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Will Poulter in 'Midsommar' (2019) | Image: A24

Will Poulter’s Life-Altering ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Workout

I don’t know about you, but I love insane actor transformations; seeing celebs go from every day, average-bodied humans to literal jacked beasts; the dedication, the drive, the lack of carbs for an extended period… it’s truly admirable because I sure as heck couldn’t do it. 

One recent transformation the internet was floored by was Will Poulter. You know the guy – he played the dorky, dumb but endearing Kenny Rossmore in We’re The Millers (and a bunch of other great stuff since). Well, sweet, dumb Kenny grew up when Poulter landed the massive role of Adam Warlock in the newest and final Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (if you haven’t seen it yet, you can catch it on Disney+). But if you have seen it, you’ll probably also have noticed Poulter’s incredible transformation for the role. 

If you’re wondering how the Hollywood actor did it, we’ve got the lowdown on Will Poulter’s workout regime that got him shredded for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Will Poulter in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023) | Image: Disney
Will Poulter in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (2023) | Image: Disney

Will Poulter’s Workout Routine

Poulter himself has kept relatively quiet about his workout and diet for his Marvel gig, sticking to the superhero code of secrecy (no really – he said Marvel swore him to secrecy!) He did tell The Independent, however, that his training was super intense and not for the faint-hearted. In his words, it involved “a lot of gym work and a very, very specific diet.”

But lucky his personal trainer Dr. Benjamin Carraway wasn’t as secretive. Speaking to GQ, he dished out the details of the hardcore routine that transformed Poulter into a superhero shape. Carraway, a former chiropractor turned fitness innovator, had been working with Poulter for two years before the actor scored his role as Warlock. This dynamic duo tackled training with a twist – focusing on safe exercises, especially given Poulter had some old injuries. 

Will Poulter in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023) | Image: Disney
Will Poulter in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (2023) | Image: Disney

Poulter himself told GQ that getting ready for Guardians was like athlete-level training – something pretty difficult for the average person to achieve. He had the full VIP treatment: free food, free gym, and trainers on the house, without the hassle of a regular 9-to-5, of course (training intensely for hours on end was his job!)

Carraway’s main strategy for Poulter was building a solid mind-body connection, mastering push, pull, and leg exercises, and making sure Poulter stood tall and regal, like a “peaceful ruler.” The final stretch before filming was intense, with a focus on muscle building and some seriously smart fat-stripping techniques.

And for those shirtless scenes? A strict regime of dehydration, no carbs, no sugar – not recommended for your average beach day. Poulter had a whole team monitoring him, making sure he stayed healthy while hitting those Greek God levels of fitness.

Will Poulter in 'Dopesick' (2021) | Image: Hulu
Will Poulter in ‘Dopesick’ (2021) | Image: Hulu

Posture, Big Upper Back & Arms

According to Carraway (and several other fitness experts), the most important aspect of looking good on camera is improving overall posture and upper back. By elongating your posture and walking ‘prouder’, you are able to promote a more commanding presence, which Pouter’s Guardians character certainly did. The core exercise Poulter and Carraway worked on for this was the Supine Straight Leg Posture Bridge, a movement that focuses very much on a controlled eccentric stage for stability and growth.

Supine Straight Leg Posture Bridge

  • Goal: Strengthen posture, upper back, legs, and arms.
  • Equipment: Yoga block.
  • Execution: Lie on your back with legs straight, head and heels on a yoga block. Pull toes towards you, press the back of your skull down, push elbows and hips up. Hold for 5 seconds with your head, heels, and elbows pressing down. Relax for 5 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Advanced Variations: Lift one elbow or heel off the ground alternately each rep.

Technical Exercise for Superhero Posture

A superhero character needs to not only look the part, but aslo be able to perform the movements. In Poulter’s case, he needed to be large and muscular but also mobile enough to appear quick and explosive. To do this, Carraway emphasised the importance of simple, consistent movements such as the Farmer’s Walk, however, to increase the intensity, the fitness expert switched the kettlebells for towels.

Farmer’s Walks with Towel Grip

  • Goal: Develop strong back muscles, mimicking the ability to hold significant weight with one arm.
  • Equipment: Gym towels, dumbbells or kettlebells.
  • Execution: Loop a towel through the weight, and grab both ends with an underhand grip. Keep your arms rigid, walk slowly for 30-45 seconds, keeping your head and neck aligned. Rest for 90-120 seconds. Do 3 sets.

The Rest of the Workout

Outside of those two specific movements, Poulter and Carraway worked on a fairly standard power-building program that targeted all muscle groups. Below, we’ve listed an example full-body workout that Carraway provided to GQ, however, it’s important to remember that Poulter likely performed significant sets outside of these standard movements.

  • a) Bench-Supported Dumbbell Rows
    • Reps: 10-12
    • Sets: 3
    • Rest: 90 seconds in between
  • b) Standing Barbell Bicep Curl
    • Reps: 10-12
    • Sets: 3
    • Rest: 90 seconds in between
  • c) Leg Press
    • Reps: 8-10
    • Sets: 3
    • Rest: 90 seconds in between
  • d) Tricep Rope Pull Downs
    • Reps: 12-14
    • Sets: 3
    • Rest: 90 seconds in between

Remember, this workout was specifically designed for Poulter and his role. Always consider your fitness level and consult a professional if needed!

Will Poulter in 'Dopesick' (2021) | Image: Hulu
Will Poulter in ‘Dopesick’ (2021) | Image: Hulu

Will Poulter’s Guardians of the Galaxy Diet

Again, not a whole lot is known about his diet for his Marvel role, but it seems like his diet was a mix of bulking, cutting, and maintaining his weight–pretty much what typical bodybuilders do to put on some serious muscle. 

In various interviews, Poulter has mentioned eating huge quantities of foods you wouldn’t want to be eating, and then sometimes not eating enough at all. He said, “I’ve gone through periods of looking at food and feeling like I can’t face it, and then you blink and the next minute you’re ready to eat furniture because you’re so hungry.”

His social life took a hit too, with Poulter saying, “I’m in a routine that is so rigid that being able to go out for dinner with friends is not something I’ve been able to do.”

Above all else, he’s consistently emphasised the importance of mental and physical health over appearance. “The aesthetic goals have to be secondary,” he said, often pointing out the unrealistic standards without the backing of a studio’s resources.

“I’m in a very privileged position in that respect, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone do what I did to get ready for that job. 

We bloody love his honesty! But what can you take away from all this? Of course, anyone can get buff with time, dedication and a healthy dose of willpower. However, actors are paid to undergo these transformations and get all the resources they need to do so – so it’s much easier for them than the everyday man (but that doesn’t mean ya can’t give it a red hot crack!)

Will Poulter | Image: Hamilton Hodell
Will Poulter | Image: Hamilton Hodell

Who Is Will Poulter?

Will Poulter is slowly but surely making a name for himself in Hollywood. Born on January 28, 1993, in London, he’s been making waves since he was just a kid. Poulter’s first big break came when he landed a role in Son of Rambow (2007) as Lee Carter, a role that showcased his natural flair for comedy and drama. And remember the grumpy but kinda adorable Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)? Yep, that was Poulter! 

2013 was also a big year for him – he starred in We’re the Millers alongside big names like Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. His portrayal of the awkward yet endearing Kenny Rossmore was a hit, earning him plenty of laughs and a lot of love from audiences worldwide.

He’s proven himself quite the chameleon actor, effortlessly switching between genres and roles. Whether he’s making you chuckle or keeping you on the edge of your seat, he’s certainly got a knack for leaving a lasting impression.

Alternatives to Will Poulter’s Workout

Looking for more killer celebrity transformation workouts? We’ve got you. From Brad Pitt to Sylvester Stallone, here’s how some of Hollywood’s leading men have transformed their bodies all for the sake of role. 

Will Poulter Workout FAQs

Is Will Poulter in Toy Story?

Despite bearing a striking resemblance to ‘Sid’ from the hit film ‘Toy Story’, actor Will Poulter does not appear in the classic animated feature.

Can Will Poulter cook?

Will Poulter’s cooking on the set of ‘The Bear’ wasn’t entirely fictitious. The British actor revealed in a 2023 Vanity Fair interview that he has always loved the culinary arts. In the article, Poulter says cooking is “one of those rare things in life that you can do which contributes to your self care but also translates to a gift for other people”.

Did Will Poulter attend drama school?

Yes, but only for a brief time. In 2012, Will Poulter began studying drama at the University of Bristol, however, he dropped out after a year to pursue acting full-time.