I Tried Ryan Gosling's Barbie Workout For A Week-Long Burn
Time to bring the Ken-ergy.
Now that Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is out in theaters, it seems even more impossible to escape the iconic hot pink hue that’s flooding social media. While we’re all maybe a bit more focused on the Barbies of the world, I can’t help but love the Ken-ergy of it all. Ryan Gosling’s Ken has the jokes and charm, but the chiseled body he’s rocking for the film — a result of a pretty strict training schedule — is a can’t-miss. After learning that Ryan Gosling’s Barbie workout followed a traditional bodybuilding split routine including five days in the gym, averaging an hour and a half each session, I decided to challenge myself to try it for a week.
I’ll admit, I was pretty intimidated after reviewing Gosling’s training schedule from his trainer, Arin Babaian, through FitnessVolt. Even during his two days off, the actor apparently still did some cardio like hiking in the woods or playing basketball with friends. If you’re anything like me, you likely read the above and chuckled to yourself, “Does this man sleep?” Don’t get me wrong, I love a good workout, but the extent of my physical activity is a weekly Barry’s class complete with a selfie at the end, or a cute (yet brisk) jaunt around New York City. I don’t belong to a gym and have been known to skip exercise for a martini with friends. Priorities.
Even so, learning about Gosling’s fitness routine had me wondering, “Could I become a Ken? The first with he/they pronouns and inch-long Aprés Gel-X nails? Will one break during the process?” After a quick prayer that my manicure would be left unscathed, I was determined to find out — while wearing a Ken-inspired outfit, of course.
Since I don't have an active gym membership, the set of 20-pound dumbbells I own were going to have to suffice for the routine. I also would have to modify any moves that required larger equipment. After reading the schedule of Gosling’s workout and the exact moves he performed, however, I realized this was actually a very doable task.
Monday: Back and Biceps
- Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Cable Lat Pull-Down: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Spider Curl: three sets of 12 reps
- Cable Seated Row: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: three sets of 12 reps
- One-Arm Concentration Curl: three sets of 10 reps
Day 1 targeted back and biceps, two areas I love to focus on. I threw on my hot pink tights, queued up “Barbie World” by Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj, and got to work. The workout relied largely on variations of curls and rows, but the kicker was the amount of reps included in each set. Each move included three or four sets of varying reps (8-15). By the end of the first move, standing bicep curls, my arms were on fire. I powered through the rest of the moves, and I understood how he spent so long in the gym each session; this was a lot of repetition. However, I definitely felt accomplished and noticed a “pump” in the biceps.
Tuesday: Lower Body
- Deadlift: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Barbell Squat: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Leg Curl: three sets of 12 reps
- Leg Press: three sets of 12 reps
- Dumbbell Lunge: three sets of 12 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: three sets of 20 reps
Tuesday focused on lower body, admittedly not my strong suit. While me and my arms were quite literally “shook” from the first workout, I was motivated to get through Day 2, knowing a rest was in store for Wednesday. The moves consisted of varying squats, lunges, and calf raises, again in a pattern of three or four sets, 8-15 reps. Dua Lipa served as the soundtrack to achieve my Ken booty, and after an hour, I had earned my day of rest.
Waking up on Wednesday, I have to admit my ass was on fire. I notoriously feel squats the next day, and the sheer amount of repetition of the workout left me sore. While it was great to feel the results of the routine, rest was much-needed at this point.
Thursday: Chest and Triceps
- Decline Barbell Bench Press: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Barbell Bench Press: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Incline Barbell Bench Press: three sets of 12 reps
- Triceps Dips: three sets of 12 reps
- Cable Pec Fly: three sets of 12 reps
- Triceps Cable Extension With Rope: three sets of 12 reps
As the soreness subsided by Thursday, I was ready to tackle the chest and triceps routine. So far, this was my easiest day yet, consisting of varying chest presses, tricep dips, flies, and extensions. I flew through Day 4, rewarding myself that night with perhaps one too many martinis that I paid for on Day 5’s abs and core routine.
Friday: Abs and Core
- Russian Twist With Plate or Ball: three sets of 12 reps
- Hanging Leg Raise: three sets of 12 reps
- Back Extension: three sets of 12 reps
- Ab Crunch With Stability Ball: three sets of 12 reps
- Oblique Dumbbell Side Bend: three sets of 12 reps
While Gosling has been known to be extremely regimented and strict with his diet and fitness routine, I can’t say the exact same for myself. His ab routine is no joke, and my night out for sure made the workout harder and I struggled to get through it. After a variation of core-burning twists, raises and crunches, Day 5 was in the books, and only one workout remained.
- Rear Delt Raise: three sets of 12 reps
- Military Press: four sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: three sets of 12 reps
- Barbell Shrug: three sets of 12 reps
- Single-Arm Shoulder Press: three sets of 12 reps
Consisting of assorted raises and presses, Gosling’s Day 6 routine focused on shoulders, which I was excited to tackle after all the core work the day before. I was thankful I had nearly completed Ken’s workout and was ready for another rest day, but I felt motivated to give it my all on the final day and got through the moves in an hour.
I modified two of the moves, lateral raise and shrug, to one weight, finding 40 pounds to be a bit much for my Ken-in-training arms. The delt raise seemed nearly impossible after a week’s worth of hard work, so I omitted it and went through a short circuit of the moves I could perform to end Gosling’s Barbie workout instead.
I made it! Doing a week of Gosling’s Barbie workout routine definitely made me feel stronger and more toned, but for me, it’s probably ambitious to stick to such a strenuous workout routine five days a week (not including cardio). However, I absolutely felt like I was actively targeting my muscles in an informed way, performing moves I likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Plus, moving at my own pace was a nice change from the instructor-based classes I normally take (dictating the soundtrack was a perk, too!).
I also felt like the timing of the “rest days” allowed me to not let the soreness get in the way of the following days. Customization of the schedule is also pretty easy, allowing you to switch the target areas to personalize where in the week you would want to focus on, and adding cardio to rest days as desired.
My Ryan Gosling Ken Workout Results
At the end of the week, the biggest takeaway was how accomplished I felt getting through Gosling’s Barbie regimen — and not breaking a nail in the process (thank God). Did I have overnight abs? Negative. However, aside from the obvious soreness, my whole body felt tighter after the hours of area-targeted work. I mostly noticed this tightness in my lower body, abs, and arms. It felt like if I kept up with this routine, my body would tone up and eventually gain muscle.
I also enjoyed learning a workout I could do from home, even in shorter sets, to incorporate into my usual routine. The best part, however, was knowing I could channel the Ken-ergy whenever I wanted, a few steps away from the couch.