I tried Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel workout — here's what happened

a photo of Brie Larson at a premiere and doing a workout
(Image credit: Getty/Dia Dipasupil / Staff/instagram)

You only need to spend around 30 seconds on Brie Larson’s Instagram to realize she is #fitspo — the Captain Marvel actress is in fantastic shape, but she also uploads some brutal-looking workouts. In the name of content, I set aside my loathing of push-ups, and head to the gym to put one of Larson’s workouts to the test. Read on to find out if I killed it or if it killed me!

Brie Larson trains with Jason Walsh — a celebrity trainer who has sculpted the bodies of some of Hollywood’s most famous stars. Walsh is the founder of Rise Nation — a high-intensity climbing workout with studios in New York and California. 

To get in superhero shape, Larson did a lot of strength training, working out five days a week for nine months. Talking about her transformation, Larson told Insider, “I started this journey thinking I'll get strong and I had no idea. I went far beyond what I ever believed was possible for my body. Being able to hip thrust 400 pounds, deadlift 200 pounds, push my trainer's Jeep, I mean, it's an incredible experience to realize what's inside of you is well beyond what you knew was possible."

It’s worth noting that what might work for Larson won’t work for everyone. If you’re new to strength training, it’s worth working with a personal trainer before you start adding weights to ensure your form is correct. 

It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before completely overhauling your exercise routine. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Read what happened when I tried Carrie Underwood's leg workout, I followed Miles Teller's Top Gun bodyweight workout or when I did 100 dead bugs a day for a week

What is Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel workout? 

While Walsh has shared details of Larson’s Captain Marvel workouts in an interview with Men’s Health, YouTuber and fitness coach, Lucy Davies shared one of the actor’s superhero workouts, which went as follows: 

Push-ups with chains - 4 x sets

Standard push-ups - 4x12 reps

Barbell hip thrusts - 4x10 reps

Deadlifts - 4x12 reps

Pull-ups on bar - 4 x sets

Grip-strength hang pulls - 3 x failure

Walking lunges with overhead lift - 3x20 reps

I tried Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel workout — here’s what happened 

Unfortunately for me, upon entering the gym I experienced my first hurdle — unlike Larson’s LA gym, my local gym in Surrey didn’t have a wide selection of chains to place over my back. Luckily, Davies had the same issue and came up with resistance band push-ups to increase the intensity of the move, without needing to head to a construction site. Resistance band acquired, I got going. 

While there weren’t specific reps for the warm-up, reading an interview with Walsh it looks like Larson did 8-10 reps during the warm-up and 10-12 reps for the main exercises in the workout. I opted for four sets of 8 resistance band push-ups for the warm-up and by the final set, I had to drop to my knees to complete it. This was tough from the get-go, and a lot more intense than my normal activation exercises. 

Walsh has made it clear that he worked Larson hard to get maximum muscle growth in a short amount of time. It shows — this workout was intense. Straight out of the push-ups with the resistance band, I went into four sets of standard push-ups, and again, my arms were shaking. Larson has shared Instagram posts professing her love for the exercise, but, as I mentioned above, I’d rather leave them to the superheroes.  

Next up, barbell hip thrusts. Larson has shared a video hip thrusting 400 pounds, which is seriously impressive. Although in the gym, I believe you’re only competing against yourself, so I loaded up my (significantly lighter) bar and got to work. 

As a runner, my lower body strength is definitely better than my upper body, so this part of the workout I actually enjoyed. The same could be said for the deadlifts.

The pull-ups and the hang pulls, however, were a whole different ball game. Again, I aimed for four sets of eight pull-ups, but by the end of the first set, my arms were giving up. I used a long resistance band to help me, but even then, after four reps, I was done. 

Clearly, superheroes work far harder than I do on their upper body strength. The hang pulls were meant to be completed to failure, as in, until you can’t grip the bar any longer. Unsurprisingly, I only lasted about 30 seconds on rep one, and it’s safe to say I won’t be waiting by my phone for a casting call from Hollywood anytime soon. 

The final exercise was walking lunges with an overhead lift — this means holding a dumbbell above your head in one arm, then swapping arms each set. I started holding an 8kg dumbbell for the first set but soon had to put my ego aside and opt for a 5kg for the final three. 

After the final lunge, I lay on the floor in the gym for a good five minutes, wondering how on earth Larson did a similar workout five times a week. 

If I needed a humbling wake-up call to work on my strength training, this was it. This workout was tough and left me in awe of Larson’s power. Who knows, maybe if I try this one a couple more times I’ll be in shape by the time The Marvels hits our screens? 

This is not the first time I tried a superhero workout, check out what happened when I tried Kumail Nanjiani's arm workout and I tried Tom Holland's Spider Man workout — here's what happened. I also tried working out like Nicole Kidman for a week — here’s what happened.

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.