Last year we saw the reboot of a very popular franchise; The Power Rangers. This meant that the newer generations would get a glimpse of what kids of the 80s and 90s were sort of worshiping. Back then, there were two unstoppable forces of ninjas: The Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Rangers were much cooler though.
In order to genuinely portray capable fighters, the crew cast to play the new Rangers had to go through grueling training and develop skills of true martial artists. Some of them were athletically gifted to start with and played action roles before, like Naomi Scott and Ludi Lin, Pink and Black Rangers respectively. Others have to pick up a lot in order to get to the point of comfortably performing some of the action sequences that excluded stunt work.
After assessing their capabilities and going through the script, each actor was given a precise breakdown of skills they needed to develop. Months before the filming started, the actors were training full time and they shared some of the exercises.
The trainers were actively looking to develop the fluidity of the motion in these actors. There is a common misconception regarding acting out a fight sequence; you don’t need power to fake a kick or a punch to the head. But that’s not actually true. Whereas you really don’t need maximum power to fake kick someone in the head, you actually need a lot of power and precision to perform it and have it look natural.
Many actual fighters agree that missing a kick is far more exhausting and harder than genuinely hitting one.
In order to develop the strength and accuracy for these action sequences, the actors did a lot of:
- Cardio to start with:
- Running for 15-25 minutes
- Elliptical machine – high resistance for three minutes with a minute rest, three sets
- Jumping rope – High speed, three minutes sessions, at least two sessions
- General body toning:
- Push-ups, 10-12 reps, three sets
- Squats, 12-15 reps, three sets
- Planking, 30-second holds, three sets
- Dumbbell exercises, lower weights, alternating techniques
These are the exercises the majority of the crew did each day, usually in the morning. The brilliance of this program is that it is not gender-specific and following this workout regime results in leaning out your body, not building too much muscle mass in the process. While a bulking figure does look good on men, and most would say not so much on women, the point of this training is to tone the muscles, putting functionality over form. Also, these are the exercises each member of the cast did on their own.
Martial Arts Training
This is the part where the crew came together to train skills specific to their roles. Naturally, all of them had to learn the basics of fighting and proper punching and kicking techniques. This is done by implementing special exercises on the heavy bag and focus pads. These exercises were divided into sports and segments;
- Technique and footwork
- Heavy bag – stationary target practice
- Focus pads – moving target practice
- Evasive moves – footwork and stamina practice
- Technique and form – both punches and kicks
- Speed training – fast-paced routines and combinations
- Stability – Slow movement designed to increase stability through the motion
- Heavy bag and focus pads – implementation of the technique
- Combining movement with technique
- Heavy bag – closing in on the punch with efficient footwork
- Focus pads – in-and-out, implementation of movement and defense
These are very broad in explanations only because they were tailored for each member of the cast individually. This was done in order to achieve maximum results and follow the projected timeline of progress.
The Power Rangers Workout Program
A typical workout day would look like this:
- Morning session:
- Cardio – Running and elliptical for 35 minutes combined
- Toning exercises – push-ups, squats, pull-ups, weight training
- Cooldown and stretching
- Mid-day session:
- Jump rope – 10-15 minutes
- Boxing – heavy bag and focus pads
- Kickboxing – focus pads and footwork
- Karate – speed training and stability training
- Afternoon session:
- Weapons training
- Fight sequence choreography
The Power Rangers use all sorts of weapons from batons to swords. This requires actors to be able to genuinely portray proficiency in using weapons. The physical training comes into play here as it allowed actors to control their movement with great accuracy, a trait much needed when wielding a weapon. Upper body strength is important, and weapons training puts the power gained from upper body exercises to use. To gain the strength, the crew used exercises like:
- Barbell curls
- Standing lifts
- Dumbbell swings
- One-arm lifts
- Heavy rope workouts
Final Physique and Form
The workouts described so far were all focused more on function than form. But we are talking about a movie here and movies really require the form as well. This is especially true for male stars because you get to see more of their physique during an action movie (shirtless shots and all that). So, in order to get the desired look, weighted and isometric training is required, especially to build the torso and arms. These would include workout routines like this one:
- Push-ups – 10-12 reps, four sets
- Shoulder taps – 10 reps each arm, two sets
- Slow climbers – 10 reps each leg, two sets
- Sit-up punches – 12-15 reps, four sets
- Leg raises – 10 reps, two sets
- Jumping squats – 12-15 reps, three sets
This workout is designed to build muscles in the arms and torso, and especially works well for building and toning abs. Add to this weighted work with barbells and dumbbells and you get the recipe for a body of a ninja superhero.
The Power Rangers physique requires a lot of dedication and training, but it is definitely attainable through proper workout regime and given time, you can attain similar physique yourself. The crew playing the Rangers did a phenomenal job of transforming their bodies and credibly played the roles of people with extraordinary skills and immense strength. Hopefully, this guide gets you closer to achieving the same results.