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Home / Fitness and Health / The Wu-Tang clan’s Method Man shares his training with almost 50 years

The Wu-Tang clan’s Method Man shares his training with almost 50 years



Cliff Smith grunts as he wraps his hands around the barbell, bends his knees, and lowers his ten-foot-tall body to the floor. He tenses his whole body, exhales twice, and begins pulling up 455 pounds. His legs tremble when he stands completely upright, and then he lowers the weight, takes a deep breath, and does it all over again. He does a total of five reps, then drops the bar and smiles. “It wasn’t even upset,” he says. “Holla with me.”

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The five reps are a personal best for Smith (better known as Method Man), who loves to start his day hunting for PRs.

This morning he’s at a Staten Island gym, thinking about his next milestone birthday (he’ll be 50 in March), crushing deadlifts, pull-ups, and barbell rows. “I have to get my roses now,” he says, “because I’m almost 50 damn years old. Damn almost 50 years old, boo. “

Cliff Smith, rapper Wu Tang Clan

ANDRE PERRY

The Grammy Award-winning veteran rap has recently focused creativity on a wide variety of projects. He appears in Starz ‘drama Power Book II: Mind (Returning for the second half of his first season in December); he pronounced the character Ben Urich wonder, a narrative fiction podcast; and he’s working on new music.

His morning workout prepared him for all of that – and it kept him from doing video game marathons before the crack of dawn. In 2018, Smith says he was battling insomnia, often waking up at 2:00 a.m. and playing NBA2K. When Smith realized that he was “just wasting time,” he looked for a more productive use of his early morning hours. “I work out in the gym at 4am,” he says. “Two days became three days. Three days became five days, and I’ve been consistent ever since. “Bonus: his insomnia is gone.

Smith now weighs 219, 12 pounds less than when he started the workout. He slaps the legs on Mondays, the shoulders on Tuesdays, the back on Wednesdays, the chest on Thursdays and the arms on Fridays. “He’s a beast,” says his training partner, Joey Crespo. “Our routine was just hard, hard all year round.”

Cliff Smith, rapper Wu Tang Clan

ANDRE PERRY

Right now, that means equipping three sets of seated lat pulldowns, followed by a core exercise where he lies on his knees, rolls a wheel forward, and challenges his abs. He ends the session by sitting on a bench with a strap around his forehead and a weight hanging in front of his chest. He lowers his head to look at the floor, then tenses his neck muscles to lift his head and look straight ahead, an old-school neck exercise few athletes will do. Smith does it regularly.

“No matter how tired I get, no matter what the workout is, at least I’ll try,” he says between deep breaths. “I won’t say no to anything.”

Cliff Smith, rapper Wu Tang Clan, makes neck curls

ANDRE PERRY

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Homework

Cliff Smith, rapper Wu Tang Clan

ANDRE PERRY

Chances are you don’t have the fancy Method Man neck training equipment or his deadlift. But if you have a resistance band, you can try his favorite regime at home.

pushups

Do 25-30 reps. Aim for 5 sentences.

Banded curl

Stand on a resistance band with the ends held by your sides and the core snug. Make yourself comfortable and squeeze your biceps. then lower. This is 1 rep; do 15 to 20. Do 5 sets.

Banded shoulder press

Stand on a resistance band with the ends held against your shoulders and with the core locked in place. Pull your shoulder blades tight and press the tape over your head. Pause, then back to the start. This is 1 rep; do 15 to 20. Do 5 sets.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Men’s Health, entitled “The 6 am Workout w / Method Man”.

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