‘Hunger Games’ Training Helped Jennifer Lawrence Become Katniss

Lawrence's conditioning coach talks about the demanding training schedule that whipped the actress into survival-of-the-fittest shape.
By Kara Warner

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"
Photo: Lionsgate

In case you're not already aware, Jennifer Lawrence put in a lot of extra work in her preparation to play Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." Lawrence told us herself about all the time she spent training, but she made it seem like it was no big deal.

Don't let her fool you, though; she worked her butt off in preparation. MTV News recently caught up with strength and conditioning coach Joe Horrigan, who worked specifically with Lawrence on the film and gave us the inside scoop on what the hardworking actress did to get all Katniss-like.

"I've worked on a number of films before to help actors lose weight or prepare for a particular role or even gain weight, so I was asked to help Jennifer on this," Horrigan said. "Jennifer and [director]Gary Ross had discussed how they felt that she should look, they thought that she should be a little bit leaner — it is, after all, entitled 'The Hunger Games' — but she shouldn't be gaunt."

During pre-production, Horrigan helped Lawrence perfect her running technique during daily workouts, along with strength and endurance training.

"She worked with me usually twice a day, and that could be a combination of work at the track, which included agility drills, sprint work and running work, and she also had to work with an archery coach three or four days a week, and in the evening we would do stationary bike work, a mix of anaerobic and aerobic work," he explained. "At a certain point she had to start working with the stunt crew. They had their own obstacle course and wanted her to be able to hop over trees and climb trees and that type of thing, so she was very familiar with it."

Through it all, Horrigan said he was most impressed with Lawrence's dedication to the training, along with her positive attitude and work ethic.

"She had a genuine excitement about the character and the role, and her opportunity to do this," he said. "I don't think she ever saw this as stressful or hard work, she did everything she was asked to do, and never complained."

Horrigan, who has worked with actors in preparation for a variety of films like "The Matrix," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Savages," said Lawrence also developed a new perspective on archery.

"I think she developed a whole new respect for what elite archers do. I think she started with [shooting] 80 arrows a day. Elite archers shoot about 450 arrows a day," he said. "That gave her a whole new respect." And then somewhere along the long road, Lawrence made the transition into her character.

"Everything just came together and we all felt that over a period of time she became Katniss."

Do you think you're in Hunger Games shape? Leave your comment below! Check out everything we've got on "The Hunger Games."

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