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Learn How Thor’s Chris Hemsworth Packed On 20 Pounds Of Muscle!

Chris Hemsworth was into surfing, not lifting, when he landed the role of Thor. Learn how he packed on 20 pounds of lean mass--and how you can too!

By: Brian Bullman

Thor's Thunderous Workout

The first blow has been struck in the cinematic battle of the superhero movies, as Marvel finally brought one of its biggest franchises to the screen in the shape of Thor. Sworn to defend the innocent, the Norse God of Thunder uses his mighty hammer in the service of his divine powers.

From the looks of his on-screen physique, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth lifted some heavy metal of his own before picking up his character's trademark hammer.

Well, yes and no.

Until this role came along, Hemsworth hoisted little more than his surfboard overhead. His workouts consisted of hitting the waves in Orange County or doing old-school rugby drills (suicides, stair climbs, etc.), boxing, and Muay Thai, a combat sport. There always has to be some scrapping. He is Australian after all.

Hemsworth's training was formerly designed to build speed, agility, and fitness, says his trainer, Steve Walsh, a fellow Limerick man and former professional rugby player. The implication--Hemsworth had enough muscle as it was, thank you.


OFFICIAL THOR TRAILER

Official Thor Trailer (02:33)
Watch the first trailer for Thor, in theaters May 6, 2011.



Upon landing the role of a superhero, however, the former Aussie soap actor knew he'd have to bulk up, stat. Good luck packing on 20 pounds of muscle playing with battle ropes and running suicides, so he supplemented Walsh's efforts with hypertrophy-oriented workouts designed by celebrity trainer Duffy Gaver.

Gaver had previously helped Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and, er, Adam Sandler with their body sculpting. This task was no less daunting.

Gaining 20 pounds of lean mass is no easy feat, especially for an iron-game novice. Hemsworth followed a strict bodybuilding regimen while adopting a new diet to transform his physique into something superhero-worthy.

Here's how "Team Thor" dialed it all in:

Training

Hemsworth's Thor-inspired workouts had to be simple yet functional. The character doesn't just lift the sword; he needs to swing it too.

Hemsworth needed to keep practicing Muay Thai and boxing to prepare for those fight scenes and remain lean. But adding muscle required some serious, old-fashioned weight training.

Heavy compound exercises like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts are the bread and butter of all serious muscle-building programs, and Hemsworth's regimen was no exception.

Workout Split

(Four-On, One-off, Repeat)

Day 1: Chest/Shoulders/Boxing

Morning: Chest/Shoulders
Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell FlyesDumbbell Flyes
3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium GripBarbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
Bent-Over Lateral Raise Bent-Over Lateral RaiseBent-Over Lateral Raise
3 sets of 15, 12, 12 reps
Lateral Raise Lateral RaiseLateral Raise
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps
Arnold Press Arnold PressArnold Press
3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
Evening: Boxing
  • Bag: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds
  • Focus Pads: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds on
  • Skipping: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds

If you don't have access to boxing equipment do 30 minutes of HIIT cardio.

Ab Circuit: Repeat Circuit 3x
Prone PlankProne Plank
60 second holds
Lateral Plank Lateral PlankLateral Plank
60 second holds
Cable Crunch Cable CrunchCable Crunch
20 reps
Day 2: Back/Arms/Boxing/Abs
Morning: Back/Arms
Chin-Up Chin-UpChin-Up
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps
Barbell Deadlift Barbell DeadliftBarbell Deadlift
3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps
Superset:
Barbell Curl Barbell CurlBarbell Curl
3 sets 10, 8, 6 reps
French Press French PressFrench Press
3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps
Evening: Boxing
  • Bag: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds
  • Focus Pads: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds on
  • Skipping: 5 sets of 3-minute rounds

If you don't have access to boxing equipment do 30 minutes of HIIT cardio.

Ab Circuit: Repeat Circuit 3x
Prone PlankProne Plank
60 second holds
Lateral Plank Lateral PlankLateral Plank
60 second holds
Cable Crunch Cable CrunchCable Crunch
20 reps
Day 3: Surfing/Legs
Morning: Surfing

This is a great workout--interval cardio as you paddle out for each wave, core stability as you attempt to stay on the board. Ever seen a fat surfer? Didn't think so.

If you don't have access to surfing equipment or surf worthy water do 30 minutes of HIIT cardio.

Evening: Legs
Superset:
Leg Extensions Leg ExtensionsLeg Extensions
3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg CurlSeated Leg Curl
3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps
Barbell Full Squat Barbell Full SquatBarbell Full Squat
3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps
Day 4: Core/Cardio
Morning Ab Circuit: Repeat Circuit 3x
Prone PlankProne Plank
60 second holds
Lateral Plank Lateral PlankLateral Plank
60 second holds
Cable Crunch Cable CrunchCable Crunch
20 reps
Nutrition

Fueling your body with the right nutrition is a key to any successful physique transformation. The most important macronutrient for muscle growth is protein, so step one was increasing Hemsworth's daily intake. Under Gaver's guidance, Hemsworth started eating more egg whites, chicken, fish, and steak.

This type of bulking diet requires choosing the right type of carbohydrate at the right time. For Hemsworth, this meant favoring fibrous carbs like broccoli and spinach while cutting back on starchy carbs like potatoes and white rice.

Fueling your body with the right nutrition is a key to any successful physique transformation
+ Click To Enlarge.
Fueling your body with the right nutrition is a key
to any successful physique transformation.

Supplementation

Hemsworth couldn't have developed his godlike physique without the aid of modern sport science--namely, protein supplementation. Fueling up on amino acids prior to a workout creates an anabolic environment for superheroes and mortals alike.

Postworkout, refueling with whey protein takes full advantage of that window of opportunity.


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ConnorRB

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ConnorRB

Im sorry but this is not Chris hemsworth official workout he did for the Thor movie. He went through an 8-10 Bulking phase. before a 6 week fat loss program to lean him out.. I have found bits and parts but not anything in full detail anyone I know the bulking part but not in complete detail but enough to pass. and the fat loss should be easy with HIIT. But His actual exercises have been sketchy on multiple websites.

Jul 1, 2012 11:51am | report
DickGrayson91

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DickGrayson91

This isn't the official one. I found the link last week but this is far from it.

ps. to the guy who wrote this, if you're gonna b.s. an article at least get the facts straight, Thor never once use a sword. Ever. He swung a million Ton hammer named. Mjolnir

Nov 21, 2012 9:35am | report
DickGrayson91

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DickGrayson91

oh, and he didn't do any fight scenes. He has a stunt double as well.

Nov 21, 2012 9:37am | report
Survindar

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Survindar

DickGrayson91 - would it be possible to get the link you mentioned?

Apr 20, 2013 3:22pm | report
storcy

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storcy

Funny. I looked for Hemsworths' program at mensfitness.com, muscleandfitness.com, menshealth.com and bodybuilding.com.. And none of the programs are alike. Nor do any of the programs look like anything but a base program you are given when you first walk into the gym. I call BS on all of them.

Apr 7, 2014 1:42am | report
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

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