CRISTIANO RONALDO defied gravity, jumping 8ft 5ins off the ground to score a stunning header for Juventus against Sampdoria in December.

What made the goal even more impressive was the hang-time he got in his leap, drawing comparisons with NBA legend Michael Jordan.

 Cristiano Ronaldo defied gravity by leaping 8ft 5ins off the ground to head home against Sampdoria

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Cristiano Ronaldo defied gravity by leaping 8ft 5ins off the ground to head home against SampdoriaCredit: AFP or licensors
 Last season Ronaldo scored an incredible overhead kick 7ft 7ins off the ground

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Last season Ronaldo scored an incredible overhead kick 7ft 7ins off the groundCredit: AFP or licensors

And last season, the Portuguese superstar was heralded for an incredible overhead kick strike against Real Madrid where he leapt 7ft 7ins to make contact with the ball.

With his athleticism clearly knowing no bounds, Ronaldo has claimed in the past that he has a “biological age of 23” – and wants to continue playing into his 40s.

And it’s clear the 34-year-old shows no signs of slowing down as he continues his goal-scoring exploits.

The powerfully-built 6ft 2in forward remains one of the most physically dominant players in the world – still lightning quick, one of the strongest around and able to leap to incredible heights.

In 2018, Ronaldo said: “Right now I have a biological age of 23.

“I’ve still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I’m 41.

“I’m feeling good, happy, I can’t complain.”

 Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, says he has the body of someone 10 years younger - and wants to continue playing until he's 41

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Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, says he has the body of someone 10 years younger – and wants to continue playing until he’s 41Credit: AP:Associated Press
 Through exercise, diet and rest Ronaldo has become one of the most physically dominant athletes in the world

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Through exercise, diet and rest Ronaldo has become one of the most physically dominant athletes in the world
 The Juventus superstar is still lightning quick and as strong as an ox

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The Juventus superstar is still lightning quick and as strong as an ox
 Its a far cry from the skinny teenager he once was, pictured here with Portugal U21s in 2003

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Its a far cry from the skinny teenager he once was, pictured here with Portugal U21s in 2003Credit: AFP

But how does he do it?

Ronaldo does not have some super-secret formula and his incredible body is built on just a few key themes.

Dedication to the gym is obviously key, but Ronaldo follows a Pilates-based routine that focuses on resistance work to strengthen his core.

Rest is also a massive part of his routine, as is his strict diet.

 Swimming is a key part of Ronaldo's regime - he goes for a post match swim after every game

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Swimming is a key part of Ronaldo’s regime – he goes for a post match swim after every gameCredit: Instagram, @cristiano
 The Portuguese has a 25m pool in his Madrid mansion

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The Portuguese has a 25m pool in his Madrid mansionCredit: Cristiano Ronaldo/Instagram

Post-match exercise has also become a huge part of his regime.

While other players like to sit at home in front of the TV after a match, Ronaldo heads straight to the pool.

He swims lengths, often alongside Cristiano Jr, which not only helps him unwind from the physical toll of a match, but also helps him build his huge physique.

Swimming is a brilliant full-body workout, exercising all of his arms, core and leg muscles.

 Ronaldo's exercise regime doesn't just rely on explosive muscle work, but is Pilates based - here he uses a Reformer to work out

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Ronaldo’s exercise regime doesn’t just rely on explosive muscle work, but is Pilates based – here he uses a Reformer to work outCredit: Instagram @cristiano
 Ronaldo has a fully-equipped gym in his home

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Ronaldo has a fully-equipped gym in his homeCredit: Instagram @cristiano

Alongside his gym, Ronaldo has a secret weapon for muscle regeneration – a Cryotherapy chamber.

The £50,000 walk-in piece of kit works miracles on the body, with Ronaldo having one installed in 2013 after hearing it had worked well for Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery.

Standing in the chamber for around three minutes, liquid nitrogen freezes Ronaldo to between minus 160 and minus 200 degrees Celsius.

Cryotherapy beats muscle soreness and reduces swelling, inflammation or sprains – allowing Ronaldo to be ready for the next match or training session sooner.

RONALDO’S FITNESS SECRETS

Hard work: Motivation to be the best is key – which Ronaldo’s five Ballons d’Or prove

The world is your gym: Don’t limit yourself to exercising in one place. Complete your routine at home in the morning or at night

Booze ban: No more wild nights out if you want to stay so sculpted

You are what you eat: Balanced diet with plenty of protein to fuel your workouts is best. Sugary foods are worst

Ronnie says relax: Downtime at home with family and friends is a must

Sleep well: Try and get at least eight hours a night, sleep is key for muscle regeneration

 Ronaldo uses straps, pulleys and resistance work to improve his core strength

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Ronaldo uses straps, pulleys and resistance work to improve his core strengthCredit: Instagram @cristiano
 Sleep is also a vital part of his regime, with the star insisting on eight hours a night

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Sleep is also a vital part of his regime, with the star insisting on eight hours a nightCredit: Instagram @cristiano

Ronaldo will also have hot and cold baths to stimulate muscle regeneration, while jets massage his muscles as he sits in the bath.

Rest and regeneration have become as important to Ronaldo as working out.

Ronaldo was once moved to deny he did 3,000 sit-ups in a day – claiming he barely did 1,000 “in one week”.

That much work would only serve to injure and exhaust his muscles.

Sleep and relaxation is another key part of his routine, with the Portuguese sticking to at least eight hours of kip a night.

Family time, whether enjoying life with his children and Georgina Rodriguez or his mother, brother and sisters, is huge to the forward.

 His home also has a £50,000 cryochamber that aids muscle regeneration and reduces soreness and inflammation

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His home also has a £50,000 cryochamber that aids muscle regeneration and reduces soreness and inflammation

He explained: “Mental strength is just as important as physical strength.

“Training and physical sessions are most important, but living a relaxed lifestyle helps you to be the best you can be, physically and mentally.

“I spend my free time with family and friends, which keeps me relaxed and in a positive mindset.

“Proper sleep is really important for getting the most out of training.

“I go to bed early and get up early, especially before matches. Sleep helps muscles recover which is really important.”

 Ronaldo decided to dedicate himself to developing his body when he was just 11

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Ronaldo decided to dedicate himself to developing his body when he was just 11Credit: Instagram @cristiano

Explosive muscle work is part of his routine, but the real secret to his amazing body is Pilates and home workouts.

He said: “Fit in exercise wherever you can.

“You can do an abs workout in your bedroom when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed.

“If you get into a routine then it makes it easier as it will become a habit.”

 Diet plays a massive part in Ronaldo's supreme athleticism

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Diet plays a massive part in Ronaldo’s supreme athleticismCredit: Instagram, @cristiano
 The Juventus star eats plenty of fish and eggs and salad, avoiding sugary foods and processed meats

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The Juventus star eats plenty of fish and eggs and salad, avoiding sugary foods and processed meatsCredit: Instagram

Ronaldo was a famously skinny teenager who has completely transformed his body over the course of his professional career.

The change came when he heard comments from coaches when he was only 11.

“I remember the first time I heard one of the kids say to another kid, ‘Did you see what he did? This guy is a beast’,” said Ronaldo.

“I started hearing it all the time.

“Even from the coaches. But then somebody would always say, ‘Yeah but it’s a shame he’s so small.’

“It’s true, I was skinny. I had no muscle. So I made a decision at 11.

I knew I had a lot of talent, but I decided that I was going to work harder than everybody.

“I started sneaking out of the dormitory at night to go work out. I got bigger and faster.

“I would walk onto the field, and the people who used to whisper, ‘Yeah, but he’s so skinny,’ now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world.”

 Ronaldo has transformed his body during his professional career

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Ronaldo has transformed his body during his professional careerCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 His dedication to his craft has seen Ronaldo become one of the best players ever

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His dedication to his craft has seen Ronaldo become one of the best players everCredit: AP:Associated Press

Ronaldo’s work would be wasted if he didn’t follow the right diet.

The Portuguese is not a vegetarian or plant-based, but does limit his meat intake because of the higher fat intake.

Fish is a key part of his diet with Lisbon speciality Bacalao a la Brasa – a mixture of braised cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs – one of his faves.

Ronaldo has said: “I eat a high protein diet, with lots of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugary food.

“Eat regularly. If you train regularly it’s important to keep energy levels high to fuel your body for better performance.

I sometimes eat up to six smaller meals a day to make sure I have enough energy to perform each session at top level.”

 Ronaldo, who loves fish and lean meat, is teetotal

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Ronaldo, who loves fish and lean meat, is teetotalCredit: Instagram, @cristiano
 Ronaldo has a high protein diet

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Ronaldo has a high protein dietCredit: Instagram, @cristiano

Portuguese national team chef Luis Lavrador revealed: “Ronaldo eats all sorts of dishes, as the responsible athlete he is, but the one he likes the most is fish like gilt-head bream, swordfish and sea bass.”

His Instagram account offers more clues with lean meats and green salad often seen, while heavy carbs like potatoes and pasta saved for game days.

Ronaldo has been teetotal since at least 2005 – not only because of the adverse affects on his diet, but also because his father died an alcoholism-related death when he was 20.

 Ronaldo also takes his mental health seriously with rest and relaxation with his family a big part of his life

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Ronaldo also takes his mental health seriously with rest and relaxation with his family a big part of his lifeCredit: Instagram, @cristiano
 Ronaldo's slow start to the season was part of Zinedine Zidane's masterplan

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Ronaldo’s slow start to the season was part of Zinedine Zidane’s masterplanCredit: Reuters
 Now playing his best football of the season, Ronaldo and Real Madrid are chasing a fourth Champions League trophy in five years

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Now playing his best football of the season, Ronaldo and Real Madrid are chasing a fourth Champions League trophy in five yearsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

His mother, Dolores Aveiro, is a key part of the Ronaldo team.

She often spends time at his house, cooking meals and ensuring they fit his strict dietary needs.

Whatever she’s doing, it clearly works. It’s hard to argue with Ronaldo when he says he’ll play till 40 when you see his exploits against Sampdoria.



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