"I tried Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider workout"

·4-min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Trying celebrity workouts isn't anything new – from people attempting to train like J.Lo, exercise like Kate Hudson, or attempt Kate Beckinsale's mini-trampoline routine, there's something incredibly satisfying about managing to complete a celebrity-approved workout.

YouTuber and fitness coach Lucy Davis is an expert when it comes to celebrity workouts, and for her latest efforts she attempted the leg-focused session that Alicia Vikander did regularly in preparation for her role as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

"This is the most requested one [video] I've had so far," says Davis. "I chose her leg workout in particular because that's the one that looks really pretty difficult. There's a lot of compounds [exercises] in there, there's obviously some abs. It's 28 sets which is a lot of volume in a session."

Getting started

Davis walks us through how she'll be approaching the workout, not being in a full gym set-up.

"I do have a barbell, I have most of the equipment, there's just one thing that I need to alter because I don't have a full hack squat machine in my garden."

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1. Deadlift

A high-volume workout, Davis starts with four sets of deadlifts, at 12 reps per set, mentioning that she wouldn't normally do so many reps in a set. "12 reps is hard, I usually go for about 5."

The reason Davis says her normal sets are much lower is that she trains for strength gains, rather than muscle hypertrophy (trying to build new, lean muscle tissue). For her role as Lara Croft, Vikander tried to build muscle in a short amount of time, eventually gaining a reported 12 pounds of muscle before shooting began.

2. Squats

Then it was time for front squats, something Davis approaches with a sense of apprehension as, again, the exercise is different from how she would normally train.

"I'm not a fan of the front squats," she says, explaining the difference between the move and her go-to, the back squat.

"With front squats, you're going to significantly hit your quads [quadriceps]. Whereas, a back squat you're getting more of your posterior [chain], hammies [hamstrings] and glutes."

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3. Hack squat

Next up, the hack squat - an exercise that's usually performed on a hack squat machine and has the person squatting at a 45-degree angle. A great exercise to hit your entire lower body as well as your core, it's a staple in most muscle-building routines.

"I don't have a hack squat machine so I'm doing a dumbbell variation," explains Davis. "All you have to do is have a really close stance and bring the dumbbells forward."

4. Weighted lunges

"I'm just going to do alternate static lunges," says Davis, repping out a few before mentioning that her legs were beginning to cramp, 13 sets into the workout.

5. Skaters

The last move before Vikander's core-finisher and it's something Davis isn't so keen on, skaters.

"You may as well just jog on the spot," she says, demonstrating the exercise. "My issue with it is that if you do [it] you might slip." Instead, performing the exercise cautiously, Davis hopped from side to side, landing softly. An exercise that works your cardio ability as well as lower-body strength, it's likely Vikander was trying to fatigue her body at the end of the workout.

And, while Davis isn't its biggest fan, the skater exercise does have a myriad of benefits - from building coordination to improving balance, and using muscles in both the front and back of your lower body. Best to use when you need a cardiovascular finisher for your lower body, similar to how Vikander used it in this workout.

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6. Finisher and verdict

Last but by no means least, Davis sets up for five minutes of plank variations. Moving between a forearm plank, high plank and side planks, Davis chats through her thoughts on the workout as a whole.

"This is, for me, a really enjoyable workout," she said. "Fair play to her, this is the hardest one [workout] I've done. Actually no, J.Lo's was harder because this is a leg workout."

"J.Lo's was so many sets of abs and so many sets of legs with abs again," she said, referring to her previous trial of Jennifer Lopez's super-long, super hard lower body and core workout.

Alicia Vikander's tomb raider lower body workout

  • Deadlifts:4 x 12 reps

  • Front squats: 4 x 12 reps

  • Hack squat (alternative): 5 x 12 reps

  • Weighted lunges: 3 x 20 reps

  • Skater jumps: 4 x 30 reps

  • Plank variations – 5 sets of 1 minute

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