The Way Pedro Pascal Trained For “The Last of Us” Is True “Daddy” Energy
Ever since “The Last of Us” rocketed Pedro Pascal to peak fame, he’s become a beloved collective internet “daddy” – and the unexpected way he trained for the show absolutely reflects that.
In a new interview with British GQ, celebrity trainer and Pilates instructor David Higgins shared some insight into the star’s fitness routine and how he prepared to battle a mushroom-zombie apocalypse. “It was more to do with finding his physicality within the character,” Higgins told GQ, “more of a focus on mobility and movement rather than the aesthetic.”
The pair started training in Higgins’s London gym but soon had to adapt to using less equipment while on set in the Canadian wilderness. Without easy access to fancy gear, Higgins said, the two focused on mobility and core work and did a lot of calisthenics together – that is, bodyweight strength training, with a bit of gymnastics influence. Calisthenics includes moves like push-ups, mountain climbers, squats, lunges, planks, and pull-ups.
That’s right: to train for the super-masculine role of Joel, Pascal wasn’t pumping tons of iron, as many other A-listers do to become onscreen superheroes. But the fact that he used this humble, no-frills workout method totally makes sense. “It was grounded in the character more than anything else,” Higgins told GQ. “He was playing a sort of tough, hard man so it was more of a mental transformation.”
The characters on “The Last of Us” likely weren’t hitting up the gym, after all. Their muscles came from hard living and alternately running and fighting for their lives. So it’s fitting that Pascal wasn’t out here training with big dumbbells to flash a six-pack or show off “Baywatch”-style on the beach. Instead, he was focused on building a strong and capable physique. What’s more “daddy” than that?
And while Higgins didn’t directly say he did Pilates with Pascal, I’m holding tight to the endearing image of him powering through some Pilates hundreds. It’s not such a big leap. Pilates is a mostly bodyweight practice, after all, and Higgins is a certified instructor. Not to mention, Higgins told GQ that they “looked at [Pascal’s] lower back,” and one of the many benefits of Pilates is that it’s great for injury rehab and prevention and building core strength, which can help with lower-back pain. “I’m always coming at the body at more of a ‘fix that and then build it’ kind of approach,” Higgins said.
Take this insight about Higgins’s and Pascal’s training together as a friendly reminder that you don’t need any heavy weights, fancy equipment, or flashy exercises to build foundational, daddy-level strength. And if you don’t come away from this with a renewed respect for bodyweight training, hopefully, you’ll at least leave with the lovely image of Pascal powering through a Pilates workout.