Man of Steel Workout: How Henry Cavill Got In Shape To Play Superman

Man of Steel intense workout routine.
Did you see Man Of Steel this past weekend? Wonder how actor Henry Cavill got in shape to play Superman in Man Of Steel? Well here’s how he did it.

Playing Superman on the big screen is an almost insurmountable task. The Man of Steel is the epitome of male evolution, a man who combines a Greek god physique with all that’s good and right. Getting in shape for this role couldn’t have been an easy task and Henry Cavill said that it was ‘hell and wonderful at the same’. Incidentally, his trainer for the movie was Mark Twight who whipped into shape the actors of director Zack Snyder’s previous venture 300 including Gerard Butler so that they looked like real Spartans. The 300 Workout gained a lot of prominence on the net with its old school ‘No Pain, No Gain’ motto. Like Hugh Jackman did for The Wolverine, Cavill adopted a 5000-calories-a-day diet in the beginning of his training to pack on 20 pounds of muscle to his frame. His regime consisted of intensive cardiovascular workouts, bodyweight training and mixed martial arts.

‘You’ve got to eat protein first, then a little bit of carbs … you’ve gotta keep your hunger levels going,’ he told Total Film. ‘I’m training two and a half hours a day, pushing my body beyond its normal limits, putting on a lot of muscle mass and just making myself look like Superman.’  The hard part starts after that, what professional bodybuilders call sculpting. ‘The leaning down phase is the hardest because although you’re looking great, you’re always in a bad mood because you’re so hungry,’ Cavill told Glamour.


The Superman Workout

Henry Cavill spent about 5 months training intensely with a lot of cardio workouts, bodyweight training and mixed martial arts. He was working out literally 7 hours a day at one point. The weight training consisted of roughly about 2-3 hours of lifting which were constantly changed to target different body parts forcing his muscles grow.


Henry Cavill training routine for Man of Steel.

Henry Cavill on set of Man of Steel, training and workout.

Henry Cavill as Superman working out and training for ripped body.

Henry Cavill in his Superman costume.


His weightlifting regime mainly consisted of powerlifting which helps stimulate muscle growth and burn a lot of energy at the same time. These consisted of exercises like clean lifts, squats, deadlifts, presses and bench presses. The workout was very similar to the 300 workout with some extra mass building added to it. This method involves targeting three body parts per workout with eight exercises and training several sets per exercise for 8-12 reps.

Gradually, the workouts get more intensive (more weights, more reps) over a period of months so that your body sculpts and burns all the excess fat. To top it, this workout needs a lot of sustenance and Cavill was actually packing in 5000 calories a day! This is very necessary to ensure that the body gets enough fuel to sustain him through the gruelling exercise regime. The diet comprised a massive amount of protein from eggs, chicken, meat and pulses as well as healthy carbs like fruits and vegetables (Note: Most people think of bread or rice when they hear carbs but the fact is that both fruits and veggies are excellent sources). One thing’s for sure, the Superman Workout isn’t for everyone, but then the Man of Steel is the saviour of mankind, the most iconic superhero and a man playing him would have to look the part.


Celebrity trainer Mark Twight put Henry Cavill through a grueling regimen to get him Superman strong.


Man Of Steel Workout from Muscle & Fitness

1 – Warm-Up

Row for 5 minutes at light intensity
Row for 5 minutes at intervals: 10-second sprint, 50 seconds slow

2 – Six-Exercise Barbell Complex*

Deadlift // Bentover Row // Hang Clean // Front Squat // Push Press // Back Squat x 6,6,4,3

*Perform four total complexes, never putting the bar down during the set. Start with a deadlift, then perform a bentover row, and so on. Put the bar down and rest 2–3 minutes between complexes. 
Cavill did the following: 
a) Six reps at 75 pounds // b) Six reps at 95 pounds // c) Four reps at 115 pounds // d) Three reps at 135 pounds

3 –  Superset x 10

Back Squat: 3 reps using 225 pounds
100-meter row at a sprint pace

4 – Finisher

5 sets of push-ups to failure, resting 30 seconds between sets
(On this particular day, Cavill’s reps were 25, 21, 10, 7, 10)





Muscle and Fitness