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How Did Hugh Jackman Get So Freakin Jacked in The Wolverine?

If you saw The Wolverine last week, which has raked in a healthy $300+ million worldwide thus far, you might have noticed that Hugh Jackson is preposterously ripped. Sure, Wolvie has dynamite healing powers and an adamantium skeleton, but how did actor Jackson get in such good shape?

hugh2The answer is some serious gym time. Unlike Henry Cavill in the new Man of Steel, who used mostly CrossFit-style training, Jackson sought out the services of David Kingsbury, a noted personal trainer for movie stars, and committed to a 6-month regimen of progressive overload weight training combined with cardio sessions and a hardcore diet.

This training plan had the X-Men actor in the gym three hours a day, with a low intensity cardio session first, followed immediately by weight training, with another cardio session in the afternoon. Diet was strictly controlled and one of the keys was the morning cardio and strength had to be done on an empty stomach to maximize fat burning. Brutal!

For the strength sessions, they used four primary lifts: Bench press, back squat, weighted pullups, and deadlifts. All workouts also included a variety of supplemental lifts and abdominal work.

For cardio sessions, your boy Logan would do either brisk walking, xtrainer, or spin bike for low intensity, with high intensity taking place on the rower or with sled work.

Their progressive overload system was basically taking a percentage of your 1 rep max and increasing the percentages over the course of three weeks, with the fourth week of the cycle being a higher rep, lower weight de-load week. Repeat in 4 week cycles for maximum ripped-ness.

Here’s an example of day 1, week 1, where they would do bench press for 4 sets of 5 reps: (also included a variety of supplemental lifts with varying rep schemes)

• 5 reps @ 60% of working max
• 5 reps @ 65% of working max
• 5 reps @ 75% of working max
• 5 reps @ 75% of working max

Cardio for day 1 might be 45 minutes of easy spinning on the bike. On Saturday when there was no weight session, Jackman would do sled sprints in the parking lot. The sled was a big component of training and where most of the HIIT-style training happened.

The physical training sounds tough, but the diet had to be even tougher. Jackman would each oats and berries with a protein shake after the morning sessions, then turkey and veggie stir fry for a snack, chicken breast with snap peas and asparagus for lunch, trail mix for another snack, then tuna steak with broccoli and cauliflower for dinner, and another shake before going to bed. There wasn’t a lot in the way of carbs or variety. It paid off handsomely, though, as Jackman ha admitted to being in the best shape of his life leading to and during the movie. The results speak for themselves.

Supplements included:

5-10g BCAA’s pre and post-workout (to combat catabolic effect of empty stomach workouts)
L-carnitine
Animal Pump pre-workout
ZMA for recovery and sleeping

Want to get the full training plan? Check out David Kingsbury’s site or this excellent post on popworkouts.com that summarizes everything.

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About Lance Lance is a tech geek by day, social artist and fitness enthusiast by night. He specializes in relationships in real life situations, such as workplace and in business, and his goal is to create high value social circles filled with opportunity. For more on his dating and relationship perspective, check out his blog honeyandlance.com

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