T Nation

Superhero Workouts

First there was your superhero workout from the Hollywood round table.
Then 6 weeks to Superhero

My question is, if an actor needed to be film-ready in 6-12 weeks,
would you simply recommend either of those programs, or would you
suggest something else based on your newer ideas (targeted fat loss, etc.)?

The 6-weeks to superhero is a program that I used with athletes to boost performance. And I noticed that it led to rapid changes in body composition. But it is not a program I would use to give “the illusion” of size. The illusion of size happens when you really build up the shoulders and traps area (e.g. Tom Hardy), the arms and abs + extreme leanness (Hugh Jackman in Wolverine, Brad Pitt in fight club).

How I would train someone to acquire that illusion would depend on what I have to work with (the base physique of the actor).

But keep in mind that an actor preparing for a role basically has no limits…

  • no time limit per day… they can train several times a day
  • no recovery limit … they do not have to take care of a day job they can rest as much as they want and have very little stress
  • no dietary limit… they have their own cooks who prepare all their meals in advance which makes it much easier to stick to a diet
  • no financial limit… they can hire specialists… for example a nutritionist and a personal trainer that supervise every single session. I know from experience that the people I can train in person progress A LOT faster than those that simply follow one of my programs. Why? Because I can make the little tweaks that make a world of difference and I can push the clients to the proper intensity level.

Some actors also use stuff like steroids or hGH… they have easy access to it and it you have to change your physique for a 20 million dollars paycheck it can be tempting.

For all of these reasons, the exact training an actor would be of no use to a regular Joe.

I don’t know if I’m out of place speaking here, but you may want to take a look at some of Vince Gironda’s work.

There were a number of techniques he used with his Hollywood actors that have been published here and there. But note that these are not sustainable long-term training methods, they were instead developed to meet the demands of “you have 3 weeks to make my out-of-shape actor look good for this role”. In these cases, it was all about illusion.

I’m not going to point you to specific routines, but there’s a starting point for your own research.