Tomb Raider Workout Breakdown

If Chase is going to be super helpful, I can’t just do the exact same thing. If Chase is going to go high, I got to go low.”

I’m half-joking. When it comes to creating content, the struggle is real (i.e. it’s real hard to think of something original that someone else hasn’t done better). And this time it’s no different. If you want your pick of powerful and knowledgeable female lifters, there’s plenty out there to follow:

And there’s so many times I’ve started up something only to talk myself out of it– my work just pales in comparison to so many professionals out there. That’s a bad mindset to have because eventually you’ll just talk yourself out of doing anything, right?

But what if instead of trying to outdo someone, I just add to the discussion? Sure, I might make something stupid, and the initial response might be lukewarm. But if it’s dumb enough that people can get exposure and want to learn more, I think that’s a win for the fitness community.

Let’s breakdown the real takeaways from my Sexy Badass Tomb Raider Workout video.

“Sexy Get Ups”

Muscle Target: Chest and Obliques

For newbie lifters, your arms and shoulders will try to overtake the lift, but you should work on having your chest carry the bulk of the bodyweight load. Including the “twist” with the kneeling position will also engage the obliques. Be sure to allow the obliques to carry part of the bodyweight load while you’re pressing up.

Pros & Cons

Even if you can technically do a “real” pushup, practicing progressive style pushups will help ensure you’re maintaining proper muscle engagement. There’s some people who can bang out a high number of pushups but not feel their chest doing the work at all.

Having some oblique activation is a nice bonus, but you’re going to be better off in the long run doing real push ups and finding a different move for the obliques.

“Sexy Badass Bow Moves”

(Variation 1) Muscle Target: The Back

Most people are familiar with the one arm dumbbell row, but it’s real easy to miss the target. It’s so easy to “eyeball” the up and down lift that people forget to engage the back, and the arm and shoulder just take over the lift.

Remember, the row is a back move first and foremost. The shoulder and bicep are eventually going to come into play no matter what, but your back needs to carry the bulk of the load.

Pros & Cons

Again, for a new lifter– or even an intermediate lifter who’s never really considered the mind muscle connection– this is a great way to practice engaging the back.

This can also be a nice warm-up before doing pull-ups.

As for actual lifting? You’ll probably want to use more “serious weight” as the band will be limited in the amount of resistance it can provide.


(Variation 2) Muscle Target: Rotator Cuff

In the video, I mention how we’re using the bands to be a modified one arm face pull. You should know there’s two types of face pulls: one for heavy weight (i.e. serious strength training of the delts) and another (much better) one for preventative care and rehabbing the rotator cuff.

Your body is conditioned and prepped for certain directions of movements. Adding exercises that continue in the “norm” can make you stronger, but also increase wear and tear. For most folks, your rotator cuff isn’t typically doing a outward movement (movie bullies playing “keep away” being the exception).

So let’s say you’re doing a row, but not properly able to engage the back. Your shoulder will “take over” the lift, but that outward rotation might end up hurting. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself.

Pros & Cons

More exposure to “face pulls” in any variation is better… but I think face pulls are one of the few lifts you wouldn’t want to do unilaterally (single arm/leg). Some trainers might argue that this forces you to exert more control over the lift (i.e. practicing more stabilization = stronger body).

However, I think the standard face pull using the rope pulley is the way to go. It’s a cleaner line of movement, leaving you to practice the movement safely.


(Variation 3) Muscle Target: Pecs

There’s two main exercises when it comes to building the chest: presses and flyes. And unlike every other move listed before, I think it’s very easy to feel the muscle engagement with a flye.

On another note, where does that extra “e” come from?

Pros & Cons

Even though flyes are great, they’re one of my least favorite moves. Flyes just feel too tedious. So if I hate an exercise, it’s harder for me to recommend it to my clients (aside from squats… we all got to).

For a nice pump or warm up, this single arm variation can work, but there are two other types you can try out: the dumbbell fly away and the incline fly press.

“Sexy (Bondage) Fallbacks”

Muscle Target: Abdominals

Now, out of all the moves listed, I’m going to vouch for this one the most. The “bondage” tension added by the band is going to be unnecessary for most cases, but the focus on lowering yourself is one of the best ways to keep that core tight while avoiding any back strain.

One of my top priorities every time I train is to avoid any lower back pain whatsoever.

If you’re working out with a partner, you can modify this move into a “Buddy Let Me Down”. In this variation, your partner would assist in pulling you up, so then the move is solely about lowering yourself down with the abs engaged.

Pros & Cons

This modification is all about taking the lower back out of the picture. Again, it’s even better when you’re doing it with a partner.

If you’re on your own, you still want to be mindful on the crunch up and make sure it’s not your lower back “pulling” you up.

The Actual Tomb Raider Exercises

Alicia Vikander worked with celebrity trainer Magnus Lygdback. He’s also trained other Justice League fan favorites: Wonder Woman and Batman.

Entertainment Tonight has a video showing off some of the lifts Magnus had Alicia do here. From what I can see, those exercises are:

  • Ring Pull Ups (00:23)
  • Dumbbell Curls (00:30)
  • Alternating Reach Dumbbell Rows (00:40)
  • Alternating Bodyweight Lunge and Kicks (00:43)
  • Wall Balls (00:51)
  • Push Ups (00:56)
  • Cable Crossover (01:00)
  • Dumbbell Pullover (01:03)
  • Ball Plank with Roll In (01:41)

With the video, I got stupid. With this post, I got smart– it’s more or less the “me” you’ll see when I train my clients.

Let me know what you think. Want to see more breakdowns like this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s