Hugh Jackman, Wolverine from Marvel’s X-Men comic series has been very ripped.
With his last role as Wolverine in 2018’s Logan, Jackman became the actor with the longest tenure as a Marvel superhero actor (along with Patrick Stewart). The 17-year span includes 9 movies in which Jackman reprized his role as Wolverine, not 17 years of the actor running and crazier.
Before proceeding; Do yourself a favor and check out photos of Jackman in X-Men from the 2000s, compared to photos in one of the later X-Men movies. Amazing, right? Even in 2018’s Logan, Jackman still looks a lot better and stronger than his 2000 debut role. Not to mention that he’s now in his early 50s and still looks like he could grow back in no time. So unless you think he’s Wolverine in real life too, what’s his secret? We’ll break it down below, but it’s no surprise that everything comes in handy both in the gym and on the plate.
Chicken Legs with Adamantium Claws
On screen, Jackman displays animal strength, as his character name would suggest. Not only does it look great, but it looks strong, cut and expressive. The last of these we can not help you with, but we can really try to make you bigger, stronger and cut. Nicknamed “Chicken Legs” when his acting career was just beginning, Jackman was not always the model of the man he is today. Instead of a bad reputation, he insists that he will be in good shape between movies, not just putting on pounds for his role as Wolverine. Therefore, he has several decades of proper training and diet to get his physique, but everything comes down to building blocks of the week.
Jackman’s method for getting in shape relies on several different strategies. Although sometimes it depends on the role (for example, he must have a lot of energy for his role in Les Miserables), the appearance of Wolverine is all about getting fat and sticky. Although it is difficult, it can be done with the right focus and enough hard work. Jackman does cardio regularly, including strength training and exercises like push-ups. But his bread and butter exercises are the big three of weightlifting – deadlifts, bench presses and squats. A few years ago, he even joined the 1000-pound club by being able to lift a combined 1000 pounds on these three heights in one day.
His trainer, David Kingsbury, encouraged him to stick to low-impact exercises as he gained weight. This process stimulates myofibrillar hypertrophy, which is important for strength gains. On the other hand, there is sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which occurs when you do more reps for less weight. What makes Wolverine what he is is a combination of the two. Kingsbury believes that starting with heavy weights and low reps and ending with high reps and lighter weights, at least with the four-week training block they use.
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Continuous Weight Loss and Resistance Training
Another thing about Jackman’s body is the idea of carrying on weight. As the name suggests, progressive weightlifting is a strength training technique that involves gradually increasing the amount of stress and tension placed on your body, increasing strength in way. With continued weight gain, the body is forced to adapt to cope with the increasing pressure placed on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. What’s wrong with Wolverine? Well, Jackman’s trainer used a percentage of his 1-rep max (1RM) for his lifts as a basis for what he should lift each week. During the first three weeks, the weight is increased until the fourth week. This last week is used to decrease the weight and increase the reps until the next month starts. This is what it looks like:
Set 1: 5 reps 60% of 1RM
Set 2: 5 reps 65% of 1RM
Set 3: 5 reps 75% of 1RM
Set 4: 5 reps 75% of 1RM
Set 1: 4 reps 65% of 1RM
Set 2: 4 reps 75% of 1RM
Set 3: 4 reps 85% of 1RM
Set 4: 4 reps 85% of 1RM
Set 1: 3 reps, 70% 1RM
Set 2: 3 reps, 80% 1RM
Set 3: 3 reps, 90% 1RM
Set 4: 3 reps, 90% 1RM
Set 1: 10 reps, 40% 1RM
Set 2: 10 reps, 50% 1RM
Set 3: 10 reps, 60% 1RM
Set 4: 10 reps, 90% 1RM
The next block will start again in week 1, but this time Jackman will add 5% to 10% of his 1RM on top of what he lifts. If you want to try this diet, it is recommended to add 5% if you are progressing slowly and 10% if you are doing well. This type of training regimen (as long as you eat enough and rest) is guaranteed to break any plateau you may face. With continuous weight gain, you will always punish your body, but it will thank you later.
but while lifting weights continuously will make you stronger, it won’t give you ripped muscles like Wolverines. We’ll talk more about that in the context of nutrition, but Jackman went through a process of cutting and cutting all of his training sessions. Although he always eats a clean diet to make the cut easier, he is still required to gain weight while cutting fat due to the intense film production schedule. What helped him was the first time bulking helped him get to the weight he wanted to reach, and then cutting down the time to get ready for the shoot. Obviously the timeline of these steps depends on the timeline of the production of the film in question, but it is usually 4-5 months in total.
It’s an option if you’re racing against time, but most people have a one-year bulking/cutting period that will benefit you more – it’s just that the results won’t be immediate. For example, a big cold followed by a hot summer followed by a time for the opening of the river.
But the scarf/cut circle isn’t the only style introduced in Jackman’s series. His trainer is also a big fan of change, which may come as a surprise considering his training is based on the classic big three.
But even traditional things can benefit from the addition of a little spice. The routine is important, as it is with all three lifts, but it’s also important to add variety to your routine and “retrain” your muscles. Although the jury is still out on the complexities, adding variety from different contractions/decreases to special movements and the inclusion of movements can help to increase the overall strength and mental connection and nerves. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to keep your motivation up – everyone gets tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Adding a little variety, a little spice, can help mix things up perfectly while not only benefiting your body, but also your mind and energy.
WOLVERINE INTENSITY LEVEL
Another good tip to maximize your time at the Iron Temple is to train in the morning. Jackman and his trainer have to get up at 4am if filming starts at 6am that day so they do it well before dawn. Not only does it set you up for the day, but if you do it first thing in the morning, you’ll probably miss your workout. Especially with Jackman’s busy schedule, taking time out in the morning is important when it comes to gaining those last few pounds of lean muscle. Depending on whether he’s cutting or scaring, Jackman also adds cardio training at times during the day to his regular cardio workouts. And when it comes to the session itself, energy is everything.
Spending more than 90 minutes in the gym, and sometimes only 60, Jackman found his workouts to be fast and intense. In about 30 minutes of cardio – 10 minutes at the beginning as a warm-up and 20 minutes at the end of the workout – will be lifted as quickly as possible while controlling the form and speed speed. This is accomplished in part by using supersets. This is a technique where you don’t rest between exercises as you go from exercise to exercise. The time between these changes should be reduced to build up fatigue in your body. Not only does this allow for more hypertrophy and endurance, but it also helps turn your workout into an intense Wolverine recovery session.
HOW JACKMAN TRABSFORMED TO WOLVERINE
As we mentioned before, the whole man is lifted as a percentage of 1RM. Not only that, but the percentage also changes from setup to week to week to ensure that weight gain is progressing smoothly. Below is an example of some of the exercises Jackman and his trainer used to make Wolverine into an awesome superhero. Not only did they pull it off, but they also made it shine through the camera.
Day 1: Chest and shoulders
- Bench Press
- Shoulder press with dumbbells: 4 sets of 10 repetitions
- Press the back of the neck: 4 sets of 10 times
- Cuban Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Lat raises: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Forward raises: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Back Shoulder Plane: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Press up: 3 sets of 8 reps
Day 2: Legs and abs
Back Squat: 4 sets of 5 reps
Front Squat: 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Press: 4 sets of 10 reps
Calf raise: 4 sets of 12 reps
Leg raises: 4 sets of 12 reps
Ab Wheel: 4 sets of 10 reps
Knee pads: 4 sets of 10 reps
Sit-ups: 4 sets of 10 reps
Day 3: Back and Biceps
Heavy lifting: 4 sets of 5 reps
DB row: 4 sets of 12 reps
Bodyweight Row: 4 sets of 10 reps
Reverse DB Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps
Zottman’s Bicep Treatment
Day 4: Chest and arms
- Incl Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 reps
- DB Press #1: 4 sets of 6 reps
- DB Press #2: 4 sets of 6 reps
- DB Press #3: 4 sets of 6 reps
- Cable fly: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Triceps P-downs: 4 sets of 8 reps
- Dips: 4 sets of 8 reps
- Diamond Grips: 4 sets of 8 reps
Day 5: trunk and legs
- Deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps
- Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Zercher Squats: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Incline abs: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Landmines: 3 sets of 10 reps
This is just one example of the workout routine that Jackman uses, but as mentioned above, exercise and diet have changed when it comes to bulking up and cutting. The method we described above will be fine for many, but the cutting process will be like this:
Example of a stage date
- Back Squat: >85% 1RM 3 sets of 6 reps
- Leg press: >85% 1RM 3 sets of 6 reps
- Bulgarian split squat: 60-80% 1RM 3 sets of 14 reps
- Dumbbell Side Lunge: 65-85% 1RM 3 sets of 10 reps
- Medicine ball slams: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Leg raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
And of course the above will be supplemented with cardio – and lots of it. For his dancing and cutting routine, Jackman uses a 10-minute cardio workout before his workout and 20-30 minutes after. When he tried to lose weight, he often tried to do a second cardio session in the afternoon to burn off any calories he would have eaten. All in all, it’s a very taxing workout routine, for good reason. Working on the movie set, Jackman had to meet his deadline and the physical required to get the look of Wolverine. But exercise is often even half the battle.
WHAT WOLVERINE EATS
In order to gain the maximum amount of strength while keeping it lean, diet comes first when trying to cut Wolverine. There are two important steps each of us can use in our daily lives to bring us one step closer to being superhuman.
The first is the carbohydrate system. While these aren’t the exact keto foods we’ve reviewed in the past, the focus is on limiting carbohydrate intake. However, carbohydrate intake is restricted only on days off, when there is little or no exercise. Not only will it make you slimmer, but it will also give you enough fuel during your work day to fuel your workout.
This is especially important if you are trying to gain muscle mass, or at least as much as possible. Not enough fuel to power your moves and you can leave victory on the table. Great fuel, but you may not lose as much as you think. The second thing is intermittent fasting. A very effective way to lose weight and get rid of it, this diet allows you to fast for several days and eat only during the designated window. So, for example, it might look like an 8-hour window from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. That doesn’t sound too bad for all the benefits it has.
Jackman also uses creatine, BCAAs and L-carnitine, to help bulk up and cut. Especially at his age, these supplements must have helped a lot in what he was asked of his body.
Jackman’s trainer also said that the hardest part of making the transition was finding the time. Between their busy schedule and sometimes only 5-6 hours of sleep per night, it is difficult to give it everything after training.
Unlike Wolverine, most of us have the advantage of not working in movies, but still have our tools to become Wolverine. Although we can’t promise sideburns and facial hair from the workout routine above, we can promise a shredded body.