Gone are the days when an actor playing Superman—“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”—could get away with stuffing his spandex suit with scrawny arms and flabby abs. Nowadays, movie superheroes have to appear powerful enough to actually perform those acts—well, as much as is humanly possible, anyway.
Henry Cavill did just that for last spring’s Batman v Superman, and will do it again in 2017’s Justice League, with a body that both looks and performs like it’s from another planet. His trainer, Michael Blevins (gritandteeth.com), gave us a few sample routines that represent the kind of training Cavill used. Try them yourself and see what feats you can accomplish.
How it works
“Our goals are superficial in nature: to appear impossibly lean and muscular,” says Blevins. But, he adds, while most trainers do this with old-fashioned physique training, he works on Cavill’s athleticism, so he can not only look superhuman on-screen, but also run, jump, and apply his strength when a scene calls for it.
This is done mainly with CrossFit-style training—circuits and timed workouts that include gymnastics, Olympic lifting, and plyometrics. Ultimately, the combination builds functional strength and endurance on top of the muscles that fill out the suit and tights.
Perform each workout once per week, resting a day between each session.
Day I: Do the exercises in each group (marked A–C) as a circuit, completing one set of each move in sequence. For each circuit, set a timer and complete as many rounds as possible in five minutes, resting as needed. Note that Exercise 3 is a stand-alone, and then sets of 4A and 4B are alternated for 5 minutes.
Day II: Alternate sets of the exercise pairs (A and B). When all sets are complete for one pair, move on to the next.
Day III: Perform the exercises as straight sets, completing all sets for one move before moving on to the next. Set a timer and try to complete the workout in as little time as possible.