This bit is about how Hugh Jackman prepared for the X-men series as Wolverine. Yes ladies, we are talking about the lean, ripped and “not afraid to show this body” guy in the X-men movies.

If we look back to the first X-men film, 2000,  he looked like a regular guy from the streets. He was not even ripped. Nothing outstanding in his physique he did not look like Chris Hemsworth as Thor whose physique is close to the comic figure. Hugh Jackman`s body was not even close to the Marvel figure of Wolverine. See?

celeb weight loss


Now let’s see how he turned into a ripped superhero during the years. He used different workouts for the same role depending on his trainer. In 2009 his trainer was Mike Ryan for the role of the first Wolverine movie, the X-men Origins: Wolverine. His routine contained supersets of isolated exercises and compound (multi-joint) lifts. Compound exercises are better, because they involve more muscles. Basically he did a multi-joint exercise e.g. squats and it was followed by an isolation e.g. leg curls without rest between the two exercises. Their main goal was progressive overload that makes the muscles to adopt to an ever increasing set of obstacles.

Hugh Jackman’s Workout

His workout had 3 phases: Strength, Muscle gain, Fat loss

Let’s see how he trained for all of the three phases.

The rules of strength training are 4-6 sets, no more than 6 reps/set so you can hit heavy weights, rest 2-5 mins between sets.

For muscle gain you should do 3-5 sets, 8-12 reps/set and rest for a minute between sets and go to muscle failure.

Last he was aiming for fat loss and muscle definition. He increased the repetitions and decreased the weight. This phase is referred to as High Intensity Interval Training. With this, Hugh Jackman performed 2-4 sets/8-12 repetitions to failure of every exercise at medium weight without rest to keep the heart rate up.

hugh jackman workout

When doing the Wolverine workout, choose a weight that will make you reach failure by the final set. This will lead to max muscle gain.

For cardio on a treadmill:

1. Warm up.

2. 85% of your max speed with 1-2% incline for 20 secs.

3. Rest for 30 secs.

4. Repeat for 10 sprints.

hugh jackman workout for woverline

Wolverline workout

When doing the Wolverine workout, choose a weight that will make you reach failure by the final set. This will lead to max muscle gain

For rowing:

1. Warm up.

2. Go all out for 10 mins.

3. Rest for 2 mins.

4, Repeat.


The actor went for a strict, 4000-4500 calories while bulking up.

“Not the fun calories, chicken, fish, maybe steak, always protein six times a day. Protein, steamed vegetables, and occasionally some brown rice. Protein shakes, no alcohol, no sugar, pretty much nothing that’s fun.”- he said

His diet included: 4 egg whites for breakfast; chicken and fish for lunch, with a bed of greens; protein shakes throughout the day; broccoli;  cauliflower; maybe brown rice; and either chicken or fish for dinner.

Now we are in 2013 the year of The Wolverine

Looking at the picture it seems he got more ripped and he also gained muscle mass. David Kingsbury was his trainer for this movie and their primary goal were to improve strength and size, whilst also keeping body fat to a minimum. They used a program that included progressive overload to ensure continual gains.

celebrities who lost weight for movies - hugh jackman wolverline

The training program is designed on a 4 week schedule. During these 4 weeks the reps for the main lifts are changed each week.

Week 1 : 5 reps are performed on the main lifts.

Week 2 : 4 reps

Week 3 : 3 reps

Week 4 : 10 reps are performed

So you can see that they used the Light – Medium – Heavy – Deload week methodology that means you increase the weight and decrease the reps to the end of the 3rd week and the forth week a deload, so you still keep the training intense but the high number of reps leads to reduced weights.

Jackman’s main lifts were: Barbell Bench, Back Squat, Pull ups, Deadlifts

They also worked off a percentage system to figure out exactly what weights he should be lifting each week. For all of the weeks the percentages are worked out from your working one rep max.

weight lifting schedule hugh jackman wolverline

Once the first block of four weeks is complete add 5-10 % to your working one rep max. Five if the progress is slow, ten if you hit your reps comfortably. Use this rule as the planning for each new four week block.

Stunning celeb weight loss transformations Part 10 - Hugh Jackman

If you don’t want to use a calculator to plan your training, you can still use this plan, you just have to have a good understanding of your ability, and be honest about what you can lift in the different rep ranges. If you don’t do the sums each week, still try to focus on increasing in increments each week and each block.

Let’s go through the Wolverine’s cardio routine

Hugh Jackman’s cardio training was phased through 12 weeks + they stayed consistent on their weight training.

Weeks 1-4

5x 45min low intensity cardio session per week

1x  Sled session performed every Saturday on a day off weights.

Weeks 4-8

3x Interval sessions per week

4x 45min low intensity sessions each week

1x sled session performed on Saturdays on a day off weights.

Weeks 8-12

3x Interval sessions per week

3x 45min low intensity sessions each week

1x 90min low intensity cardio on a non-weight training days

1x sled sessions wherever we could fit them in!

Cardio 1. Intervals

Rowing machine 1600m of sprints

For this set of intervals first row at a steady pace for 500m as a warm up. Once the warm up is complete, the intervals begin. Sprint with maximal effort for 100m.Row very gently for 100m

Repeat this a further 7 times until the 1600m is covered.

Then row for a couple of minutes cool   down.


Rower intervals 2

Row for 3 min as a warm up at a steady pace.

Sprint with maximal effort for 30 seconds. Row very gently for 1 minute.

Repeat this 8 times.

Then row for a couple of minutes as a cool down

Spin bike intervals

Cycle for 3 min as a warm up at a steady pace.

Sprint with maximal effort for 30 seconds. Cycle very gently for 1 minute.

Repeat this 8 times.

Then cycle for a couple of minutes as a cool down

Cardio 2. Low intensity cardio

Low intensity cardio (walking, x-trainer, bike)

Duration 30-90min

Important factor – this workout HAS to be performed before the first meal of the day.

Choose from one of the cardio methods and stick to a steady pace, i.e. a brisk walk.

Heart rate shouldn’t exceed 65% of your max heart rate.

Finally guys: If you want to look like Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine or any of the celebs who has gotten lean and big you have to push it hard without excuses. Even the stars in Hollywood cannot buy the lean physique they have to work very-very hard for it. Magic pills or magic powder do not exist only hard work or harder or much harder. Buy a T-shirt similar to this or with any other motivational quote on it. 


(image credit: flickr, devianart, newswalle)


WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans