While the heroes of the upcoming sci-fi action blockbuster Terminator: Dark Fate all have tough tasks to accomplish to save the future, you could argue that none of the characters have as intimidating a challenge as Gabriel Luna, the actor.
Luna plays the film’s big bad, the Terminator Rev-9, a new kind of shape-shifting killer robot that can separate itself into two parts to maximize the future-altering carnage. The character looks to be absolutely formidable in the movie’s early trailers—but in real life, Luna has to live up to the dread-inducing presence of the OG Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of film’s all-time great antagonists.
Luna, 36, who was best known for his role as Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before being cast in the movie, had a steep hill to climb to prep his body for the role. The actor told Men’s Health he started training the minute he landed the first audition. “I knew I had to get my body into a good place,” he says, “because at the time, I was drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes and all this other stuff I didn’t need to be doing if I intended to play this role. I knew I’d eventually have to stand in front of this guy”—he gestures to Arnold—“and my motivation was, I want him to see me and see a formidable foe. I don’t want him to see me and think, I could squash this guy with my thumbs.”
Like most other eighties babies, Luna grew up aware of Schwarzenegger as the biggest star (both literally and figuratively) in Hollywood. The younger actor recalled watching Arnold’s movies with his brother “until the tape popped,” along with being introduced to working out through footage of his future costar promoting the President’s Challenge physical-fitness test as a kid in school. “I have an image in my mind of him doing those pullups,” Luna says. “I did three, I think.”
Luna can probably handle way more than three pullups now that he’s spent an entire film cycle training to fill Schwarzenegger’s shoes, especially considering the hours of workouts the two actors logged together, in Budapest and Gold’s Gym in Venice, California. Luna broke down some of his favorite exercises for the Men’s Health crew when we caught up with him at RetroFit in Hollywood.
If you want to try these moves yourself, you should keep in mind that they’re not part of one routine. Instead, add them to your workouts on days that you’re training the relevant muscle groups—and always be sure to stay within your experience and abilities before you add more weight.
Gabriel Luna’s Favorite Terminator Exercises
Lateral Walks and Monster Walks
- 3 sets of 10 steps in each direction
Dumbbell External Rotations
Dumbbell Front Raises
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Bicep Curl 21s
Dumbbell Chest Pullover
Trap Bar Deadlift
Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown
Dragon Flag Lowers
- 4 sets of 1 minute of work
3 sets of:
- 1 minute above 70 rpm
- 2 minutes 40-50 rpm
- 1 minute above 70 rpm
- Alternate between 1 minute of high intensity and 2 minutes of moderate intensity