Tom Hardy is an actor who is not only known for his acting skills, but also his sculpted body. From Bane to Bronson, he has a well built physique that shows off his trademark round shoulders and thick chest. You know the one we are talking about.
It is not uncommon for an actor to go from slim to bulked up for a variety of roles, but have you ever noticed how Hardy seems to do this so effortlessly? His broad shoulders and strong back are always ready for whatever film he has to shoot next.
The film Warrior is no exception. In it he played Tommy Riordan, who is trained by his father to fight against his brother during a mixed martial arts tournament (MMA). For the role he had to become lean, yet make sure he had swift movement.
Most of the preparation Hardy does for his work is a combination of heavy strength and explosive training, the kind you do over a quick period of time to get results fast. Whole body compound movements are needed for a strong core and to help up his muscular endurance so he can move about easily for his roles.
There are three key areas that Tom Hardy focuses on when it comes to training: strength, athleticism and endurance. All these areas create a visual aspect that he works towards, depending on what character he is about to play.
Doing so means he can target those key areas within his training because he knows it works, time and time again when having to change his appearance dramatically, and in a short space of time.
For his role in Warrior, he worked with personal trainer, Patrick ‘Pnut’ Monroe. He stated that the routine they worked on for 10 weeks was called ‘signaling’. This involved Monroe sending constant signals to Hardy’s body so that it would adjust in the direction he was pointing towards.
This meant that Hardy did not burn out, and instead has helped his body to adapt to each set individually, rather than doing more in one go. So perhaps a few press ups every hour instead of 100 in a single burst.
Even so, his workout (which lasted around 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 10 full weeks) was pretty intense. It meant he could hopefully gain around 28lbs of muscle without the use of steroids.
Now, that is pretty impressive! Obviously, the majority of us could never do something like this due to fitting it around our work schedule, so it may seem impossible to you, but there are ways to find alternative ways to train to achieve a similar look over a longer period of time. We shall get into that later.
According to his production notes for the set of Warrior, his training program went something like this:
- Two hours of kickboxing and muay thai
- Two hours of boxing
- Two hours of choreography
- Two hours of heavy lifting
As stated before, there are ways to achieve a Tom Hardy-like look without wearing yourself out. So read on to find out how.
Should You Intense Train
There are many reasons why an actor will need to intensely train ready for a film, but what about if you decided to follow in his footsteps. Is it better?
The answer is no. When an actor goes all-in for a film, he usually has a trained professional watching his every move and probably counting every calorie, which you will probably not have.
Overtraining is something a lot of people are guilty of, and sometimes social pressures can be the culprit. How many times have you wanted to exercise more than somebody else, or felt that you are simply not doing enough? It is easily done.
Overtraining can also lead to a major burnout resulting in adding terrible stress to the body, and even affecting other areas of your life such as relationships, work and daily activities. It will also mean lack of exercise, which goes against what you were doing in the first place.
Is Workout Stress Failure?
Absolutely not. Just like with everything else, we will fail and we probably will workout too much. Our bodies are complex and we can only take so much.
You will find that your muscles will start to seriously ache and the body will become tired. This is a sign to have a rest and get back to exercise when you are ready, both mentally and physically.
So, to put it simply, training as intensely as Tom Hardy probably is not the way to go, and anyway, what is the rush? Enjoy getting in some reps and feeling how your body responds to new ways of training.
Exercises To Try
Even though you are probably not going to join multiple different sports groups and spend hours exercising (because we all know we are not Mr.Hardy who has a crazy, almost inhuman-like training schedule), there are a number of activities you can do to bulk up that muscle the next time you are at the gym.
The main thing you will be after is to concentrate on exercises that will help you to build a wider frame. Movements such as press-ups in varying positions will work on your chest, shoulders and triceps, whilst leg lifts will work towards a six pack.
If you are looking to get a thicker neck, then slow controlled shrugs are your best bet. Performed correctly, give a hard squeeze at the top of the movement isolating your taps. Remember to concentrate on slow and controlled movement.
People do the deadlift because it is a perfect all-rounder for the body to build strength and muscle. It is also great for the trapezius muscles, giving you that trademark Tom Hardy neck. It is also good to help build strong glutes and hamstrings, so will also work on the lower part of the body too.
Bridges are a great way to work three areas: hamstrings, glutes and the abdominal muscles. Lying on a mat, put your feet on the ground with your knees bent and your hands twisted behind your shoulders, palms down.
Straighten your arms to help lift your hips off the floor. The next step is then to place your hands next to your head and push your head and upper back off the floor. You will really feel it!
Whether you love them or hate them, squats are one of those movements that work well on building lower strength and creating a balanced physique.
To really feel the benefits, remember to perform the squat movements with real depth, keeping those thighs at most parallel to the floor.
Presses are great for bulking up the chest and shoulder muscles, so combine different exercises to feel the full effect. You can do this with barbells, a dumbbell incline, shoulder presses or even a machine.
Most of us do a press-up in our routines because they work on different parts of the body such as your chest, triceps and shoulders – three areas that Tom Hardy will train heavily.
There are also multiple ways to do a press-up, such as hands shoulder width apart, hands wider than shoulder width and so forth.
It is no surprise that you are going to want to build a big, strong back in the hope it will be somewhat similar to Hardy’s.
You can try so many variations such as t-bar row, bent over row, seated row or dumbbell row. It is extremely versatile.
According to Tom Hardy, he used leg lifts with a weight between his feet to get the six pack you see in the film.
Otherwise referred to as reverse crunches for when you raise your legs from the floor all the way to your face, it is a fantastic exercise for the stomach.
If you want to try a strong compound movement (which is pivotal if Tom Hardy is your inspiration), then a bench dip is the answer. It will work the triceps, deltoids, pectorals, rhomboids and lats.
If you want to increase the intensity, just add a few weights on your lap whilst you complete a rep.
Whilst sitting on the ground with your legs straight leaning against a bench, use the bench to lift yourself off the ground until your arms become straight. Lower yourself back down until your shoulders align with your elbows. Repeat.
Conditioning Your Body
Now that you have thought about the general movement of specific areas, let’s not forget about the full conditioning of the body with activities such as cycling intervals, battle ropes, kettle bells – you name it.
These are not only good for the body, but also the cardiovascular system. They also add variety to your training whilst giving your body a good conditioning overall. Also, they help to burn calories and will ultimately help towards that lean body you are hoping for.
If you want to give your body a serious workout, then think about doing the conditioning training as high-intensity exercises with work-rest intervals. It will make your training sessions more fun and give you an all-round workout.
How Many Times A Week To Exercise?
There is no point trying to be too intense with your workouts 7 days a week like Tom Hardy and suffering burnout due to exhaustion, so instead, aim for around 3 days a week to aid recovery.
Because you will be working on major areas such as the chest, shoulders and back, give yourself at least 48 hours to recover. With this in mind, aim to only exercise those areas twice a week, keeping the third one free from training those areas.
Tom Hardy’s Approach To Diet
Not only did Hardy bulk up, but he also had to look lean for the role. This meant that he had to really think about the type of food he was eating alongside his exercise, and how much.
His biggest goal was to put on weight and turn that into muscle. To achieve this, you have to eat more calories than you need to make your body bigger, and in doing so it will help the body to form new tissue.
Now that does not mean you get to eat a lot of candy every day – absolutely not! Instead, protein is the main food source you are after. It will help with building of the muscle. Hardy stated that his meal prep for the film was basically protein and broccoli with rice.
If this is something you are looking to try, then a good rule of thumb is to keep your daily caloric intake around 1g every 1lb of body weight.
So, What Should I Eat?
Most of us stick to the recommended 3 square meals a day, but for Tom Hardy, it was 6 meals a day to help him bulk up. They contained complex carbohydrates – think oats, chicken and fish – and he kept carbs relatively low.
The nutritional value of lean proteins are important when considering bulking up and wanting to look shredded.
Some of the meals he would eat are:
- 6-8 egg whites with a cup of oatmeal
- 2 grilled chicken breast, brown rice and green veggies
- A protein shake (as one of his 6 meals)
What We Can Learn From Tom Hardy’s Workout?
Even though he looks absolutely awesome in pretty much any role he does, the most important thing to remember is that when he goes into beast mode to train, he is trying to achieve a specific look.
As non-actors, we have the luxury of wanting to keep fit and look good without the pressure of extreme intense training and having to look like X, Y and Z.
However, the body is a wonderful thing, and seeing Hardy transform from one type of body to the next is incredible.
The way he can train and achieve something in so little time may seem a little over-the-top, but to be able to achieve that in a short space of time takes effort and dedication.
Summing It Up
- Exercise at a high intensity a few times a day
- Eat more calories than you need – protein is a must
- Do compound exercises, especially if you want a bigger back and shoulders
Hardy’s workout might seem a bit more intense than your average gym session, especially for workout newbies, but taking elements from his training can help you to develop your fitness long-term.
It is also good if you desire a leaner body with bulk, and have in the past struggled with finding your feet training-wise.