In nabbing the lead role playing the God of Thunder in the summer blockbuster Thor, Chris Hemsworth had some pretty big shoes to fill. The actor had the challenging task of packing on over twenty pounds of muscle to model his physique after a giant muscular god. Not an easy task.
Before starring in Thor, the Australian born actor had minor roles in films and tv programs but wasn’t known for his physique. His pre-Thor pics show a lean, fit guy who had slightly above average sized muscles. It was a far cry from the large, muscled being he plays in the latest action hit. But Chris tackled the challenge head on, working out with intensity and consistency and including the proper diet to build the new and improved Chris Hemsworth Thor body. And he didn’t just reach his goal. The leading man actually put on too much muscle and overshot the mark. He actually had to slim down just prior to filming because he no longer fit into his custom tailored Chris Hemsworth Thor costume.
Check out the Chris Hemsworth Thor Arm Workout here.
As you can see from the photos, he was able to add slabs of muscle to his frame, while still staying ultra lean. A big part of this may have been his special Thor workout, which was designed to help him add considerable lean muscle mass. At the same time, however, you have to consider that the Chris Hemsworth diet was spot on as well. Another thing to realize is that the actor’s body shape prior to bulking up for Thor may have actually helped him get as big as he did. This is because when you’re thin and ultra lean, your body is in prime condition to build new muscle without adding much fat if you follow the right type of workout routine and eat the right types of foods.
So, for most people reading this (at least the fellas) the question is how can I get a body like Chris Hemsworth?
What did he do specifically to transform his body and how can I do the same?
I’ll get to that in a second. But first lemme explain a few of the principles behind the workout – a few things you need to keep in mind. (As I noted in the Cristiano Ronaldo Workout, when you’re trying to mold your body to look a certain way, you have to pay special attention and only focus on doing the things that help you achieve that look. You have to let go of anything that doesn’t help the process along and especially forget all of the stuff that could get in the way, i.e. playing sports to exhaustion, not eating right, not sleeping enough, etc.).
First and foremost to build a bodybuilder esque physique like the one Chris Hemsworth did for Thor you have recognize the goal. It’s to build muscle. (and stay lean doing it). That’s it and that’s all.
What this means is that if there is an activity that you enjoy doing that doesn’t contribute to building muscle then don’t do it. Again, I alluded to this in the Cristiano Ronaldo Workout. I said that just because Ronaldo plays a lot of soccer doesn’t necessarily mean you have to play a lot of soccer if you simply want to look like him.
So, the point here is that the main goal is to train your muscles. Since Chris Hemsworth isn’t an athlete, we don’t really need to train specific movement patterns or anything like that. No one reading this is likely going out to play tight end for the New York Giants. You just want to look like you do.
Now, keep in mind that Chris Hemsworth never touched a weight before filming Thor. That’s right, he never lifted weights! This is actually great news for most people because what it tells us is that (unless the actor was simply a genetic freak) if you’re pretty lean and thin to begin with, eating right and throwing weight lifting into your routine (done right) could, quite possibly, turn you into a superhero. It’s worth a shot, right?
Looking for more Celebrity Workouts? Check out the Hugh Jackman Workout here.
With that being said best type of exercise routine for most people, whether they’ve been lifting weights for very long or not would probably be a body part split routine. It worked for this star so it will likely work for you as well. This is a routine where you typically lift weights between 4 and 6 times per week, exercising a different muscle group each time. The idea is that because you are essentially isolating each muscle region each time you hit the weights, you are able to stress each individual muscle group more (while also giving it more time to recover between sessions) so you will grow bigger and stronger – with good overall development and proportions.
Left: Chris before ever lifting weights – Right: Chris after a few months of lifting for Thor
So I’ll get to the workout (and some diet guidelines) in a second but before doing so let me just lay out some of the logic behind the workout approach and explain some of the principles that make it a fail proof way to achieve a big ripped physique!
Most of the workouts in this routine will either include strength or cardiovascular training. Here are the reasons behind each type of training:
*Body Part Split Weight Training:
- Builds muscle
- Improves myogenic tone (muscle tone)
- Increases EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption)
- Creates a favorable hormonal environment (HGH, Insulin-like Growth Factor, and Testosterone levels are optimized )
- Focuses on a variety of different types of exercises to maximize balanced, aesthetic muscle development (aka having a nice body)
- Burn extra calories
- Increase metabolic rate
- Improve strength training performance via VO2Max improvements as well as other adaptations
** Both of these types of training also improve insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to build muscle and burn fat more efficiently.
There are some general rules that this particular routine follows. Some of these rules tend to hold true in the majority of other programs as well. A few of the general guidelines used to create these workouts are the following:
1. Bigger muscle groups get worked in the beginning of the workout.
2. Compound movements (multi-joint movements) are most effective for adding muscle mass, burning fat, and improving athleticism. They make up the brunt of the exercises in this routine. They should be done before isolation movements. For example, rows would be performed before bicep curls.
3. Dynamic or power movements should be placed in the beginning of the workout. As a general rule, the exercises that involve more central nervous system energy come first in workouts. There aren’t many of these movements in this workout, but the rule still applies when necessary.
4. Strength and Hypertrophy exercises should be placed in the beginning to middle of the workout.
5. Endurance, stamina and fat loss exercises/activites should be placed in the middle to end of the workout.
6. Close-Chain movements are opted for over open-chain movements. (Close-Chain movements are exercises in which the end segment of the exercise limb is fixed, or the end is supporting the weight. Most compound exercises are closed chain movements) Close-Chain movements are move advantageous because they provide more core and synergist/ancillary muscle activation.
7. Training opposing muscle groups back to allows the body to increase the amount of work done in the same amount of time (density, intensity) by limited localized muscle fatigue. For instance, training the chest muscles directly before the upper back muscles improves can improve strength in each area, thus allowing you to work harder. This is actually an old technique that Arnold Schwarzenegger and other classic bodybuilders used to develop their perfect physiques.
A few notes:
* This routine includes 6 resistance style workouts per week that allow you to work each muscle group on two separate workouts each week. If you are a beginner, then this level of frequency and training volume can help you grow. At the same time, more advanced trainees trying this workout may find that (if it’s more than they’re used to) this style of training will shock your body into growing and developing further (as long as you allow for recovery between sessions)
* If six days per week begins to get too tough, try eliminating one arm day from the schedule before eliminating other days. This routine is meant to last 12 weeks so if your lifestyle is not too demanding, you may be able to continue with six days on most weeks as long as you get enough rest.
* This workout is designed primarily for those who want to add muscle mass and body weight. If you do not want to add body weight in the range of 15-30 pounds then simply watch your overall calorie consumption, and be particularly aware of carbohydrate intake. If you are more concerned with adding some lean mass but not “bulking up” or adding any additional fat, try consuming carbs only doing breakfast and before and after your workouts. The workout below only includes two cardio days per week, but that can be increased to 3 or 4 if you feel as though you need another strategy to ward off fat gain.
Looking for more celebrity workouts? Check out the Brad Pitt workout here
Now that you understand some of the basic rules used to create the workout as well as why you need to do each type of training (cardiovascular and strength training) to get a Hemsworth-esque physique, without further a dieu, here is the routine, seperated into daily workouts:
*Peform the following exercises in order, sticking to the prescribed reps, rest, and weight: 3 sets of each exercise doing 4-6 reps on the first 2 sets and 12 reps on the 3rd and final set. Take 1-2 minutes rest between sets.
Chris Hemsworth Workout Day 1
Body Part Split Routine: Chest & Back
(perform a thorough total-body warmup prior to any of the following exercises)
1. Barbell Bent Over Row
2. Incline Bench Press
3. Pull Ups (with extra weight if possible)
4. Flat Bench Press
5. Prone Double Arm Dumbbell Row
6. Dumbbell Chest Fly
Cardiovascular Training: None on this day
* Eat and Rest
Chris Hemsworth Workout Day 2
Body Part Split: Arms & Delts
1. Barbell Shoulder Press
2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
3. Barbell Bicep Curls
4. Skullcrushers (aka lying tricep extensions)
5. Incline Bicep Curls
6. Seated One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
7. Standard Dumbbell Bicep Curls
8. Standing Overhead Cable Tricep Extensions
Steady state (moderate pace) cardio performed for 30-40 minutes doing an activity of your choice (treadmill, bike, ellyptical, swimming, hiking, jogging)
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The next question in your mind though is probably what did he eat? and, what should my diet look like if I want to look like Chris Hemsworth? Let’s break it down…
The Chris Hemsworth Diet
So, the working out is the tough part, but eating right is still very important if you want to become a mountain of muscle. A lot of people think that if they’re lifting heavy and trying to “bulk up” that they can cheat on their diet and eat whatever they want since more calories mean more size. While this is true to some extent, you still want to watch what you eat because even though you are eating more total calories, the cleaner those calories are, the more total muscle you’ll end up putting on. This translates to a better looking body. You’ll look bigger, be bigger, and be healthier to boot.
So what should you do?
I’ll give you the skinny on what the actor did diet wise and how you can do the same. To keep it simple though, I’ll just lay out some guidelines that you can use to get there. I find these are typically better than specific recommendations since everyone is different and using more general strategies (that you can tweak as needed) works for most people. (for private nutrition/workout coaching where I give you specific formulas based on your body type and goals you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
So without further delay, here’s the lowdown:
1. The actor ate a lot of food, probably 500-1500 more calories than he was used to. Increasing your overall calorie intake is one of the first things most people have to do.
2. He also ate a lot more protein. Protein is the primary building block of muscle tissue. So yea, it’s important. Shoot for one gram per pound of body weight per day. Try to get it from lean healthy meats, legumes, or protein powders.
3. Getting most of your carbs from fruits and vegetables will allow your body to have more energy with minimal fat gain while adding muscle. This is what Chris did, using a modified Paleo diet approach.
4. Focus on taking in your carbs at breakfast and before and after your workouts with minimal amounts of carbs consumed later in the day. If you are extra skinny or have trouble gaining weight you may benefit from eating more carbs and consuming them throughout the day. Also focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, peanut butter, and almond butter especially if you’re a hard gainer.
5. Drink a lot of water and get plenty of rest. This is when your body recovers and your muscles grow!
* For some individuals certain dietary supplements may be helpful. Explore our site for articles on muscle building nutritional supplements and always check back for new articles on nutrition, supplementation, and training!
There you have it, the Chris Hemsworth Workout! Stick with this routine for 12 weeks to and follow a sensible diet in order to achieve maximum results. Also keep in mind that recovery is just as important as nutrition and training.
For some more in depth info on this workout check out my youtube video series on the chris hemsworth workout below.
Chris Hemsworth Workout Part 1 (of 4)
Want more info?
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For more in depth info on Chris Hemsworth’s workout, diet and background check out the ground breaking just released book The Celebrity Workout Book for Men. In it you’ll find in-depth info on how to train and eat like Chris Hemsworth and almost 20 other stars to get a specific physique based on the celebrity of your choice. This exclusive manual is jam packed with over 400 pages that will show you how to get ripped body that women love – and stay in incredible shape for years to come!!
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