‘Star Wars’ Workout: Here’s How Daisy Ridley Got in Shape for ‘The Last Jedi’

The second installment of the third Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi, brings back fan favorite soon-to-be Jedi apprentice Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. It takes a lot of physical strength to play a Force-sensitive Jedi-in-training. Here’s how Ridley prepared for her role in the upcoming film.


Daisy Ridley practices boxing with her coach.

She works up a sweat with a boxing session. | Giphy

Ridley spent much of her early stunt training for the movie kickboxing. This type of training works out your full body, which helps burn fat and build muscle quickly. The fast and continuous movements also help reduce stress and improve your coordination and focus.

You can train in the safety and comfort of your own home. Try these kickboxing workouts to get in shape — and maybe drop a few pounds while you sweat.

Rock climbing

Sometimes a Jedi needs to have the high ground — but that requires some climbing. This type of training requires the strength and endurance that can take some time to build. You can treat rock climbing as a full-body strength workout, since it uses a variety of muscles to get you from point A to point B.

An hour of rock climbing could burn up to 800 calories. If there isn’t a rock climbing gym or a mountain near you, start with a few sets of mountain climbers.

Box jumps

Daisy Ridley pants and is covered in sweat.

This workout is definitely not a walk in the park. | Giphy

Plyometric exercises have exploded in popularity over the past few years — probably because they work. Ridley performed these types of exercises to build up her endurance and strengthen her body as a whole.

One box can take you a long way in your training. In addition to box jumps, you can perform box squats, incline sit-ups, and more. If you don’t have a sturdy box, make sure you do use something that isn’t going to move or tip over when you try jumping onto or down from it.

Strength training

Daisy Ridley doing various workouts at the gym.

She gets in top shape with various strength workouts. | Giphy

Apparently, Jedi training requires a plethora of dumbbells and squats. Ridley endured hours of deadlifts, chest presses, and bodyweight exercises to tone her muscles in preparation for The Last Jedi. Be sure to incorporate workouts that strengthen all your muscles, and give muscle groups at least one rest day to promote growth and prevent injury.

Strength training is good for your heart, and a combination of strength and cardio training is probably your best strategy for losing weight and getting in shape.

Resistance training

Orange and green resistance bands on a wooden floor.

She uses resistance bands when she travels. | iStock.com

Using resistance bands and weights, Ridley built up the strength necessary to successfully wave a lightsaber around (without the Force). You can complete these beginners’ workouts or perform sets with a resistance band using your bodyweight as a foundation.

Resistance training forces your muscles to work harder, which strengthens them over time. This can help you bulk up if you’re interested in gaining muscle as you burn fat.

Cardio warmups

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega dancing on set.

She even works up a sweat having fun on set. | Giphy

Ridley typically started each morning with a cardio warmup — you never know when a Jedi might need to break into a sprint, after all.

You might find a 5-mile bike ride, 15 minutes on the elliptical, or a nice and easy half-mile jog a larger warmup than you’re used to, but feel free to give it a try. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, warming up before a workout increases blood flow to your muscles and decreases your risk of injury as you exercise.

Sword training

Daisy Ridley practices her swordplay on set.

Perhaps the hardest part of her training. | Giphy

You can’t wield a lightsaber without a little practice. Ridley worked with a trainer who has also coached Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean actors to get her technique down right (and safely).

Training with a sword or sword-like weapon is a full-body workout, and can tone your legs, arms, butt, shoulders, and more. This workout breaks your training into separate moves and stances, focusing on various kicks, core strength, and upper body strength.

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