Watch a Lean, 50-Year-Old Dave Bautista Take on an MMA-Inspired Conditioning Workout

It’s kind of an understatement to say that Dave Bautista is a big guy. The man’s a 6’6” six-time WWE Champion, after all, and has more recently carved out a niche as a hulking action star. As we’ve seen time and time again, guys with bulkier frames can struggle with workouts that focus on cardio and conditioning—but it turns out, Bautista’s into it.

WWE Champion Sheamus, a.k.a. the Celtic Warrior, joined Bautista for a cardio workout with MMA coach Josh Rafferty last summer. As it was the six-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion’s first time back in the gym after a layoff, though, they’re taking things easy. But the 50-year-old (at the time, he’s since turned 51) actor’s ‘easy’ is a lot tougher than most.

Bautista warms up using an exercise ball to get blood flowing and loosen up his shoulders, and some ladder drills aimed at “firing up” his left leg, which needs extra attention due to some slight nerve damage from his back surgery. He’d also undergone knee surgery the year before, and says these were the kind of exercises he would use to get back in shape and retain his agility.

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While it’s natural to want to start crushing it immediately when you come back to the gym after a break, Bautista and company stress how important is is to ease yourself back in—or you can risk incurring further injury.

“This is our first day back, our intro workout, and all of our workouts are based on longevity,” says Rafferty. “We want Dave to keep on kicking ass for as long as we can, we don’t want to make it hurt, we don’t want to do too much too fast.”

Warmup all done, Bautista and Sheamus do some boxing work on heavy bags, then hit the elliptical machine and battle ropes. Bautista talks a little about getting massive for Avengers: Endgame by lifting weights, but adds: “That’s not the kind of training I really prefer. It’s kinda boring, it’s very monotonous, and I just don’t care to be muscle-bound, I get muscle-bound pretty fast.”

In fact, when he’s not getting stacked to play Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now that his career in the ring is at an end, Bautista has dropped some muscle. He believes this is an asset when it comes to staying in shape and recovering from injuries: “I’ve varied my training and trimmed down a lot, and I think it’s really helped my overall health.”

And not every workout has to be a rager; for Bautista, it’s about consistency. “Sometimes you can’t go as hard as you would other times,” he says. “But if you come in, just do a little bit, it goes a long way… it’s a marathon.”

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