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Tomb Raider: How to Train like Lara Croft

Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame is the latest action hero to get a reboot on the big screen. Initially popularised as one of the very first computer game heroines, Lara Croft – the wealthy daughter of an eccentric explorer – was first brought to life on the silver screen back in 2003 by Angelina Jolie.

In the new Tomb Raider film, Croft is played by Alicia Vikander, an actress who trained in ballet from the age of 9 right up until her late teens. Ballet – a performance dance that requires strength, balance and agility – placed Vikander in an ideal position for her latest role. Lara Croft is famous for her fighting skills, agility and gymnastic ability – years of ballet practice will have perfectly primed Vikander for the physical demands of playing an all action hero.

If you want to build a Lara/Alicia body, a combination of strength training coupled with bodyweight and gymnastic exercises will get you the lean, athletic and strong physique.

Below we’ve outlined a number of exercises that will help you build that Lara ‘bod’ and hopefully give you some of her awesome skills as well.


Plenty of lower body work is going to be important as strong glutes and quads are essential for explosive movements Lara is famed for. It’s time to lift heavy ladies!

Squats, deadlifts and glute bridges are going to be your bread and butter exercises. These can be assisted with exercises like lunges, split squats, front squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls and leg presses to help develop athletic looking legs.


Now we don’t expect you to be performing somersaults and backflips – at least not a first – but you can use explosive jumping movements and stability exercises that are great for improving flexibility and increasing power. They’re also a great way to add fun and variety to your training, which is always good!

Incorporating things like box jumps, assisted/banded pull-ups, jumping lunges, press up variations and core work including planks, stability ball work and TRX training are great ways to help burn calories, improve mobility, stability and to develop a toned midsection.


If we want to be Lara lean then we have to burn some calories. The most efficient, varied and fun way to do this is via interval or circuit training. This type of training will give you a fat burning, full body workout.

Incorporating more functional exercises such as sledge pushes and pulls, battle ropes, sandbag carries, boxing drills using bags or pads, combined with some of your favourite bodyweight exercises like burpees, mountain climbers and free squats are a fun and effective way to approach cardio.


We’d suggest putting your heavier, resistance training at the start of each training session. This is because these exercises require good technique so you don’t injure yourself or be so fatigued you reduce your capacity to perform.

Do the heavier resistance training at the start of your session. These type of exercises require good technique for maximum benefit. You don’t want to injure yourself or be so tired you reduce your capacity to perform.

For example, performing heavy squats after tiring yourself out with a brutal interval training session is going to have a negative impact on your performance. If you are negatively impacting your performance then you’re not going to get the most out of these exercises. And it’s these exercises that are going to have the biggest influence on helping you build that athletic Lara Croft look.

Following these exercises, move onto the more explosive movements like the gymnastic or bodyweight exercises. These are still demanding, but generally need lighter loads. Finally, finish your session by maximising your output and eating through those calories using a full body circuit or interval training session.



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