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Neil Patrick Harris’ personal trainer shares body-weight moves he does with actor

As personal trainer to Neil Patrick Harris, Alex Dropo is helping him stay lean for his role on Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” But what the actor really wants to do is lift into a handstand.

“He is a natural-born athlete,” said Dropo, who started working with Harris over three years ago. “He started having these goals of handstands and more gymnastics-based movements.” 

To help get him there, Dropo incorporates controlled body-weight movements into Harris’ workouts to help build mobility, flexibility and a mind-body connection.

“I do movements that throw him out of his comfort zone,” Dropo said at a press event marking Harris’ involvement in Cigna’s TV Doctors of America campaign. “And it all comes down to core strength. Every body-weight movement you have to use your core.” 

Dropo demonstrated three movements that can help work your full body — and get you out of your comfort zone. 

Hollow body

Alex Dropo demonstrates the hollow body. for article
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

This is a foundational move for the gymnastics-based movements that Dropo teaches. “It all comes down to building your core first,” he said. For this, your back is slightly rounded to engage your core, your hips are tucked to push the lower back down to remove tension, your legs are lifted with your toes pointed and your arms are overhead straight behind you. 

Spider-Man crawl

The spiderman crawl, demonstrated by personal trainer Alex
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

This move takes some time to coordinate. “Everyone wants to go, go, go, but then you’re all caught up,” Dropo said. “It’s really important to know how to do the movement. You’re not just guessing and throwing your body in that direction.” From a plank position, bend your left knee to meet your left elbow and extend your right arm forward (1). Then crawl forward by bringing your right knee to meet your right elbow and extending your left arm and straightening your left leg (2), and so on. It’s a primal movement, also known as animal flow, Dropo said. “It’s all about getting your body to go in different directions, not just bicep curls.”

Forward apes

The forward ape, demonstrated by personal trainer Alex
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Also called traveling apes, this basic, primal movement Dropo uses “to get people comfortable putting weight into their fingertips. You’re learning how to engage the core and lower back to lift into the handstand.” Crouching (1), you want to get the shoulders over the wrists (2) then hop forward. 


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