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Men’s Health take a look at the fitness regime of Billy Dee Williams, returning to the cinematic saga after 36 years, and how he got into fighting shape as Lando Calrissian for The Rise of Skywalker.

Speaking to his trainer Gunnar Peterson, it quickly became evident that Billy Dee took the challenge seriously.

© Billy Dee Williams

“One thing about Billy is he’s totally willing and open and gives himself to the process,” Peterson said. “There wasn’t an ‘I can’t do that.’ He didn’t second guess himself. He never threw in the towel. He never missed, he never cancelled, he’s never late. He’s very old school.”

Peterson said that his training protocol for Williams focused on getting the actor to move in all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, and transverse, or up-and-down/front-to-back, side-to-side, and rotational, respectively), and mimicking everyday motions like standing up and sitting down and picking up unbalanced loads. The actor worked with Peterson two to three days per week, and added daily rides on a stationary bike for 20 to 30 minutes. Their main goals were to help Williams lose weight, adjust his movement patterns, and improve his conditioning.

While Williams’ age meant that he wasn’t pushing big weights, Peterson didn’t consider that a limiting factor to their programming. “I took it like an athlete in a return to play protocol,” he said. “It’s been a minute since he’s down this role—and by a minute I mean four decades—and he has not, on a regular basis, been doing the movements required by this role. So we had to ease into it.”

Lady Sings the Blues Movie Poster (27 x 40 Inches - 69cm x 102cm) (1972) Style B -(Diana Ross)(Billy Dee Williams)(Richard Pryor)(James Callahan)(Paul Hampton)(Sid Melton)
  • Lady Sings the Blues Poster (27 x 40 Inches - 69cm x 102cm) Style B
  • The Amazon image is how the poster will look; If you see imperfections they will also be in the poster
  • Full Size Movie Poster; Same Size That You See In The Theater
  • Size is provided by the manufacturer and may not be exact
  • Packaged with care and shipped in sturdy reinforced packing material