If you had to pick one main character in the Star Wars universe to win a strength contest (no Force powers allowed), your best bet would undoubtedly be Chewbacca. The big Wookie’s hulking presence has been a mainstay in the franchise since the first film, A New Hope in 1977, when C-3PO learns that he should always “let the Wookie win”—or risk having his arms pulled out of their sockets.
But underneath all that brawn and fur is a real man. In the original movies, that was 7’2” British actor Peter Mayhew, who passed away earlier this year. Since the new trilogy kicked off in 2015, 6’10” Finnish actor (and former Penn State basketball player) Joonas Suotamo has played the role, first as a body double for Mayhew in The Force Awakens, then as full-time Chewie in The Last Jedi and Solo. The actor has the size needed for the character, which is crucial, but he also depends on his athleticism and hard-earned strength to help him fully embody the role. (Suotamo’s mastery of the yowling Wookie language, Shyriiwook, is also essential.)
The Men’s Health crew spent some time with Suotamo ahead of this month’s release Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the last film of the current saga, to get a look at his Wookie workout. “In order to play a Wookie, one needs to be freakishly strong,” he says. Chewie regularly bears the physical brunt of the interstellar adventures, and lugging around his friends and fighting the Dark Side is hard work.
This workout hits a wide range of muscle groups for Suotamo’s specific needs, so you might be better served by picking out some of the movements and including them in your wider training regimen, unless you’re also planning to get your Wookie on. Either way, you should definitely follow the actor’s lead and include as many Chewbacca growls as possible the next time you hit the gym.
3 sets of 10 reps per leg
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 6 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 8 reps
Want more celebrity workout routines? Check out all of our Train Like videos.
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