Sleep, apparently, is your first casualty if you’re the defender of Gotham. The Batman Files, available now, highlights the first 50 issues of Batman’s existence, as well as loads of extras, including weapons schematics, maps, newspaper clippings, and—of particular interest—Bruce Wayne’s training regimen. What does it take to become Batman? Expect deadlift days with five sets of seven at 620 pounds immediately followed by 30 reps of 310 coupled with a half mile of swimming and 30 minutes of sparring—and that’s just mornings. You’ll fill the rest of your waking hours with weapons training and calisthenics, but don’t worry; you’ll get an off day. (That is, a 20-mile run at a sub-4:50 pace and four-and-a-half hours of skill training.) Could an adult human male do all of this? Or is Bruce Wayne something… more? We enlisted the help of John Romaniello, NSCA-CPT, MF advisor, and comic book junkie to find out.
What are your initial impressions of this workout? I see this as being the pre-Batman workout. This is Bruce Wayne training for six months to a year, max, before he puts on the cape. Why is that? How many hours a night is he patrolling? When does he sleep? It just takes so much time—even on his off day he’s running 20 miles with an additional three-and-a-half hours of skill work. How is that an off day? Seriously, he’s making the rest of us look like slobs. But let’s say he manages all of this on top of fighting crime. What would he have to do to maintain his physique? (Batman is 6'1", 210 pounds, and somewhere between 35-43 years old.) Lets say he has 6% body fat, which means he has about 197 pounds of lean mass. If he were an average guy, just for maintenance, he’d need around 3,100 calories. But a person as active as Batman, we’re looking at around 5,000 calories to maintain his physique, particularly in regards to recovery. That sounds hard, but he’s probably got the highest level of nutrition available, so it’s not difficult to imagine Batman getting 1,200-1,500 calories from a post-workout protein shake. What are the odds that someone could get through a regimen like this cleanly? Zero percent. It’s too many elite levels of skill. For the highest one percent of one percent of the population, you can be good at just about everything and great at a few things. Let’s take someone who’s both big and strong, and has good endurance—someone from the New Zealand All Blacks rugby squad. I don’t think they could sprint 20 miles. A 4:50 mile is damn near a sprint, and those guys don’t have to deal with broken bones from fighting bad guys. OK, let’s say Bruce Wayne does use this routine as prep for becoming Batman. What would you suggest he do to maintain his level of fitness once he’s in the middle of crime fighting season? The day he becomes Batman, his volume gets reduced by half. Not only because of recovery, but also because of time. I think he goes down to a more reasonable three- to four-day workout split, focusing on aerobic and muscular endurance, and then maintaining a high level of strength. But fighting criminals is probably going to keep his strength up, too. So what can an average guy take from this workout and use for himself? First, I would cut everything in half in terms of volume. I’d also reassess the weight used. You can be good at a few things, but not everything. Whatever, we’re not giving up on becoming Batman. Read more from John Romaniello at his official site.