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The Intense Superset Training Jay Ellis Did for 'Top Gun: Maverick'

He worked hard to prep for his "dream role."

Okay, let's get real: Could there be any cooler job than playing a trained fighter pilot in the much-anticipated movie, Top Gun: Maverick? We think not! Forty-year-old Jay Ellis considers his part in the film a "dream role" and worked pretty hard to fit the bill. What did that exactly entail? Well, a mere 45 hours to flight train and 2 1/2 months of working out. After all, Ellis had to be prepared for serious stunts. (The star of the sequel, Tom Cruise, is famous for not having a stuntman.)

Jay Ellis recently posted a video on his Instagram page showing some of the impressive flying stunts he had to perform in the film, which he captioned, "A behind the scenes look at the training we went through to film TOP GUN : MAVERICK. Only in theaters, May 27." It's no wonder why Ellis had to be in top shape! Read on to learn more about Ellis' training regimen to prep for the movie, and next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Ellis worked hard to prep for his Top Gun: Maverick role with trainer Julian Bah

Jay Ellis at the Top Gun: Maverick Royal Film Performance
Neil Mockford / Contributor / Getty Images

Jay Ellis posed as the recent cover star of Men's Health, alongside his costars Danny Ramirez and Glen Powell. Ellis reveals to MH about Top Gun: Maverick, "There are scenes where many of my cast-mates and I are truly pulling seven g's in the back of an F-18, cameras rolling, and we're acting through it."

The actor worked with trainer Julian Bah to prepare for the role. He says of Bah, "This guy's a beast. I think he doesn't like me, to be very honest with you, because he makes me work really really hard, and he smiles while he does it."

Related: Celebrity Couples Who Work Out Together To Stay Fit

He did supersets to sculpt lean muscle

Jay Ellis at photocall of Top Gun: Maverick
Samir Hussein / Contributor / Getty Images

What was involved in preparing? Bah had Ellis doing workouts performed consecutively with minimum to no break time between them. These are called supersets, and they sound absolutely brutal. According to Bah, not only do supersets squeeze a lot of exercises into a short period of time, but they also boost metabolic endurance.

"Supersets equal lean muscle because normally if you just do one or two exercises at the same time, you're going to bulk up, and for what we were trying to do with Jay, we were trying to keep him lean so he could increase in metabolic rate while also adding a little bit more muscle," Bah tells Men's Health.

Here's the workout Ellis did

Jay Ellis Top Gun: Maverick world premiere
Emma McIntyre / Staff / Getty Images

Here's the Top Gun: Maverick superset routine Jay Ellis did. (For reference, according to Functional Bodybuilding, a number coupled with the same letter—for example, B1 and B2—means the movements should be completed in the same sequence.) Ellis performed 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each of the below exercises:

  • A1) Half-Full Leg Press
  • B1) Weighted Pullup
  • B2) Arnold Press
  • C1) Bulgarian Split Squat
  • C2) Bird Dog Row
  • C3) Hollow Body Floor Press
  • D1) Single-Leg Deadlift to Knee Drive
  • D2) Dumbbell Pullover
  • D3) Single-Leg Lateral Raise
  • E1) Triceps Pressdown
  • E2) Dumbbell Biceps Curl
  • E3) Body Saw

For more…

women doing walk and talks for outdoor exercise

For more mind and body news, check out Shrink Belly Fat Faster With These Walking Workouts, Trainer Says and Get Rid Of Bat Wings With This 10-Minute Daily Workout.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa