This week I had the great opportunity to interview Albert â€œSpiderâ€ Valladares, a 25-year old Miami native who is a real inspiration to those of us interested in parkour, free running, and bodyweight sports. Heâ€™s currently starring in the role as the werewolf on MTVâ€™s hit new show Teen Wolf. His background is impressive â€“ heâ€™s been a professional wrestler; has been featured as a professional free runner (including being on G4â€™s Jump City); and is now really starting to make a name as a stuntman and actor. (Before he joined Teen Wolf, you may have seen him jumping off buildings on Burn Notice or CSI: Miami. His training and athleticism is awesome and I think youâ€™ll all appreciate some of the insights and advice he has to offer:
GBT: Hey spider, itâ€™s a real pleasure to talk with you. First of all, congratulations on getting the role as the werewolf on MTVâ€™s hit new show Teen Wolf. It seems to be a really big production show. You have such a varied background from wrestling, to free running, to stuntman and actor, yet I imagine all of these things really complement each other. So, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for our GBT fans!
To begin with, I think that to accomplish all of the things that you have takes extraordinary discipline. How would you explain your training philosophy?
SPIDER: The way I see it is that you need to have competition within yourself, trying to push yourself, but keeping it easy and staying carefully to your limits. I always try to push the envelope, but without risking injury. And, always remember to have fun with what youâ€™re doing!
GBT: As you know our site is dedicated to bodyweight training. What kind of role have BW exercises played in your conditioning and development as an athlete?
SPIDER: As a freerunner, itâ€™s always good to get used to moving with your own bodyweight. Bodyweight training goes a long way in helping you develop fast, controlled movements. You don’t necessarily have to be in the gym lifting weights all of the time.
GBT: We use quadrapedal (animal) movements all the time at GBT, and I know they are an essential part of parkour and free running. How did you take it to the next level and become the Werewolf?
SPIDER: Well, I studied a lot of videos on YouTube of tigers and lions hunting and just tried to mimic their movements, like their bouncing and running style. It helped to get the animal like movement down. And then I would add some parkour flavor to the animal movements.
GBT: I would imagine you play a big part in the creative process when setting up the stunts, since you can see all of the movement possibilities from the perspective of a free runner and traceur. How does that process work?
SPIDER: The process is not just me – me and the stunt coordinator gather around the set and look at what would be the most dramatic movements. We think about it from the perspective of what an animal would be like going after his prey, and then work out different movements.
GBT: How many hours do you spend in make up, transforming into the werewolf? And how tough is it to move when youâ€™re in the full suit?
SPIDER: The make up process takes about 3 hours, and It takes 40 minutes to come off. But, it doesnâ€™t restrict any movement and I can see perfectly so it makes all the movements easy to work with.
GBT: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in free running/parkour or stunt work?
SPIDER: There are a lot of free running schools opening up around the country. For example, there is a school in California (the Tempest Freerunning Academy) and another free running school down in Miami (Miami Freerunning and Parkour Academy) , and another one in Washington DC. But even if you donâ€™t live near any of those places you can always go to your local gymnastics gym and set up some stuff and practice till you feel confident with your moves, and then take it outside. Always train at your own comfortable pace!
GBT: Thanks so much for giving us the time man, and we look forward to see your career continue to develop and progress.