Hugh Jackman is ripped beyond belief in The Wolverine, the latest installment in the spin-off series to the X-Men movie franchise. For a guy in his 40’s, Hugh Jackman’s physique puts actors half his age to shame. And, of course, director James Mangold takes advantage of that fact in scene after scene of shirtless Hugh Jackman, undoubtedly intended to help draw the female audience to the tranditionally male dominated comic book action genre. So, if you want to shredded like a mutant, how do you do it? Jackman revealed some of the secrets to his rock hard body.
A superset is a series of two sets of exercises (for example dumbbell bench presses with bent-over dumbbell rows) done alternatively with minimum rest in between. Doing this has a number of benefits. It increases the range of motion for various exercises while allowing different groups to interact in a more natural way as one transitions from one motion to another. After all, how often does one normally dead lift something and just set it right back down? By transitioning into another exercise, the body works more naturally and the muscles respond more evenly.
For Jackman’s workout, rep counts for each set would look something like this: 50-40-30-20-10-5-10-20-30-40-50. That is an insane number of repetitions, but for serious body building the name of the game is reaching every last muscle fiber, and the only way to get all of those slow twitch fibers is through lots of repetitions. While fast twitch fibers can definitely lead to gains, the best way to most fully bulk is by developing both fast and slow twitch fibers, and that means alternating between heavy weights with small numbers of repetitions and lighter weights with larger numbers of reps. And based on those repetition charts, that’s just what Jackman did.
3. Watch your form.
It is essential that you choose weights so that your form is right (ideally, this will lead to muscle failure by the last set). While it may not be as glamorous as lifting the biggest weight in the gym, grunting in a manly fashion, then loudly dropping the weights to reinforce just how heavy they were for all of the girls in short spandex to hear above the roar of their treadmills and headphones, it isn’t the best way to get in superhero shape. Lifting too heavy will hurt your form and could lead to injuries. When you cheat on form, you often begin to either recruit other muscles into the exercise, meaning you aren’t getting as much result with the targeted muscle group, or you begin to shorten the range of motion which harms your ability to reach all of those muscle fibers you want to tweak in order to get bigger. If you begin to notice problems with your form, your best bet is to lighten up a little, master the exercise with more reps at that lower weight, then come back to it later and see if your form hasn’t improved. Focus on the movement rather than missing the set, even if that means doing the exercise with zero weights. Just getting your body used to moving correctly can actually improve your ability to lift heavier weights with proper form. Also, don’t forget that form includes not performing an exercise too quickly. Jerky, overly fast movements with heavy weights are more likely to get you a pull or strained muscle, not a chiseled physique. At a minimum, the exercise should take about 3 seconds as you engage the muscle and 3-5 seconds as you return to the rest position. Don’t rest, though, just bring the weight down to a fraction of an inch above your starting position so that you don’t lose the contraction of the muscle.