans struggled with early on was with lower-body workouts since he focused on his upper body and core before 2010, Waterson said. But he eventually mastered them with experience.

Waterson added that the two leg workouts that helped anchor Evans' lower-body development were squats and deadlifts.

Read the original article on Insider