Training Vijay Deverakonda to become a UFC fighter in Liger was a challenge, says trainer Kuldep Sethi

Since the release of the trailer for Puri Jagannadh’s Liger, lead actor Vijay Deverakonda’s physical transformation has been the talk of the town. The person who brought about this metamorphosis is one of the leading fitness and transformation experts, Kuldep Sethi.

Speaking about his training journey with the star, Sethi said in a statement: “Vijay and I started training in January 2020 but planning and training for the same started a month before that. He plays a UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] fighter in the film and it was a difficult task. We had to make sure he’s flexible and his moves are on par with an MMA fighter.

Explaining the finer details, he added: “Initially we started with more strength training to add muscle mass and as the program progressed we added strength training, plyometrics and agility to improve mobility. I had to be very concerned about making sure his body developed like an athlete’s (MMA [mixed martial arts] fighter) and not as a bodybuilder. The main goal was to make her body symmetrical to my training. There are various actors who have disproportionately bigger arms and stuff, but that’s not the case with Vijay now. If you see his body, it is symmetrical and proportional.

Produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Liger also stars Ananya Panday, Ramya Krishnan and boxing legend Mike Tyson. The film sees Deverakonda playing a guy from a modest background who fights various add-ons in order to achieve his goal. He receives ample support from his mother, played by Krishnan.

“Vijay’s weak points were his legs, back muscles and shoulders,” Sethi added when talking about the challenges Vijay’s body brought. “I would like to point out that Vijay had one or two shoulder injuries but he was extremely dedicated throughout the regimen and the result is in front of the whole world.

Liger hits theaters on August 25.

Kristen T. Prall