The Full-Body Workout Jameela Jamil Did to Prepare for Her Role In 'She-Hulk'

Plus, the unexpected way Jamil's trainer motivates her to exercise.

Jameela Jamil
Photo: Getty Images

You won't find clips of intense sweat sessions on Jameela Jamil's social media profiles. Rather, the actress and activist is more likely to post a video of her working out in her pajamas with a snack in hand. (Read more: Jameela Jamil Is Here to Remind You What the Stretch Marks On Your Boobs Actually Represent)

"Jameela isn't shy in letting it be known she generally hates exercise," says Jamil's longtime trainer, Al Jackson. Jamil has been open in the past about her struggles with anorexia and how having an eating disorder has impacted her relationship with fitness. (She discussed the topic with Demi Lovato on an episode of the singer's podcast, 4D with Demi Lovato, in 2021.) That's why finding ways to reframe exercise as something fun and good for her mental health has been so important for Jamil, even as she's been preparing for the role of Titania in the Marvel series She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, streaming on Disney+ August 18.

One unusual way Jackson motivates Jamil to get moving? Having snacks on hand that satisfy her sweet tooth. "We make sure to have tiny bites on hand to sweeten the deal during tough workouts, without feeling uncomfortable," he says. "Many [people] don't feel great eating while training, but it works for her." The pair also chats through most of their workouts, and if they're not talking, they'll listen to disco music — seriously. "We both love cheesy, feel-good music and we love a boogie," shares Jackson, adding that they even did some "silly disco workouts" together on Instagram for Mental Health Awareness Month last year.

"The feel-good effect of working out was also a very important factor for us both," says Jackson. "The mental health benefits of exercise are often underrated!"

Along with tapping into the emotional results of working out, Jackson's goal for Jamil was for her to "appear and feel confident, physically comfortable, and athletically capable as Titania." With this in mind, they focused on strength and endurance, specifically working on weight transference and hip mobility, so she'd be ready to safely perform many of her own stunts.

Jamil's workouts are also guided by the fact that the actress has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a disorder that affects connective tissues in the body, specifically skin, joints, and blood vessel walls, potentially causing joint dislocation and pain, as well as skin that's fragile and/or stretchy, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with EDS usually have overly flexible joints, and Jamil's joints are prone to dislocation, making high-impact activity risky for her, explains Jackson. "I wanted to include exercises that helped strengthen and support her hypermobility," he adds, noting that good communication between the pair was key to making progress and preventing injury.

Throughout the training process, Jamil not only prepared for her physically demanding role, but she also discovered some exercises she genuinely liked, according to Jackson. "We found that pad work kicks and punches were something she actually enjoyed working on, which is handy when you're training to be a Marvel villain." As for the one move she dreaded the most? That would be crab walks (aka lateral side steps) done while wearing a mini-loop resistance band, says the trainer.

Overall, Jackson's tailored training for Jamil seems to have had a positive impact on them both. "It was a great experience to help someone who describes herself as clumsy achieve such an incredible change," he says. "She is now undeniably convincing in her role as a supervillain, even with her health challenges."

Curious to see exactly what a typical full-body workout looked like for Jamil while she was training for her role in She-Hulk? Keep scrolling for her approachable full-body workout, straight from Jackson.

Jameela Jamil's Full-Body Workout

How it works: After warming up with some full-body stretches to get ready for the movements ahead, you'll do three supersets (aka alternating sets of two different exercises with no rest in between). Do the first and then the second exercise without a break, then rest for one minute before repeating the superset again. Do each superset three times. Cool down and stretch.

What you'll need: Lightweight dumbbells and a resistance band you can securely attach to a fixed point at waist-height are optional but provide resistance to level-up certain moves.

Superset 1

Reverse Lunge with Front Kick

A. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, then step right leg back into a lunge position with right knee bent at a 90-degree angle and right heel raised. Evenly distribute weight between both feet and hold hands in guard position at chin.

B. Push weight onto left foot and thrust right leg through to a controlled front kick while dropping hands to sides. Maintain a soft bend in supporting left leg for balance.

C. Retract the kick, bringing right foot back to knee height. Pause briefly before stepping right leg back into a reverse lunge to start the next rep.

Do 10 reps, then alternate sides.

Dumbbell Punches

A. Start in a guard position of right foot back with right heel slightly raised, both knees slightly bent with easy weight distribution to allow for natural movement. Raise hands in a guard position holding dumbbells (optional) in front of chin. Shoulders and hips are angled so same side of body as front foot is slightly forward.

B. Extend left arm forward to jab at shoulder height while right arm stays in guard position, then swap to cross right arm forward and left arm back to guard chin.

C. Keep shoulders dropped away from ears and engage abdominals to support the upper body twist that will happen with each punch. Continue alternating punches.

Do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) for 30 seconds, then swap stance and continue for another 30 seconds with right leg forward and left leg back.

Superset 2

Squat Crawl Out with a Twist

A. Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping chest open, send hips back as knees bend into a deep squat, then place hands on the floor and crawl hands out to pause in a straight-arm plank position with wide feet.

B. Transfer weight onto left hand as the body twists to the right. Pause in a side plank position on a straight left arm and left sides of feet, reaching right hand to the sky and keeping hips high and neck long.

C. Return to both hands in a straight-arm plank position with wide feet before twisting to side plank with weight in right arm. Twist to the left, reaching left hand to the sky.

D. Return both hands to a straight arm plank, then walk hands back toward feet, and pass through a squat to finish standing.

Do 10 reps.

Side Kick with Leg Chamber

A. Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Raise right knee across the body to tap with left hand, then extend right leg out to the side to kick at a comfortable height with foot flexed, toes and knee pointing forward.

B. Counterbalance the kick by leaning body away in the opposite direction, keeping supporting left leg slightly bent for balance and reaching left arm out to the side.

C. Retract right leg to tap with left hand again before returning to start position and repeating with the left leg.

Do 20 reps, alternating legs. Rest for 1 minute between sets.

Superset 3

Static Lunge with Archer Row

A. Start in a prep lunge position with straight legs and staggered stance, right leg in front of left leg and left heel slightly raised. Hold a resistance band attached at a secure point at waist height in left hand, palm facing down.

B. Bend knees into a deep lunge, then as legs straighten, use upper back to pull the resistance band to side of ribs with palm facing in toward body and elbow shooting back. Counterbalance left arm by extending right arm in opposition. Focus on twisting upper body while keeping hips square.

C. Engage core to control left arm and upper body, returning to start position as knees bend into a deep lunge again. Continue, straightening left arm as you bend knee and vice versa.

Do 10 reps, then alternate sides.

Squat with Shoulder Press

A. Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells in hands at shoulders with palms facing in toward ears and elbows down.

B. Send hips back into a squat, keeping chest open as hands stay at shoulders. Then as legs stretch, arms press overhead in a shoulder press with palms facing each other but not touching, keeping distance between shoulders and ears.

C. As you bend knees into another squat, bring hands back to the starting position at shoulders with control.

Do 20 reps. Rest for 1 minute between sets.

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