Actors in Marvel movies go through intense training regimes to achieve their superhero physiques. The actors always work with personal trainers to help them reach their fitness goals. The training includes various techniques such as weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, and specialized diets.

Aside from the myriad health benefits of regular workouts, actors becoming incredibly shredded for a Marvel movie comes with the territory of being a super-powered savior of humanity. While the MCU could stand to represent a few more body types, faithfully recreating the comic book heroes on the big screen often comes with the caveat of replicating their unfathomably chiseled physiques. While the wonders of CGI can go some way to aiding this, it is all the more impressive to see the results of an actor’s real-world efforts.

Getting fit for a Marvel movie role isn’t all about looks, however. Going toe-to-toe with droves of cannon fodder or some of the Marvel universe’s most accomplished hand-to-hand combatants is an inherently vigorous activity that often requires some real-world preparation. The actors in this list, however, certainly went the extra mile, employing some of the world’s foremost personal trainers and their myriad methods to get into the best shapes of their lives. After all, there aren’t many roles that require the same level of fitness as super-humans and gods.

Exercise is healthy, but the punishing regimes that these professional actors put themselves through were done with the help of experts in a short timeframe. Replicating these results is practically impossible without their resources, and gaining the “superhero physique” should instead be carried out, mindfully, over a much longer span of time.

First Appeared In Captain America: Civil War

Of all the Avengers, Spider-Man is notable for being among the most lithe, meaning Tom Holland’s goal for the role was to maintain a lean figure while avoiding too much bulk. This was the directive given to Holland’s London-based personal trainer, George Ashwell, who aided Holland in gaining 7 kilograms of muscle mass in the space of 6 weeks while training for the role. Among his many applicable attributes, Holland’s background in dance and gymnastics was incredibly conducive to this end, being one of the many Marvel actors more than capable of performing his own acrobatic stunts.

According to Ashwell, Holland’s routine involved an at-home gym and a steady build-up to gaining this mass as his training took place during the course of filming for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The scene in which he changes out of his suit with Ned present is the culmination of his efforts, which entailed Tom Holland using an at-home versa climber and free weights to bulk out. Suffice it to say, thanks to Holland’s active background, he took to the task like a spider-duck to water.

Related: Which MCU Avengers Do Their Own Stunts (Which Never Risk It)?

9 Will Poulter Overcame Injury Before Getting Shredded

First Appeared In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

Will Poulter’s designated personal trainer, Benjamin Carraway, is an expert in helping people recover from exercise-based injuries. Poulter’s journey to getting in shape for his role as a nigh-perfect specimen began with overcoming a torn ACL way back in 2015. What followed was a gentle yet rigorous regime that was mindful of injury and emphasized posture, with 10-12 weeks of intense muscle-building training in the months before filming for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3. Carraway’s next-level methods were, in his own words, carried out with a vision to make Poulter look as close to a “Greek God” as possible. It’s safe to say that they were successful on that front.

8 Chris Evans’ Regime Prepared For One Of The MCU’s Most Iconic Shots

First Appeared In Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve Rogers’ transformation from a slender boy from Hell’s Kitchen to the muscular super-soldier leader of the Avengers necessitated Chris Evans’ real-world pursuit of bulk more so than any other MCU hero. His journey to getting there was pretty cut-and-dry: plenty of protein-laden calories and a three-month stint of high-intensity weight training. His regime for the role was so rigorous that Evans admitted that he even puked at the gym. The results of his efforts, however, saw him piling on 30 pounds of muscle, leading to the now iconic scene in which his serum-enhanced form emerges for the first time from the Vita-Ray Chamber.

7 Chris Hemsworth Needed The Body Of A God

First Appeared In Thor

Aside from perhaps Hulk, whose workout regime consists of unbridled anger, gamma radiation, and a lot of CGI, Thor is one of the first Avengers that springs to mind when it comes to awarding the “most shredded.” Part of what makes Chris Hemsworth so perfectly cast for his MCU role is his dedication to the physical demands of portraying a god. Hemsworth is so shredded that not even the “fat suit” he wore for part of Avengers: Endgame was enough to hide his abs underneath. His results speak for themselves.

Alongside Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth is an example of a superhero actor who seemed to get more shredded with each appearance. Similar to Chris Evans, Thor’s regime, with the help of ex-Navy Seal PT Duffy Gaver, employed an old-school” bodybuilding approach that helped him put on 20 pounds before filming for Thor. As for what his regimes entail, Hemsworth actively shares his routines via his social media accounts.

6 Natalie Portman’s Regime Focussed On Joints

First Appeared In Thor

Thor: Love and Thunder saw Jane Foster embody the role of The Mighty Thor, a role that unsurprisingly demanded a fair amount of athleticism as Natalie Portman portrayed a bona fide superhero for the first time. According to Portman’s head trainer, Naomi Pendergast, the ultimate goal was arm and abdominal definition and the conditioning of joints to cater to the physicality of the role. Portman’s regime would see her ingest vegan protein powder with a daily workout routine that began at 4:30 am five days a week. This would comprise three days of upper body exercises with skipping and running and two days of pilates and stretches to help avoid injuries.

5 Kumail Nanjiani Didn’t Need To Get In Shape – But Did Anyway

First Appeared In Eternals

The most notable part of Nanjiani’s transformation was that it was entirely self-encouraged and not necessary for his role as Kingo in Eternals. After all, the godlike team’s wardrobe wasn’t exactly the spandex typified by street-level heroes, nor would anyone bat an eye at the fact that the energy-slinging immortal wasn’t as bulky as Thor. This didn’t stop Nanjiani from embracing the opportunity to do the classic superhero physique justice, however, as he proceeded to hit the Beverly Hills gym five days a week over the course of a year in the run-up to filming.

According to his personal trainer, Grant Roberts, Nanjiani’s routine began with six months of bulking that included the novel technique of electronic muscle stimulation. This was followed by another half-year of the “sculpting phase,” which was carried out via cable machine. As though the Beverly Hills locale wasn’t enough, Nanjiani also had access to a private chef who took care of his nutritional needs throughout the regime.

4 Michael B. Jordan Wanted To Do Killmonger Justice

First Appeared In Black Panther

The fact that Michael B. Jordan went from portraying boxer Adonis Creed in Creed to asserting that he had to get even bigger to portray Erik Killmonger in Black Panther speaks volumes. Seven days a week, Jordan would train alongside his trainer Corey Calliet, who had every faith that Jordan, of all people, was more than capable of pulling off the work necessary to do the character, who Jordan grew up reading, justice. Jordan proceeded to put on 15-20 pounds of muscle through workouts that focused on chest and shoulders, including dumbbell bench presses, lending itself to the imposing physique put on full display in Killmonger’s pivotal duel with T’Challa.

3 Hugh Jackman Is Still Getting Shredded For Deadpool 3

First Appeared In X-Men

Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine physique is one of the most iconic in superhero movies and a testament to Jackman’s dedication to the role of the berserker superhero. One of the most standout factors in Jackman’s tenure is the fact that he somehow gets even more shredded with each appearance, flying directly in the face of his claims that he is “naturally skinny“. This has stretched so far as Deadpool 3, for which Jackman has shared his preparations in the lead-up to it filming.

To gain Logan’s imposing physique, Jackman revealed that he consumes 6,000 – 8,000 calories, mostly contributed to through the consumption of steamed chicken without salt. For reference, the typical recommended daily calorific intake for an adult man is around 2,500, meaning Jackman more than triples that on a daily basis. To this end, Jackman revealed that timing is everything, consuming all these calories between 10 am and 6 pm, before fasting for the remaining 16 hours. He has also apologized for the sheer number of chickens he has been responsible for consuming (per Today).

2 Brie Larson Pushed A 5,000-Pound Jeep

First Appeared In Captain Marvel

Brie Larson, upon receiving the role of Captain Marvel, didn’t think she was in good enough shape, stating in an interview with Insider, “Marvel doesn’t know that I don’t even know how to walk up a hill without being out of breath.” What followed, however, was a regime so rigorous and effective that she was able to push her personal trainer’s 5,000-pound jeep unaided, which comprised one of many feats that Larson was shocked to find that her body was capable of. Plus, it led to what is now a lifetime adoption of training even outside of her Captain Marvel appearances. Larson’s routine involved setting herself short-term goals, including one-arm pull-ups and push-ups.

First Appeared In Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt’s transformation for the role of Star-Lord was aided by ex-Navy Seal PT, Duffy Gaver, who helped a slew of stars, including MCU co-star Chris Hemsworth. The trainer stated that he was the kind of client that had to be told to have a day off. The 6-month regime in the lead-up to his debut Star-Lord appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy involved the pretty standard fare of high-intensity interval training with a steady diet of chicken breast and broccoli. This, like much of the regimes in this list, was essentially in aid of one shirtless scene in the MCU‘s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

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