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The Secret to Jake Gyllenhaal's Bulging Biceps

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Forget the treadmill and free weights. Jake Gyllenhaal, who got noticeably buff for his role in this summer’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, has revealed how he got ripped for his role –and a gym membership wasn’t involved. Gyllenhaal’s secret to achieving the hulking build of his character Prince Dastan? The French martial art of Parkour (also known as “freerunning”). “[I] never did anything this intensive before [to change my body]. It’s a physical role. And when I commit to playing a part, it’s 110 percent,” said the 29-year-old actor. “We worked really closely with David Belle, who invented Parkour.  I worked with a lot of gymnasts. I started jumping off of a lot of things that were padded and learned the fundamental stuff, and then slowly started working on harder surfaces, really carefully. And I’d say, ‘OK, I’ll try it,’ and then I’d say, ‘OH GOD. OH, please.’ But then I’d get it, and we’d go a little further and a little longer and a little higher and just kept it up,” explained Gyllenhaal, who did many of his own stunts during filming, even scaring himself at some points. “It got a little bit dicey there near the end, when they saw that I liked doing things that were dangerous. I tried my hand at things that were pushing it a little bit. There was this big 35 foot jump that I did that got a little hairy.” So now that the movie’s wrapped, is it just a matter of time before the big guns disappear? Says Gyllenhaal, “I enjoy being active as part of my daily insanity anyway, so I’ll keep doing that.” — reporting by Susan Young