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Hugh Jackman’s ‘Days of Future Past’ 5-Day Routine

The man behind Wolverine dialed up his training yet again for the latest X-flick. Here’s a full week of Hugh Jackman's program, straight from his trainer.

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  • 5 days

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Hugh Jackman
20th Century-Fox/Getty Images
Hugh Jackman
20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

This feature originally appeared in a 2014 issue of Muscle & Fitness

X-Men: Days of Future Past marks the seventh time Hugh Jackman takes on the role of the uber-jacked, adamantium-clawed mutant Wolverine. Of course, he’s once again in the best shape of his life. Needing to reach peak physical condition for the screen, Jackman doesn’t fall back to training templates that worked for past films, says personal trainer David Kingsbury.

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“I wanted to adapt and improve the previous plan to take Hugh to the next level,” Kingsbury says. “The new plan follows similar principles, but has a couple of major changes from what we did on The Wolverine. This plan utilizes two percentage systems—one aimed at strength, the other with a focus on hypertrophy.”

The following workout represents one week out of the hypertrophy (muscle growth) phase of Jackman’s program. Give it a try, and don’t forget to check out the The Wolverine Workout program that Kingsbury wrote for Jackman when filming 2013’s The Wolverine.

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Before each workout, start here:

  1. Warm up and cool down each day with dynamic stretching and foam rolling.
  2. Perform any exercises labeled A and B as supersets, resting only after exercise B is complete.
  3. For any exercises labeled as “50 Club,” use the following rules:
    • Pick a weight you can use for 12 reps.
    • With a partner, take as many turns as necessary to reach 50 total reps, going to failure on each turn. If you’re training alone, use rest periods no greater than 35 seconds.
    • If you reach more than 12 reps on your first set, it still only counts as 12—this is a clear indicator that you should have gone heavier, so more work is your punishment.
    • The 50 Club isn’t a drop set, so whichever weight you use in the first set is what you need to use for all 50 reps.
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Routine

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Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 41

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
5
Rest
120 sec
Exercise 2 of 41

Barbell Front Squat

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
--
Reps
50 Club
Rest
--
Exercise 4 of 41

Hanging Knee Raise

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 6 of 41

Russian Twist

Equipment
Weight Plates
Sets
4
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
8
Reps
6
Rest
60 sec
Take 4 seconds to lower the weight.
Exercise 8 of 41

General Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
8
Reps
8
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 9 of 41

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 10 of 41

Inverted Row

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
4
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Perform as circuit with 3A-2 & 3A-3. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, then rotate your wrists out so that your palms face away from you before lowering the weight.
Exercise 12 of 41

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Perform as circuit with 3A-1 & 3A-3.
Exercise 14 of 41

Skull Crusher

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
How to
Perform as circuit with 3B-2 & 3B-3.
Exercise 15 of 41

Weighted Dip

Equipment
Ankle Weights, Dip Station
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Perform as circuit with 3B-1 & 3B-3.
Exercise 16 of 41

Narrow Pushup

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
60 sec
How to
Perform as circuit with 3B-1 & 3B-2.

Day 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 17 of 41

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
8
Reps
6
Rest
120 sec
Take 4 seconds to lower the weight.
Exercise 19 of 41

Upright Row and Press

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
50 Club
Rest
--
How to
Use a fixed or loaded EZ Curl bar and pull the weight from your waist to your chin as you would during a normal upright row, then flip your elbows below your wrists and press the weight overhead.
Exercise 20 of 41

Overhead Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
How to
Perform as circuit with 4B & 4C. Perform a normal lateral raise, finishing with the weight as high overhead as you can manage.
Exercise 21 of 41

Weight Plate Front Raise

Equipment
Weight Plates
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Perform as circuit with 4A & 4C.
Exercise 22 of 41

Dumbbell Rear Delt Flye

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Perform as circuit with 4A & 4B.
Exercise 23 of 41

Seated Lateral Raise

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Perform as circuit with 5B, 5C & 5D.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
60 sec
Perform as circuit with 5A, 5B & 5C.

Day 4

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 27 of 41

Barbell Front Squat

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
8
Reps
6
Rest
90 sec
Exercise 28 of 41

Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 30 of 41

Barbell Hack Squat

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
60
Exercise 33 of 41

Windshield Wipers

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
4
Reps
10 each
Rest
60 sec
How to
Lie on the floor with your legs in the air so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your legs left and right, not allowing them to touch the ground; your abs and obliques will have to work overtime to keep them stabilized.

Day 5

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 34 of 41

General Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
8
Reps
6
Rest
--
Take 4 seconds to lower your body.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
8
Reps
8
Rest
60 sec
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8 each
Rest
--
After 8 reps, drop the initial incline a few notches, perform 8 more reps, make one more drop, then hit a final 8 reps. That’s one set.
Exercise 37 of 41

Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
6,6
Rest
60 sec
Perform as drop set.
Exercise 39 of 41

Pushdown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
30 sec
How to
Exercise 41 of 41

Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
60 sec
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