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I tried Chris Hemsworth’s 250-rep dumbbell workout — here’s what happened

a photo of Chris Hemsworth working out
(Image credit: Instagram/ChrisHemsworth)

Ever wished you looked like Thor? Welcome to the club. Luckily for all of us, Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, is extremely generous when it comes to sharing his workouts with us mere mortals. From the bodyweight workout he uses when on the move, to the exact resistance band workout he used on the set of Thor: Love and Thunder, there’s nothing I love more than digging into the workout routine of one of Hollywood’s most active stars. 

That said, when I saw his latest workout — a 250-rep dumbbell circuit, which Hemsworth ran through on the deck of a naval ship and then uploaded to Instagram (as you do), I wasn’t enthralled. This one looked tough, but in the name of good journalism, and a quest for killer biceps, I grabbed my yoga mat and a set of weights and gave it a go. Read on to find out what happened. 

A reminder that what works for Chris Hemsworth, or me, might not be right for you and your body. If you are new to some of the exercises on this list, or you’re returning to exercise following an injury, it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer before adding weight to the movement. 

What is Chris Hemsworth’s 250-rep dumbbell workout? 

The only equipment you’ll need for the workout is a set of dumbbells. Hemsworth is using a set of the best adjustable dumbbells in the video, but just select a pair that makes the exercise feel challenging by the final few reps. The 250-rep dumbbell workout goes as follows: 

Dumbbell burpee curl — 10 reps

To do this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand in a high plank and drop your chest down to the floor for a push-up, then jump your feet into your hands, and as you stand up, perform a shoulder press, raising the weights above your head. That’s one rep. 

Squat curl press — 10 reps

The start of many, many bicep curls. For this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand and squat down, pushing your hips back. As you raise back up to your starting position, do a bicep curl, followed by a shoulder press. Then repeat. 

Alternating reverse lunge and curl — 10 reps

For this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand and perform alternating lunges. As you lower your back knee to the floor, perform a bicep curl. Keep swapping legs.

Dumbbell bicep curl — 10 reps

This one is a little simpler than the rest — holding a dumbbell in each hand, perform a bicep curl, thinking about engaging your biceps as you curl the weights towards your torso. Here are 7 of the best bicep exercises for building your arms

Standing shoulder press — 10 reps

Start by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells up to your shoulders, and press them up to the ceiling for ten reps.

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Take a 60-second break after completing all five exercises, then do the circuit again. Hemsworth recommends doing the circuit five times in total, although beginners might want to aim for two or three. 

It seems the workout has a famous following, with Chris Pratt commenting that he’d given the workout a go using “big rocks” he found on the beach in place of dumbbells — proof that you don’t need a five-star gym to get a good workout. 

I tried Chris Hemsworth’s 250-rep dumbbell workout — here’s what happened

First up, this workout is no joke — the first three compound exercises raised my heart rate from the get-go, and was sweating by the time it got to the first minute-long breather. Hemsworth doesn’t reveal the weight of the dumbbells he’s lifting, but I opted for a set of 15 pound dumbbells to really push myself for the first set. By the break, I realized I needed to lose the ego, and dropped down to a 10-pound set for the remainder of the workout. As a reminder, the weights should make the final few reps of each exercise feel challenging, but shouldn’t force you to compromise your form. 

This was also a full-body workout — during the squats and lunges, you’re still curling and pressing, so your arms are doing a lot more than just holding the dumbbells by your side. This was tough, and definitely made the workout a lot harder than my normal strength sessions. 

Even with the breaks, I was able to complete the workout in under 20 minutes, proving that you don’t need to spend hours sweating in the gym to get a killer workout. Did the session leave me with a visible six-pack and bulging biceps? Sadly not — the human body isn’t that simple, but I definitely felt the workout in my arms and legs the next day. Who knows, maybe compound weight circuits are the secret to Thor’s physique after all? 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here’s what happened when this writer tried Chis Hemsworth’s workout app, Centr, for a month. And if you're more into the X-Men, check out Hugh Jackman's Wolverine workout.

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.