Get an action hero physique with these workout tips

Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Statham, Jackman - what do these Hollywood action heroes all have in common? Strong, ripped, muscular physiques, that's what. If, like the rest of us mere mortals, you're after pecs like Statham in Crank or dream of having Arnie's biceps, the bad news is that a few sessions down the gym probably won't cut it. But what if you knew the workout secrets of the greatest action heroes? We've uncovered a few hot tips to help you hone, tone and perfect your physique - so bigger muscles are practically guaranteed. Sadly, we can't guarantee Hollywood stardom and the salary to match!

Hugh Jackman

In every successive X-Men film, you'll notice Wolverine gets bigger and more ripped. Did you know that Aussie born Jackman boasts a 180kg deadlift? Getting a body like his is going to take hard work and motivation. We recommend back squats, weighted lunges and weight plate get-ups to hone your physique.

Back squat

Hold a barbell across your shoulders, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Then drive up through your heels.

Weighted lunge

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and take a step forward, lunging as you do so - your back knee should just be brushing the ground. Make sure your front knee doesn't go over your toes. Return to start and switch legs.

Weight plate get-up

Lie on the floor with a weight plate against your chest. Now tuck your knees into your chest, roll up to your feet (as if you're coming out of a forward roll), then lie back down and repeat.

Aim for 6 to 12 reps and 4 sets of each exercise to help strengthen your muscles and build mass.

Jason Statham

The Transporter films are amongst Statham's most popular movies - and with good reason, he looks amazing! You might not know this, but the actor used to be a professional athlete, diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Most of us dream of having his action hero physique, and the following tips will help you get started.

Jason's workouts are all about fat burning and muscle building - he likes to keep things varied. Using big compound lifts such as front squats and deadlifts, combined with bodyweight exercises, ensures he gets a full body workout.

Warm up the Statham way

In 5 minutes, do as many rounds of the below as you can:

3 pull-ups

5 press-ups

7 squats


The ultimate action hero, just one look at Arnie's body in Conan The Destroyer is enough to make you want to hit the gym! Arnie uses dumbbells rather than barbells to build his delts and triceps.

The Arnold Press

Choose a weight you can lift 6 times then pick the next weight down on the rack. Working your way down the rack, complete at least 5 sets. Don't take any rest in between. When you're finished, do sets of lateral raises in the same way.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

Former pro-wrestler-turned-Hollywood-star Dwayne Johnson has only gotten bigger since he quit his wrestling career. He's a big guy anyway, so you may not end up looking quite like him! Getting ripped to this extent is going to be a challenge that will require serious commitment.

The Rock's Diet

Johnson eats a whole lot of protein on a typical day:

  • Breakfast - steak, porridge and 4 egg whites
  • Meals 2 to 5 - Meat, chicken, rice or baked potato
  • Dinner - 10 egg omelette

Whilst you don't have to go to these extremes, upping the protein in your diet and eating regularly can help boost your metabolism, give you more energy and fuel your muscles.

Johnson regularly lifts 50kg dumbbells, but you can get similar results with lighter weights, training 5 days a week. Try a combo of these moves:

Chest, back, arms and shoulders

  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Dumbbell lateral raise

Legs and abs

  • Lunges
  • Bodyweight squats

Tom Hardy

Envious of Hardy's pecs in his MMA-fighter role in Warrior, or wondering how he bulked up to become Bane in The Dark Knight Rises? Sheer hard work has turned Hardy's body into one to envy, but his personal trainer, Patrick Monroe, shares a secret. Hardy uses a technique known as 'muscle signalling; which helps build mass fast. This means you are constantly challenging your body by changing the moves you do, keeping your body reacting - it never gets bored or used to the demands you're placing on it.

Hardy confuses his muscles by ensuring they don't become more efficient at carrying out specific moves - he switches things up and 'signals' the muscles he wants to develop, by spreading his exercises, such as push-ups, throughout the day. Each rep should be hard and different, to challenge your body.

Try the following:


  • Try 10 fast press-ups followed by 1 slow one, then repeat the set
  • Try switching hand positions during your press-ups to challenge your body - put your arms out wide or keep them in a diamond position under your chest

READ THIS NEXT: Perfecting the Deadlift

Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 3rd Jun 2015 at 13:13

No Comments

Add Comment

More Related Articles

Load More