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The henry cavill Workout: How superman Got so Jacked on Set

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I’m sure you were thinking the same thing I was when Henry Cavill first went shirtless in Superman. “Holy fuck.” Excuse my language, but the guy is enormous, and it’s not CGI.

A personal friend of mine, Michael Volkin of strengthstack52.com was lucky enough to attend the movie premiere and took it upon himself to find out exactly how Henry Cavill got so jacked for his new role. Luckily, he decided to share what he found with me, so I could pass them along to you good people.

So if you are into getting big, sit back and take notes, because Henry did it right.

key takeaways

  • Henry Cavill’s intense Superman workout: functional training, kettlebells, and dedication.
  • Start slow, prioritize recovery, and warm up for better results.
  • Henry’s diet: 5000 calories/day, 1.5g protein/lb bodyweight, essential supplements.
  • Mental toughness matters; self-improvement needs dedication and rest.

Functional Training

Functional training is a classification of exercise that involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. This was the chosen training method of Henry’s trainer, Mark Twight.

the superman workout

But while the goal in 300 was to uncover muscle group, leaving King Leonidas looking ripped to shreds, the goal in Superman was to pack pounds of mass onto Henry’s frame. And that’s exactly what the Henry Cavill Superman Workout does.

Henry trained for 6 days a week with Sundays off, 2 – 2.5 hours a day, and his workouts were as intense as they get. He wasn’t doing two sets of curls with a minute rest between before moving on to the 10 minutes of bench press.
NASM CPT, Content Manager | Menprovement

He wasn’t doing 2 sets of curls with a minute rest between before moving on to the 10 minutes of bench press. He was using kettlebells, Olympic rings and putting in the grueling effort. If you want results, you have to put in the work. Period.

The Henry Cavill Superman Workout

Here is the full Henry Cavill Superman workout. Credit workout routine to popworkouts.com. For a full printable PDF version of the routine just click the button below. 👇


Before starting the workout, there are a lot of things you need to understand, no matter how experienced you are.

1) Start slow

Start slow and work your way up to the full workout. There is no point in getting injured.

2) Take days off if you need

When Henry first started this workout, he took extra days off when he needed them. He is not literally Superman, and neither are you. Listen to your body and take a break if you need to.

Mark Twight has his actors do ‘active recovery.’ Active recovery means that if you’re gonna take a day off, you still have to do an hour of very light cardio to promote recovery. A simple light jog or walk will do the trick.

Before you start your workout plan, it is extremely important to warm up. This shit is intense, and there is no point in going hard without a warm-up and having to spend a month in bed with a torn hamstring.

#1 Monday: Total Body Workout

ExerciseRepsSetsRest Time
Kettlebell Squat 52x30
Two-hand kettlebell swing102x30
Front Squat25430
Box Step Up15330
Deck Squats31530
Frog Hops201/
Bear Crawl40m130
Man Makers32030

#2 Monday: Upper Body Chest / Shoulder Workout

ExerciseRepsSetsRest Time
Any Cardio Machine10min160
Rowing Machine10min130
Bench Press10630
Military Push-ups12430
Arnold Press12430
Assisted Push Press25230
Hammer Curls12430
Plank Push-up45 sec2/
DB OH Hold45 sec2/
KB Swings45 sec2/
Dead Hangs45 sec2/
Ball Slams45 sec2/
Wall Sits45 sec2/

#1 Tuesday: Upper Body and Back

ExerciseRepsSetsRest Time
Push Press20130
Burpee Pull-up20130
Push Press10130
Burpee Pull up12130
Wall Ball50330
Ball Slam50330
Plank Push-up45 sec2/
DB OH Hold45 sec2/
KB Swings45 sec2/
Dead Hangs45 sec2/
Ball Slams45 sec2/
Wall Sits45 sec2/

Dirty 30′s

Do the following 4 exercises, you have 1 minute to complete each. Find a number of reps that’s challenging for you to do in 50 secs. Then, in the other 2 sets try to continue to get everything done in under a minute. The idea is to reward you, if you move fast, by giving you some rest. But, it gets harder as you go longer. Use the remaining time to rest. 3 sets.)

  • Sled Pulls 
  • Chinups
  • Burpees
  • Situp Medicine Ball Throws
Pro Tip:

To do the sled pulls, Henry placed his kettlebells in the sled. You can use rocks or whatever you want if you have a sled available. Most CrossFit gyms have this kind of equipment.

#2 Tuesday: Legs

ExerciseRepsSetsRest Time
Wall Squat5330
Goblet Squats5330
Walking Lunges (with sandbag)20m330
Split Jumps20330
Dead Stop Back Squat2130
Explosive Triple Broad Jump21Full rest
Box Jump + Explosive Box step-up30 sec4/
Jump Squat + Quick Step30 sec4/
Kettlebell Swings (50 lb, 23kg)Failure//
Farmer HoldsFailure5180

#1 Wednesday: Back And Biceps

Row5 min1Moderate
Barbell/dumbell Speed Circuit2min
Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row6//
Hi-Pull From Floor6//
Push Press6//
Upright Row6//
Bicep Curl6//

#2 Wednesday: Deadlift workout

Deadlift (65%)4430
Deadlift (75%)2230
Deadlift (65%)8130
Heavy Kettlebell Lunge8130
Kettlebell Ladders
Kettlebell Swing (Each set heavier)1010/
Goblet Squat (Each set heavier)6//
Back Squat (Each set heavier)6//
Kettlebell Push Press (Each set heavier)6//
Wall Ball (Each set heavier)6//
Ball Slam (Each set heavier)6//

The ladders in the Henry Cavill workouts challenge you by combining olympic lifts with metabolic activity. This is really the signature of Gym Jones workouts.

You work yourself to the brink at both an aerobic and anaerobic level. Add in the fact that it’s a functional workout, and now you know why Mark Twight is the person to go to for a superhero workout.
NASM CPT, Content-manager | Menprovement

#1 Thursday: Upper Body

Push-ups Into Side Plank25330
Military Push Press20130
Arnold Press12430
Squat Assisted Push Press25230
Pull-up (Ladder)5330
Dead Hangs300sec(if needed)/
Kettlebell Ladders
Kettlebell Swing (Each set heavier)1010/
Goblet Squat (Each set heavier)6//
Back Squat (Each set heavier)6//
Kettlebell Push Press (Each set heavier)6//
Wall Ball (Each set heavier)6//
Ball Slam (Each set heavier)6//

Dirty 30′s

Do the following four exercises; you have 1 minute to complete each.

Find a number of reps that are challenging for you to do in 50 seconds. Then, in the other two sets, try to continue to get everything done in under a minute.

The idea is to reward you, if you move fast, by giving you time to rest. But it gets harder to do it all in under a minute as you go on. Use the remaining time to rest. 3 sets.

  • Sled Pulls
  • Chinups
  • Burpees
  • Situp Medicine Ball Throws

#2 Thursday: Legs

Wall Squat (warm-up)5330
Front Squats (Body-weight)100160
Goblet Squat (kettlebell)5330
Walking Lunges (weighted with sandbags)20m330
Split Jumps20330
Dead Stop Back Squat (80%)1160
Explosive Triple Broad Jump2530
Box Jump + Explosive Box Step-up60430
Kettlebell Swings (50 lb, 23kg)Failure460
Farmer Holds (65%)15300

#1 Friday: Upper Body

Rowing machine (warm-up)10min1180
Bench Press (alternating arm, with kettlebells if you can)10660
Military Push Press12430
Man-Makers (with dumbbells)45sec1/
Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)45sec1/
Squat Assisted Push Press45sec1/
Hammer Curls45sec1/
Kettlebell Swings (50 lb, 23kg)45sec1120

Tailpipe Workout

This workout is called “Tailpipe” because when you’re done, you feel like you’re sucking on a “Tailpipe” of a vehicle.

Sounds fun, right?

250-meter Rowing machine, as fast as you can go, heavy resistance.
Kettlebell Rack Hold with 53kg.

Credits: National Guad

What Mark Twight likes to do is have people partner up.

So, Henry Cavill will do the 250-meter row while his trainer is holding the kettlebell. Then Henry Cavill and his trainer, Mark Twight, switch places. Finally, repeat each exercise for a total of 3 sets of each exercise.

#2 Friday: Sparrow’s Dozen

Medicine Ball Slam121260

You may not get all 12 rounds to start. Do as many as you can to start. Perfect your form, then worry about getting in the entire number of reps of the workout.

Now that you’re done with Sparrow’s Dozen, do 60 reps of each (Break down into 3 sets of 20 if you need):

  • 60 Sit-Ups
  • 60 V-Ups
  • 60 Reverse Crunches

#1 Saturday: Cardio/Legs

Air Squat20360
Jump Squat10360
Goblet Squat (Kettlebell5360
Front Squats100160
Box Step-up153
Deck Squats153
Split Jump + Bear Crawl20 + 50m1120
Burpee + Bear Crawl20 + 30m3120

#2 Saturday: Upper body

Bench Press (alternating arm, with kettlebells)60sec330
Resisted Rope Pull60sec330
Slosh Pipe Hold OH60sec330
Resisted Rope Pull60sec330
Arnold Press (The Henry Cavill workout used alternating, one hand dumbbells)60sec330
Barbell Corner Row60sec330
Paralette Push-up60sec330

The Superman Diet

The henry cavill Workout: How superman Got so Jacked on Set 1

In the movie project, we have control of the diet, because if we don’t, then the training doesn’t matter. It’s that simple. If a guy is training with us in the gym five times a week for 2 hours, that leaves 158 hours for him to fuck everything up if left to his own devices.” – Mark Tight

Henry’s diet while preparing for the role of Superman was strict, as anyone trying to gain mass of shreds up should be. But exactly how many calories was Henry taking in per day during his bulking phase?

I’m on 5000 calories a day… You’ve got to eat whey protein first, then a few carbs…you’ve gotta keep your hunger levels going,”…” 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.

– Henry Cavill

5000 calories is a lot to be eating for a beginner. Adjust this based on your personal weight (you can do that here). These calories are not coming from fast food either. To keep your body performing at its best and (body) fat at a minimum, get your calories from fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, proteins, and good carbs.

Also, when building mass, a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is required. But with this workout, aim for 1.5 grams.

Good whey protein sources include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)

Still unsure of what to eat? Start here: Free Superman Bulking Diet Meal Plan (PDF).


henry cavill muscle tech supplement

Mark Twight does not believe in a single weight loss supplement. He also was against things like pre workout and protein shakes in general. Since the same effects could be achieved by using natural things.

As far as the supplementation goes, Henry used the following:

1) Basic Multivitamin

A lot of fruit and vitamin supplements

2) A lot of essential fatty acids

He was going through Udo’s Oil in liter volume—a probiotic to help digest that fat intake that he had

3) Magnesium

The magnesium, a product called Calm, he would drink at night to coast into sleep.

4) Protein powder

Henry Cavill drinks at least one protein powder shake per day (2scoops of around 30g). Henry Cavill also promotes Muscle Tech grass fed whey protein powder.

Mark is so against supplements he actually called Henry before the training began and asked him if he would like to use HGH or steroids to get where he wanted to be.

Henry said no, and Mark responded, good if you had said yes I wouldn’t have trained you. This also plays into the psychological side of things which is covered in the next point.



Above all the training, nutrition & supplementation, the psychological aspect of this kind of training is the most important.

The training has been a journey of discovery, just like Superman’s journey of discovery. Superman learned how to fly. I learned I could do all sorts of things in the gym, which I never thought was possible. It’s not just the physical things, but a psychological thing as well.

– Henry Cavill

You’re going to have to get mentally tough if you want to complete these workouts. Some days Mark Twight said that if he could tell the actors were losing steam he would have an entire workout just consisting of conversation. 2 Hours of how they felt & what they were thinking to ensure their mental health stayed right.

Most likely, you don’t have a trainer to do this, so remember:

  • It’s not going to be easy
  • You’re going to want to quit
  • There are no shortcuts
  • You will feel amazing when you look in the mirror and see the man you want to

All self-improvement begins in the mind. Listen to yourself, stay strong & push through.

Final Notes

This workout takes a toll on your life. If you go for it, that’s awesome, and you will see the benefits of your hard work. But keep these final things in mind before you start.

1) If you need to decrease muscle soreness: take a day off

Rest is the most important aspect of the training side. Your muscle group is becoming stronger while you are sleeping and resting, and without them, you will not last long. On days of recovery, do an hour of light cardio. Or if you really feel you need to decrease muscle soreness, just do nothing. We all know how you feel after the first leg day in months.

“I’d rather see you guys recover better and work less total volume…Then, the guy who goes at it every single day, and whose performance gets worse, and worse, and worse. Because he doesn’t pay attention to recovery, he doesn’t get enough sleep, he doesn’t get enough water or calories.” – Mark Twight

2) Sleep 8 hours a night

If you are putting in all this hard work and not sleeping at night, you are a fool. Enough said.

3) Have fun

Enjoy this shit.

Don’t feel as if you have to do it, but do it because you want to be a better man, and get jacked out of your mind.

Remember, never think of self-improvement as work. It may take time, but the mindset will develop and it becomes addictive. That’s when things get interesting.

So if you’ve got what it takes, give this workout a shot and let us know how it goes in the comment section! I would love to hear some good motivational stories.

Sources & Resources:

1) Popworkouts.com – Where we found the workout & hundreds of other workouts
2) Bodybuiling.com – Mark Wright
3) Strengthstack52.com – Michael Volkin inspired the creation of this article
4) Henrycavillsupermanworkout.com – Diet plan
5) The Superman Workout – Printable PDF
6) Free Weeklong Superman Bulking Diet Meal Plan (PDF)


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