If you’re looking for arm inspiration, look no further than Chris Hemsworth when he played Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s one of the most googled workouts out there for obvious reasons — Hemsworth’s ripped arms were as much a focal point in the film as his lightning-infused hammer. But how did the Hollywood actor get in such good shape for the movie?
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There’s been a lot of speculation about exactly how Hemsworth got in such great shape. In a recent Instagram post, Hemsworth spoke about occlusion training he did ahead of the latest Thor film, which restricts blood flow and oxygen to the muscles during exercise. This technique was seen a lot during the Tokyo Olympic Games this year and can be achieved by wearing bands around the arms to trap the blood in the arms and encourage lactic acid to build.
Along with a video where he can be seen wearing the blood-flow restriction bands, Hemsworth wrote, “By restricting blood flow and oxygen the muscles are forced to work harder in a shorter period of time. Basically it’s one of the most uncomfortable training methods I’ve experienced but part of the puzzle in growing Thor’s arms to look like the legs of a racehorse.”
A photo posted by on
Hemsworth is also said to have modified his diet when training to be Thor. Hemsworth’s trainer, Luke Zocchi, who trained Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Cate Blanchett on the film Thor, said in an interview with Page Six that Hemsworth ate six meals a day to bulk up for the role.
‘We’ve kind of got a structure. He found if he eats a really big meal he, like, feels too heavy, so they’re 450-calorie meals broken up into the eight,’ Zocchi said. In order to do this, Hemsworth would eat 450 calorie meals every two hours, which works out to be a 3,600 calorie day. This is said to have been a mix of high protein meals, such as steak, chicken, fish, or sweet potato with rice, accompanied by protein shakes in-between (Chris, if you’re reading this, we’ve found the best protein shakes on the market here).
But what about the arm workout itself? Luckily, Zocchi revealed the exact workout he had Hemsworth follow in an interview with Australian Men’s Health. Want to get arms like Thor? Here’s how to do it:
Chris Hemsworth’s arm workout
While we don’t recommend trying occlusion training without guidance from a qualified expert, this workout can be done in the gym to build your arms. According to Zocchi, Hemsworth wanted to be ‘big’ but ‘more functional’. "He hated being big and not being able to move. We still did traditional bodybuilding, but added in a lot more functional movements." he said.
Chris would typically train for an hour a day, three to four times a week. The workout consisted of four supersets, which is when one set of an exercise is performed immediately after a set of a different exercise with no rest in between. Between each round, Hemsworth would rest for one and a half to two minutes. If you're doing this from home, we've found the best adjustable dumbbells to work your arms from your living room.
Superset A - complete four rounds, with a 1:30-2:00 minute rest between rounds
15 x standing cable bicep curl
15 x standing cable tricep bar push down
Superset B - complete four rounds, with a 1:30-2:00 minute rest between rounds
15 x Standing dumbbell curls
15 x Bench tricep dumbbell skull crushers
Superset C - complete four rounds, with a 1:30-2:00 minute rest between rounds
15 x Seated dumbbell incline curls
15 x Cable tricep rope pushdowns
Also take a look at how Taron Egerton built an impressive physique and how I tried this Squid Game-inspired workout — and I lived.
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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.