I don’t know about you, but one of my priorities when traveling is to fit in a good workout the day I arrive — research (opens in new tab)has found evidence that exercise can help negate the negative effects of jetlag or shift work. As I looked for inspiration for a bodyweight circuit to do in the (slightly limited) hotel gym on a recent trip to New York, I stumbled upon Miles Teller’s Top Gun bodyweight workout, so I unrolled an exercise mat and gave it a go.
Miles Teller stars in the new Top Gun: Maverick film alongside Tom Cruise. The film was highly delayed due to Covid and was actually shot pre-2019, so Teller was able to bulk up for his role as Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw the traditional way — lots of time in the gym with a personal trainer. Teller trained with Jason Walsh, a PT with a phonebook full of Hollywood clients, including the likes of Matt Damon and Brie Larson (here’s what happened when I tried Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel workout).
That said, in an interview with Men’s Health (opens in new tab), Teller revealed the bodyweight workout he does when he’s on the move. In fact, he’s currently on location in Australia for Spiderhead with Chris Hemsworth, who is also a fan of a bodyweight circuit (here’s what happened when I put Hemsworth’s bodyweight workout to the test).
Read on to find out what happened when I tried Teller’s circuit, which can be done from just about anywhere.
Of course, it goes without saying, what works for Teller might not work for you. While this circuit can be adapted for beginners (try completing fewer reps or only do the circuit once through), if you’re totally new to the exercises themselves, it’s worth asking a PT to check your form to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk of injury.
What is Miles Teller’s bodyweight workout?
Ready to get started? Here’s the workout:
Warmup run: 800 meters
Flutter kicks: 40 reps
Bench dips: 20 reps
Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
Feet-elevated push ups: 25 reps
Alternating reverse lunges: 25 reps
Complete the circuit two or three times through to get the full Top Gun experience.
I tried Miles Teller’s bodyweight workout — here’s what happened
As I’ve already mentioned, I’m no stranger to a weird workout challenge — you can find out what happened when I did 100 deadbugs a day for a week, or added a plank to my morning routine here, but after an early start and a day of traveling, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.
The hotel gym had everything I needed for this workout — a treadmill, a bench, and an exercise mat. This could easily be adapted to a home workout by swapping the run for a 10-minute cycle on one of the best exercise bikes, or heading out for a run before doing the rest of the workout in your garden using a step or a wall for the bench dips.
After the 800m run, I got stuck into the bodyweight section of the workout and pushed myself to get through the exercises as quickly as possible, without compromising my form. As I’ve mentioned in workout stories before, I suffer from sciatica after a horse riding accident in my teens, so have to be mindful of my lower back in a lot of ab exercises. For the flutter kicks, I kept my legs at a 45-degree angle, rather than allowing them to drop too low to the floor.
The bench dips and bodyweight squats got my heart rate up, before the elevated press-ups really torched my upper body. I’m not a fan of push-ups at the best of times, but raising my feet onto a bench made the move even harder. Obviously, if you’re a beginner, these could easily be swapped out for a push-up on your knees — here’s how to do a push-up, the benefits, and how to modify the exercise.
After the reverse lunges (here’s what happened when I did 100 lunges a day for a week), I went straight back into a second circuit, including the run to keep my heart rate raised, and then went for a third. After three circuits I finished with a gentle stretch.
The entire workout took me about 30 minutes (although this would have been shorter if I hadn’t repeated the warm-up each time) — I worked up a sweat and felt great afterward. While it won’t be for everyone, it’s a great reminder that you don’t need tons of equipment or a fancy gym membership to get a great workout in. I’ll definitely be doing this one again, although preferably without the jet lag next time.