From War Dogs to Top Gun: Maverick, Miles Teller can seemingly do anything from comedy to high-octane thrillers, with a little bit of drama thrown in.
The key is a dedication to always focusing on fitness, even when he isn’t training, as Jason Walsh, CEO and chief trainer at elite training facility Rise Nation explains…
“I met Miles before the movie where he plays a firefighter [Only The Brave, 2017],” he explains. “He was referred to us through Bradley Cooper, who I was training for American Sniper. We started training in 2015, and then he did Bleed For This, where he plays a boxer.”
Then in his mid-20s, Teller was eager to learn, and growth. “It’s always easier training the younger crowd just because of the body’s ability to recover from training much faster,” Walsh enthuses.
Their relationship continues today but Walsh remembers Bleed For This– in which Teller portrays real-life boxer Vinny Pazienza – as a highlight. So let’s dig in.
Prep for the film revolved around generally getting Teller in shape. Walsh isn’t a boxing trainer (that side of it was covered) so it was about dialling in nutrition, and building shape.
“General physical preparation was pretty much what we did with him,” Walsh explains. “We had to clean some stuff up too; anytime somebody does a boxing movie, I generally see a lot of issues, just because they’re taught to keep a posture with their shoulders rotated for protection. Over time, that anterior work can lead to an imbalance.”
Walsh’s work, then, was focused on protecting Teller. Not from wayward punches, but from the after-effects of the boxing training itself. “A lot of the stuff that we do is focused on the posterior chain, working on a lot of pulling motions, and trying to get his body about balanced out,” Walsh adds.
Making The Cut
Interestingly, because Bleed For This is a true story, and one set in the 1980s, Walsh and Teller had an IRL reference point to work towards. Notably, Walsh explains, we didn’t know as much about nutrition back then, so it was less about getting Teller absolutely cut (hello Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw) and more about getting the rough shape there.
“He’s kind of a regular average Joe boxer,” says Walsh. “He didn’t need the overly-ripped superhero type body. We trained a lot, but we kept the diet pretty average. We didn’t implement a lot of restrictions or mess around with macros.”
In other words, Raging Bull’s all-steak diet was a very real possibility – although maybe without the temper tantrums.
For Teller, carbs – particularly pasta – were a go because it didn’t matter if he retained a bit of extra body fat.
Training took place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with an upper/lower body split.
“He’s pretty receptive to anything that we throw his way,” Walsh explains. “We do a lot of tedious warm-up stuff with rubber bands, lateral walks, bent knees, shoulder stuff. They’re annoying, they burn like crazy and they’re light so it doesn’t really feel like you’re doing much. But at the same time, it’s imperative to make sure that these joints are warmed up and ready to lift heavy. He didn’t complain.”
A new exercise that became a favourite were landmine deadlifts alongside hip thrusts. “Most people didn’t really pay attention to the glutes,” Walsh says, “but now it’s more common.”
Train like a Butterfly…
Teller may have a reputation for intensity in his roles, but in the gym Walsh says he was equal parts easy going, and committed.
“He’s persistent with his diet, whether we’re training for a film or not, so he’s a pretty easy client in that in that sense.”
“We don’t talk about the psychology of training, I think it’s very important,” Walsh continues. “A lot of people start and stop, because they just don’t have that switch. Miles sees the big picture and realises that training keeps him balanced, mentally. He understands the importance of longevity, and the application of training. He does the work he puts in the time and the effort. He’s in it for the long run.”
Try the below once a week to channel Teller’s ring-ready physique.
After a decent warm-up, aim for one set of ten reps for each.
Lie on your back, knees bent with a barbell across your abdomen. Push up from the groin/bum. Hold, and lower back down, keeping the rest of your body on the floor.
Secure one end of the barbell. Load the other with weight plates. Grip behind the plates. Knees bent, back straight, power through the heels and hips to stand straight, lifting the bar as you do. Reverse the movement and repeat.
Sled Push and Pull
Load that sled up, get down low, back straight and power through your feet and quads to move that SOB across the floor. When you’re about to collapse, turn around and drag in back to the start. Repeat.
Single-side Heavy Carries
Grab a heavy dumbbell in one hand. Carry it across the gym floor. Repeat. By focusing on one side you’ll force the other side to work harder to stabilise. Swap hands, aiming for three shuttles per side.
Get into position in the back extension machine. The pad should be by the top of your thighs. Leave the weight out of it for now. Cross your arms across your chest and lean forward until your face is close to the ground. Reverse the move to return to the start. If you feel any pain in your lower back, stop immediately and stretch.