Michael Jai White Workout
Michael Jai White workout
With the kind of body most Hollywood leading men with give an arm for, Spawn star Michael Jai White is more than just an actor, he is an inspiration to thousands of gym goers who are eager to replicate his incredible results.
White began studying martial arts at the age of seven while growing up in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York and went on to earn black belts in seven different styles of kung fu and karate. Now well into his forties, he continues to work out intensely to maintain his amazing physique. He also works hard to maintain his flexibility and speed, combining elements of bodybuilding, athletics and martial arts training into his regime.
The Michael Jai White workout ensures his body never gets used to any one routine by repeatedly switching the focus of his training. As well as working on different portions of his body during each session, White also mixes in martial arts moves and cardio exercises to his bodybuilding routines.
This level of variety is key to his success. A biological condition known as accommodation means that if muscles are subjected to the same type of stress over and over again – like the stress of lifting a particular weight – they will become increasingly efficient at that one task until they reach the point that they no longer need to be any larger or stronger. What this means in practical terms is that if you start lifting weights, your muscles will grow at first but once they get used to the weight you want them to lift, they will stop developing.
White’s approach is identical to that of the extremely popular exercise system, P90X, which markets it under the name ‘muscle confusion’ and includes many martial-arts based exercises as part of its regime.
A typical Michael Jai White workout will begin with a stretching session – essential to maintain a flexible frame – followed by warming up with push-up and pull-ups. He then works on pairs of muscle groups such as chest and triceps. Using dumbbells for pressing, he concentrates on inclines and shaping movements rather than just flat bench work. For each movement, he pushes forward hard and then holds, working on his fast-twitch, explosive muscle fibers.
He makes use of these same explosive movements when doing curls – raising the bar fast enough for it to leave his hands so he has to catch it – and even with his lower back, pulling up on the back-extension machine so hard that he is almost standing up.
White believes the lower back is too often ignored, pointing out that guys at the gym will regularly ask one another how much they can bench press but rarely ask how much they can row. Balancing front and back musculature is important as too much emphasis on bench presses can make your shoulders pull forward and ultimately create lower back problems.
To prevent the muscles in his 6′ 1″, 215 pound frame from getting too used to any one routine, White also switches between lighter weights for toning and heavier weights for building bulk, depending on whether he is close to filming or not. He usually does three to four sets per muscle group with a maximum 15 reps per set or a minimum of five or six depending on the weight.
A decathlete in college, White believes it’s vitally important that muscle be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Working out for up to four hours each day, he combines his weight routines with speed kicking drills, punching practice and dozens of kata – a series of choreographed martial arts movements in which you fight an imaginary opponent.
As with any training regime, proper diet is critical to success. White limits fats, avoids complex carbohydrates and anything containing processed sugars. Around 70% of his diet consists of protein and he drinks around 3 gallons of distilled water every day. His diet becomes even stricter during filming to the point that it is incredibly dull, so he usually celebrates the end of a movie by eating several pizzas.
michael jai white and kimbo slice talking about punching