Read any bit of press about Margot Robbie, and you’ll come away with one clear message: She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work.
That determination served her well while filming Suicide Squad, and not just in front of the camera. During the first two weeks of the shoot, she clocked an average of two to three hours a day of intense exercise, with no days off. (I’m reaching for an ice pack just thinking about it.)
Why the crazy intense schedule? Aside from the fact that her role as Batman nemesis Harley Quinn was ultra-physical, according to her long-time trainer, Andie Hecker, “We were looking to lean her out for that super body-conscious costume.” (Fishnets, sequined boy shorts, and a tight T-shirt, basically.) After arriving on set and seeing what she had to wear, says Hecker, “Margot asked the producers to fly me out, and I had two weeks to get her in the shape she needed to be in.”
Although Robbie has stated she wasn’t a fan of the skimpy look (and we don’t blame her), she threw herself into her brutal training regime full-force, alternating between swimming, Pilates, and cardio.
“A lot of what we did was very full-body,” explains Hecker, who founded Los Angeles’ Ballet Bodies studio and now has her own highly exclusive private training facility. “We were mixing up different ranges of motion and doing different types of cardio, so we weren’t bulking or overusing one muscle group. I’m all about balancing out every body part.”
Hecker’s plan got the job done, but she stresses it’s not a regimen you should try at home. But if you’re looking to tone up quickly before a big event or vacation, she says, “focus mainly on cardio, for 45 minutes to an hour, 4-6 days a week.” And remember—rest days are your friend.
Keep reading to see a typical day in Margot Robbie’s extreme Suicide Squad workout plan.
1. Morning workout: Swimming
Hecker had Robbie start every day in the pool for 45 minutes—swimming, after all, is one of the most effective ways to get a double hit of cardio and strength training.
“I’d stand at the edge of the pool and tell her exactly what she had to do as she [swam] across,” Hecker says. “Every lap would be different: freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke. I was mixing it up for her, timing her, trying to make her go faster.”
2. Afternoon workout: Pilates
After swimming, Robbie would head to the set for a few hours and then meet Hecker for an hour of full-body work on a Pilates reformer, incorporating “ballet exercises, high reps, and heavy resistance.” (Fun fact: Robbie’s a former ballerina.)
On some days, the trainer would mix up this workout with mat Pilates or stability work on a Bosu ball.
3. Evening workout: Cardio
On days that Robbie couldn’t muster up a jeté, she’d spend that time in a stretching session—but that didn’t happen often, says Hecker. “We knew we didn’t have much time and she just steeled herself. Like, ‘Okay, two weeks. We’re gonna do it.’” And, not surprisingly to anyone, she did.