One of the first questions I get when people find out I train Chris Hemsworth is “How do I get arms like Thor?!” My answer is simple. It’s just three things: eating, training, and repetition.
That’s right, anyone can build their arms. As Chris prepares to play Thor again, we will be working his arms at least two times a week – not for hours on end, but high-intensity and high-impact 20-30 minute sessions. This is the approach I recommend to anyone looking to build lean definition. Any more and you might over-exhaust your muscles. Any less you’re not going to build mass. HIIT sessions also have the added benefit of burning fat while you sculpt your muscles.
To get you started, I’ve compiled some of my go-to moves into one full upper-body workout that will bulk and carve your biceps, triceps as well as your upper back. Training your lats, rhomboids and traps won’t just help you get that coveted V-shaped torso, a strong back also gives you the structure and stability you need to build big arms, chest and abs. It’s all about balance.
For this session you’re going to do 40 seconds in the zone for each exercise, followed by a 20 second break. Give it your all when you’re in the zone – picture yourself wielding Thor’s hammer.
You’ll need a kettlebell and 2 dumbbells. Choose a weight that (safely) challenges you and make sure you nail your form on every rep – one of the things I most admire about Chris is his focus, slowing down each movement to really amp up the muscle fatigue that gets results.
When you’ve completed each movement you’ve done one round. Complete 4 rounds total and you’ve just done a 20 minute workout. Easy. Pair this with a nutritious meal plan like those on Centr, and you’ll be flexing in the mirror in no time. Let’s go – I’ll talk you through each move.
Works: Back (rhomboids, trapezius, posterior shoulder muscles) and biceps
Equipment: 1 x kettlebell
Technique: Begin by stepping your right foot forward and rest your left leg on the ball of your left foot. Slightly bend your knees as you bend over to get in the start position. Remember to keep your back straight and grip the kettlebell with a neutral grip in your left hand. Pull the kettlebell up to your stomach, squeeze your shoulder blade and flex your elbow. Then lower the kettlebell and repeat.
Equipment: 2 x dumbbells
Technique: Begin by standing tall, feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang by your side with your palms facing out. Curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows close to your body. When your forearms are vertical, squeeze your bicep and hold for a second. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the start position and repeat.
Works: Shoulders (front, side and rear deltoids)
Equipment: 2 x dumbbell
Technique: Technique: Begin by standing, holding a dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip and ensuring your core is engaged. Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders, palms facing toward you so your elbows and forearms create a 90-degree angle – this is the start position. Exhale and turn both arms out to the side so they’re now at a 90-degree angle with your palms facing away from you. Then raise the dumbbells up until both arms are vertical, hold for a second, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position.
Works: Tricep, chest and front delts
Technique: Technique: It’s time to mix things up and try a new kind of push-up to put the focus on your triceps. Begin in a regular push-up position, but with your hands closer together under your collar bones and feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Slowly lower your body to the ground, keeping your elbows by your sides and upper arms parallel to your body the whole time you do so. Just before your body touches the ground, push back up to return to the starting position. Ensure your whole body is straight and bum tucked in for the entire movement. Repeat.
Works: Full body (incl. shoulders, arms, mid and upper back)
Equipment: 1 x kettlebell
Technique: Technique: Stand with soft knees, slightly bent while holding the kettlebell in front of you in one hand. With your core switched on, swing the kettlebell between your legs while slightly bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Then swing back up – on the up motion push the kettlebell straight up all the way above your head. Return to the start position and move straight into the next rep.
Equipment: 2 x dumbbells
Technique: Technique: Begin standing with your feet together, and holding your dumbbells by your sides. Bend your knees and lean your body forward so your torso is parallel with the ground. Raise the dumbbells so your upper arms and elbows are in line with your body, and your forearm makes a 45-degree angle. From here, push the dumbbell back to straighten your arm. Then bend them back to a 45-degree angle. Try not to extend too far in either direction – this movement should be slow and controlled rather than using momentum.
Chris Hemsworth may wield the hammer, but it’s his personal trainer Luke Zocchi who cracks the whip. A certified personal trainer, Luke is renowned for his fast and efficient training methods, using weights and bodyweight to get maximum results in minimum time. He’ll also show you how to fuel your training with quick, easy and healthy recipes.
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