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?
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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.
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.
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
1. Warm up.
2. Go all out for 10 mins.
3. Rest for 2 mins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5x 45min low intensity cardio session per week
1x Sled session performed every Saturday on a day off weights.
3x Interval sessions per week
4x 45min low intensity sessions each week
1x sled session performed on Saturdays on a day off weights.
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)
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.
NO PAIN – NO GAIN!
(image credit: flickr, devianart, newswalle)