AEW’s Claudio Castagnoli Lower Body Workout To Be Elite

It’s almost 10 years since Claudio Castagnoli (then known in WWE as Cesaro) began sharing his fitness tips with readers of Muscle & Fitness. Since then, we’ve all seen him develop from a hot prospect to a WrestleMania main-eventer and no doubt, one of pro wrestling’s strongest and most exciting athletes. Now signed with AEW, Castagnoli is still proving to be cut above the rest as a passionate athlete that is all business between the ropes. In order to learn more about how the “Swiss Superman” is training towards 2024, I got in the gym with the man himself, and came away with a ton of respect for his work ethic and ingenuity; both in the ring and in the weight room.

“I don’t train for just one moment,” explains Castagnoli. Indeed, as a pro wrestler, he doesn’t have an off-season, and is placed in front of television camera’s all year round. His constantly ripped physique takes serious commitment, but the elite superstar feels that his dedication might inspire others too. “If someone see’s me on television and I’m out of shape, and they say ‘look at Claudio, he has let himself go,’ then that might let them down, and they might lose their motivation too,” he explains. “A lot of athletes don’t want the responsibility of having fans that look up to them, but I take it seriously.”

One of the ways that Claudio Castagnoli takes his craft seriously is through his gym routines. Having travelled to London, England, to promote AEW’s “All In” 2024, at Wembley Stadium, the “King of Swing” headed straight into a long day of media duties, telling reporters of his excitement to return to Wember after “All In” 2023 had broken records and sold upwards of 80,000 tickets. Then, instead of calling it a day and unwinding in his hotel, Castagnoli jumped at the chance to get in the gym and get his sweat on with M&F. It’s par for the course when you are a travelling athlete. You get your workouts in wherever you can.

Claudio Castagnoli shares that he gets his workout routines from Deadboys Fitness, a functional fitness program created by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos. When he’s on the road, Castagnoli can fire-up his app and get going with the workout of the day. No matter how crazy his schedule is, Castagnoli trains around four days each week. “It’s lower body, lower body, upper body, upper body,” says the grappler while lacing up his Reebok Nano X2’s, explaining that he prefers to do his four days of working out all-together, followed by three days for recovery where possible. This session happened to be lower body, so here is the workout, followed by a breakdown of this epic routine.

Claudio Castagnoli

Caludio Castagnoli Keeps Things Moving in the Gym

Another approach to the gym that keeps his sessions efficient is Castagnoli’s willingness to swap and change his exercises if a machine or rack is unavailable. “Just keep it moving,” says the master of the Skyward-Uppercut. “Don’t waste time waiting for a machine when you could be doing something else.” As a perfect example, we found that the squat racks were too busy on this occasion, so the former two-time Ring of Honor world champion found Bulgarian lifting bag instead, and we swapped squats for Bulgarian bag weighed ‘good mornings’. In terms of making swaps, Castagnoli believes that this is the key to getting into better shape with nutrition too. “Even if you just swap sugar for a sugar substitute, those small changes add up,” he says.

Concluding our lower body workout with the step machine, I feel inspired and energized to follow the teachings of my much-valued mentor for the day. And it’s not just me that appreciates the skills of Caludio Castagnoli. During this session, fans would stop by to talk to their hero and he would make the time to show his gratitude. Castagnoli tells me that he has a lot of time for his fans, and as long as he is between sets he enjoys conversing with them. But be warned, if you ever try to interrupt the main man while he is cranking out a rep, you may find yourself on the wrong end of Caludio’s Gian Swing! AEW have already sold more than 30,000 tickets for AEW “All In” 2024 at Wembley Stadium.

AEW’s Claudio Castagnoli working out with a stretch
Claudio Castagnoli

Claudio Castagnoli ‘s Workout Breakdown

Claudio Castagnoli is seriously strong and a fan of lifting heavy. In WWE, he worked out with the likes of John Cena and held his own when he was seen to deadlift 500 pounds (227 kilograms) and squat 495 pounds (224.5 kilograms). Now hanging with the gifted athletes of All Elite Wrestling, Castagnoli is making new fans on shows like AEW Dynamite (Live on Wednesday’s), Rampage (Fridays) and Collision (Saturdays) and while he still loves lifting heavy, he is also taking care to maintain his longevity through sacrificing weight for volume where necessary, in order to be fit and functional. During the workout, we did barbell squats with no added weight. While executing the reps, Castagnoli had us putting in a little bunny hop with both feet once we got to the bottom of each squat. This takes a traditional compound strength exercise and adds a plyometric element to increase our explosive power output.

As we undertook the elevated single leg dumbbell squats, Castagnoli opted for us to place our front foot on a mat rather than a weight plate. The moving texture of the mat made it more challenging than the relative steadiness of a plate, activating the ankle and stabilizing muscles even further. During the leg press, Castagnoli lived up his “Cyborg” nickname when he maxed-out the weights and completed reps of 385 pounds (174.6 kilograms). As I swapped places with the iconic pro wrestler, I couldn’t shift the press an inch at that weight. Still, Castagnoli proved that he’s not just a great wrestler, but an awesome workout partner to boot. “We are all different,” he says. “You might do something I can’t do, and I might do something that you can’t do, so there’s no point comparing yourself to anyone else,” he continues wisely. “That’s why, when people ask me about what numbers I lift, it doesn’t really interest me, we are not competing with each other,” he says. For me, it’s fortunate that I’m not competing with this super-strong 6’ 5” Swiss man. I’m just happy and inspired to be in his orbit!

AEW’s Claudio Castagnoli working out with a leg press
Claudio Castagnoli

Claudio Castagnoli’s Elite Lower Body Workout

Warmup Sets/Reps
Rowing Machine 4 Minutes at a Moderate Pace
Barbell Squats with Bunny Hops 8 X (no added weight)
Workout Sets/Reps
Elevated Single Leg Dumbbell Squats: 4 Sets x 8 Reps
Leg Press: 4 Sets x 5, 5, 3, 3 Reps
Power Seated Leg Curl: 3 Sets x 8 Reps
Good Mornings (with Bulgarian Lifting Bag) 3 Sets x 12 Reps
Medicine Ball V-Twist’s: 3 Sets x 10 Reps each side
Finisher Sets/Reps
Step Machine: 10 Minutes

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