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Get an Iron Man Body

The fastest way to a superhero physique

In the March 2010 issue we brought in trainer Brad Bose, the guy who got Robert Downey Jr. shredded for Iron Man and this years sequel, to show you the fastest way to a superhero physique. Here is complete list of all the exercises he mentioned in the story, along with detailed instructions on how to do each one.

BLOCK 1

PUSH-UPS
Place your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart, and extend your legs straight behind you. Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head. Keeping this straight line, lower your body until your torso is about one inch off the floor, and then complete the rep by pushing yourself back up to the starting position.

ROWS
Attach a straight bar to the pulley of a cable station with a bench. Sitting on the bench, knees slightly bent, place your feet flat on the platforms. Grab the handle with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, and pull it toward you just enough so that there is tension on the cable. Now row the bar to the lower part of your chest, and then complete the rep by reversing the motion to return to the starting position.

DEAD-BUGS
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tightening your abs, raise both legs together, maintaining a 90-degree angle at the knee, and freeze when your shins are parallel to the floor. Holding this position, straighten your arms and raise them above you until they are perpendicular with the floor. This is the starting position. Using slow, controlled movements, lower your right arm behind you (like a backstroke) while lowering and extending your left leg, allowing neither to touch the floor. Hold for a second, and return to the starting position to complete the rep. Now do the opposite arm and leg.

BEAR-CRAWL
Get on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping a straight back, lift your knees no more than an inch off the ground and make sure that your weight is evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Now, focusing your eyes on the space between your hands, begin crawling forwards one leg at a time, keeping both knees inside your elbows.

CLEAN & JERK
Set a barbell down on the floor in front of you. Bending your knees, crouch down and grab it with hands shoulder-width apart. Your lower back should be in its natural arch. Explosively stand up and shrug the bar, coming up onto the balls of your feet. As the bar rises to chest level, flip your wrists over so that your palms face the ceiling and your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Allow your knees to bend as you absorb the force of the bar at your shoulders. Take a deep breath. Keeping pressure on your heels, dip your body slightly by bending your knees, and then explode upwards, driving the weight above your head. As you lock out, split your feet in one fast movement with one leg in front of you and the other behind. Your front foot should be flat on the floor with your shin perpendicular to the ground. Your rear knee should be slightly bent with your foot on its toes. Complete the rep by bringing your back leg forward and front leg back into a normal standing position, lowering the bar back to shoulder position and returning the weight to the floor.

BLOCK 2

PULL-UPS
Grab onto a pull-up bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your feet off the floor. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, pull your body up until your chin is over the bar. To complete the rep, reverse the motion and return to the starting position.

KETTLE BELL ALTERNATING ARM SWING
Holding a kettlebell in your right hand, lower yourself into the squat position, allowing the weight to hang down but not touch the ground. Make sure to keep your back arched and head up, looking straight ahead. Explode upwards, pushing your hips forward as you swing the kettlebell forward and up, keeping your arm straight. Just as the weight reaches eye level, grab the handle with your left hand, letting go with the right. Return to the starting position, absorbing the force of the kettlebell by bending your hips and knees. Repeat the movement with your left hand.

PLANK
Get into pushup position. Then, bending your elbows 90 degrees, rest your weight on your forearms, keeping your entire body in a straight line. Hold the position.

BOSU BALL STANDING SIDE RAISES
Put a BOSU ball on the floor, flat side down. Standing in front of a mirror will help you keep an eye on form. Taking one dumbbell in each hand, step onto the BOSU ball with both feet and let your arms hang at our sides. Keeping them straight, raise your arms simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor. Your body should look like a giant letter T. Hold the position for a second. To complete the rep, reverse the motion, returning your arms to your sides.

WALKING LUNGES
Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Imagine your shin and thigh forming a 90-degree angle and don't allow your knee to go past your front foot. Your back leg should be bent so that your knee hovers about two inches from the floor. Push off from your front leg and step forward with your other leg, repeating the movement.

BLOCK 3

HYPER-EXTENSIONS
Set up on a Roman chair with your heels hooked under the rear foot pads and the main pad resting just below your hips. Straighten your back so that your entire body forms a straight line. Fold your hands in front of your chest, with your right hand touching your left shoulder and vice-versa. Bending at the hip, slowly lean forward until your upper and lower body form a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position, making sure not to arch your back at the top

SWISS BALL DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and sit on top of a Swiss ball. Walk your feet out in front of you, keeping your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Maintaining this position, press the dumbbells straight up, just like you would in a regular bench press. Complete the rep by lowering your arms back to the starting position.

BIRD DOG
Get on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping a straight back, brace your core as you extend your left arm forward while extending your right leg back. Both should be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to the start position. Repeat the movement with the opposite arm and leg.

ALTERNATING ONE-LEG PRESS
Find the leg press machine at your gym that allows your legs to move independently of one another. Sitting on the seat with your back flush against the back pad, grab the handles on either side and place both your feet flat on the platforms. Make sure that your knees and feet are in line with one another and then press one of your legs out as far as possible without locking out. Bring your leg back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

STANDING LONG JUMPS
Get into some space. Stand with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart. As you begin shifting your weight forward, bend your knees and draw your arms back past your hips. Swing your arms out in front of you as you explode forwards with your legs. Land with both feet at the same time, bending your knees to absorb the impact.

BLOCK 4

BOSU BALL PUSH-UPS (RIGHT, CENTER, LEFT)
Place a BOSU ball on the floor, flat side down. Set up in push-up position, and with your left hand on the floor and your right hand in the center of the BOSU ball, perform a push-up. When you return to the starting position, move your right hand over to the right side of the ball and place your left hand on the opposite side. Do another push-up. Lastly, put your right hand on the floor to the right of the BOSU ball, move your left hand to the center of the ball, and do another push-up.

SWISS BALL SIDE CRUNCHES (RIGHT)
Grab a Swiss ball and find a wall in your gym where the wall and floor meet at a 90 degree angle. Standing with the ball on your right side and the wall on your left, angle your right hip into the ball and use the base of the wall to anchor your feet, bottom leg forward, top leg back. Straighten your legs so that your entire body is in a straight line, forming a 45 degree angle with the floor. Cross your arms in front of your chest, with your right hand touching your left shoulder and vice-versa. Keeping your body sideways, and your feet wedged firmly between the wall and floor, lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor. To complete the rep, reverse this movement, coming up just past the starting position.

SWISS BALL SIDE CRUNCHES (LEFT)
Grab a Swiss ball and find a wall in your gym where the wall and floor meet at a 90 degree angle. Standing with the ball on your left side and the wall on your right, angle your left hip into the ball and use the base of the wall to anchor your feet, bottom leg forward, top leg back. Straighten your legs so that your entire body is in a straight line, forming a 45 degree angle with the floor. Cross your arms in front of your chest, with your right hand touching your left shoulder and vice-versa. Keeping your body sideways, and your feet wedged firmly between the wall and floor, lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor. To complete the rep, reverse this movement, coming up just past the starting position.

SWISS BALL SQUATS (WEIGHTS OPTIONAL)
Standing up, place a Swiss ball between your lower back and a bare wall. Staring straight ahead, keep your back straight and your hands at your sides with your feet slightly forward, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your feet planted firmly on the floor, tighten your core and lower your body by bending your knees until the ball is between your shoulder blades and your thighs are parallel with the floor. To complete the rep, reverse the motion by pushing off the ground with your heels until you arrive back at the starting position. To add intensity, hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your arms straight at your sides.

SUMO SQUAT
Holding a dumbbell with both hands, stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, your toes turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath and, keeping your knees over your toes, bend your hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you exhale, explode upward back to the starting position.

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