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2021's No Time To Die will be Daniel Craig's fifth and final outing as the swashbuckling British super spy James Bond. Ever since we saw a 38-year-old Craig smashing through a Madagascan construction site in Casino Royale (and, lest we forget, emerging from the water in a pair of trunks that were later auctioned for £44,450), it was evident that his body of work for the Bond franchise was lightyears apart from his double-O predecessors. Physical, brutish and gadgetless, Craig's take on 007 was not only refreshing, but entirely believable: here, finally, was a man who had the skillset and mental fortitude to own a license to kill.
For Casino Royale, Craig teamed up with trainer Simon Waterson — the man responsible for the transformation of Captain America's Chris Evans — who was briefed to craft a more lethal and functional Bond. To start off, Waterson employed powerlifting and compound exercises to simultaneously spike Craig's heart rate while building functional muscle that was fit for purpose. Needless to say it worked and, 15 years later, they were still training together for Craig's final outing as Bond in No Time To Die. However, this time around, Waterson adopted a new approach for the project.
"It’s quite a conscious thing to evolve, with a mentality and a physicality. On Casino [Royale], you could see that he comes out of the water and he’s bigger, more imposing — he looks like he could kill people," Waterson explained to Men's Health UK. "In Quantum [of Solace], he’s faster and more efficient, the same with Skyfall and Spectre."
Inevitably, Craig's age played a part in prepping for No Time to Die. He entered his fifties during production and, by the time filming had wrapped, was fifteen years older than the man chasing a bomb maker through a building site in Casino Royale. "You’ve got to be aware that your body isn’t necessarily as capable of doing as much as you did in your thirties," Waterson continues. "That doesn’t mean you can’t be just as fit, or look as aesthetically amazing. Normally, it’s very natural to change the way you condition to suit your age."
This was exactly what the pair worked towards, focusing on remaining injury-free and mobile, while also still being able to tick the necessary boxes of being the most lethal and convincing James Bond (so far). "We used a lot of our own natural bodyweight exercises," Waterson says, as "his physique is there to perform a function. That function just happens to be sprinting up stairs, hopping over the balustrade and into a fight sequence, out of a door, smashing through another door and into a car and driving off. It has to look seamless and effortless, so we condition that in the gym."
In June 2019, a BTS photo of Daniel Craig on the No Time To Die set went viral. It showed Craig wearing a cumbersome boot on his foot while he recovered from surgery, still racking up reps in the gym at Pinewood Studios. Looking back at the post, Waterson believes that "it’s not about being sat on the sofa with your leg up, it’s about doing what you can and working around the situation...My feeling is that by stimulating the same chemical releases and the same physiological parts in the body, training with that injury can stimulate natural healing."
With eagle-eyed producers, directors and studio heads watching the then-unnamed #Bond25 project come into fruition, prepping for Bond saw Craig become comparable to a professional athlete preparing for competition. Only in Craig's case, it's "filming for six days a week for six to seven months," says Waterson. "It is more difficult than being an athlete. You’re starting at 6AM and finishing at 7PM, and having to bookend your day with your own physical stuff as well, whether that’s a recovery or a treatment routine. Your days are very extended." (Continued below)
Craig, in true 007 fashion, "excelled" at meeting the physical requirements of the role. "You’ve got to cover everything," Waterson explains, "It’s very tough. You have to be able to cover a broad spectrum of different things. You’ve got to be able to run, sprint, be on the ground, get off the ground, you have to be really quick to jump over things. All these things have to be covered."
As you can imagine, the sessions Craig underwent at the Pinewood Studios gym and on set around the world weren't your typical bodybuilding bro sessions. Far from it — Waterson used a mix of agility work, stabilising exercises, bodyweight staples and conditioning blocks to put Craig through the wringer one last time. "We used a lot of resistance bands, because we used them for stretching and a lot of cones and hurdles for agility-based exercises. [Such as] weaving through cones, jumping over hurdles and onto a plyo box then onto a Bosu for stability. It’s the repetition of doing that and then sprinting. He’s trying to get that agility," says Waterson. "It's making sure that we activate and strengthen all the muscle groups and then have the capability to sprint."
Daniel Craig's 007 Workout
Ready to train like Her Majesty's deadliest weapon? The workout below is a typical session that Waterson would take Craig through during the filming for No Time to Die. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make it out alive.
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