Ryan Gosling’s Ab Workout: The Secret To Ken’s Killer Six Pack

Crunches, Muay Thai, and more crunches.

Ryan Gosling’s Ab Workout: The Secret To Ken’s Killer Six Pack

Image: Romer Macapuno

The upcoming Barbie movie has already spawned a near-unprecedented amount of content and commentary online before its even hit Aussie cinemas. Why? Because it’s jam-packed with nearly all of your favourite stars, including the one and only Ryan Gosling, who’s repping a typically godlike six-pack for the role. Want to know how you can get Ken’s killer abs? Look no further.

At 41 years old, Ryan Gosling has been in our lives, on our screens, and exuding an effortless sense of cool for well over a decade now. Always a pioneer of men’s style, haircuts, and even watch design, he’s one of those guys that embodies the famous if somewhat problematic phrase: women want him, men want to be him.

Now, he’s taken a decidedly Byron-esque turn for his role in the upcoming and much-hyped Barbie movie, where he stars alongside Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Will Ferrel, and many more. As you’d expect, he turned up to set with a shredded set of abs befitting of his plastic counterpart that left many of us mortals wondering how on earth you can get your body to look like that. Well, wonder no more…

I’ll put you out of your misery before making you read any further: there’s no special secret or hidden formula to getting that chiselled midsection for which Gosling has become so famous. If you’re looking for a two-week turnaround, you’re going to be disappointed. Hard work is the order of the day, and you’ll need to maintain it for a good 10-12 weeks to see significant progress.

WATCH: Gosling’s got the custom wrist candy to match his killer abs.

With that little disclaimer out the way, the first thing to understand is that the real hard graft happens in the kitchen. To be able to see your abs, you need to have a low enough body-fat percentage for them to be visible. You can do all the sit-ups in the world, but if you’re throwing back the beers and pizza, you’re not going to have much luck.

To get your body-fat down, you need to complete what bodybuilders call a “cut”. To complete a successful cut, it’s essential to follow a well-designed nutrition plan that emphasises a calorie deficit while also providing adequate protein intake. Here are some general nutritional guidelines to follow, but bear in mind that nutrition varies from person to person:

  1. Calculate your calories: To lose body fat, you must create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your body burns. Calculate your daily calorie needs and subtract 250-500 calories per day to create a gradual calorie deficit.
  2. Consume enough protein: Protein is essential for preserving muscle mass during a cut. Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
  3. Limit carbohydrate and fat intake: To create a calorie deficit, you will likely need to reduce your carbohydrate and fat intake. However, it’s important not to eliminate these macronutrients entirely, as they are still essential for optimal health and energy levels.
  4. Eat plenty of fibre: Fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep you feeling full and satisfied during a cut.
  5. Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is essential for optimal health and can also help curb hunger and cravings.

It’s important to note that a successful cut requires patience and consistency. It’s not advisable to try to lose too much body fat too quickly, as this can lead to muscle loss and other health problems. Aim for a gradual, sustainable rate of fat loss, and be sure to listen to your body and adjust your nutrition plan as needed.

Stick to those five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to looking lean and feeling like a king… but what about the workout? What was Gosling doing in the gym to get so shredded? Well, it’s a combination of two things. First, a sport for which Gosling has become pretty passionate: Muay Thai.

In the world of 2013’s Only God Forgives, Gosling assumes the role of a young Thai boxing club director immersed in the vibrant streets of Bangkok. To authentically portray his character, Gosling trained as a Thai boxer and took part in a series of real fights after embarking on an intensive training journey alongside seasoned Muay Thai master Vohn Thonaphan.

Thonaphan shed some light on this aspect of Gosling’s training in a previous interview, saying that “Ryan trained for two to three hours a day, three to four days a week before shooting began… Luckily he was already quite fit and a fast learner.” This training would combine martial arts technique work, conditioning exercises, and bodyweight moves, going something like this:

“We would pick eight exercises — such as chin-ups and press-ups — that work different muscle groups across the body and perform them in order, like a fighting sequence. In total, we’d aim for three sets of twenty reps for each exercise before moving on to technique work”.

Vohn Thonaphan

This style of training explains Gosling’s all round great physique and natural ability to take on more action-intensive roles, such as in Drive or The Gray Man. Though these compound movements will all have been helping Gosling build a stronger and more defined core, there’s no doubt in our minds that he’ll have been doing extra ab work in anticipation of his role in Barbie.

“It’s like you’re photoshopped!” The famous abs scene in Crazy Stupid Love.

This is the second thing we wanted to hone in on: how to train your abs. Below, we’ve provided you with a sample ab workout that will — should you follow the aforementioned dietary guidelines — have you and your stomach looking absolutely killer in no time at all. Aim for two complete rounds, taking a two-minute ret between each round.

Ryan Gosling’s Barbie Ab Workout

  1. Bicycle Crunches: Perform 20 reps on each side (total of 40 reps).
  2. Hanging Leg Raises: Perform 15 reps.
  3. Mountain Climbers: Perform 30 reps (15 on each leg).
  4. Side Planks with Hip Dips: Hold each side for 30 seconds (total of 1 minute).
  5. Russian Twists: Perform 30 reps (15 on each side).

Remember to maintain proper form, engage your core throughout the exercises, adjust the number of exercises based on your fitness level, and — most importantly — not beat yourself up too much should you not quite be able to replicate Gosling’s success. A six-pack’s alright, but sometimes a cold beer with the boys really is much better.