We know what you’re thinking, and yes, Jordan was already unbelievably jacked for his starring role in 2015’s Creed. But according to celebrity trainer Corey Calliet — who’s been working with Jordan since 2015’s Fantastic Four reboot — the actor got even more ripped to play Marvel supervillain Erik Killmonger.
“The word that kept playing in my mind was ‘savage,'” Calliet tells Men’s Health of his work on Black Panther. “When you see him, you need to be scared. You need to be intimidated. We don’t want the nice, young-looking Michael.”
Calliet describes his work like an artist taking a chisel to a block of marble.
“I’m talking about sculpting a body, not just trying to condition it to be fast,” he says. “I wanted to make his shoulders look better … I needed his upper chest to pop. I needed his back to tell a story. I wanted his back to look like a globe, like a map.”
And here’s how he created Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther Workout.
Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther Workout
To make Calliet’s vision come to life, Jordan was doing two to three workouts and eating six meals a day. To sculpt his chest and back, Calliet had the actor going back to basics — with a lot of weight.
“[We did] a lot of old-school bench presses, lat pulldowns, deadlifts — nothing fancy, just really contracting the muscle,” Calliet says. “We lift heavy — a lot, a lot of times.”
When the pair first started working out together, Jordan “could barely push 10kg,” Calliet recalls. “By the time we got to Black Panther, he was doing 52kg dumbbells.” A few times, the actor went as high as 142kg total. (Want to bench press more weight? These 5 tweaks will help you out.)
Throughout the process, Calliet got Jordan up to a bulky 87kg, then whittled him down to around 83kg.
So what’s a guy gotta do to get that Killmonger build? Prepare for a lot of pain, according to Calliet.
“Make sure that you have a good diet, and make sure that you’re going to the gym and you’re working out — that you’re really in the gym getting the time in, not just sitting there on the phone on social media acting like you’re really working out,” he says.
“Go to the gym and be prepared to put yourself through some massive pain,” Calliet adds. “When you think of Erik Killmonger, think of ‘massive.’ Those two words go together.”
Calliet, who’s already seen Black Panther four times, says his proudest moment is during a fight scene between Jordan and Chadwick Boseman, who plays the titular hero.
“When you see him take his shirt off and you see that body, you’re going to say, ‘Oh, that’s different,'” he says. “And I say, ‘I know.’ Y’all put the order in, and I delivered.”
By Jordyn Taylor