The Workout Routine That Transformed Sebastian Stan

Disney+ launched their series Falcon and the Winter Soldier this month, and fans all over the world are gearing up to welcome back two of their favorite heroes. But for star Sebastian Stan, the preparation started long before filming for the show even began.

Stan trains with Don Saladino, who is currently one of the most well-known celebrity trainers. He's worked with Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway and countless others to help them get the bodies — and strength — they need to fill larger-than-life roles. And when it came to Sebastian Stan, he knew that he had to create a system based around someone who isn't always going to need heavy muscles.

"The thing about Seb is he isn't a full-time action hero; he is a very versatile actor. Going into shooting Avengers: Infinity War he was coming off of I, Tonya, where he had a very different body type," Saladino said when speaking to Men's Health in 2018.

Saladino isn't exaggerating. Many of Sebastian Stan's fans are looking forward to his next Marvel project, but the Romanian-born actor has several titles in the works and none of them require the same battle-ready physique. He's even set to play Tommy Lee in the biopic Pam and Tommy, according to IMDb. When it comes to Stan's role as Bucky Barnes, however, Saladino knows how to pack on the muscle.

Warmups are the key to the Winter Soldier's workouts

Bucky is a pretty buff guy. It's hard not to be when you're a serum-enhanced super soldier — with actual arms of steel to boot. But Saladino prefers circuit training over super serum, focusing on "optimal energy and recovery."

This means starting out every workout with 10-15 minutes of foam rolling and mobility work. These generally include handstands, kettlebell goblet squats, and kettlebell getups. The YouTube channel Kettlebell Movement has a great video on getups that emphasizes a focus on mobility and muscle movement, just like Saladino would.

The second circuit of Stan's workout is a smooth flow set that moves from a kettlebell clean and press into a pullup. Rather than do a static number of reps, however, Saladino has Stan build up the number of clean and press reps he does while maintaining a steady five reps every time Stan does pull-ups. Stan starts with one clean and press and moves into five pull-ups. On the next set he does two clean and press, then three on the next and so on to a max of five clean and press. Then Stan starts at the top and does it all over again, repeating the circuit three times.

Balance is key in any exercise routine

Stan's second circuit is a little easier. It only has to be repeated once and Saladino recommends going for about 80 percent intensity with a rest of almost a minute between sets. This allows time for the muscles to recover between dumbbell bench presses, inverted rows, and dumbbell lateral raises. Each exercise requires three sets of ten reps each.

The final circuit is the easiest, but is by no means a walk in the park. Saladino cuts down the rest period between reps to somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds. And while there are only two exercises, this arm-heavy workout will have most people shaking by this point. Again, the workouts require three sets of ten reps each. Saladino starts Stan off with barbell curls and then moves him into dumbbell tricep extensions.

This is a workout designed to pack on superhuman levels of muscle. It's something most people have to build up to. So if you're looking to emulate Barnes' look, take it slow to avoid strain or injury. And since this is such a top-heavy workout, you might want to look into something like this for leg day.