Look like a superhero by working out like one.


Hugh Jackman

Image via Flickr Gage Skidmore

So, you’ve been watching all your favorite superheroes come to life on the big screen every summer and cannot believe that those bodies are attainable. I, being more Bruce Banner than Incredible Hulk, decided I would never be as big as The Hulk, but Wolverine? That seems doable, right?

Begin your super hero training here.

Where do I begin? Well, get a gym membership. That seems pretty self-explanatory, but we have to start somewhere. The gym should have plenty of free weights. Most of these exercises will need a dumbbell or barbell. If you have these at home, fine. However, I always feel more motivated to power through the workouts when I am in the gym rather than at home with a dog running around and an Xbox in the other room.

The routine and suggestions for completion

Now that I have a gym membership, I need a routine. I did a bit of research and found pieces of his workout here and there via interviews with Hugh Jackman and his professional trainer, David Kingsbury on websites like bodybuilding.com. What I pieced together is a 4 week or 1 month workout routine. Working the compound lifts like bench press, squat, and weighted pull ups to a heavy 4 sets of 3 reps (4×3) lifts week three and a light 4 sets of 10 reps (4×10) on the final week to recover.


Week 1: 4×5

Week 2: 4×4

Week 3: 4×3

Week 4: 4×10

I have built my own spreadsheet for this routine to track progress and remember which lift I need to do next. It also keeps the previous week’s weights, so I can decide if I want to increase them for my secondary lifts. This has helped me immensely and I would suggest making a simple spreadsheet for any workout routine. We all take our phones to the gym anyway, we might as well use them for more than music!

Find a sidekick

Bonus points if you bring a sidekick for your superhero inspired workouts. Going to the gym with someone else helps keep you accountable for your sessions. You will motivate each other to get that last rep in, get back to work after rest times, and it is more fun to show off your increasing max lifts to someone who has watched you lift from the beginning.

Reset and reload

When you are ready to start the next month of the routine, you should increase your max weight in the main lifts by 5%, or 10% if a certain lift seemed easy. (Pro tip: Keep track of your max each month to see your improvement.) This is, without a doubt, a long term endeavor. It reportedly took Hugh Jackman four months to get into shape for The Wolverine. He also had a fantastic strict diet which he maintained throughout the process. I, admittedly, am not on as strict of a diet. However, I urge anyone interested in weight loss, or weight gain, to use MyFitnessPal. It is free and incredibly easy to use. There is no reason not to. Be sure to log every meal, every snack, every bite. Seriously, do it. Lying about your calorie intake is the easiest way to stall out your progress.

Remember, you don’t get super strength by doing super easy workouts, these should be difficult but not painful.

If you are interested in doing this workout, check it out here. For more information on the specific lifts, or how to find your one rep max, visit bodybuilding.com they are a fantastic resource for anyone interested in weight lifting and fitness in general.

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