David Boreanaz knew that when he signed on to lead the CBS military drama SEAL Team, he was also signing up to spend some serious time in the gym. The show follows Bravo Team, an elite sub-unit of SEAL Team Six, as they train for and execute dangerous missions all over the world. Thatâs not the kind of group you get to lead by skipping workouts.
âThe kind of person that becomes a Tier 1 operator has tremendous drive,â Boreanaz told Menâs Journal.
He has portrayed team commander Jason Hayes for three seasons. On the surface level, the character is a highly decorated military stud, but the real story is much more complicated. He also wrestles with the emotional and physical toll from his serviceâthis season more than ever before.
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The biggest asset Boreanaz has is the series creative team, which is stacked with former special forces members. They offer a wealth of insight on the mental and physical aspects of the job, from getting through BUD/S, to deployments, to coping with the aftermath.
âI canât explain how crucial they have been to the character,â Boreanaz said. âDuring these operations they canât go below 100 percent, they are always going and burning. I get so much out of being around those guys, and it pushes me to work harder.â
One person who can attest to that is Boreanazâs trainer Roy Paras, founder of EPX Training, who has spent the past year keeping the actor dialed in and fit for duty.
âThese Navy SEAL guys are all true badasses, and there are no shortcuts to looking like a badass,â said Paras. âYou have to train that way.â
So he designed a program to keep Boreanaz healthy and shred him up, too.
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Boreanaz reports to Paras six days a week. Since the show films so many days out of the year, thereâs a trailer on set filled with gym equipment where the whole cast of SEAL Team can get their pump on. On days when they arenât filming, Boreanaz drives to EPX, but no matter where they go, the program stays the same.
Their workouts are complete and multitiered, kicking off with a little cardio to get the heart pumping and the limbs warmed up. Before they exercise further, Paras puts Boreanaz through soft tissue work on the table, to identify any potential problem areas.
âDoing that kind of prep work is just as important as any other part of the session,â Paras said. âThis is all about the long game, and whether you are out in the field or on the lot. You canât do your job if you are injured.â
Boreanaz is no stranger to injury. He suffered a few over the course of previous seasons, and even went through platelet-rich plasma therapyâinjections that stimulate the bodyâs natural healing functionsâto bounce back after a substantial knee trauma. The showâs intense action scenes also placed a significant toll on his lower back, legs, and joints. He admits to being less disciplined in his past training, but now with Paras they have found a way to push it hard without those long-lasting consequences.
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Thatâs good, because the rest of the SEAL Team cast are younger guys who all like to get after it. Boreanaz not only plays their team commander, but he also serves as an executive producer and director on the show. For him, itâs not just about keeping up, itâs about leading. For example, he directed an episode that involves the group hustling up a hill while loaded down with packs.
âThe scene started off with a rope exit out of the chopper and then we did an ascent up the side of this hill,â said Boreanaz. âI could probably have cut a few minutes in, but I didnât want to. I just kept us going, harder and harder up the hill, with rocks falling all around us. By the time we were done, we were sucking wind. The guys didnât love it, but it looked awesome.â
This season the cast traveled to Serbia, where they could be spotted jumping out of cars and chasing bad guys down alleyways with their full kits on.
âI really enjoy getting into the elements like that,â said Boreanaz. âGetting to run around Belgrade in a physical space rather than on a soundstage. Everything that we do is to serve the story of these guys better. That is why we put in the work.â
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Boreanaz stands at 6â1â with big shoulders, and he bulks up quickly. During his research, he noticed that a number of SEAL operators were wiry with great flexibility and athletic builds.
âOn occasion they have to smash down doors,â says Boreanaz. âBut there are also a lot of controlled movements, sitting low and crawling for their covert missions. All with their packs on.â
So Paras designed a high rep count program that would keep him lean and mean.
Bike or Treadmill: 5 minutes
Soft Tissue/Table Prep Work: 10â15 minutes
Band Hip/Glute Activation: 4 minutes
Band Shoulder Activation/Mobility: 4 minutes
Dynamic Warm Up (ham/hip/groin openers): 4 minutes
Complete 2 rounds of this circuit with no rest in between.
Lateral Side Coil/Crunches on Back Extension (full ROM): 12 reps
Back Extension (arms pull back into scapular retraction at top): 12 reps
Jump Rope: 1 minute
Complete 4 rounds of this circuit with a short rest in between.
HexBar Deadlift (increase weight with every set): 5 reps
Short Box Hop (full extension, float to the top, land soft, step off): 5 reps
Ipsilateral Walking Lunges (lunge 5 steps with left leg, holding weight on left side, then switch sides): 5 reps
Bike Sprint: 10 sec
Rhythm Run Recovery: 50 sec
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, moving weight quickly with a short rest in between.
Mix Grip Bench: 15 reps
Pushup: 15 reps
Inverted Row: 15 reps
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit with a short rest in between.
Staggered Stance Single Arm Overhead Press: 12 reps
Pullup (hold at top w/ knees to chest 20 seconds): 12 reps
Tri Ext/Curl/Shoulder Raise Complex Circuit: 12 reps
Flurry Finishers on Heavy Bag (punches and power hooks): 30 seconds
Get more info on Roy Paras at EXP Training.