A well-known actor who has appeared in movies since the early 90′s through today, Matthew McConaughey has long had a body to envy. Like many stars, he definitely has good genetics and base looks…but a body likes his has to be earned, and as always by following a system like the Matthew McConaughey workout you can work your way towards the same shape.
The first step as usual is to be in good basic shape. Around the time of movie roles like Sahara, Matthew McConaughey stayed at a body fat of around 10%. This is no easy weight for most people to reach–the American average is more like 20%–so to start with, you need a good diet for getting and staying cut. If you are not already there, you should start by getting your diet under control and working towards leaning up.
Now then, how about the celebrity fitness part of this? McConaughey talked about his workouts when he was filming Sahara, and one of his favorite ways to train was through supersets.
In bodybuilding, a traditional set is where you pick a single exercise, such as bench press, and do X number of reps. Many bodybuilding systems would have you do 3 to 5 sets of that single exercise, then move on to multiple sets of another exercise.
Supersetting is where you instead put together a series of several exercises that you treat as a single set, and then do multiple sets of these combination exercises. For example, instead of doing sets of bench press followed by ab crunch, you would do a superset of bench press/ab crunch/bench press/ab crunch/etc.
Here is one of McConaughey’s Sahara superset routines:
Set 1: repeat 2 to 4 times in order…
a. Dumbbell Fly
b. Incline Chest Press
c. Weighted Swiss Ball Crunch
Set 2: do only one set of…
a. Angled Pull-up
b. A one minute forward run on an elliptical followed by a one minute backwards run
Set 3: repeat 2 to 4 times…
a. Bench Dip
b. One-armed Tricep Extension, using a rope
c. Medicine Ball Lunge, going from your upper left to your lower right
Set 4: Repeat 2 to 4 times
a. Medicine Ball Slam: take a heavy ball and slam it on the floor, then catch and repeat
b. One to Two minutes of wall climbing
c. Step through the sides of a ladder as fast as safely possible, back and forth several times
Set 5: Do 2 to 4 sessions of…
a. Calf Raises, with one foot slightly ahead of the other
b. Twisting Shoulder Press, using torso rotation to first one side of the body and then the other
c. Lay on your back and take a medicine ball from one side to the other of your body
Set 6: Do only once…
a. Ride an exercise bike for one minute sitting then do another minute standing
b. Do one minute on a stairclimber
Here’s the crazy thing: this one group of six supersets is just one day of the Matthew McConaughey workout when he was shaping up to be on screen and shirtless! His full training covered many other exercises over the course of a week. At the same time, you can figure out how he trained by looking at the components of this workout.
McConaughey hit a series of both strength and cardio conditioning challenges, working on the whole body throughout. The supersets had complimentary exercises that worked different muscle groups without exhausting any one, making for both comprehensive and efficient training.
Unfortunately, this full workout can be a bit much for someone to squeeze in the evening after work and before dinner. In order to fit this into your day-to-day life without having to spend two hours in the gym, focus on the core principles of the workout and find what fits into your lifestyle.
One way to do this to take a couple of the supersets above, then expand them somewhat and combine together. This gets that sequencing of strength training and cardio conditioning, while fitting into a 30-minute workout time slot. You can slice and dice the various supersets here together for a starting point, and add other exercises in for variety and to add some muscle confusion.
Doing the Matthew McConaughey workout in your home gym would certainly be a challenge, but one that is both worth it and in your reach as long as put in the time and effort.
Here is a video of a workout inspired by McConaughey’s insane training regiment:
If you found this helpful, check out the Hollywood Fitness Guide: it goes over just what it takes to slim yourself down to that 10% body fat level and build up the right kind of muscles to pull off the celebrity look