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The Superman Workout: How Henry Cavill Got so Jacked on Set

the superman workout: how henry cavill got so jackedI’m sure you were thinking the same think I was when Henry Cavill first went shirtless in Superman. “Holy fuck.” Excuse my language, but the guy is enormous, and its not CGI.

A personal friend of mine Michael Volkin of strengthstack52.com was lucky enough to attend the movie premier, and took it upon himself to find out exactly how Henry got so jacked for his new role. Luckily, he decided to share what he found with me, so I could pass them along to you good people.

So if you are into getting big, sit back and take notes, because Henry did it right.

 

Functional Training

Functional training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. This was the chosen training method of Henry’s trainer Mark Twight.

the superman workout: how henry cavill got so jacked for superman fact

But while the goal in 300 was to uncover muscle, leaving king leonidas looking ripped to shreds, the goal in superman was to pack pounds of mass onto Henry’s frame. And that’s exactly what the Henry Cavill Superman Workout does.

Note: Henry trained for 6 days a week with sunday off, 2 – 2.5 hours a day, and his workouts were as intense as they get. He wasn’t doing 2 sets of curls with a minute rest between before moving onto the 10 minutes of bench press. He was using kettlebells, olympic rings and putting in grueling effort. If you want results, you have to put in the work. Period.

the superman workout gif 1: how henry cavill got so jacked

the superman workout gif 2: how henry cavill got so jacked

the superman workout gif 3: how henry cavill got so jacked

The Henry Cavill Superman workout

Here is the full Henry Cavill superman workout. Credit workout routine to popworkouts.com. For a full printable PDF version of the routine just click the link: The Superman Workout – Printable PDF

the superman workout: how henry cavill got so jacked homework

Before starting the workout, there are a lot of things you need to understand, no matter how experienced you are.

1) Start slow

Start slow and work your way up to the full workout. No point in getting injured.

2) Take days off if you need

When Henry first started this workout he took extra days off when he needed. He is not literally Super-Man and neither are you. Listen to your body and take off it you need.

Mark Twight has his actors to do ‘active recovery.’ Active recovery means that if you’re gonna take a day off, you still have to do an hour of very light cardio to promote recovery. A simple light jog or walk will do the trick.

Part 1: The Warm Up

Before you start your workout it is extremely important to warm up. This shit is intense, and there is no point going hard without a warm up and having to spend a month in bed with a torn hamstring.

Monday – Workout 1 – Total Body Workout

– 2x Clean + 5x Kettlebell Squat @ 70% body weight (One combo every 30 seconds for 5 minutes)
– 2x Two-hand KB Clean and Squat (One combo every 30 seconds for 5 minutes.)
– 100 Front Squats (Body-weight, break into sets of 25 if you need to)
– 3 sets of 15 reps Box Step-up
– 3 sets of 15 reps Deck Squats
– 20x Frog Hops + 40m Bear Crawl (Do 4 rounds of this combo, rest 2 minutes between sets)
– 3 sets 20 reps: Man-Makers (with dumbbells)
– 3 sets of 20 reps: Sit-Ups

Monday – Workout 2 – Upper Body Chest / Shoulder Workout

– Any Cardio Machine 10 minute (warm up)
– 10 more minutes with Rowing machine @ easy Pace (warm up)
– 6 sets of: 10x Bench Press (alternating arm, with kettlebells)
– 4 sets of: 12x Military Push Press
– 4 sets of: 12x Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)
– 2 sets of: 25x Squat Assisted Push Press
– 4 sets of: 12x Hammer Curls

Finish it off with “The Jonestown Sprint:” 45 secs of each exercise. 2 sets of each (perform as a circuit).

– Plank Push Ups
– DB OH Hold
– KB Swings
– Dead Hangs
– Ball Slam
– Wall Sits

Tuesday – Workout 1 – Upper Body & Back

– 20 Push Press (Dumbell)
– 20 Burpee Pull-up
– 10 Push Press (Dumbbell)
– 12 Burpee Pull-up
– 10 Pull-Ups
– 3 sets of 50 Wall Ball @ 20lb.(9kg. or a medicine ball that challenged you)
– 3 sets of 50 Ball Slam @ 25lb.(11kg or a medicine ball that challenged you)

If you don’t have medicine balls available, substitute with more pullups. But as noted, any crossfit gym will have these.

Dirty 30′s

Dirty 30′s: (Do following 4 exercises, you have 1 minute to complete each. Find an amount of reps that’s challenging for you to do in 50 secs. Then, in the other 2 sets try to continue to get everything done in under a minute. The idea is to reward you, if you move fast, by giving you some rest. But, it gets harder as you go longer. Use remaining time to rest. 3 sets.)

– Sled Pulls  (0:25 in this Superman workout video)
– Chinups
– Burpees
– Situp Medicine Ball Throws

**To do the sled pulls, Henry placed his kettlebells in the sled. You can use rocks or w.e you want, if you have a sled available. Most crossfit gyms have this kind of equipment.

Tuesday – workout 2 – Legs

– 3×5 Wall Squat (warm up)
– 100x Squats (bodyweight, break down into sets of 25 if needed)
– 3×5 Goblet Squat (while holding kettlebells, see 0:27 of this video for a quick glance)
– 3x 20 meters Walking Lunges (sandbag weighted)
– 3×20 Split Jumps
– 2x Dead Stop Back Squat @ 80% of Max
– 2x Explosive Triple Broad Jump (Five Sets, Full Rest between each)
– 30sec Box Jump + 60sec Explosive Box Step-up (Four Rounds)
– 30sec Jump Squat +60sec Quick Step (Four Rounds)
– KB Swings to failure with 50 lb. kettlebell (23kg)
– Farmer Holds, 60-65% of body weight (Five sets, rest 3 minutes between set)

Wednesday – Workout 1 – Back & Biceps

– Row 5 minutes @ easy pace
– Row 5 minutes with each minute progressively harder pace.

Barbell or Dumbbell Speed Circuit (with proper form): Do 6 reps of each. Go for as many rounds as possible in 2 minutes. Three sets of 2 minutes, rest 1-2 minutes between sets. Try to beat your time each time, but use proper form:

– Reverse-grip Bent-over Row +
– Hi-Pull from floor +
– Push Press +
– Upright Row +
– Front Squat Push Press +
– Bicep Curl

Wednesday – workout 2 – Deadlift workout

Deadlifts work your legs and back. They also build a strong core. Work your way up to Deadlift max by doing:

– 4 sets of 4 @65% max
– 2 sets of 2 @75% max
– 1 set of 8 @65% max
– 8x Heavy KB Lunge (4 each side)

Kettlebell Ladders

– KB Swings Ladder (10x each @ 25lb/12kg, 35lb/16kg, 45lb/20kg, 50lb/24kg, 70lb/32kg weights)
– Goblet Squat Ladder (10x each @ 25lb/12kg, 35lb/16kg, 45lb/20kg, 52lb/24kg, 70lb/32kg weights)
– Back Squat (100 reps @ 50% body weight)
– KB Push Press Ladder (10x each @ 2 sets 25lb/12kg, 2 sets 35lb/16kg, 2 sets 45lb/20kg, 2 sets 50lb/24kg)
– 50-50-50x Wall Ball @ 20lb. (9kg. medicine ball)
– 50-50-50 Ball Slam @ 25lb. (11kg. medicine ball)

The ladders in the Henry Cavill workouts challenge you by combining olympic lifts with metabolic activity. This is really the signature of Gym Jones workouts. You work yourself to the brink at both an aerobic and anaerobic level. Add in the fact that it’s a functional workout, and now you know why Mark Twight is the person to go to for a superhero workout.

Thursday – Workout 1 – Upper Body

– 25 Pushups into 30 Side Plank (3 sets)
– Military Push Press x20 @40% body weight
– 4 sets of: 12x Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)
– 2 sets of: 25x Squat Assisted Push Press
– 3 sets of 20 reps: Man-Makers (with dumbbells)
– 3x (1-5 reps) Pull-Ups Ladder (Ladder means you start with 1 set of 1, then 1 set of 2 reps, etc. up to 5. Then com back down from 5 reps all the way to 1 rep.)
– Dead Hangs (break it up if you need, go for 300 seconds total, link is to Mark Twight, Superman workout trainer, explaining the dead hangs exercise.)

Dirty 30′s

Dirty 30′s: (Do following 4 exercises, you have 1 minute to complete each. Find an amount of reps that’s challenging for you to do in 50 secs. Then, in the other 2 sets try to continue to get everything done in under a minute. The idea is to reward you, if you move fast, by giving you time to rest. But, it gets harder to it all in under a minute as you go longer. Use remaining time to rest. 3 sets.)

– Sled Pulls
– Chinups
– Burpees
– Situp Medicine Ball Throws

Thursday – Workout 2 – Legs

– 3×5 Wall Squat (warm-up)
– 100 Front Squats (Body-weight)
– 3×5 Goblet Squat (kettlebell)
– 3x20m Walking Lunges (weighted with sandbag)
– 3×20 Split Jumps
– 2x Dead Stop Back Squat @ 80% of Max
– 2x Explosive Triple Broad Jump (Five Sets, Full Rest between each)
– 30sec Box Jump + 60sec Explosive Box Step-up (Four Rounds)
– 30sec Jump Squat +60sec Quick Step (Four Rounds)
– KB Swings to failure with 50 lb. kettlebell (23kg)
– Farmer Holds, 60-65% of body weight (Five sets, rest 3-5 minutes between set)

Friday – Workout 1 – Upper Body

– 10 minute Rowing machine (warm up)
– 6 sets of: 10x Bench Press (alternating arm, with kettlebells if you can)
– 4 sets of: 12x Military Push Press

(Rest 2-3 minutes), then 3 circuits of the following exercises: Do 45 secs of each exercise.

– Man-Makers (with dumbbells)
– Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)
– Squat Assisted Push Press
– Hammer Curls
(Rest 2-3 mins), then 1 min rowing machine at a fast pace, heavy resistance.

Tailpipe Workout

This workout is called “Tailpipe” because when you’re done, you feel like you’re sucking on a “Tailpipe” of a vehicle. Sounds fun right.

250m Rowing Machine as fast as you can go, heavy resistance.
Kettlebell Rack Hold with 53kg. (Video shows Mark Twight showing the Tailpipe workout)

What Mark Twight likes to do is have people partner up. So, Henry Cavill will do the 250m rowing, while his trainer is holding the kettlebell. Then, Henry Cavill and his trainer, Mark Twight, switch places. Finally, repeat each for a total of 3 sets of each exercise.

Friday – Workout 2 – “Sparrow’s Dozen”

12 total rounds of exercises below for “Sparrows Dozen”

– 12x Deadlift @ Bodyweight (however much you weigh, or can do 12 times)
– 12x Pullup
– 12x Pushup
– 12x Medicine ball slams

You may not get all 12 rounds to start. Do as many as you can to start. Perfect your form, then worry about getting in the entire amount of reps of the workout. Now that you’re done with Sparrows Dozen, do 60 reps of each (Break down into 3 sets of 20 if you need):

– 60 Sit-Ups
– 60 V-Ups
– 60 Reverse Crunches

Saturday – Workout 1 – Cardio/Legs

Do Five rounds of the Legs Circuit (1st 5 exercises), then finish with the burpees/crawls routine.

– 3×20 Air Squat
– 3×10 Jump Squat
– 3×5 Goblet Squat (kettlebell)
– 100 Front Squats (take a rest if you need)

– 3 sets of 15 reps Box Step-up
– 3 sets of 15 reps Deck Squats
– 20 Split Jump (10 each side) + 50m Bear Crawl (Weighted)
– (Rest 2 minutes)
– 20 Burpee + 30m Bear Crawl (3 rounds of this combo)

Saturday – Workout 2 – Upper body

Do three total rounds – 60sec at each of the following stations with 30sec rest to switch between each:

– Bench Press (alternating arm, with kettlebells)
– Resisted Rope Pull
 Slosh Pipe Hold OH
– Resisted Rope Pull
– Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)
– Barbell Corner Row
– Parallette Push-up
– Sit-ups

Finish the Superman workout with:

– 10x reps Shoulder Dislocate
– (1-5) Pull-Ups Ladder (Henry Cavill used rings instead of a normal Pull Up bar. Ladder means you start with 1 set of 1 rep, then 1 set of 2 reps…etc. up to 5. Then, go from 5 reps all the way back down to one rep of the exercise.)

Done! Not so bad right ; )

Very useful: The Superman Workout – Printable PDF

The Superman Diet

“On the movie project, we have control of the diet, because if we don’t, then the training doesn’t matter. It’s that simple. If a guy is training with us in the gym five times a week for 2 hours, that leaves 158 hours for him to fuck everything up if left to his own devices.” – Mark Tight

Henry’s diet while preparing for the role of Superman was strict, as anyone trying to gain mass of shred up should be. But exactly how many calories was Henry taking in per day during his bulking phase?

“I’m on 5000 calories a day… You’ve got to eat protein first, then a little bit of carbs…you’ve gotta keep your hunger levels going,”…”I’m training two and a half hours a day, pushing my body beyond its normal limits, putting on a lot of muscle mass and just making myself look like Superman.” – Henry Cavill

5000 calories is a lot to be eating for a beginner. Adjust this based on your personal weight (you can do that here). These calories are not coming from fast food either. To keep your body performing at it’s best and fat at a minimum, get your calories from fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, proteins and good carbs.

Also, when building mass, a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is required. But with this workout, aim for 1.5 grams.

Good protein source include:

– Beef
– Chicken
– Fish
– Eggs
– Dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)

Still unsure of what to eat? Start here: Free Superman Bulking Diet Meal Plan (PDF).

Supplements

Mark Twight does not believe in the heavy use of supplements. As far as the supplementation goes, Henry used the following:

1) Basic multivitamin

2) A lot of essential fatty acids—he was going through the Udo’s Oil in liter volume—a probiotic to help digest that fat intake that he had

3) Magnesium. The magnesium, a product called Calm, he would drink at night to coast into sleep.

Mark is so against supplements he actually called Henry before the training began and asked him if he would like to use HGH or steroids to get where he wanted to be. Henry said no, and Mark responded, good, if you had said yes I wouldn’t of trained you. This also plays into the psychological side of things which is covered in the next point.

Psychological

Above all the training, nutrition & supplementation, the psychological aspect of this kind of training is the most important.

“The training has been a journey of discovery, just like Superman’s journey of discovery. Superman learned how to fly. I learned I could do all sorts of things in the gym, which I never thought was possible. It’s not just the physical things,but a psychological thing as well.” – Henry Cavill

You’re going to have to get mentally tough if you want to complete these workouts. Some days Mark Twight said that if he could tell the actors were losing steam he would have an entire workout just consisting of conversation. 2 hours of how the felt & what they were thinking to ensure their mind stays right.

Most likely, you don’t have a trainer to do this, so remember:

– Its not going to be easy

– You’re going to want to quit

– There are no shortcuts

– You will feel amazing when you look in the mirror and see the man you want to

All self improvement begins in the mind. Listen to yourself, stay strong & push through.

Final notes

This workout takes a toll on your life. If you go for it, thats awesome, and you will see the benefits of your hard work. But keep these final things in mind before you start.

1) If you are feeling sore or drained, take a day off.

Rest is the most important aspect of the training side. Your muscles are made while you are sleeping and resting, and without it you will  not last long. On days of recovery, do an hour of light cardio. Or if you’re that sore, just do nothing. We all know how you feel after the first leg day in months.

“I’d rather see you guys recover better and work less total volume…Than, the guy who goes at it every single day, and whose performance gets worse, and worse, and worse. Because he doesn’t pay attention to recovery, he doesn’t get enough sleep, he doesn’t get enough water, or calories.” – Mark Twight

2) Sleep 8-10 hours a night

If you are putting in all this hard work and not sleeping at night, you are a fool. Enough said.

3) Have fun

Enjoy this shit. Don’t feel as if you have to do it, but do it because you want to be a better man, and get jacked out of your mind. Remember, never think of self improvement as work. It may take time, but the mindset will develop and it becomes addictive. Thats when things get interesting.

So if you’ve got what it takes, give this workout a shot and let us know how it goes in the comment section! I would love to hear some good motivational stories.


Sources & Resources:

1) Popworkouts.com – Where we found the workout & hundreds of other workouts

2) Bodybuiling.com – Mark Wright

3) Strengthstack52.com – Michael Volkin inspired the creation of this article

4) Henrycavillsupermanworkout.com – Diet plan

5) The Superman Workout – Printable PDF

6) Free Weeklong Superman Bulking Diet Meal Plan (PDF)

7) Soldiers of Steel – The Superman Workout video series:

Sean Russellhttp://www.seanrussell.me
Sean is a true entrepreneur. After turning his life around after struggling with anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome he now dedicates his life to being his best self and helping others do the same. Learn more about him and his projects at SeanRussell.me

10 COMMENTS

  1. How many reps would the below be in total:

    KB Swings Ladder (10x each @ 25lb/12kg, 35lb/16kg, 45lb/20kg, 50lb/24kg, 70lb/32kg weights)

  2. I’ve been looking at this workout for a while and started it this morning before work. At the beginning of the workout it seemed like it was going to be easy but all of a sudden I was drenched in sweat and could barely finish the workout. After I finished i had to wring my shirt out. This seems like the type of work out that will get me shredded to that Hollywood or Superman look. I’m excited for my second work out today and for the rest of the work outs. Thanks for the article! One question though, how many weeks should one do this workout until?

  3. You are naive if you think he did not take steroids or prohormones. In Hollywood, guys who have never lifted before s new project put on 40 lbs of muscle in a few weeks and end up with a bf of 10%.

    Anyone who knows physiology and biology would know that the human body is not capable of such a thing without steroids. Most people max out at 10-20 lbs of muscle gain in a year. It’s science.

    • I just wanted to let you know that Henry Cavill trained with Mark Twight and if you know anything about him and Gym Jones, which I follow, it is that most of their members are competitive athletes and as such are completely against steroids and prohormones. Gerard Butler was kicked off their training program, because he was caught using steroids. The programming listed above is geared towards mass, but their actual mass gain programs incorporate alot of German Volume Training or 10×10. Mark Twight monitored Henry Cavill’s nutrition, sleep, recovery, and training for about a year, so Henry Cavill did in fact gain all of his mass naturally and if you think he didn’t it is because you are ignorant.

    • Henry actually did two a days according to our sources. It seems insane, and I think doing a week 1 week 2 setup as you mentioned would still have great results.

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