Ever wondered what Chris Hemsworth’s secret weapon was when getting in shape to play Thor? No, it wasn’t his lightening-infused hammer, it was a set of resistance bands. Yep, plop your Mjölnir down, as Hemsworth’s personal trainer, Luke Zocchi, shared the exact workout they used on set.
Instead of stopping for a full weights session, Zocchi revealed they used resistance bands for a last minute pump. The best resistance bands are lightweight and portable, perfect for carrying with you to and from the gym, in your hand luggage on holiday, and even to a film set.
“Resistance bands work by allowing you to isolate muscles and putting those muscles under constant tension through the range of motion”, Zocchi says. “Resistance bands keep constant tension on the muscles throughout the whole movement of an exercise compared to dumbbells where tension can be lost at certain parts. If toning is your goal using resistance is going to help you do that. Because they’re such a versatile piece of equipment there’s endless exercises you can do to target your arms, legs or glutes.”
But what exactly did the workout entail? To find out more, I put Hemsworth’s resistance band workout to the test — read on to find out what happened.
Zocchi is head trainer on the Centr app — read our Centr app review to find out more.
What is Chris Hemsworth’s Thor resistance band workout?
Push-ups (5 reps): Put the band around your arms and help you get out of the push-ups. Knees or plank position. Here's more on how to do a push-up and the variations to try.
Bent Over Row (5 reps each arm): Put your foot over the band and grab it with your hand knuckles over while hinging at the hips and bending over. Pull your arm up and squeeze your bicep and back.
Squats (5 reps): Place the band around your quads above the knee and then pretend you are sitting in a chair. Here's more on how to do squats with a resistance band.
Tricep Curl (5 on each arm): Place the band on your left forearm and place your left hand on your right shoulder. Grab the bottom of the band with your right hand and press down to activate the tricep. Place the band on your right forearm and place your right hand on your left shoulder. Grab the bottom of the band with your left hand and press down to activate the tricep.
Bicep Curl (5 reps for each arm): Kneel on the ground. Place the band under your left foot and grab the top of the band with your right hand and curl. Kneel on the ground. Place the band under your right foot and grab the top of the band with your left hand and curl.
Reverse Lunges (5 reps each leg): Place the band above the knees and step back into a lunge, alternating legs.
Shoulder Lateral Raise (5 reps on each side): Place the band around both hands and place your hand in front of your body. Keep one hand centered while the other raises laterally to engage the shoulder muscles.
For the workout, do three sets of the following, with a short break in-between:
- Pushups (10 reps)
- Bent Over Row (10 reps each arm)
- Squats (10 reps)
- Tricep Curl (10 each arm)
- Bicep Curl (10 reps each arm)
- Reverse Lunges (10 reps each leg)
- Shoulder Lateral Raise (10 reps each side)
I tried Chris Hemsworth’s Thor resistance band workout — here’s what happened
It was easy to adapt the resistance
To put the workout to the test, I grabbed a long resistance band, and a smaller looped band, and gave it a go. Resistance bands are elastic strips of rubber that are used to provide resistance to the body when exercising. The exact resistance they provide increases as you stretch them, so each individual band has a spectrum of resistance levels. I grabbed a heavier and a lighter band and started the warm-up.
Like using a set of dumbbells, the resistance band worked my muscles from the first rep. For the bent-over rows, I found it easy to increase the resistance by decreasing the length of the band, making it taught and harder to row. For the squats and reverse lunges, using a mini band looped above my knees really worked my glutes.
It was quick enough to do between meetings (or shoots)
The entire workout was quick, but effective — I managed to get through all three sets in around 20 minutes, and felt like I’d gotten a good, full-body workout in a short amount of time. This was an easy one to fit in-between meetings, and I'm sure Hemsworth managed to grab a resistance band and do this one between filming scenes.
Part of the beauty of a resistance band workout is that it can instantly be made harder, or easier, by increasing or decreasing the strength of the resistance band. I’m sure Hemworth had a heavier band than I did, but we can’t all be as strong as Thor.
It inspired me to find more resistance band workouts
My lessons learned? This short workout reminded me that keeping a resistance band in my gym bag is the way to go in the future — they make it easy to up the intensity of a bodyweight workout. Looking for some resistance band exercise inspiration? Check out these resistance band leg exercises suitable for beginners, the resistance band arm exercises that build muscle without weights, and how to squat and deadlift with a resistance band.