You don’t get to play T’Challa in Black Panther unless you’ve got the body and the acting chops to show for it. Chadwick Boseman has all of that and more, however in this article we’ll be looking closer at what he did to build the body fit enough to lead the nation of Wakanda!
Before we get started we have to say that we don’t have the exact workout that Boseman followed to get into his T’Challa form. He hasn’t appeared to have revealed that information in any press coverage or interviews.
What we do have is our interpretation of what we believe Boseman did to achieve such an impressive physique.
One thing to note for Chad Boseman, that when playing T’Challa in Black Panther he’s very lean. This means that this workout should involve a lot of athletic training, and high rep range work.
You’re not looking to build big heavy muscle, unlike if you were looking to get a physique like Chris Hemsworth when he plays Thor. We need something slicker and much more cardio orientated.
Chadwick Boseman Workout for Black Panther
In our endless research and speculation, we believe what Boseman did to train for Black Panther was a combination of cardio work and weight lifting. It has already been revealed that he took lessons in capoeira, karate, kung-Fu and jiu-jitsu (source) – but what was he doing in the gym?
Given the physique of Boseman in the Black Panther flick, we think you’re going to need an intense 5 days of training, with 2 days off. Those two days can be something easy like walking, yoga, or jogging. Something light that helps stretch out the muscles.
What sounds right to us is 3 days of different full body workouts, broken up with two days of cardio.
With that out of the way, what would a routine like this look like?
Day 1: Full Body Workout
With this routine we’re looking to be getting that ripped definition worthy of a true King of Wakanda. To do so, you’re going to do high reps for 5 sets.
First, we’ll start with the best full-body exercise: the deadlift:
- Deadlift: 5 x 8
You want to use a medium-heavy weight for this so you get a challenging 8 reps. Always make sure you keep your back straight, and if you feel your form slipping lower the weight.
Next we move onto something a little less intense, but with higher reps – bodyweight exercises:
- Push Ups: 5 x 15
- Bodyweight Walking Lunges: 5 x 30 steps (15 each leg)
- Pull Ups: 5 x 15
Now, we know not everyone is going to manage those pull ups. If you can’t do 15 just do as many as you can for 5 sets. You will get there, you just need to push hard for it, and it won’t come overnight.
Once you do achieve this though, your back will have such a great ripped look.
Next we have some shoulder and chest work:
- Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5 x 8
Again, a medium to heavy weight. The great thing about dumbbells is that you build great muscle balance. Barbells are easier to throw around because one arm can compensate for the other. With dumbbells, you’re on a good path to attain some real symmetry.
Lastly, you finish off the day with abs:
- Plank: 5 x 60 seconds
Depending on how strong your core is you may not be able to achieve a strict 60 second plank. Don’t worry, just go as long as you can 5 times in a row. Your abs will still get a major benefit from it.
Day 2 for a Black Panther Body: Cardio
After day 1, your body will be recovering pretty much every muscle group – so weight lifting will be out of the equation. To help you stay on the path that gets you that lean, athletic physique, we recommend running.
In our Rob McElhenney guide, we discovered that one of the things he did every day to keep himself in shape was to run 3 miles every day on top of his 6 days a week of weight lifting.
Now, we’re not suggesting you run 3 miles every day, however, using your cardio days to get the fastest 3 mile run time you can is a good idea. This way you can experiment with sprinting and push hard to both increase your stamina and burn off your body fat.
Chadwick Boseman Workout Day 3: Full Body Workout Pt. 2
This is the second full body workout that we think would be the making of a character like T’Challa.
Again, we start off with a big lift and then work into more bodyweight orientated activities.
- Bent Over Row: 5 x 8
We’d recommend using a barbell for that. Always check your form, and if you feel yourself slipping, lower the weight.
Now we get into the bodyweight stuff:
- Air Squat: 5 x 15
- Tricep Dips: 5 x 15
- Chin Ups: 5 x 15
- Push Ups: 5 x 15
Feel free to run those as a circuit to keep you fresh for when you come back to them. Chin ups can be especially hard if you’re not used to doing them.
Finally, we finish off the day with some ab work. It’s good to leave this until last as it can affect your overall balance if you’re still training with wrecked abs.
- Crunches: 5 x 15
Day 4: Cardio Pt. 2
For the cardio here, we just think you need to keep it simple. Like we recommended on day 2, we don’t think you need anything fancy here, just some hardcore running.
Aim to beat the 3 mile time you set for yourself last session. Dig deep, push hard, and sprint as much as you can.
Day 5: Full Body Workout Pt. 3
This is the final workout day that we would suggest if you’re trying to emulate Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa from Black Panther.
Unlike the last two full body workouts, this time there are two big lifts before getting into lighter exercises. Check it out:
- Squat: 5 x 8
- Dumbbell Bench: 5 x 8
Combined these will do a number on your chest and legs.
Now onto the conditioning work:
- Lateral Raise: 5 x 15
- Step Ups: 5 x 15
- Band Pull Apart: 5 x 15
And then polish it all off with some abs:
- Leg Raises: 5 x 15
Chadwick Boseman Black Panther Workout Days 6 & 7: Rest
Yes, after some hard work in the gym and on the track for 5 days, you need to give your body some rest.
However, you shouldn’t spend it on the couch eating junk food. You should engage in some active recovery. Do some very gentle exercise to help your body stay ticking over on the work that you’ve done. Some light walking, yoga or a jog may be perfect over the weekend to keep you growing.
If you keep on with that routine, you’ll be well on your way to attain a physique like T’Challa himself. However, you should stay focused on your diet as well. It is key to that lean physique.
Intermittent fasting, calorie counting and managing your macros will all be integral to pulling this off. Do your research, and make Wakanda proud!