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How Margot Robbie got into superhuman shape for ‘Suicide Squad’

Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie, star of the new blockbuster, “Suicide Squad.”
(Al Seib / Los Angeles TImes)

There’s no question that Margot Robbie was in stellar shape for DC blockbuster “Suicide Squad.”

She had to be, with character Harley Quinn’s costume consisting of little more than sequined hot pants, a crop top and a baseball bat.

“It was the world’s smallest costume,” says her celebrity trainer and former Ballet Bodies owner Andie Hecker, who just opened a new private training gym in Los Angeles for her A-list clients such as Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. “She wanted to lean out and tone up. She’s already slender, but we wanted to make her a little stronger.”

Robbie, who reportedly did much of her own stunts in the movie, spent two to three hours a day working out during filming.

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Here’s what the 26-year-old Aussie did each day to build stamina and strength, while still fitting into that ultra-revealing supervillain outfit:

CARDIO

No treadmills or spin bikes here. Robbie spent between 45 minutes to an hour on a high-energy cardio circuit that alternated between jumps on and off a rebounder trampoline to rope jumping to skipping across a Bosu balance trainer, before ending with rounds of ballet jumps and grueling “mountain climbers.”

“She’s a machine when it comes to jumping,” Hecker says. “Other people would try [the workout] along with us. But she kept going when other people were dropping off. It’s so challenging to keep up that level of intensity, but she powered through it.”

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STRENGTH TRAINING

The goal here was to tone up and build stamina for those scenes that involved such superhuman feats as running up the side of an elevator wall. Here are some of the key exercises that prepared her for the demands of the role:

Lateral raises and circles: Using 3- to 5-pound weights, Robbie would lift arms out to the side for 30 repetitions, before doing 20 circles each, forward and backward. (Go with lighter weights if you try it, unless you are a movie supervillain.)

Weighted arabesque: Robbie would lift her leg straight back while wearing 5-pound ankle weights (mere mortals should probably stick to 2.5 pounds) for 20 reps on the right leg and repeat, before moving to the left leg.

CORE WORK

It all starts with a strong core. Here are two moves that Robbie used to strengthen the midsection, as well as legs and arms:

Tabletop crunches: Lying flat on her back, with legs in a tabletop position — a 90-degree bend in the knees, shins parallel to the ceiling — she’d extend legs straight out, and then bring them back in for a crunch involving the upper body. Robbie then made them tougher by adding resistance, strapping her feet into the pulleys of a Pilates reformer.

Inner and outer thigh work on a Pilates reformer: Standing on the reformer – set on medium to high resistance –  Robbie would press out on the carriage for 30 reps with one leg, while simultaneously doing an overhead press with 3- to 4-pound dumbbells. Once those reps were complete, she’d pulse the leg out to the side for an equal number of reps, while holding her arms out to the side in ballet’s second position.

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