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God-Like Conditioning: How to Work Out Like Chris Hemsworth (Thor)

How does one obtain the body of a Norse god?

How does one obtain the body of a Norse god?

Would the Official Thor Workout Please Stand Up?

For those of you asking yourself, "How did Thor (Chris Hemsworth) get the body of a Norse God," you've come to the right place. I have already been scouring the web and found the official official "Thor Workout." I cut through the key words like Thor 300 Workout, Thor Workout Revealed, Thor Transformation, Chris Hemsworth Superhero Body, etc., and found for you exactly, specifically, who Chris Hemsworth trained with and how he got into fighting shape to play Thor.

This will be the real deal so you won't have to get confused and wonder if this is the accurate or not, so sit back, relax and enjoy.

The Thor Story

Chris Hemsworth is an Australian actor born in New Zealand then moved to Melbourne when he was 6.

He got the role of Thor and then proceeded to "get into character."

The character in the comic book weighs in at about 500 pounds of Asgardian muscle. Clearly that wasn't going to happen but the end result was impressive to say the least.

Hemsworth was quoted as saying, "it was very important for me to look the part and be as powerful and as strong as I could while still maintaining that element
 of agility."

In order to achieve this level of superhero size, strength and agility, Chis found and employed the expertise of Michael Knight (no Hasselhoff jokes please!).

Mike is in Michigan and is a franchise owner of a gym called Art of Strength. Fitting name for a training center for a Nordic God, don't you think?

"Chris’s regime was split into two parts," Knight said. "The first was a bodybuilder-type protocol focused on high-weight, low-rep moves designed to pack on maximum size, while the second was total-body circuits designed to shift his excess fat while maintaining muscle."

Hemsworth talked about getting into Thor like shape. Here's what he said about the hard work:

"The kettlebell routines that Mike put me through were intense, partly because I’d never used them before but also because it’s a heavy combination of cardio and weightlifting. Most of my training previously was geared more around cardio – mainly boxing and Muay Thai, with some elements of weights. I hadn’t experienced kettlebells, but it’s a great way to build functional strength."





Thor Workout: Bulk Up!

This bulking phase will last 8 weeks and has what all good programs offer. It's simple and basic enough to do while offering enough variety to keep the mind and body adapting, growing and interested.

  • Week 1: sets of 4 with reps in the 4 to 6 range.
  • Week 2: sets of 4 with reps in the 6 to 8 range.
  • Week 3: sets of 4 with reps in the 8 to 12 range.
  • Week 4: sets of 4 with reps in the 4 to 6 range.
  • Week 5 to week 8 will follow this pattern.

Weight selection will need to be in accordance with the repetition range. So for week one, you'll need to select a weight you can get 4 reps and barely hit the 6th rep and no way is number 7 going to happen. Obviously, you'll need to go a little lighter for week 2 and even lighter than that for week 3. By week 4, you should be able to increase the weight you used in week 1. So, basically if you used 100 pounds for an exercise in week 1, you should be able to hit the same drill and rep range with 105 to 110. Follow?

SUCCESS TIP: Keep a Training Journal! Record your weights, reps, rest periods, etc. Record it all!!!

Workout #1: Chest and Back

  • Bench Press
  • Bent-over Row
  • Weighted Pull Ups
  • Weighted Dips

Workout #2: Legs

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Hamstring Curls

Workout #3: Arms

  • Weighted Chin Ups
  • Close-Grip Bench Press

In the original article it doesn't specify the frequency of the workouts, but I would say that you want to hit each session once or twice per week. Every other day visits to the gym will work. Ideally 3 days on and 1 day off or Monday through Saturday with Sunday off. It's all about how you recover really. Make sure you're getting enough rest. Eight plus hours of sleep per night. Also drink a lot of water. A lot. Yes, it's worth repeating. Muscle is not built in the gym, it's when you rest. Get lots of sleep and eat lots of high quality food. Lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Thor Workout: Shred!

The Four Week fat loss plan for a god like physique looks like something that will prepare anybody to wield the hammer... Or the gladius and the damocles.

Ease up on the carbs, drop most of the fat, kick all the sugar out, up the protein and fiber and get to work! Oh yeah, keep up the high level of water and sleep!

Circuit training is the way to go here. Kettlebell training is an extremely effective tool and method to maintain muscle mass, build functional strength, develop a jack hammer of a heart, melt fat, boost metabolism and forge an agile physique worthy of any ancient warrior.

Circuit #1: Tabata Style 
(20 seconds of intense work/10 seconds rest)

  • Double Kettlebell Squats - four rounds
  • Snatches - eight rounds

Circuit #2

  • Kettlebell Swing - 30sec two-hand, 30sec right-hand-only swings, 30sec left-hand-only swings, 30sec 
alternate swings
  • Cleans - 5 right, 5 left, 4 right, 4 left, 3 right, 3 left, 2 right, 2 left, 1 right, 1 left, then back up to 5 each side for a total of 60 reps with no rest

Circuit #3

  • Turkish Get-Ups - 5minutes continuous (alternating sides)
  • Windmill - 5 on each side (alternating sides)

So, this is just one example of a typical workout to completely annihilate the fat and condition yourself to do battle with the forces of evil. Make sure to warm up properly and cool down afterward.

Keep in mind these workouts will test your mettle and that Chris hired an EXPERT trainer to make sure that not only was the work effective but SAFE! If you don't know how to do an exercise, don't simply rely on YouTube to learn a movement correctly. Go out and hire a Certified Kettlebell Instructor. Nothing can derail an exercise plan and physique transformation faster than an injury.

The best way to sum that up is to quote Master Kettlebell Instructor, David Whitley.

"Push yourself, but don't be stupid!"

More Info On Thor Training

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 David R Bradley


Marty on March 14, 2013:

Hey, David! Thank you for the wunderful explanation of Thor's workout - this is exactly what I've been looking for ever since I've discovered the related article in Men's Fitness. I have one question though - regarding the deadlift: Considering I'm lifting very heavy (as you mentioned above - the barbell heavy enough that I can't do any more reps than prescribed), do I have to do all 4 sets or just 1 (Stronglift 5x5 actually suggests you should do only 1x5 in their programm not to overtrain or hurt your lower back)? Thank you for your consideration!

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on March 11, 2013:

Pee Wee, select weights that will challenge you yet allow you to get in the required work.

PeeWee on March 10, 2013:

Hey David, for the Shred part of the program, do I use weights that are heavier , lighter, or the same weight as the ones I use for the Bulk Up part?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on February 25, 2013:

@WCM, Great question - 60 - 90 seconds is good. Make sure you're recording your sets and reps too.

WCM on February 24, 2013:

For the bulk up workouts how much rest should be between sets? At the moment I'm timing out 60secs - is this right?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on January 31, 2013:

PeeWee, you're on the right track there! Let me know what kind of results you see. Make sure your nutrition is solid and you're giving your body enough time to recoup. Muscle is built out side the gym, not in it!

PeeWee on January 31, 2013:

Hey David, I started your workout, but there was something I didn't quite understand. You said, "hit each session once or twice per week". Does that mean, (for example) do the chest and back routine twice a week?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on January 21, 2013:

Hey PeeWee, appreciate your question! You are the only person that can guarantee muscles as large and defined as Thor's. Inner strength, a commitment to living at your highest potential, both physically, spiritually and mentally is the lesson and the challenge you decide to accept or not. Your big and defined muscles will be a consequence of the discipline and behavior. Keep us posted on your progress!

PeeWee on January 21, 2013:

Hey, David, does this workout guarantee muscles as large and defined as Thor's?

PeeWee on January 21, 2013:

Hey, David, does this workout guarantee muscles as large and defined as Thor's?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 22, 2012:

Mitch, GREAT Question! Your shoulders will get plenty of work from the Bench Press, Dips and then Kettlebell Work later on. If you, like me, find your delts lagging and want to tweak the program to have a little more emphasis on the delts, consider doing an incline bench press instead of the traditional bench as outlined above. That being said, see how the program works for you as is first. Let me know how it goes!

mitch on November 21, 2012:

david, i noticed there was no direct shoulder work, such as barbell presses. did chris have any specific excercises to build his shoulders on traps or rely on bench presses and deadlifts mainly?

luke on November 07, 2012:

thanks mate

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 07, 2012:

If this was me doing it, after the 8 weeks, I'd evaluate and ask if I'm big enough or not. Big enough, start cutting, not big enough, another 8 weeks

luke on November 07, 2012:


the workout program goes for twelve weeks though its stated that chris was training for thor about 6 months prior to the movie.

im wondering what chris did, if he went 8 weeks bulking then 4 weeks cutting, or if in fact he bulked for the majority of that 6 months until he was at the size he needed to be and then started his cutting workouts.

just unsure, thanks.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 01, 2012:

Yes, add weight without the sacrifice of proper form -

Brandon snow on November 01, 2012:

another thing do i increase weight during the bulking phase and ive been working out for about a year and a half

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 01, 2012:

Brandon - that should do the trick - that being said, at your age, before you start on this routine, make sure you're solid on the basics... take a look at this HUB as well:

Brandon snow on November 01, 2012:

hey i have this shake with 50g of protein im supposed to take it 3 times a day is this good intake for a 135 pound teen during this thor workout bulking phase and during this phase will i gain body mass thats usefull or just fat

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 01, 2012:

Chris: 1 round is 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For Get ups and Windmills do one rep on the left then another on the right - one left - one right - etc.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 31, 2012:

@Chris - alternate sides with the Get Ups and Windmills and for the tabata it's 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest - that's 1 round.

@Brandon Snow - yes it really works and you should seek the advice of a certified nutritionist for protein requirements. Personally, I'd shoot for 1 gram of protein per # of bodyweight. This works for me but everyone's different. Focus on 5-6 small meals with a fist size portion of lean protein per feeding and you should be fine.

Brandon snow on October 31, 2012:

does this really work and how much protein should i consume while doing this please respond.

Chris on October 31, 2012:

Hey David, another quick question for clarification. When it says "4 rounds" or "8 rounds" for the kettlebell tabata stuff, is that 4 times 20 seconds one and 10 off, for a total of two minutes? That is what it seems like, but I am not positive.

Also, for the third circuit, when alternating sides, do you think it would be best to do one side for the 5 minutes and then the other side for the other 5?

Thanks again.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 14, 2012:

No problem! Chris, you should join HubPages and tell us about program you're on now. Follow this link to get started!

Chris on October 14, 2012:

Awesome, that's what it sounded like. I just have to wait until January, I finish my current program at the end of December and I look forward to starting this one and being able to eat a lot again. Haha. Thanks man.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 14, 2012:

For size, One a day is right. Rest well on those and listen to your body on the recovery aspect. Muscle is built when you are at rest, not a the gym.

Chris on October 14, 2012:

Yeah, that makes sense. Hell of a circuit too. I am actually in a cutting phase doing Tabata cardio, with plenty of experience in HIIT workouts in the past, so I'll probably be fine. Can't know until I try it though.

And for further clarification, for the bulking workouts, are those one a day? Doing all of those in a day seems like overkill and a few hours in the gym.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 14, 2012:

Chris, here's what I'd do if I were me (because I don't know you well enough to say if I were you!) At the park, because I don't train at the gym anymore, I'd do the first circuit. After that take a breather. Am I completely smoked, fried, destroyed? If the answer is yes, I'd "cool down" with some hanging leg raises and call it a day. For my next session, I'd shoot for doing the first and third circuit and finish again with Hanging Leg Raises. I'd continue at that pace until I have enough gas to do all 3 in one shot at my pace. Does that help?

Chris on October 14, 2012:

So you would do all 3 circuits at one gym session?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 13, 2012:

Chris, work at you pace but ultimately the goal should be all 3 circuits in the Fat Loss stage. Work up to it, switch up the exercises if needed. Let me know what kind of results you see...

Chris on October 13, 2012:

Hey man, great article. Quick question though, mostly for clarification. For the fat burning phase with the circuits, do we just do one a day? It seems like the way to go, because doing all is likely to destroy a person. Thank you

kjrzeek1 from New Jersey, USA on March 29, 2012:

Wow. Good hub, I am going to give those a try. Right now I am cutting weight for a couple of obstacle course runs, but after that I will use these workouts to put some size back on for the summer. Thanks.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on January 02, 2012:

Berali, 90 minutes should be your cap. Meaning, try not to train at this intensity level for more than 90 minutes in 0ne shot. If you can finish in less time, that's OK.

Berali on January 01, 2012:


I'm not sure how workout #3 takes takes up 90 or even 60 minutes.

Can you clarify that? How many minutes should each workout last (an average)?


BestAbsWorkouts on July 25, 2011:

I love these before and after pics of actors who build muscle for films. Man,that takes some hard work - although they never tell us how long they do it for. I'm sure it took a lot of eating and some heavy lifting. But the problem for the actors and us normal folks is keeping the shape once it's been achieved - did you see the pic of the 300 guy after he finished the film? Man did he lose shape quickly!

Lielianjie on June 17, 2011:

Ok I'll try to stick to the workout without add extra exercises.

I'll do it slower and try to do it perfectly. I let you know.

Thanks for your answer :)

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on June 17, 2011:

Leilianjie, I hear your concern and I know what you mean. This week, try performing just the workout prescribed, use the correct load (weight) and perform each set slowly and with absolute perfect form and see what that does for you...

Lielianjie on June 16, 2011:

I understand what you mean but for instance, there are only 2 exercises in the workout 3. How 4 rounds of reps for those 2 exercise can be done in 1h30 of training ?

What I mean is if I stick to those only 2 exercises, I done it in maybe 30min or 45. You know what I mean ? This is why I added some some curl and some shoulders exercises for this workout. Maybe I'm wrong.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on June 16, 2011:

Lielianjie, week 4 should be a repeat of week 1. Hopefully you've gotten a little stronger and can add some weight.

I would also like to encourage you to stick to the program as best as possible. "More" is not necessarily better. Keep in mind muscle is built when the body is at rest, not in the gym. If you feel you need to add more exercises, I'd suggest finding safe ways to increase the intensity of the prescribed drills from the workout. Slow down the speed of the repetitions and see what that does for you!

Sorry for any confusion, let me know how this helps.

Lielianjie on June 15, 2011:

Hi David.

So war, the training is good, I'm starting my third week and I can say my body has already changed. I go with the 6 times a week workout for doubling every workout. I also add some extra exercice for each body part.

But I have a question. I don't understand the 4th week. You said we have to low the reps to 4 to 6 like the first week but the weight have to be lighter than the 3rd week. Is that normal ?

And if i understand correctly, on the 5th week I realy restart the cycle like the first week wich mean low reps and max weight.

In fact I just don't understand the 4th week.

Thanks for your anwser.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on May 26, 2011:

Leillianjie, best of luck and please do post your results. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised!

Lielianjie on May 26, 2011:

One more thing, In Men's fitness, Michael Knight says Chris maxed out on the bench press at 159 Kg and if I understand, the 1st and 5th week are the more heavy weeks.

He was skinny so how can it be possible to raise 159kg one the 1st week ? Ok I guess thoses numbers are from the fith week but still !

Well, I never tied to push so hight weight in so fex reps. Maybe I'll surprised myself :)

Lielianjie on May 26, 2011:

Thanks for the anwser. I'll beguin this program on monday. I just bought some Syntha 6 today because I don't want to take so much fat for the builk up part.

I'm very motivated so I'll beguin with the 3 first days in a row and if I feel my body welly recovered I'll try to push on 6 days.

I'm not so sure about the weekly workout frequences. I guess I'll figurit out how my body will response.

Anyway, I'll post again in 3 mounths when I'll look like Thore :D

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on May 26, 2011:

Lielianjie, Thank you for chiming in and asking a question. You'll soon discover that every exercise (especially Kettlebell exercises) will work the mid section. Chris already had "abs" to begin with so I don't think any direct ab work was necessary. Keep in mind well defined abs are more about diet than crunches. Also, there's lighting and photoshop in movies to enhance the images.

As far as the bulking time. Do each workout at least once a week. My suggestion here is to listen to your body and measure your recovery time. Start training every other day and go from there. Some people will have great success at just 3 days a week, others at 6 times a week. The most important part is you getting the time your body needs to fully recover and grow.

Let me know if that helps!

Lielianjie on May 26, 2011:

Hi there !


First of all thank you for this page :)


I have few questions thougth.


I don't see any abs exercices in his workout. Did he worked abs during the kettlebell part ? Because he have some freaking abs ! Before he get started, he already had a flat balley witch I don't honestly so I realy wondering if kettlebell workout will be enough for abs... (never practice kettlebell yet).


Also, I don't realy understand how many time, for the bulk up part, I have to go to gym. Cause there is 3 workouts sessions so do I need to go 3 times a week or 6 times and double each workout?


Thanks you for your anwsers.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on May 23, 2011:

Thank you Mos! Glad you liked it!!! When you see how skinny he was, it's amazing how good training and a solid nutrition program can take you to a completely new level.

Chris Montgomery from Irvine, CA on May 23, 2011:

Nice job David! Thanks for putting together a thorough evaluation of the Thor routine. What a transformation he went through.