The New Conan Workout

Taking on the iconic role of Conan the Barbarian is a daunting task that requires a rock solid training program and kick-ass supplementation.

Jason Momoa as Conan the BarbarianLet me first begin by saying I am a true fan of the original Conan movies and I believe Arnold is the reason bodybuilding is where it is today.

His physique in those movies, while not being the exact replica of what he looked like when capturing seven Mr Olympia titles, was still extremely impressive.

A huge thick chest from top to bottom, arms that even today’s top pros would give anything for and a tight wasp-like waist that seems to have gone by the wayside for many current competitors.

Arnold ruled and Conan kicked ass and many believe it’s better to leave something so good and iconic alone, while others like to ask what if Conan re-emerged?

Well, a new Conan movie is out and the man taking on the iconic role is none other than Jason Momoa, who will forever be known as the shrunken Conan.  For this new role, Momoa had to put on 20 lb of muscle in all the right spots. I designed a program that would suit his kind of physique and one that would achieve the same end results:

The New Conan Workout

Weight Training Program:  5 days/week

Monday: Chest/Triceps/Abs (follows pyramid training principle)

  • Bench Press – 5 sets, reps 20-15-10-8-8
  • Incline Bench Press – 4 sets, reps 15-10-8-8
  • Incline Flyes – 4 sets, reps 15, 15, 15 (weight increases each set)
  • Rope Push Downs – 5 sets, reps 20-15-12-10-10
  • Skull Crushers – 5 sets, reps 20-15-12-10-10
  • Dumbell Kick Backs – 3 sets, reps 12-10-10

Tuesday: Back/Biceps/Forearms (pyramid principle)

  • Wide Grip Chins – 4 sets with bodyweight to failure
  • T-Bar Rows – 4 sets, reps 15-10-6-6
  • 1 Arm Rows – a 4 sets, reps 12-10-8-8
  • Cross Bench Dumbbell Pullovers – 3 sets, reps 12-12-12
  • Straight Bar Curls – 6 sets of 10 with weight never changing
  • Incline Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Preacher Curls – 4 sets, reps 20-15-12-12
  • Reverse Grip Cambered Bar Curls – 3 sets, reps 12-10-10

Wednesday: Quads/Hams/Calves (even though no one really noticed Conan’s legs)

  • Seated Leg Extensions – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-triple drop set
  • Hack Squats – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Lunges – 3 sets, no count, set a distance to walk to and back
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts – a 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Seated Hamstring Curls – 3 sets, reps 15-12-12
  • Standing Calf Raises – 4 sets, reps 15-8-6-6

Thursday: Shoulders/Traps (pyramid principle)

  • Standing Military Presses – 5 sets, reps 15-12-10-10-8
  • Lateral Raises – 4 sets, reps 12-10-8-8
  • Reverse Pec Deck Flyes – 4 sets, reps 12-10-8-8
  • Barbell Shrugs – 5 sets, reps 30 each set while increasing the weight

Friday: Chest/Biceps/Triceps

  • Flat Dumbbell Presses – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Incline Dumbbell Presses – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Pec Deck – 4 sets, reps 15-12-10-10
  • Standing Dumbbell Curls Superset with V-Bar Pushdowns – 4 sets, reps 15-15-10-10
  • Close Grip Bench Press Superset with Spider Curls – 4 sets, reps 12-10-8-8
  • Overhead Dumbbell Extensions Superset with Concentration Curls – 3 sets, reps 12-10-10

Please note that results will vary from person to person and this workout doesn’t include progressive adjustments; however, this program is rock solid and will give anyone a pretty good start at attaining a Conan-like physique with of course tweaks along the way.  As you can see from the weight training program, chest and arms are given priority because after all when you think of Arnold those are the muscle groups that come to mind right away, and I’m sure Momoa focused on those just the same.

Nutrition and Supplementation

One of Momoa’s biggest challenges was holding onto the muscle he had built while maintaining his gruelling fat-burning fight schedule. Sword fighting and hand-to-hand combat training was also part of Momoa’s training program. He reportedly stuck to a low-carb diet and this could’ve been designed better to suit his 6’4” frame and his combined training schedule.

The New Conan Training Diet

Meal One

Meal Two

  • 1-1.5 cups of brown rice
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Mixed veggies
  • 1 avocado

Meal Three (pre workout)

Intra workout: Waxy Maize and Isoflex

Meal Four (post workout)

Meal Five

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 10-12 oz. flank steak
  • Mixed veggies
  • Omega3

Meal Six

As far as nutrition and supplementation go, its high protein with moderate carbs and moderate healthy fats. The supplements are taken at calculated times in order to promote the most anabolic, growing environment possible.

Dana Bushell

As a former provincial level bodybuilding competitor, and as a strength and conditioning coach, Dana has the advantage of being up to date with the current training and dieting practices used by the industry’s athletes. Along with being an Associate Professor of Communications, Dana is also a certified fitness consultant and a regular columnist for Muscle Insider.

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