Whether you’re a Marvel or DC fan, self-professed “geek” or not, comic movies and TV shows are here to stay. Following the transformation of actors into your favorite superheros could inspire you to do a superhero workout, as well. While you might not end up on the silver screen or be an actual crime fighter, here are a few tips that could make it look like you were.
Take Your Time
One thing you have to take into account is that almost any superhero workout you see an actor undergo to ready themselves for a role took a lot of time. Guys like Thomas Jane (Punisher), Henry Cavill (Superman), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), and Chris Evans (Capt. America) all took as long as 8-10 months to prepare themselves each time they played their respective role – even after being in decent shape.
Also consider the fact that much of this preparation time was actually spent mostly Training – almost like a full-time bodybuilder might do. Cavill’s workouts (designed by Mark Twight of Gym Jones) took 2.5 hours per day. Jane routinely trained twice per day. At one point during his 60lbs weight loss for Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt was doing 3-4 hours of cardio per day.
The point is that these actors essentially made transforming their bodies their full-time job for several months. This not only includes their workouts, but any choreography, fight skills they might need to learn, and clean eating. While you can still achieve similar results, know that it might take you a little longer since you’re not going to be doing it full-time.
Train for Form and Function
Back in the day, when an actor would start a superhero workout, it’d be mostly comprised of Bodybuilding elements for the sake of looking good on screen. However, more actors are now incorporating functional style training into their overall routine. This is because it not only helps build a better Physique, but because many are doing a large amount of their own stunts. Read more about funcitonal strength and functional movement here.
Cavill would often start with bodybuilding, but then end off his workouts with circuits or functional Exercises like kettlebell swings and medicine ball slams. Ben Affleck prepared for his role as Batman by doing a lot of sled pushing, weighted pullups, and tire flipping to build a thick, powerful-looking physique. And Stephen Amell of Arrow regularly incorporates parkour into his program to create a physique that’s form built as a result of function.
Sample Superhero Workout
While you might not have the better part of a year to Bulk Up, then cut down right before shooting, multiple hours per day to train, or a personal chef ensuring a perfect meal plan, you can still do a workout that will build muscle, lean you out, get you athletic, and make you look like your own version of a superhero. Here’s a sample superhero workout you could use:
Monday – upper body
- Incline press – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Weighted pullups or pulldowns – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Behind the neck press – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
- Lateral raises – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
- Dumbbell curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
- Pushdowns – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Wednesday – Lower Body
- Deadlift – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Split squats – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps (each side)
- Leg Extensions – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
- leg Curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Friday – Functional
- Dumbbell snatch x 6 reps each side
- Burpees x 10
- Single arm dumbbell swings x 10 each side
- *repeat 3x
- Barbell clean & press x 8
- Mountain climbers x 15 (each side)
- Walking lunge x 10 (each side)
- *repeat 3x
- Dips x max
- Dumbbell clean x 8 (each side)
- Box jumps x 10
- *repeat 4x
Add in 1-2 slow Cardio sessions per week of 30-60 minutes and one interval workout of 30-seconds on, 30-seconds off for 15-20 minutes.
Incorporate a good diet with this superhero workout, and you should start seeing gains relatively quickly. You’ll have better control over your body and be able to move the part as well as just look the part. You might not experience the radical body transformations as many actors do in the same time frame, but your physique will still improve by, as they say about Superman, “leaps and bounds”.