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Since 1938, Clark Kent has been disappearing into phone booths and reappearing a moment later as Superman, proudly wearing an “S” on his chest, ready to save the day. With his broad, boulder shoulders, tight waist (where his red trunks sat way, way too high), and perfectly parted hair, Superman was, and still is, the perfect superhero. But the question remains: How can you get a physique like his? Superman, after all, hails from another planet and didn’t have to toil away for years in pursuit of his perfect physique. He was simply born with it.
But just because you weren’t blessed with Kryptonian genetics doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same out-of-this-world proportions as Superman. Henry Cavill, star of this summer’s Man of Steel, was able to do it. And while you may not have access to an elite trainer and personal chef as Cavill did, you do have a secret weapon just as powerful: this specially designed six-week Muscle & Fitness Man of Steel routine. It’s got everything you need to look like a hero, save for the sweat and determination—that you’ll need to provide. So, grab it and run, not to a phone booth, but to your nearest gym, to become a real-life Man of Steel!
The program is a hypertrophy- and athletic-based protocol designed to give you the V-taper look of Superman, who, like all heroes, has broad shoulders and a tight waist. I often tell clients that if you want your shoulders to appear wider, shrink your waist. And if you want your waist to appear slimmer, develop shoulder width.
This program attacks both solutions (as well as the other supporting factors) through careful exercise selection. Moves like military presses, half Arnolds, and isometric sledgehammer/dumbbell holds will stimulate deltoid growth to build width up top. The waist tightening, so to speak, will be accomplished through side-plank twisting crunches and hip dips and, of course, the classic broomstick twist. The latter is an old-school move that has long been scrutinized, but I’m a firm believer that adipose will not rest in active areas of the body.
The form is simple: Plant the feet together, stand tall, put the bar on your traps, and twist in the transverse plane, initiating all movement from the core.
Because it’s a hypertrophy program, there are only three days of resistance training. In those three days we’ll be aiming to put forth maximal eff ort into every single rep. You’ll also be using a few of my favorite training tactics: supersets, trisets, and quad sets (aka giants sets) in the form of “minicircuits.” If intensity remains high in these circuits, cardio shouldn’t be needed on lifting days.
As for the cardio, these days must be taken just as seriously. It’s your only workout on those days, hence it is the only chance you have to take your metabolism to the next level for the following 24 hours before you get back under the bar. The cardio days have a bit of variation: StairMaster on Day 2, rowing on Day 4, and treadmill work on Day 6. This will keep your body guessing and continuously burning body fat throughout the process.
|Day 1||Shoulders, Plyos, Glutes, Quads|
|Day 3||Back, Rear Delts, Chest, Obliques|
|Day 5||Glutes, Quads, Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Core|
Day 2 Cardio: Fat Burner StairMaster—50 minutes first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, maintaining a heart rate of 150+
Day 4 Cardio: Rowing Machine (Concept2)—30 minutes first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, maintaining a heart rate of 150+
Day 6 Cardio: Treadmill Intervals (following a light breakfast)