Did Jake Gyllenhaal Build Muscles for Road House?

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Elwood Dalton with a ripped-up body in Prime Video’s action film ‘Road House.’ Since Dalton is a former UFC middleweight fighter, being heavily built is an integral part of his character. This is not the first time Gyllenhaal bulked up for a character. In Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Southpaw,’ he portrays a professional boxer named Billy “The Great” Hope. However, it had been nearly a decade since he transformed physically to become Billy in the action drama. Gyllenhaal had to follow a rigorous routine to gain the muscles Dalton displays in the remake of Patrick Swayze’s 1989 film of the same name!

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Transformation

Jake Gyllenhaal built muscles to play Elwood Dalton in ‘Road House’ with the help of his trainer Jason Walsh. Even though the actor had to put in hard work to transform himself into Dalton, he was in “good shape” to begin with. The trainer considers Gyllenhaal “the perfect specimen,” as per Business Insider, to work with. “If he’s not in the gym doing strength training and conditioning, he’s swimming, he’s outside playing paddle tennis, he cycles like crazy. The guy does everything. He’s just always looking for that stimulus,” Walsh told the outlet about the actor.

Gyllenhaal started with shedding over ten pounds, which took him to 184 pounds. They relied on a hypertrophy phase to build muscle and when he gained it, the focus shifted to maintaining the same. The whole process took the actor and trainer around a year. After mobility drills, Gyllenhaal used a Proteus Motion machine for warm-ups and putting movement patterns in place. Isometric inverted row hold is one move Gyllenhaal used to “increase strength and stamina at different joint angles,” as per Walsh’s interview with Men’s Health. Heavy sled work, safety bar squats, forearm drills, offset loaded bag drills, floor presses, etc. became a part of his routine as well.

Walsh guided Gyllenhaal to do chain push-ups, push-pull rips, and climber sprints as well. The actor also took part in VersaClimber classes at Rise Nation, Walsh’s fitness studio in New York, to become a UFC fighter. “He [Gyllenhaal] was going there a lot especially since we were trying to get him into UFC fighter shape,” the trainer added to Business Insider. In addition to Walsh, the actor was helped by his chef Paulette Tejeda and a nutritionist. After forgoing sweets, Gyllenhaal relied on a new plant-based formula created by Walsh and his team to drink.

Gyllenhaal and Walsh scheduled the training sessions according to the scenes the actor had to shoot. “But we trained about an hour, an hour and a half, every day before work,” Gyllenhaal told People. “And then we always had to sort of taper depending on what the schedule called for. So, if the schedule called for more fighting and action where I needed more energy, we would do less. And then you’d sort of get it throughout the day. So yeah, it was a village and I listened to what they said and this is the result,” he added.

Gyllenhaal was able to transform himself into Dalton because he is a person who is committed to taking care of his body. “I’m always trying to find roles that allow me to stay physical. That means caring for not only doing my research and working hard intellectually but also taking care of the physical part of acting… I want to try to do this for a long time,” he told Men’s Health. After building his muscles, Gyllenhaal shot the MMA scenes in the film during “UFC 285,” which took place in Paradise, Nevada, in March 2023, by stepping into the ring with UFC veteran Jay Hieron.

Read More: Road House: Why Don’t Dalton and Ellie End Up Together?