Why have superheroes become so popular in recent years? Is it because the stories resonate better with the audience, or is it down to better production and marketing? Whatever the cause, one thing that has always stood out when it comes to superheroes is their amazing physiques.
There is many a bodybuilder that has a Superman t-shirt, many a gym that has the Incredible Hulk spray painted on their walls, and fitness models who have based their looks on Captain America’s physique in the Avengers movies.
But how do you actually go about training like your favourite Avenger?
Well, it really comes down to proper gym programming and a calorie-controlled diet. In this article we are going to focus on the training side of things. We’ll discuss what exercises to pick, what rep range to hit, and what weights to use. We’ll also provide a template workout for anyone looking to recreate the training programs of either the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, or the Black Panther.
Picking the Avenger to suit your body type
Body composition is an inexact science, you may have heard of ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs before. They basically group people (in this case men) into three groups: Tall and skinny, short and fat, and athletically proportioned.
While there are indeed some men who fit perfectly into each category, there are many more men who do not. What about all the short and skinny men? Or the tall and fat? As you can see, body composition groups should be treated as a rough guide rather than followed blindly.
What you need to do is identify which group you most closely resemble. Do you find it difficult to build muscle but have never really been overweight? Then you are an ectomorph. Do you feel that you put on weight just by looking at a cake? Then you are probably an endomorph (even if you have managed to maintain a decent shape).
Has muscle gain always been quite easy for you? But you’ve also found it quite easy to stay in decent shape? Then you are probably a mesomorph.
We have picked three superheroes who closely resemble each of the different body types. But you can pick your own superhero and try to work out which group they fit.
- Endomorphs = The Incredible Hulk. Large, bulky, strong, powerful, but find it hard to get lean.
- Ectomorphs = The Black Panther. Athletic build but not overly muscular. Difficult to build muscle. If you never exercised you may still rock a six pack. Peter Parker (Spiderman) would be another great example of an
- Mesomorphs = Captain America. Muscular, lean, athletic, a great overall body. The envy of most gym goers. Most superheroes fit into this category, but few people!
Train like the Incredible Hulk
When you think of the Incredible Hulk you probably imagine him throwing cars across New York, or you wonder whether the guy who created shorts that can expand 10x in size instantly sells online as they would be really useful during the Xmas holidays.
Training to be like the Incredible Hulk does not mean you’re looking to be 12 feet tall and green, but it does mean that you are looking for a large, powerful physique, and you’re not too worried about looking shredded on the beach.
A training program for Hulksters would involve lots of large compound movements. Barbell squats and deadlifts would be a must, as would bent over rows, bench press, overhead press, barbell shrugs, and variations of these exercises. The weights would need to be heavy, the reps low, and rest between sets should be around 3 minutes, this will allow you enough time to fully recover.
Let’s take a look at a sample program.
- Barbell Squats 5 x 5
- Walking Lunges 4 x 20
- Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 8-12
- Bench Press 5 x 5
- Lat Pulldown 3 x 8-12
- Seated Shoulder Press 5 x 5
- Barbell Deadlifts 5 x 5
- Leg Press 3 x 8-12
- Leg Extension 3 x 8-12
- Incline Bench Press 3 x 8-12
- Bent Over Row 5 x 5
- Barbell Shrugs 3 x 20
- Barbell Squats 3 x 8-12
- Leg Extension 3 x 8-12
- Romanian Deadlifts 5 x 5
- Chest Press 3 x 8-12
- Lat Pulldown 5 x 5
- Overhead Press 5 x 5