Avengers Workouts: A Hero's Journey

Assemble your best body ever with the workouts that turned Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. into real-life Avengers.

For an actor, the chance to play a popular superhero can be the role of a lifetime - literally. As the human being who imbues an iconic character with life, you all but assure yourself a loyal fan base no matter what else you do throughout the rest of your career.

Robert Downey Jr. will forever be Iron Man. Chris Hemsworth - flowing blond wig or no - will always be Thor. Chris Evans has the distinction of being both Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four films and, more recently, Captain America. And of all the actors who've portrayed superheroes, Lou Ferrigno may be the one most indelibly linked to his Hulking onscreen alter ego.

However, to quote Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, "With great power comes great responsibility." To successfully play a superhero, you need more than just a pretty face and acting chops-you need to physically embody one.

The guys featured here did just this, building physiques that approximate the kind found in comic books by pulling and pushing tons of cold metal-iron men, all. Whose physique do you most aspire to? Lithe ladies' man Tony Stark? Godlike Thor? Broad-shouldered Captain America? Massively muscular Hulk?

Whichever your choice, we have the exact routines they employed to create their iconic physiques. Give your favorite a shot, and start building a fan base of your own.

Marvel's Avengers Assemble (2012)
Watch the Official Trailer | HD

Watch The Video - 02:24




Captain America

Saving the world is old news for Chris Evans, who toasted bad guys as Johnny Storm in 2005's Fantastic Four before suiting up for the role of Captain America. He was trained for Four by Steve Zim, best-selling author of Hot Point Fitness and a trainer in Hollywood (check him out at zimfit.com).

Evans took only four weeks to prep for the movie, performing four workouts per week that lasted an hour and 15 minutes per session. Evans completed four sets per exercise, usually for 10 reps. Rest between sets was 45 seconds. For every rep, the weight was lifted quickly and lowered for a count of three seconds. Evans paused at the top and bottom of each rep.

He performed cardio after the workouts for 15 minutes, setting the treadmill to a 10% incline and running at 4.0 miles per hour.

Zim won't reveal all his secrets but says that Evans' training was split up as follows and employed several unique twists on conventional exercises. A sample of some of these exercises is described.

Train Like Chris Evans
Weeks 1 & 2

Day 1: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Abs
Day 2: Legs/Back/Biceps/Abs
Day 3: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Abs
Day 4: Legs/Back/Biceps/Abs
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off

Weeks 3 & 4

Day 1: Back/Shoulders/Biceps/Abs
Day 2: Legs/Chest/Triceps/Abs
Day 3: Back/Shoulders/Biceps/Abs
Day 4: Legs/Chest/Triceps/Abs
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off


The Mighty Thor

The fanboy debate over who is the greatest Avenger could rage on for days. You can argue that no one is more powerful than The Hulk, has more courage than Captain America, or has more brains - and powerful weaponry - than Tony Stark.

But the argument for Thor doesn't require a lot of explanation or any twist of logic - he's the only Avenger who's an actual god.

Building a body that audiences will associate with godliness is no small feat, so Chris Hemsworth trained hard for six months under the watchful eye of trainer Duffy Gaver, a former Navy SEAL who also trained Scarlett Johansson for her role as Black Widow.

"It's pretty simple bodybuilding," Gaver says of Hemsworth's workout, which was used prior to last summer's Thor and this month's Avengers.

"We benched, but you'll notice that there's not a ton of chest work. Once you develop huge pecs, you look like another gym rat, and it makes everything else look smaller."

Gaver, whose clients include Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, says it was Hemsworth's work ethic, not the training template, that enabled him to gain 20 pounds of muscle before filming began. "The truth of fitness is discipline, intensity, and effort, and none of those can be bought," Gaver says.

"People see Chris and they think he was on steroids, but he didn't touch a single substance. It was just red meat, heavy weights, and some protein powder. Chris looks like Thor because he crushed every single workout. He simply decided to look like Thor."

Train Like Chris Hemsworth
Back
Chest/Biceps
Legs

    Exercises:

  • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

    Barbell Squat

    5 sets of 20,15,12,10,10 reps
  • Leg Press Leg Press

    Leg Press

    5 sets of 20,15,12,10,10 reps
  • Superset:

  • Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

    Leg Extensions

    5 sets of 15 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

    Seated Leg Curl

    5 sets of 15 reps
  • Exercise:

  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

    Standing Calf Raises

    4 sets of 15 reps, 1 drop set of 20 reps*
  • *Start with each side filled, rep out to failure, strip one plate from each side, and rep out to failure again. Continue until there is only one plate left on each side.

Shoulders
Triceps
Abs

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. gave strength to Tony Stark even when he wasn't wearing the suit. For his role as Sherlock Holmes, Downey Jr. was asked to get lean. He responded by getting absolutely diced — results that speak for themselves in the opening scene of the first film, where Holmes is seen as a shirtless pit fighter. Being completely shredded, however, doesn't exactly fit the persona of business mogul Tony Stark, and besides, Downey Jr. was far too slight at 150 pounds to be believable as a superhero, even one who lets technology do most of the fighting for him.

"We cut way back on cardio and really increased the weight he was lifting," says Downey Jr.'s trainer, Brad Bose. After months of hard training and consuming 5,000 calories a day, Downey Jr. had added 25 pounds of lean muscle. "In the long run, consistency and intensity are far more important than how much weight you lift," Bose says. "And Robert possesses both of those."

Train Like Robert Downey Jr.
Lower Body


Upper Body


The Incredible Interview

The Avengers' Director, Joss Whedon, gives us access to the incredible star of his incredible new film (with a special appearance by Bruce Banner)

Q
You typically work on your own. How did you like working with your fellow superheroes in The Avengers?

Hulk: Puny avengers! They get in Hulk's way. Except iron one. Hulk like iron one: he's shiny and pretty in the sky.

A few years back you were portrayed by Lou Ferrigno on TV. How'd you like his performance?

Ferrigno capture Hulk's inner pain. Like looking in mirror. That hair pretty upsetting, though.

Thor is supposedly as powerful as you are. Is this correct?

Aaaargh!!!!!!! Lady-hair not as strong as Hulk. Hulk is strongest one there is! Lady-hair possibly more dexterous.

How did you prepare for this role?

Wait for someone to make me mad. It usually Nick Fury. He never tell what in briefcase in Pulp Fiction! AAARGH!!! WHAT IN BRIEFCASE????

Our readers always want to get bigger and stronger. Any advice you can offer them?

Protein, carbs, gamma rays, rage, repeat.

What do you eat in an average day to maintain your 1,500 pounds of body mass?

Hulk like pasta—sometimes too much! also big steaks, broccoli, legumes ... Hulk not eat Captain America's Nazi-alien nemesis! That rumor started by puny Stark.

What's your workout like?

Trick is changing it up. Jumping good for hamstrings and thigh work, throwing cars works the delts and lats. Rage plus invading alien horde equals varied, comprehensive session. (Hulk not work much to get these abs—hulk just blessed.)

There are rumors that you and Black Widow had something going on off camera. Any truth to them?

Widow make hulk feel different in parts. Like rage, only nice ... hard to explain. Sometimes hulk get tingly and sleepy ... Like interview make Hulk sleeeeeepy ... ZZZZZZZZ

Bruce Banner: Whuh? oh, god, no! Where am I? My clothes! It happened again ... I was in my lab, and then there was some kind of flash. What have they gotten me into? WHAT HAS THAT MONSTER DONE THIS TIME?! DAAAMNN ... Can't ... Control ... rage ... oh, NOOOOO ... ARRRRGH!!!!!!

Hulk: Hulk forget question.

How was it working with Mark Ruffalo?

Ruffalo very expressive, captures Banner's punyness, but also good at being scary like Hulk. Fun on set, too.

How did you like taking direction from Joss Whedon?

Puny Whedon always want to talk feelings! Not best way to smash desk—Whedon very limited. Have potential, though.


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thomasDB

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thomasDB

Nice article, Evans was always huge, but Thor (Hems) got bigger really quick, must have great genetics.

Apr 27, 2012 6:24pm | report
 
sarahwhooty

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sarahwhooty

Its cause he is Aussie : ) hehe

May 17, 2012 4:43pm | report
ibribribrian

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ibribribrian

No Hulk workout plan? I was hoping to get on his plan....

Apr 27, 2012 6:48pm | report
 
sexybeastat16

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sexybeastat16

ikr.
me tooo

Apr 28, 2012 9:08pm | report
StrongNerd89

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StrongNerd89

Hulk Workout Plan.
Legs: Gamma radiation
Back and Biceps: Gamma radiation
Chest and Triceps: Gamma radiation

You get the idea...

May 1, 2012 6:14pm | report
Christabean

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Christabean

@StrongNerd89... haha! luv it

May 2, 2012 7:46pm | report
squidgysquire

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squidgysquire

haha me too bro

May 6, 2012 7:14am | report
francker

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francker

Chris Evans i think is ideal.

Dec 17, 2012 10:23am | report
felro

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felro

Fun article. Huge fan of Marvel comics!

Apr 27, 2012 7:53pm | report
 
dbman4

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dbman4

The whole time scrolling down I was wondering what the hulk portion of the article was going to be like haha

Apr 27, 2012 8:28pm | report
 
XlprodigylX

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XlprodigylX

LOL same xD

May 31, 2012 11:25am | report
lozm91

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lozm91

So Scarlett doesn't count or? Disappointing.

Apr 27, 2012 8:47pm | report
 
Christabean

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Christabean

I know, I was so looking for her workout plan on here... gotta rep the ladies!

May 2, 2012 7:53pm | report
forgedrage1029

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forgedrage1029

Its in a different section you have to go to where it talks about her trainer

May 6, 2012 12:22am | report
dreambig1993

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dreambig1993

I like the dedication in the gym the actors have to fulfilling their roles. Hulks interview was great! haha

Apr 27, 2012 8:51pm | report
 
speX94

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speX94

Hulk is the best part of this article

Apr 28, 2012 12:00am | report
 
jaywilly03

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jaywilly03

I liked it ...i wanna try Thor and Robert Downey Jr. workout

Apr 28, 2012 1:46am | report
 
brutalfullme

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brutalfullme

How about Hulk workout? =)

Apr 28, 2012 4:33am | report
 
Asgardian

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Asgardian

What kind of pre-workout supplement does Hulk take?? :P

Apr 28, 2012 7:10am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 198.42 lbs
  • bf: 10.0%
squidgysquire

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squidgysquire

he eats concrete and bricks. go ahead, try some :P

May 6, 2012 7:15am | report
sueperlee323

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sueperlee323

something green I guess..

Feb 6, 2013 5:26am | report
LifeInTheZone

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LifeInTheZone

No way was hulk natty for that. Obviously he was on dat der.

Apr 28, 2012 10:44am | report
 
weszac95

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weszac95

Oh man, I got all excited to see a workout for The Hulk!

Apr 28, 2012 12:01pm | report
 
oniyxblack

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oniyxblack

Throwing cars huh? I can work with that.

Apr 28, 2012 12:33pm | report
 
Vega064

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Vega064

As a Former Marine who used to work out with a bunch of Force Recon guys, I can tell you that Duffy Gaver's workouts for Chris Hemsworth were not even close to what they have as "Thor's workout". Also remember Gaver doesnt want his workout "Secrets" posted all over a website, or he would be out of a job lol. I can tell you from looking at his before and after, he was doing a hell of a lot more upper body pushing and pulling then they lead you to believe in these "workouts". If Gaver is a former Navy seal, most of his training methods were Unorthodox and not the typical hit the freewights and machines workouts. But none the less these are all very good workouts to pick up and get going on, they would all produce very good results, so dont just knock them because they are not the "real" workouts.

Apr 28, 2012 2:35pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 74 Comments

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