By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
Henry Cavill is starring as Superman in the new movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice coming to theaters soon! It’s a huge role to play and there’s an enormous pressure to look the part. He’s familiar with that though as he’s played Superman once before, in Man of Steel, back in 2011. Back then he teamed up with Trainer Mark Twight, the founder of Gym Jones, for five months of prep time and seven months of shooting. Twight had trained Gerard Butler and about 40 Spartan warriors to get ripped for 300, a movie where the actors were shirtless for almost the entire film.
Then Cavill was cast in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – where he teamed up with strength coach Michael Blevins, and he looked amazing in that role as well. Soon after he started training with Belvins again for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. His trainer explained that his training comprised of four phases: preparation, bulking, leaning out, and maintenance. They had about 6 months before they started filming where Cavil spent his time eating, training, and probably more eating. In a bulk the point is to gain weight/size – some of which is inevitably going to be fat. Then they spent some time right before shooting to lean down to get ready for the Superman suit and of course all the shirtless scenes!
The pressure to look a certain way is due to Superman having a very distinct look – part of what makes him look like a superhero to the rest of normal humans. When he has the suit on of course there are enhancements made, but when the suit comes off he has to look the part to make the character really believable. And after decades of comics and cartoons of Superman there’s no denying that he had to have an incredible upper body, strong back, and chiseled abs. Half of the work Cavil had to put in to really transform his body was mental. Pushing yourself to your limits constantly can’t be easy – but he had to get it into his head that literally is Superman! His starting deadlift was less than 300 pounds, but under Twight’s coaching, he hit a personal record of 435. Other PRs of note included a 245-pound push press, a 365-pound back squat, and completion of 10 sets of 10 in the front squat with 225 pounds.
According to Belvins one of his maintenance workouts could look like this:
Barbell Bulgarian split squat Sets: 3 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 60 secs
- Bodyweight squat
Sets: 3 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 30 secs
Sets: 3 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 45 secs
- Barbell deadlift
Sets: 10 mins / Reps: 20 / Rest: 30 secs
- Treadmill run
Sets: 1 / Reps: 20 mins / Rest: n/a – Every 2 mins hop off the treadmill and perform 20 press-ups
Check out a training video of Cavill below and let us know if you’re excited to see his new movie!