WWE fans have known for many years that Cesaro is one of pro wrestling’s most enthralling stars, but in 2021, the 6’5″ mat master’s career has really gone into the stratosphere. In April, at WrestleMania 37, the “Swiss Cyborg” finally wrestled his first singles match at the “Show of Shows” in Tampa, and not only did he pick up a win against Seth Rollins, but he also gave us an unforgettable moment by swinging the self-professed Messiah no less than 23 times.
Having taken Roman Reigns to the limit in their Universal Championship clash at May’s WrestleMania: BackLash, the Swiss Superman utilizes a sensible approach to his own health and fitness, and believes that for longevity, he must focus on recovery and make use of the latest advances in technology so that he can stay the course on his journey toward that first world title.
Muscle & Fitness sat down with Cesaro to find out how his attitudes to training have evolved over the years, and soon discovered his excitement for the prospect of once again performing for live crowds all around the world.
If you don’t love Cesaro there is something wrong with you #WrestleMania pic.twitter.com/I1g3UR0gpy
—Alex (@Easley91) April11, 2021
During an April 2014 M&F cover shoot with John Cena, Cesaro had been working out in the same gym and couldn’t resist getting involved with the action, squatting 495 pounds that day. “I go a little lighter these days, because I may have aged a little bit,” laughs Cesaro. “But I still go heavy. I mean, I just did another heavy day two days ago, and I’m feeling it today! But I still like lifting heavy and I still like to train for functionality. But because I’ve matured a bit, I know to pick my lifting days a little bit wiser.
“The young kids just walk into the gym and start squatting heavy, and I’m like ‘I gotta warm up a bit’ (laughs), but I’m definitely still lifting heavy. I’m still a big fan of the single-arm snatches, and if there’s something at the gym like the Atlas stones, or something that I’ve never done, I’ll always give it a try. They had the peg boards at a gym the other day. I just love trying new stuff. The fitness industry is really evolving so fast.”
While Cesaro finds fun in trying new ways to exercise and stay in shape, he’s still “old school” at heart. “I love bodyweight exercises,” says Cesaro. “People always ask me what I would recommend for anyone starting out [with training]. I always say the same thing. It’s pushups, squats, and situps. That’s the bread a butter. And then you can start adding pullups, you can add lunges. I love bodyweight stuff because we travel a lot, and we beat our bodies up in the ring, so sometimes it’s really good to work out without extra weights on your joints, and on your muscles. Bodyweight exercises build cardio, they build endurance, and good form. You still get such a good workout.”
Recognizing the importance of rest and recovery
Courtesy of WWE
“I’ve been doing that for quite a while,” says Cesaro. “It’s maybe a little bit more in focus [these days], but I feel that ever since I had shoulder surgery, I started stretching more, and then stretching became a big part of my daily routine. I always try to find new ways to help with recovery and help with longevity. I have a fitness tracker that tracks my sleep and that helps me. I feel like the world is now doing a better job in making ‘recovery’ more of a common word and something that people do, and are aware about the importance of it.
“Because it used to be, that people would just lift heavy and then things like physical therapy was something that people only had after an injury, but no, these are things you should do all the time. Last year I got these air compression sleeves, and they help you to recover your legs and hips. Injury prevention is very important. I’ve always trained for functionality rather than looks.”
Cesaro is also known for wearing kinesiology tape during his matches in WWE. “Nowadays, you see a lot of people wearing it,” says the Swiss Superman. “It does help, and even if it’s just reminding you to keep your posture, or it’s keeping the muscles in place, or even if it’s just the mental help of keeping your shoulder back, or whatever, to me, it’s the little things that go a long way over time. There is no miracle pill, or miracle supplement… you need to put the work in on top, but if there is something that helps you, then great.”
Reuniting with the WWE Universe
WWE was forced to halt its touring schedule in March 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, but Cesaro’s current successes in WWE are soon to once again be enjoyed by fans all around the world. This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown from the Toyota Center in Houston will be the first to have fans in attendance for 17 months. Then there’s Money in the Bank from Fort Worth, TX, on Sunday, but Cesaro is perhaps even more excited about returning to the U.K. in September. “I miss (fans) so much,” says the former United States champion, dropping his head in despair. “I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that it’s the things you take for granted that you miss the most. I always loved the travel for the UK tours, twice a year, I looked forward to it, and I loved it, it’s strenuous, travel wise, but I don’t care, I love it.
“Waking up early and walking around Newcastle, London, Cardiff and Glasgow … I’d get my sleep in, wake up as early as possible, go and workout, and then just experience the towns. We’ve missed a year, but it feels like an eternity, and it’s so good that we are heading back, because we’ve missed this, our fans have missed this, and now we can fully enjoy it again. I may be a little bit biased, but European times are the best!”
Playing his cards right
When he’s back on the road, Cesaro swears by the deck of cards workout. “I was talking to (former tag-team partner) Tyson Kidd the other day, and the deck of cards is one if his favorite workouts, and it is one of my go-to cardio workouts as well,” says Cesaro. “It’s great for when I am on the road, and there’s maybe no gym.”
Always setting new goals
With 2021 being a standout year for Cesaro, he would be forgiven for resting on his laurels, but despite seeing the culmination of his years of dedication pay off at WrestleMania 37, the Swiss Cyborg is still very much on a mission to rise to the top of WWE. “I mean, it was an amazing moment. I’ll never forget it, probably my favorite match of my career so far. This was definitely very special on so many levels,” he says. “But was this the ‘culmination?’ Afterwards, thinking about it… I hope not. I still need to win the WWE championship, or the Universal championship!”