DANIEL WU IS a martial artist with a background in Wushu, but the actor doesn’t depend on one strict discipline to bring heart-stopping fight sequences to the screen. “In onscreen fighting, there’s no real one style,” he told Men’s Health when we caught up with Wu to check out his training routine. “You have to mold yourself to fit into the choreography or the style of the character that you’re fighting with.”

In fact, his flashiest moves, deployed in movies and shows like The Man With the Iron Fists and AMC’s Into the Badlands, might not even be useful to defend yourself IRL. “Sometimes you’re doing crazy movements that are martial arts-related, but you’d probably never do in a real fight—but are really cool onscreen.” Wu pointed to wire work, stunts that make it appear that the characters are able to defy the laws of physics, as a great example of this. While these maneuvers might not be technically possible off-screen, actors like Wu still have to be in incredible shape to make the stunts look real. “To be able to execute those kinds of things, not only do you need a good martial arts base, but you also need a strong body to be able to withstand all that and be able to move with all that,” he said.

Wu brought his high-flying maneuvers to the Disney+ series American Born Chinese with his portrayal of the Monkey King, an iconic character in Chinese literature. He shared his fight choreography prep workout routine with MH, giving us a look at how he gets ready for showstopping stunts. Wu worked through a long warmup to prep his body for movement, using tools like a clubbell and kettlebells, before being joined by his striking coach Dr. Jason Park, PT, DPT, SCS for pad work.

This is a very specific routine, so you might not get results by following it to the letter—but if you’re interested in the types of movement Wu uses for his fight scenes, you can use some of these principles in your own workouts.

Daniel Wu’s Martial Arts Training Routine

Clubbell Shoulder Warmup

Elbow Supination

10 reps per side

Elbow Pronation

10 reps per side

Overhead Circles

10 reps per direction

Single-Arm Halo

10 reps per side

Wushu Stance Training

Horse to Bow Stance Transitions

Kettlebell Mobility and Strength Circuit

Rear Lunge Overhead Press

3 sets of 10 reps per side

Front Rack Toe Walks

3 rounds of 50 foot walks

Kettlebell Squat Jumps

3 sets of 5 reps

Kettlebell Rotational Swing

3 sets of 10 reps

Martial Arts Training


Punch Isometrics

Mitt Work

Pad Work

Want more celebrity workout routines? Check out all of our Train Like videos.

Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

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