The Chris Hemsworth Thor Workout

Would you rather look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Chris Hemsworth in Thor? Fitness model or super hero?

Brad Pitt Fight Club
Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Chris Hemsworth Thor Muscle
Chris Hemsworth in Thor

The Fight Club fitness look comes from eating little food, doing lots of cardio, and lifting light weights for high reps. Is that really what you want? I’m going to guess that most Swole readers would prefer the Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman look.

So how did Hemsworth transition from the fitness look to the super hero look? The simple answer is, lots of protein and heavy compound weight lifting. Just like Werewolf Muscle Training and Swole 3×5.

Let me tell you a little more about the Chris Hemsworth Thor workout.

To Look Like Thor Lift Heavy Weight

According to some of Chris Hemsworth’s recent interviews, he attained his Thor physique by using a training routine that calls for Deadlifts, Bench Press, Squats, and Barbell Rows for 4 sets of 4-6 reps. Sounds pretty similar to Swole 3×5.

He also had a day of weighted chin ups, close grip bench, weighted pull ups, and weighted dips. This was his ‘arms day’. Do you see cable push downs, triceps kickbacks, dumbbell curls, or forearm curls on this list? Hellz no! When are people going to start to believe that curling and other arm isolation exercises are a waste of time for everyone except competitive bodybuilders?

Get Strong Then Get Cut

Hundreds of people have asked me if they should gain weight first then cut, or if they should get lean first then gain muscle. There are two answers:

  1. Fat people – If your body fat is higher than 15% then you should get lean before you focus on building mass. It is scientifically proven that people with higher body fat store more calories as fat than people with lower body fat. Get ripped, then get big.
  2. Skinny people – If your bodyfat is 12% or less then you can feel free to focus on gaining muscle mass, because your body will be more efficient at processing calories. You are more likely to gain lean mass than to gain more fat. Hemsworth clearly started out as a skinny guy, so he gained muscle first.

Incidentally, your diet is mostly responsible for your weight loss, so modify that first. Decrease calories-in to decrease calories-stored. Make sense?

This is exactly what Chris Hemsworth did:

“I was eating a lot of clean protein, fruit, vegetables and some carbs, as well as drinking four to five liters of water a day. I put on a lot of weight – I put on about 20 pounds at one point. It was purely eating, eating, eating, working out and working out, trying to sleep as much as you can – that’s the other third of the equation. The eating was the biggest thing; since stopping shooting I probably work out the same but don’t eat as much, and I’ve probably lost 15 pounds or something. Chicken breasts and protein shakes, boiled chicken, clean meats, the right carbs.”

When cutting, you should be training super heavy to retain your strength and muscle. Adding in a little high intensity cardio kick starts the old metabolism a little big. When bulking you can sometimes train in the 10 and 12 rep ranges to both increase strength and force hypertrophy.

Hemsworth’s trainer, Michael Knight took this exact approach as evidenced by this quote from a Michael Knight interview:

“Once Chris put on the muscle I needed to get him lean, which meant stripping away any fat he had accumulated during the first phase while maintaining all his newly built muscle, I did this by getting him to do this total-body circuit based around classic strongman moves, such as log presses, tire flips, sledgehammers and prowler sprints, as well as circuits with kettlebells of varying weights. This got Chris down to his fighting weight of 220lb – and as you can see from the pictures, it was all muscle.”

My guess is that Hemsworth put quite a few hours into sledgehammer training so he could be proficient with Mjolnir. And yes, I am a fan boy so I will refer to Thor’s sledgehammer as Mjolnir. Thank you.

Chris Hemsworth with Mjolnir
Chris Hemsworth with Mjolnir

A Buff Physique is Hard to Maintain

It can be hard to maintain a chiseled physique with lots of lean muscle mass. Some people choose to make it a lifestyle, but you can see that Hemsworth’s sole motivation was the almighty paycheck. Without the incentive to live a bodybuilding lifestyle, he quickly lost 15 lbs, and is most likely looking like a fitness model again.

If you don’t stick to your plan by maintaining a healthy diet, training heavy, occasionally incorporating HIIT training, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night, you might struggle to keep all that hard earned muscle. Dedication, discipline, and consistency is what it takes to look both jacked and ripped year ’round.

To conclude, if you want to get a body like Chris Hemsworth in Thor or Hugh Jackman in Wolverine, use a routine like Swole 3×5, the upcoming Swole 5×5, or Werewolf Muscle Training to pack on strength and size. Then use a diet like intermittent fasting or the upcoming Swole 30 Day Shred diet, along with one of the Swole Full Body Fat Loss routines to rip it up.

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12 Responses to “The Chris Hemsworth Thor Workout”

  1. Todd says:

    Hemsworth’s look is definitely more desirable to have, but like you said, it’s a lot of work to maintain.

    Swole 5×5? I can’t wait. I’ve used Stonglifts 5×5, and am using a very modified version now. If you need somebody to test drive it, let me know. :)

    • Steve says:

      How did you like Stronglifts 5×5? I used it a couple times, but I think it is a better routine for beginners. I’m not sure my routine will be that much different, in fact experienced lifters might get a better workout with Swole 3×5 instead. I’ll let you know though. We can test drive it together.

      • Todd says:

        It is geared more for the nOOb, but it’s so friggin’ simple that you can’t mess it up. I got to the point that my current weight bench/squat rack was making me nervous with the amount of weight that I was using.

        I look forward to the Swole workouts.

  2. F&P says:

    High intensity-lower volume routines like “5×5″ format routines are ideal for building strength and mass for natural trainees.

  3. Muscle Matt says:

    Great post Steve!

    I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I read that part of the reason why they put Chris into that lean workout is that he’d gotten too big to fit into his Thor costume! :)

    I’m in a big gain phase right now. I’ve gained about 6-8 pounds so far in the last couple weeks. My strength has gone through the roof, but I’m also showing that I’ve gained a percent or so of body fat. I guess it’s to be expected when you start eating like a horse!

    I absolutely LOVE lifting. It’s my drug, so proper eating truly is the hardest part of the whole equation for me. Most people have a hard enough time taking time to eat a mere 3 meals/day. The problem for me is that when I tell myself I can eat more than normal, slowly but surly I start eating crap (not literally). Discipline and determination is where it’s at brother!

    Best wishes!

    -Matt

  4. jock says:

    Kids, can we say steroids??

    • Steve says:

      Give me a break. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t look like he’s ever touched a steroid in his life. You must be a troll.

    • bizu says:

      sorry dude.. you’re a scrub and ca’t tell who’s on roids and who isn’t… Hems never touched roids…his skin is too clean looking and his eyes aren’t yellow…he did exactly what they said here…clean meats, workout, lifting heavy and lots of rest = Chris Hems :)

  5. Sandy@How Many Calories to Lose Weight says:

    Nice body dude. i am impressed.

  6. Susan says:

    Wow, love those abs!

  7. Rick Kaselj says:

    Steve,

    I think swinging that hammer around will get anyone in shape.

    Thanks.

    Rick Kaselj of http://ExercisesForInjuries.com

    .

  8. Daniel says:

    I believe in hammer swings. We used to incorporate a dumbell swing into a college basketball workout and it helped build the forearm, grip strength, bicep and tricep cuts, as well as shoulder strength/stability.

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