Noted gym rat Sam Stosur made some noise during the second day of the Australian Open by showing off her incredibly sculpted biceps.

Photos of the 30-year-old Australian were everywhere after her first-round victory over Monica Niculescu of Romania. And it's not hard to see why:

So, what's Stosur's secret? For one, she doesn't do bicep curls.

"I don't spend that much time lifting weights," Stosur told ESPN The Magazine in 2014. "I never do biceps curls, and I very rarely do bench presses."


That's right, Stosur gets those arms without doing curls. We should all be so lucky. The 2011 U.S. Open winner elaborated on her workout routine in her interview with ESPN.

"Push press, dumbbell fly, seated row, exercises like rotations and raises for the rotator cuff and for the little muscles inside your shoulders," she said. "I also do boxing sessions and swimming. I'm not a great swimmer, but I'm getting better. I can swim laps and it's a good workout for me. I only take one day off a week. I do at least one session a day, sometimes two if I'm not practicing on the court."

Stosur's sculpted biceps predictably made waves on Twitter, where they even have their own account.






The 20th-seeded Stosur takes on American Coco Vandeweghe on Thursday.

Every guy who's ever picked up a barbell understands how hard it is to gain even 10 pounds of muscle. Now imagine the challenge of packing on 40 solid pounds, the weight of an average five-year-old.

That’s what Bradley Cooper set out to do when he took the lead role in American Sniper. The movie is based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL credited with a record 160 confirmed kills in Iraq. Kyle was a 230-pound Texan who was not just fearless in combat, but the kind of real-life badass who would practice MMA-style choke outs with his fellow SEALs for fun.

(Need a refresher on just how badass the SEALs really are? Read this gripping account of the Origins of the Navy SEALS.)

"I had to get to the point where I believed I was him," Cooper says. "At 185 pounds, it would've been a joke. His size was such a part of who he was."

So the two-time Academy Award nominee had to do something they don't teach you at the Actors Studio, where he earned his master’s degree: get bigger. A lot bigger, with a process that culminated in a very specific type of bigness. "Chris wasn't ripped," Cooper says. "He wasn’t sinewy. He was just a bear."

But that wasn’t the only challenge Cooper brought to his trainer, Jason Walsh: He needed to pull off this epic transformation in just 10 weeks, "with the least amount of damage to my body," he adds.

The monster builder

From the outside, the life of the celebrity trainer looks pretty sweet. Walsh, owner of Rise Nation in West Hollywood, has a roster of red-carpet clients that includes Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. On a normal day he might spend quality time with Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or actress Emily Blunt.

It was Blunt’s husband, actor John Krasinski, who connected Cooper to Walsh. The two actors were in Hawaii, shooting an as-yet-untitled comedy in which Krasinski, best known for playing Jim Halpert in The Office -- and, if we can take a moment to brag, for being a Men's Health cover guy back in 2007 -- plays a muscled-up military man who happens to be married to the ex-wife of Cooper’s character. “He had to be as big as possible," Cooper says. "He showed up and he was a monster."

Cooper was impressed enough with the transformation that he wanted to work with the trainer responsible for it.

By contrast, his own character in that movie "was a guy who'd been basically in traction," he says. "He was a guy you could tell had been beaten down a bit." Thus, his training for the role consisted mainly of not training. He avoided lifting anything heavier than a kayak paddle during his time in Hawaii, and then went straight from playing that guy to training with Walsh for his role in American Sniper.

In addition to the not-lifting-for-months handicap, the 39-year-old actor started with significant issues. "He came to me with back and shoulder problems," Walsh says. "He had some major, major imbalances."

Most trainers, faced with the challenge of accomplishing so much in so little time, would find a way to work around the problems. Not Walsh. "When clients come in and they have issues, we don’t work around the issues," he says. "We fix the issues."

It’s a lesson he learned in an entirely different context: training football players for the NFL Combine.

Working off the gridiron

Walsh began his coaching career at the University of North Carolina, where he worked with athletes in the Olympic sports, which include swimming and track and field. From there he went west to Athletes’ Performance in Tempe, Arizona, where he worked with owner Mark Verstegen to prepare his clients for the 2006 Combine.

"I was more or less a volunteer," Walsh says. "I feel like Mark is a visionary, and I went out there to raise my level of knowledge."

The biggest takeaway: that strength training involves a lot more than making people stronger. "It’s about longevity,” he says. “It’s about keeping the athlete on the field.” He calls what he learned "true training,” and finds it works just as well with elite actors as elite athletes... with one important difference: “Athletes are used to the pain. But for actors, it’s a whole new world.”

Walsh started Cooper off with corrective movements, as he would with an athlete. They trained twice a day. In the first workout, beginning at 5 a.m., they focused on structural exercises like deadlifts and squats to build a foundation solid enough to hold the extra mass. The second workout, late in the afternoon, was more focused on traditional muscle-building exercises. Cooper needed both types of training to convincingly portray Chris Kyle.

"Chris was a big guy," Walsh says, using the past tense because Kyle was murdered by a fellow veteran in 2013 at a shooting range in Texas. (Want to know more about Kyle's death -- and how it might have been prevented? Purchase the ebook get the ebook, The Enemy Within.) "Most Navy SEALs aren’t, but he was one of the bigger ones."

The challenge went beyond bulking Cooper up from 185 to 225 pounds. He had to move like he belonged in that body. For that, Walsh relied heavily on unilateral exercises, like Bulgarian split squats, starting with body weight only and building up from there. They also did a lot of single-leg deadlifts, including the Romanian deadlift with a land mine -- a piece of training equipment that looks like home plate with a rotating metal tube in the middle, which holds a barbell.

Breakfast (and lunch, dinner, and snacks) of champions

All that training would've accomplished little without lots and lots of food, more than 5,000 calories a day. “Bradley was coming off a movie where he had to be smaller,” Walsh says. “We had to force-feed him. That was the hardest part.”

Cooper agrees. "It was a real shock to my body. If it’s pizza and cake, that’s one thing. Putting 6,000 calories a day in your body gets old quick."

His personal chef prepared five daily meals, but even that wasn’t enough. They supplemented with Plazma, a pre- and post-workout drink, and energy bars, both of which provide a combination of carbs and protein.

"Without that kind of caloric intake and the ability to recover, he probably wouldn’t have made it," Walsh says. "His body just absorbed everything I threw at it."

By the end of their program, Cooper had worked up to heavy rack pulls, a deadlift variation using a hex bar that starts a few inches above the floor. “That was our big lift," Walsh says. Director Clint Eastwood even uses it in the movie, in a workout scene. (Walsh can be seen in the background, punching a heavy bag.)

At his peak, Cooper could crank out five sets of 8 reps with more than 400 pounds -- close to double his body weight. "You could see him becoming Chris Kyle. His beard grew, and he just got burly. He looked forward to coming in every day and seeing what he could do."

Cooper found life as a heavyweight to be a revelation. "It changes absolutely everything," he says. “It changes the way you walk, the way people relate to you. If someone bumps into you on the sidewalk, they kind of ricochet off. You go to a party and everyone's dancing, you’re not being moved by anybody."

There were also downsides, like outgrowing his entire wardrobe, and wearing a pair of pants with an elastic waist almost every day. “Even my hands got bigger,” he says. “I wear my father’s wedding ring, and I couldn’t wear that anymore. It wouldn’t fit."

What goes up …

The transformation, though, was temporary. Soon after American Sniper wrapped, Cooper had to take the weight off for his next role, in which he plays a chef. “I shed about 15 pounds in three weeks,” he says. "The next 15 to 20 pounds were really hard to lose." Because he lost the weight while shooting the still-untitled movie, he figures the editors have their work cut out for them when they try to make him look the same size in every scene.

He went from there to Broadway, where he's back down to his customary 185 pounds to play the title role in The Elephant Man, which may be as far as an actor can get from a warrior like Chris Kyle.

The benefits of being himself again -- eating normally, wearing his own clothes -- don't erase the satisfaction of having been a much larger self, at least for a while. "I knew this was going to be the way in to playing Chris, and it felt amazing," he says. "It's also nice to know it’s possible to do it naturally, in that amount of time."

But when asked if he wanted to return to the kind of training that made his transformation possible, his answer is simple and emphatic: "Absolutely not!"




The hammock felt like a cozy cocoon around my body as I swayed gently, legs dangling, eyes closed. This was my first time trying Christopher Harrison's AntiGravity Yoga -- a yoga practice utilizing a specialized hammock to perform poses and hang upside down in every variation imaginable -- and the class at New York City's Holding Space started simply enough. Our instructor, master trainer Shelly Bomb, started the evening with breathing exercises while supported by the hammock and some basic moves, like leaning back into the hammock and raising our feet off the ground.

Gradually we moved into some more challenging poses (and of course what I was here for) -- getting upside down! I wrapped my legs around the silk and felt surprisingly safe and secure.

(Would You Do Naked Yoga?)

And now we were going to do what? Oh yes, flip backward. I trusted Shelly, who teaches AntiGravity Yoga all across the world. What I didn’t trust was my klutzy, accident-prone, spacial-awarness-challenged body. (My nickname at Prevention is "prat falls," which I earned one day when I stood up from a chair, tripped over my own shoe, and fell into my boss’s file cabinet. True story.)


I looked around the studio to see, one by one, my classmates slowly rotating their legs toward the back ceiling and landing -- sometimes gracefully, sometimes hesitantly, but always securely on the floor.

"Trust yourself,” Shelly told us. “You can do it." I took a deep breath, tightened my body, and slowly folded my legs toward the earth. My abs controlled the initial movement, and the position of the hammock, as Shelly promised, supported my body throughout the rotation. I did it!

The class was harder than I expected. You really have to use your entire body to control the poses, since the hammock swings freely. The hammock also allows you to move into poses that allow for a deeper stretch, and in certain poses actually massages your muscles as your body hangs from it. I was so stretched out afterward that I felt a full inch taller.

(Also check out our simpler version of yoga: Flat Belly Yoga!)

So, what does AntiGravity Yoga look like? Check out the video below to see the Prevention staff and a few AntiGravity devotees (the graceful ones in the video) give it a shot.

It's embarrassing enough to lose a push-up contest to a buddy at the gym, but getting defeated by a fictional character in front of dozens of people at Disney World? Now that is utterly humiliating.

In a new YouTube video that has gone viral, a man challenges the theme park's Gaston to a push-up competition. Gaston, the Beauty and the Beast villain who was never known for modesty, immediately accepts. It's clear from the beginning that the challenger has no chance, and before long Gaston is doing one-handed push-ups faster than his opponent can do normal push-ups.

The video has received nearly 4 million views since it was uploaded Jan. 2. Here's what the uploader, Blake Platt, wrote after it became a viral sensation:

"So...this got infinitely more attention than I thought it would. We were just having fun and I thought a person or two might get a chuckle out of it. When my brother and I go to the Disney parks (which we love), one of our goals every time we enter is to make someone's day, even if it's just one person. Hopefully we've been able to do that on a little larger scale; and, hopefully again, in a way of which Walt would be proud."

It's fine if you want to challenge Gaston. But maybe tackle these workouts first to avoid embarrassment:

It's not easy being Gaston, who is hated by just about everyone who has seen the popular 1991 film. A few months ago someone uploaded a video of the same man getting put in his place by a very persistent little girl:




If you feel like you're always doing the same thing at the gym, you're going to like this concept: Barry's Bootcamp is a 1-hour class that includes 25 to 30 minutes of strength-training circuits and 25 to 30 minutes of cardio intervals. But it's done in several rounds and the combinations are different every single time.

As part of our series Your New Favorite Workout, we're giving you an inside look at the class that's popular with celebs like Kim Kardashian. Watch Joey Gonzales, celebrity trainer and COO of Barry's Bootcamp, demonstrate some of the moves you'd do in class.

Even as many of us pledge to do a better job of exercising in the New Year, motivation is always an issue. Perhaps Brendan Meyers can help. Meyers has developed a following with his YouTube workout videos, and according to his website, his goal is to "train, mentor, and influence individuals of ALL ages to become the best that they can be."

In the video below, Meyers and Rob Lohnes, his former Florida Atlantic college football teammate, perform some remarkable moves of strength and balance on a simple pull-up bar at a park. The "climbing steps" motion at the 1:04 mark provides some nice theatrical flair.




Whether you're crashing with your family or hosting them during the holidays, you'll probably be squeezing a ton of people into a small house. Unfortunately, "not being in your own element or having very little space can deter you from squeezing in a sweat," says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., creator of -- Men's Health StreamFIT.


A video posted by BJ Gaddour (@bjgaddour) on

But you can do this move -- a complete lower-body and core blaster -- without even picking your feet up off the floor. "You need only a few square feet of space to perform the hip turn split squat," Gaddour says.

"Instead of alternating your feet, as you do in a traditional split squat, you use your core to help change your stance, by switching the direction you're facing," he explains. Not only do you target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings -- some of the largest muscles in your body that burn the most calories when you work them -- but you also hit your abs.

"And pivoting between each rep challenges your balance, stability, and coordination, which will help you burn even more calories" Gaddour says.

Need to squeeze in a super-fast sweat? Try performing this move in short, explosive bursts of 20 to 30 seconds to send your heart rate through the roof.




Burpees make everything burn: Your muscles, your lungs, and most importantly, a ton of calories. The exercise -- which entails going from pushup position to a jump and back to a pushup position again -- is so tough that performing about 10 fast-paced reps is just as effective at revving your metabolism as a 30-second all-out sprint, according to a recent study published by the American College of Sports Medicine.

In the study, researchers enlisted ROTC cadets for something called the Wingate Anaerobic Power Test: A 30-second sprint with 4 minutes of rest in between for 4 rounds. Some cadets performed 30 seconds of sprinting on a stationary bike while the others did 30 seconds of burpees as quickly as possible. The result: Both high-intensity exercises resulted in serious metabolic and cardiovascular spikes.

But here's the difference: "Pedaling on a stationary bike is a relatively simple motor pattern, whereas the burpee involves some degree of agility, balance, coordination, and total body strength" thanks to the exercise’s multiple steps, says lead researcher Nicholas H. Gist, Ph.D., deputy director of the Department of Physical Education at the U.S. Military Academy.

And since the burpee is a total-body exercise, you feel the muscle-building benefits from head to toe, instead of just in your legs and lungs.

Want to get an even bigger burn from your burpee? Try turning it into The Hardest Exercise on the Planet.

Check out this workout featuring burpees:

The entire Men’s Health office cringed when they saw Bode Miller’s recent Instagram pic (shown above).

The caption on Miller’s post: "This is what they took out of my back. The doctor wouldn’t let me eat it. Looked like nerds.”

We all thought the photo of blue gunk was grotesquely fascinating. And ultimately, we had one question: What is that stuff?

So we called up Dr. Stu McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, and as his title suggests, one of the world’s foremost experts on the human spine. "It’s definitely curious stuff," he says. "And I have to tell you, that’s an unusual amount of it."

“It’s the result of a herniated disk, caused by bending your spine under load,” says McGill. "That material has the consistency of crabmeat -- hard, gristly, rubbery crabmeat."

More Men's Health: Lower-Body Move That Blasts Your Abs

McGill says that your spine’s vertebral disks are made up of two parts: Collagen fibers that are arranged in rings to form the outside of the disk, and a gel-like inner core. “Repeatedly bending your spine under load can cause those fibers to loosen and delaminate from one another, creating an opening. If repeated often enough, the inner-gel squirts out into the space for your spinal cord,” he says. “The gel is then attacked by your immune system, which turns it into that crabmeat-like substance."

A lump of foreign crabmeat sitting on your spine can cause all sorts of issues, says McGill. For example: "It presses the nerve roots causing back pain."

If you’re lucky, your body will slowly digest the extruded crabmeat, solving your problem. But sometimes your body doesn’t do that -- in these cases, your immune system simply walls it off. And when this happens, the substance might have to be surgically removed.

Waiting to see if your immune system takes care of the problem can be a lengthy proposal, so athletes often just have the crabmeat surgically removed, says McGill. That way they can theoretically get back to their sport quicker. (In case you’re wondering, the disk itself can remain in place and functional after this delamination. You just need the right exercises that avoid the injury mechanism to for better recovery. To learn more, check out Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, McGill’s book.)

Which brings us back to Miller. To be more aerodynamic, skiers bend over when they bomb downhill. “Hitting bumps and banking turns at 90-plus miles an hour in a flexed position is really a perfect storm for getting a vertebral disk to delaminate,” says McGill. It’s also the price of the podium.

If you’re wondering why Miller’s crabmeat is blue, it doesn’t come out like that naturally. “The medical staff dyed it for some reason,” says McGill.

Is this dreaded debris lurking in your back? If you have chronic back pain, then it’s possible.

And of course, you can avoid the problem by avoiding the damage that leads to a herniated a disk. McGill says one key prevention strategy is to not flex (round) your lower back under heavy loads. For the average guy, that means you definitely need to make sure your squat and deadlift form are perfect -- otherwise, you put yourself at high risk for a back filled with crabmeat.

Watch these videos for tips on how to master the squat and deadlift.

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