Superhero movies have been popular ever since Superman first appeared on our screens. But somehow I have a feeling that this year is going to be the biggest ever for the genre. And love them or loathe them, what can’t be denied is the amazing physical shape that our favourite actors and actresses have to get into in order to portray the world’s most famous comic book characters.
You see, while it might come naturally to them in the comics, in the real world actors have to put in massive amounts of time and effort to accurately portray their characters. And it isn’t just like bulking up for any role – these characters have to have muscles of supernatural proportions, despite being played by mere mortals.
It’s funny, you don’t imagine this being a massive part of drama school but the crossover between acting and physical fitness is growing. We’ve had physically fit actors for a long time now, whether it’s Bruce Lee or Arnold Schwarzenegger but now actors have to be able to master the art of bulking and cutting as well as any other gym member.
So how do you go about replicating superhuman strength? That many actors are doing it now that you’d think it would be easy. Needless to say it isn’t, even if some of them can build and ship weight in what seems to be a matter of months.
The assumption is that they focus on getting the torso right because that is where everyone looks at during the film. But if you actually saw Batman and Superman before they had trained their legs then you would realise that something doesn’t look right. Ryan Reynolds, for example, in getting ready to play Deadpool would do walking lunges with 45kg weights just to make sure the lower-half of his body looked as appropriate for the role as his top-half!
Superhero films are unique in that you often have at least two actors that have had to get in great shape. What that means is they need to look right against each other. Seeing Batman completely overwhelm Superman just wouldn’t look right on the screen and that applies to most of these combinations. And this is where the training differs from normal health and fitness. Imagine trying to train if you had to make sure that you were not only hitting your targets, but also staying proportionately identical to your training partner. Well that’s what happens with these films!
The basic principles behind these transformations remains the same though. When bulking we see an increase in carbs and the calorie intake of these actors can go upwards of 5000! Then when they cut back down they switch to a more protein-rich diet and bring that calorie count right down.
So no, it probably isn’t best to try and replicate these workouts exactly but consulting them will give you an idea of how to achieve each specific body type.