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How Explorer Steve Backshall Continues to Build Muscle Well into His 40s

Steve Backshall is well known in the UK for his TV's show Deadly 60, taking amazing adventures in different parts of the world. He has been pushing himself to the limits for over the past two decades in every high-octane environment that you can imagine. He scales the sheer mountains in Venezuela, wades through the Argentinian swamps, and even descends into the desert canyons in Oman.

Bodyweight exercises form the bulk of Backshall’s training and it is tailored for each of his expeditions. For example, to prepare for Kamchatka, he alternated intense HIIT with steady-state kayaking. He says it brought him loads of power work – lots of plyometrics, calisthenics, tossing big tyres. He said that the program was designed to possess the explosiveness when he needs it. At his age, he says it’s the first thing to go, so you have to continue working on it.

Whatever the destination, chin-ups are always a staple, according to Backshall. He works on chins every other day and says that they are very effective for climbing expeditions where the ratio of upper body strength to body weight is very important.

Recently, he started incorporating breath work into his training so as to boost lung capacity for his next trip. Backshall says that what drives him is the sense that there are still parts of the planet that no one knows about and he is thrilled by the possibility that he could be the first person to summit a mountain or take light into a cave system. Wherever he is going, he sure ain’t slowing down!


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