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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tom Hardy's Training Routine for The Dark Knight Rises

I make this post out of a sense of duty to my readers. I know how many people scour the web looking for the workouts of celebrities, and follow whatever advice they find to the letter. Unfortunately for them, this advice is always, ALWAYS bullshit, and they end up seeing absolutely no gains, and giving up after a month or so of wasted time. I had a friend once who wanted to look like Ryan Reynolds in Blade: Trinity, so looked up “his” routine online, to find that it suggested starting your workout every day with 200 sit-ups, and then moved on to 3 sets of 20 for dumbbell curls and other similarly ridiculous suggestions. Likewise, whilst on /fit/ a couple of months back, someone posted a link to a site claiming to have Chris Evans’ routine for ‘Captain America’ – and once again, it was little more than a joke. These routines are created by trolls, to try and get out of shape people to waste their time chasing a dream which they will never reach if they follow that advice.

You didn't really think you could reach 4% Bodyfat by eating MacDonalds and doing 200 Sit-ups a day, did you?

But that all changes right here, right now.

So, to kick things off – what’s the most obvious feature when looking at Tom Hardy? What muscles does he have that really define him?

That’s right – his back.

So, taking this as a starting point – how would one go about getting a back like Tom Hardy’s?

Aziz Shavershian (The Zyzz) was quoted as saying to that his favourite exercise was the Deadlift, giving the reason that “This exercise will transform you body if done every week, correctly. Go hard and have fun with them. Notice how you rarely see people deadlift heavy at the gym? Do you also notice how all these people have average physiques? Put 2 and 2 together.”

Pictured: The Zyzz

Clearly, the guy knows what he’s talking about (though, he did also advocate never doing cardio, and we all know how that worked out for him). Not only this – but you can clearly see from the quote, he specifically says that deadlifting HEAVY is the way to go. So, none of this 12 reps for 5 sets crap you do on the leg press or tricep pushdowns – we’re talking about heavy as shit, and very few reps.

Pictured - me Deadlifting 200kg without even bothering to change into my lifting gear (note the crotch bulge)

Obviously, you need to throw in warm-up sets with that – you don’t just instantly go heavy, but here are some ideas for routines:

THE 5x5

Drawing heavily on programs like SS or SL, this is the simplest routine for deadlifting, and great for beginners. Warm-up with whatever weight you’re comfortable with. Say you feel you can Deadlift 120kg for 5 sets of 5, or thereabouts. Warm up with a set of 10-15 at 60kg, maybe another at 80kg, and then maybe drop to a set of 8-10 at 100kg, before progressing on to your 5x5. This mini-pyramid will prepare your muscles for the lift by warming them up correctly, and will also allow you to get used to the weights before you take your max. Alternatively, if you enjoy this build-up to your max, you could always try:


Say you Deadlift 180kg as a 1RM, this routine might work nicely for you:

1 x 20 @ 60kg
1 x 15 @ 80kg

1 x 12 @ 100kg
1 x 8 @ 120kg

1 x 6 @ 140kg

3 x 3 @ 160kg

This would be your build-up to your max set, you could then drop it down and work on lower weights for more repetitions again, essentially working your way back down the pyramid. Or, you could max out, and then go on to do your assistance exercises, such as Overhand Dead-hang chins, lateral raises, hyperextensions, and so on.


This is my personal favourite – and the routine I am on currently. The philosophy is that you pull single reps up as fast as you can, and keep good form throughout. So, for example, you do 2 warm-up sets of 10 at 60 and 80kg, then put on 100kg and do just one rep, pulling as hard and as fast as you can. You then put on 110kg, and do the same, and increase it by a 10kg increment each set until you reach your max, at say 200kg. If you do this routine twice in a week, try and alternate the way you’re pulling. So, for example, add 10kg a session 1 day a week, and aim to finish on a PR (perhaps adding 12.5kg to your final weight, just to improve on your previous best), and the other session go up in 5kg increments, and finish at a lower weight. So, for example, you may deadlift with 10kg increments on Sunday and finish at 200kg, but on Thursday go up in 5kg increments and max out at 185kg. This will not get your back as pumped as doing a routine with high repetitions, but it will certainly make you stronger – and this will allow you to load more weight on your assistance exercises to give you more of a pump. It also massively decreases your likelihood of injury, because you are only doing one rep, so will not strain yourself trying to go beyond your max. I would recommend using an overhand grip with no straps for as long as possible as well, in order to help build your forearms at the same time. Say, use an overhand grip to 170/175, then switch to an over-under grip or put straps on for the last few (if you have a strong grip, stay overhand the whole way).


Another way to hit your back harder is to essentially have poor form on the deadlift. This may seem like a ridiculous suggestion, but it actually works. By poor form, I don’t mean hitching the bar up, bending your arms trying to yank it as it gets above your knees – I mean starting with your chest and arse more or less in a line, and then locking out your legs quickly, so you are essentially doing a stiff legged deadlift. Alternatively, you could of course just do stiff-legged deadlifts after you’ve finished doing your conventional ones to avoid looking like this retard:

But it all depends on how much time you have to spare. The main point I will bring up for deadlifting form is that you should rest the bar on the floor for at least a second between reps to avoid "bouncing". bouncing reps isn't going to help your strength, and will just lead to you injuring yourself. Obviously, if you intend to follow the singles routine, you can ignore this, but for any other routine - make sure the bar has stopped on the floor before you start to lift again, and make sure you lock out fully at the top!

So that’s the main part of the back done. But, of course, you’ve all noticed by now what’s really impressive about Hardy’s physique:

His traps. There are many ways to work the traps, from shrugs to standing on the calf press machine and pushing it up with your traps rather than your calves, to even buying one of these:

Don't search for Head Harness on Google images with Safe Search off if you're at work - you get 19 BDSM / Gimp mask images, and this guy.

But remember, deadlifting will help improve them, so only do these exercises as assistance after your deadlifts. There is fuck all point in completely exhausting your traps every day of the week, and then deadlifting like shit. Whilst John Broz advocates squatting every single day to see the best gains, bear in mind that this is a guy who has trained for years and is on the juice – for a beginner, training every day is just pointless, in the same way that a 5-day split will essentially be pointless, because compound exercises will work better for you. Throw in a Squat session after one of your deadlift days, and a bench session after the other, and take the rest of the week off, and you’ll be riding high, my friends. Pick suitable assistance for each: Dips and Overhead press on Bench days, for example, and just do what works best.

As long as it isn't Dat Dere Frog Tech...

Also, remember that diet is key – don’t just eat shit constantly, try and get the right amount of protein and calories in your diet. I’m guessing most of the people interested in following this will be bulking, so remember to eat a surplus of calories, with a high quantity of good protein. Chicken Breasts and Whey are awesome, but you can eat KFC as long as you factor it into your meal plan properly. There is some suggestion you should eat lots of small meals rather than a few big ones to help your metabolism, but as far as I know this may just be bro science. It probably is worth doing just so you never feel hungry and binge on crap, but whether it has any decent effects other than that, who can say?

Picture stolen unashamedly from - check them out for some decent workout advice.

If you follow this advice, you’ll be breaking Batman’s back sooner than you think. But just remember one thing: Tom Hardy has one further training aid to help him put on that kind of muscle:


Except his will say 400mg/ml on it.

That’s right. Now, I know what you’re thinking – Hollywood stars aren’t allowed to take roids, because the insurance wouldn’t cover it if they died from steroid related problems. But the truth is, that only extends to steroids such as Trenbolone , which are not approved for human use. Testosterone, on the other hand, is taken by almost every star wishing to bulk up, as is anavar, anadrole, and probably Deca and various other steroids. Don’t believe Hardy’s on the Juice – take a look at these roid pimples on his back and think again:

Think Bale isn’t on the juice? Even factoring in muscle memory, it’s impossible to go from 115lbs to 190 in 6 months without a little assistance. Now, I don’t hold this against any of them – they’re actors, they do what they need to for the parts they play. But just remember, no matter how good your routine is, it’s gonna take you a hell of a lot longer to get into that kind of shape without the assistance these guys get.

Imma look like Wesley Snipes in no time!

So, now you’re all feeling pretty down, I thought I’d cheer you up with some awesome Bodyweight exercises, as used by Hardy to bulk up for Bronson. Enjoy:

Just watch your rotator cuffs doing those rolling press-ups, ok? I haven't been able to bench press for about 6 weeks, and only managed my first OHP session since injuring it a few days ago.


I hope this has been of some help. For more advice, Check out leangains (link above) or maybe even drop in on >>>/fit/ and check out the sticky. I leave the next step to you.

P.S. - Fuck Blogger's new layout - this page looks like shit and it took me 3 times longer to make than it should have. I hate when sites try and "improve" things. If it ain't broke, don't fucking fix it! And certainly don't fucking ruin it! This site may be moving as a result - stay tuned for further info...


  1. I understand why one could make the assumption, the possibility is there, that he is using steroids for these roles. However, a picture of a large guy with back acne does not prove anything. I, personally, have had back acne all of my teenage and adult life, and while working out and using various supplements it does worsen at times. However, everyone releases a hugely different amount of natural testosterone, which can be seen by the differences in facial features and natural muscle tone of everyone. I wouldn't assume Tom is cycling simply because he has some back acne, and the guy in the gym next to you who is bigger than you but has some back acne, in the same light, can not be assumed to be using either. Genetics is a huge factor.

  2. Tom Hardy is mad max fury road characters very great! Tom spent his teens and early twenties battling delinquency, alcoholism and drug addiction; after completing his work on Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), he sought treatment and has also admitted that his battles with addiction ended his 5-year marriage to Sarah Ward. Watch movies free on losmovies now.

    Returning to work in 2003, Hardy was awarded the Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer Award for his theatre performances in the productions of "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings" and "Blood". In 2003, Tom also co-starred in the play "The Modernists" with Paul Popplewell, Jesse Spencer and Orlando Wells.

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