Top Hollywood stunt performer, Bobby Holland Hanton once told Muscle & Fitness shortly after the release of “Thor 2” in 2013, that preparation for filling Chris Hemsworth’s boots, as his on-screen double, involved some of the most intense training that he had ever undertaken. Ten years later, he’s still hanging with Hemsworth, and the two have become an unstoppable force when it comes to visualizing, and then realizing some of film’s most intense action sequences. We caught up with one of the world’s most sought-after stunt professionals to find out how he’s training these days, and we soon found out that plyometrics and perseverance is the secret to success and longevity.
If you’ve seen the hit Netflix movie, Extraction 2, you’ll know that the action-thriller sequel is even wilder than the first, with insane set pieces and awesome stunts. One of the calling cards of these films has been the way that the camera seems to follow a chase, or a drawn-out fight from beginning to end, just like the whole scene was being shot live and in one take. Creating movie magic takes perseverance, but Holland Hanton is a pro. In Extraction 2, one of the most epic scenes takes place during a prison break. As the action spills out into the yard, Chris Hemsworth’s character “Tyler Rake” leads the charge through other inmates and dozens of security operatives. What takes place is a carefully choreographed fight scene involving multiple bodies. It is undoubtedly one of Holland Hanton’s greatest achievements.
“We call that a oner,” he says. “It’s some really great camera work by the camera crew and the director, Sam Hargraves. When it’s done properly, like it was in Extraction 1 and 2, you feel like you are in the movie.” To achieve this immersive effect, Holland Hanton and the stunt department get together 8-12 weeks before principal photography begins on a movie. Once the stunt coordinators and fight choreographers have figured out a scene, such as the prison escape scene, with Holland Hanton’s collaboration and leading performance, they then shoot a pre-vis, where our man acts out the sequences. This pre-vis was presented to Hemsworth, and he loved what he saw. “He’s a machine,” says Holland Hanton of Hemsworth final performance — the one that viewers will see. “We have to bring alive what’s on the page,” explains the passionate stunt performer.
Bobby Holland Hanton Attacks Each Movie Like the First, Thanks to Plyometric Training
Chris Hemsworth’s relationship with Bobby Holland Hanton goes beyond the movies, as he is also a member of the Centr app team. The app, fronted by Hemsworth, is one of the most sophisticated in its field and in addition to great workouts also includes the ability to generate customized meal plans so that you can crush your fitness goals. As a former gymnast and football player, Holland Hanton attacks every movie as though it were his first, but also needs to take into consideration the fact that his body has suffered wear and tear over the years. To combat this, and to stay in shape while maintaining his flexibility, he explains that he uses plyometric training as part of a regular routine. Plyometric, or plyo for short, will typically involve stretching, jumping, hopping, sprinting and other dynamic movement’s that can often be executed with your own bodyweight. Many athletes utilize plyo for it’s ability to improve your speed and explosive power, but this type of exercise is also loved for it’s accessibility. Anyone can try it, and the results will benefit those of any age; including increased mobility and flexibility.
To break it all down, plyometric exercises generally include the following processes:
- Eccentric Phase: The loading phase involves a pre-stretch such as when you lower your body to prepare for a jump.
- Amortization Phase: Just before the concentric phase, your body is primed and storing energy ready to explode.
- Concentric (Explosive) Phase: As you explode, the muscle lengthens and you are propelled towards your chosen direction of travel.
“It all stems from my gymnastic days,” says Holland Hanton. “It’s in knowing how to lift and control your own bodyweight.” Fortunately, you don’t need to be an elite gymnast to try it for yourself. The stuntman says that these days, almost all of his workouts feature a combination of plyometrics and CrossFit style exercises. Holland Hanton says that when stuck in a hotel room between shoots, the following workout is a great way to burn calories and improve conditioning in a short space of time with no need for gym equipment.
While it looks difficult to master, plyo really is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Sure, you may wobble around as you practice your form, but see this as part of the fun. Plyo related movements elevate the heart rate, so they will improve your cardiovascular fitness. The impact associated with plyometric training will also increase bone density, making this form of exercise supremely valuable as we age. Don’t be afraid to modify your workouts while you get to grips with the technicalities. Need to put a hand down on the floor, or onto a wall to support you? No problem! Persevere and do whatever it takes to feel comfortable. In the following workout, you can decrease or increase the number of reps, or if you really want to push yourself, add a second or third round.
Try Bobby Holland Hanton’s 7-Minute Plyometric Workout
Tuck Jump Burpees x 10 Reps
Side-to-Sides x 10 Reps
Split Squat Jumps x 10 Reps
Sit-up + Knee Tuck x 10 Reps
“Blast Off” Push up x 10 Reps
Fitter than ever, Bobby Holland Hanton is looking forward to continuing his adventures as a stuntman, and as a member of Chris Hemsworth’s trusted inner-circle, and he’s also working on a movie project called “School Fight” that will see him acting in front of the camera. Just like with forging his exciting movie career, Bobby Holland Hanton believes in perseverance when it comes to realizing his goals with fitness. “I don’t want anyone to get disheartened,” he says of our own personal journeys. “Stick with it, it doesn’t happen overnight.”