SCOTT ADKINS HAS made a career as an action star with high-octane sequences of martial artistry, trading blows with legends like Jackie Chan, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and, most recently, Keanu Reeves. Adkins appears in John Wick: Chapter 4 as Killa Harkan, a “heavy,” or adversary, to Reeves’ steely assassin. You might not recognize Adkins in the role if you’ve seen any of his other work—the actor donned a fat suit and prosthetics for extra girth, so he was heavier than when he plays more heroic roles in both form and function.
Regardless of the costuming setup, Adkins can’t be an action star without being in shape. “You can’t be a good martial artist and not be fit—the two go hand in hand,” he says. But each role demands something different of him, as each character has their own fighting style. For Killa Harkan, Adkins envisioned a heavy hitter with looping hook punches like Mike Tyson, with some kicking skills courtesy of Adkins’ own style.
Putting the character into action demanded everything of Adkins, from his skills to his fitness. “At first I thought well it’s not that bad, it’s not as heavy as I thought it would be,” says Adkins of the setup to portray the portl Harkan. “But then by the time you get to the end of the day and you’ve been fighting John Wick and you’ve been wearing it the whole time and you’ve got these prosthetics here so you can’t really turn your head very well, it takes its toll.”
Adkins walked the MH crew through some of the exercises he uses to stay in shape for demanding roles like Killa Harkan. Since he’s an action star through and through, he’s constantly preparing for his next fight. He has a saying that encapsulates his training philosophy: “Stay ready, and then you don’t need to get ready.”
Scott Adkins’ John Wick 4 Exercises
5 sets of 5 reps
3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps
3 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps
MMA and Taekwondo Drills
- Step Through Side Kick
- Spinning Hook Kick
- 720 Spin Kick
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Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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