The Thor workout: How ‘Avengers’ star Chris Hemsworth got his biceps

“The Avengers,” starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, hits theaters Friday.

All gods have superhuman qualities. In Thor’s case, he’s got superior strength and speed — plus biceps. Unfortunately, we mere mortals — including Chris Hemsworth, who stars as the Norse God of Thunder in the upcoming “Avengers” film — have to work hard if we want to look the same, according to Mike Knight, Hemsworth’s personal trainer.

“People want to be as powerful as a bodybuilder but at the same time be fast and look sleek and slender,” he says. “Combining the two physical attributes isn’t so easy — it requires merging two different body types. However, it’s not impossible.”

Bodybuilders look good, but their bodies aren’t functional for everyday life. And those who are less muscly? Not so impressive. To help you get the best of both worlds, Knight created a system that can make you both lean and muscular.  

How to look like a Norse god

Knight treated Hemsworth like an offseason bodybuilder:

“First, I bulked him up and made him put on as much weight as possible. After that, I stripped off all body fat, leaving nothing but pure muscle.”

The regime was split into two parts:
   
Bodybuilder type workouts based on high weight, low repetition moves designed to get Hemsworth as big as possible
   
“Infusion” circuits mixing bodybuilding and martial arts to shift the excess fat gained in phase one, while maintaining muscle.

Phase 1:

The building
To reach his ideal weight of 235 pounds, Hemsworth spent 12 weeks doing classic bodybuilder exercises that included inclined presses, Turkish get-ups, windmills, squats and pull-ups. To add bulk, Knight integrated kettlebell weights, a great metabolic tool that builds up core strength.
According to Knight, the heavier a kettlebell, the safer. “Never hold less than 50 pounds in each hand. Anything below that and you’ll be tempted to use your arms to lift the weights. This is when you’ll get hurt. When using kettlebells, you need to use your hips to do the lift.”

Food of the gods:
What you eat is crucial if you want to be strong: “Chris needed to bulk up, so it was a matter of upping his calories so that he could gain up to two pound a week. Towards the end of training he was eating 6,000 calories a day but working out so much that he was burning them right off. His diet included huge quantities of grains, vegetables, lean protein and potatoes. After he got big, Knight then had to get him back down to 218 pounds.

Phase 2:

‘Infusion’ training

Once he had gained muscle, Hemsworth went on a four-week fat loss plan.

He focused on “infusion” training, a combination of bodybuilding and mixed martial arts. Knight devised a total-body circuit that included sledge hammers, “ropes gone wild,” log presses, Prowler sprints and, once again, kettlebells.

“I had to get Chris moving quickly and constantly,” says Knight. “Can’t do a push-up? Hold a plank, so long as you keep doing something.”

One of Knight’s favorite MMA moves was “ropes gone wild”: For this move, Hemsworth held a 55-foot rope in each hand, lifting and lowering to create an undulating motion — his heart rate could reach up to 190 beats per minute doing this.

The caveman diet

Chris ate like a caveman; his diet was supersimple and consisted of nothing other than clean foods that weren’t loaded with garbage.

“Chris could eat anything that came off trees and from the ground, such as nuts and berries,” says Knight.

Look good Stark naked

Want to be an Iron Man? Robert Downey?Jr.’s trainer made him a fitness machine.
   
Engineering genius Tony Stark is a bit of a nerd, so Downey Jr. couldn’t look too buff. His trainer, Brad Bose, focused on resistance training and cardio workouts using the rowing machine and treadmill, and put him on a protein-rich diet.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Local

Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took…

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance…

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

NHL

Gary Bettman praises Philly prior to NHL draft

Gary Bettman will bring the NHL draft to Philadelphia this summer.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."