Magnus Carlsen is a chess juggernaut. Carlsen is the reigning undisputed world chess champion and has been since 2013. While one may think it only takes mental ability to excel at chess, that might not be the case. Magnus, who’s been ruling the world of chess since 2011, also regularly works out. Especially now that he is going to be 31. 

Carlsen’s trainer Bror Carlson explained how physical exercise is important for a chess grandmaster like Carlsen. He also explained how he believes working out has helped Carlsen’s performance.


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A need for fixed workout routines

Magnus Carlsen’s trainer revealed the details about the champion’s workouts in a Twitter video. In the video, Bror said, “The most important for him and particularly is to have the routines.” He added, “It’s easier to eat well and perform when you have a daily routine that works out.”

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When explaining why physical exercise has benefits, Bror said, “There are studies that show that cardiovascular training does impact the brain in good ways.”

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Chess is a sport where contestants sit in one place for hours. Not only that, but they have to concentrate fully on the game. Hence, being in top shape physically can help elite chess players with both physical and mental endurance. Carlson said, “It’s an endurance sport. Of course, you need to have a lot of endurance to get your mind to keep on working for that long.

Bror Carlson also revealed what exercises the Norwegian grandmaster does. The focus, he said, is on cardio and balance. Through the balance workouts, Bror tries to get Magnus to focus but stay relaxed at the same time. Long hours of sitting can weaken the core, shoulders, and back muscles, so Magnus also does exercises like crunches on a decline, pull-ups and battle rope.


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Carlsen’s trainer also said, “I think after he started here, he had a good win streak.” Hence, it seems working out and staying physically fit has directly helped Magnus perform better in chess.

Magnus Carlsen won’t defend the world title

In July of this year, the Norwegian grandmaster announced he won’t defend his title at the upcoming 2023 world championship. A surprise move that’s left many fans bewildered. Magnus has won the world title five times. He won the world title for the fifth time in 2021, by beating Ian Nepomniachtchi, in Dubai. However, Magnus also revealed that he’ll continue playing competitive chess.


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Magnus has been at the top of the chess world for a long time. While there’s no concrete data to prove Bror’s claims, further studies in the future may reveal even more about physical exercise improving mental performance.