I am thoroughly impressed with Henry Cavill’s physical condition for the Man of Steel film. He did a lean bulk the way it’s supposed to be done; he added muscle to the right areas while keeping his body fat under 10%. Henry gained around 18 lbs of muscle in 9 months of training and preparation, bringing his body weight from a slim 175 lbs to a very muscular 193 lbs. Some people may be surprised to hear that he was still under 200 lbs at just over 6′ tall. If you maintain a low body fat and add muscle properly, you will almost always look 10-15 lbs bigger than you are. With elusive camera angels, Hollywood tricks and an extremely tight superman suit, you can create the illusion of looking 20-30 lbs bigger than you actually are.
For example, compare the two pictures below. Both are clips from the movie. On the left, Cavill looks completely jacked and around 225 lbs. On the right, Cavill looks at-least 20 lbs smaller. I’m not trying to take anything away from Cavill, he did an excellent job getting into shape, I just want to ensure you get an accurate depiction of what his physique truly looks like. This also shows you without a doubt, that his transformation is achievable without the use of anabolic steroids.
Man of Steel Physique – Key Attributes
There are a few things going for Henry Cavill that really enhance his physique development, earning him the right to proudly wear the S on his chest. The most notable of all is his shoulder to waist ratio. This requires you to build a big upper chest, wide back, round shoulders and maintain sub 10% body fat. Adding muscle to these areas alone will make the most profound difference to your physique. After that, it’s just a matter of keeping everything else balanced and proportionate. Keeping the body fat low provides many perks. These include – increased muscle definition and separation, chiseled facial features and taut waist. All of these qualities give you a breath taking presence when combined with some solid muscle mass. This is exactly what the Kinobody Superhero physique is all about. Now lets break all of these down and show you the fastest ways to achieve each individual attribute
1. Wide Back
Developing broad shoulders really comes down to lat development. Building big lats will invariably widen your torso, creating a more dominant V taper. This makes a more profound effect than adding muscle to your shoulders. Your shoulders are a much smaller muscle group and you are limited to how much muscle you can add to them. On the other hand, your lats are the biggest muscle in your upper-body and have huge potential for growth. The fastest way to build up your lats is from heavy weighted chin ups. I recommend using a slightly wider than shoulder width grip to really hit your lats. All hand positions are effective (neutral, hands away and hands facing you). Just take a look at Henry pumping up his lats while on set.
2. Big Upper Chest
Adding muscle to the top part of the chest is going to make the most visual difference. A big upper chest creates a masculine and dominant look. Unfortunately, great upper chest development is a rare thing to find today. This is for two reasons: firstly, most people are obsessed with the flat bench because they can lift more weight. To really develop great upper pecs you need to do most of your benching on an incline. Secondly, most people aren’t lean enough and hold some fat in the lower chest, causing their upper chest to appear smaller. In order to build a jaw dropping chest, you will need to stay lean and perform at-least 2x the number of sets on an incline than flat. So you might do 6 sets of barbell/dumbbell incline presses and 3 sets of the regular flat bench press.
3. Round Shoulders
Think of your shoulders as the icing on the cake. When you have big lats and a great chest then round shoulders are the last piece of the puzzle. To develop round shoulders you need to do two things. 1) Heavy Shoulder Pressing: This includes all variations; seated and standing dumbbell and barbell presses and even handstand push ups. Heavy shoulder presses will help add overall size to your shoulders. 2) High Volume Lateral Raises: Lateral raises do the best job at hitting the lateral head of the shoulder. This head doesn’t get fully worked from shoulder pressing so it’s imperative that you add some isolation movements in your training to develop it. This muscle responds best to very high volume and very short rest periods. So you should be performing 4-6 sets of 8-12 reps with 30-60 seconds rest maximum.
4. Taut Waist
Having a slim waist is what makes the difference between looking good and looking awesome! Even just one inch off the waist can completely change the way you look. In order to maintain a taut waist you need to avoid fat gain as you add muscle. My recommendation is to aim for 0.5 lbs of muscle per week. This is really the limit to how much muscle natural lifters can gain. If you look at Henry Cavill’s transformation, he gained 18 lbs in 9 months which is an average of 2 lbs per month. Right at pace with what is achievable naturally. What’s cool is that if Henry slims down for another role and then has to bulk back up for Man of Steel 2, he will be able to hit his goals much faster. This is because you can regain lost muscle much faster than trying to build muscle for the first time.
Maintaining a taut waist is all about realistic expectations. If you believe that you can gain 1-2 lbs of muscle per week and eat accordingly, you will add plenty of fat. On the other hand, if you track your calories and weight, and make the necessary adjustments to gain only 0.5 lbs per week or 2 lbs per month, then you will likely be adding pure muscle. As a recommendation, I would set calories at about 16 calories per pound of bodyweight. If you’re not gaining weight then add about 250 calories to this number. If you’re gaining 1 lbs per week then decrease calories by about 250. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just eat a little more than normal.
Henry Cavill Physique
You can see from this picture that Henry has wide lats, a big chest, prominent shoulders, toned arms and a slim and defined stomach. This is exactly what the superhero physique is about. The great thing about this shape is the versatility. You can throw on a t-shirt and look fantastic. If you maintain proper leanness you can pull off the GQ look in a nice fitted suit. And of course, when the shirt comes off there is no shortage of abs definition.
The Man of Steel Henry Cavill Workout
If you want to add muscle like Henry Cavill you will require a mix of tension work and pump work. Tension work is heavy lifting with long rest periods and lower repetitions, the goal is to lift progressively heavier weights each week. This is what enlarges the actual muscle fibers. However, to maximize muscle growth, you also need to perform pump work to increase the fluid within the muscle cells, also known as sarcoplasm. This type of growth is accomplished with a high number of sets and reps combined with short rest periods. As a general rule, you should always do the tension lifting first and then follow that up with the pump lifting. For a more in-depth look into this training philosophy you can read my article on Dual Pyrmaid Training Workout.
Workout A – Upperbody (Chest Emphasis)
Incline Bench Press: 2 sets x 6-8 reps + 3 sets x 8-10 reps (2-3 mins rest between sets)
Seated Cable Rows: 2 sets x 6-8 reps + 3 sets x 8-10 reps (2-3 mins rest between sets)
Flat DB Bench Press: 4 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6 (30 seconds rest between sets)
Barbell Curls: 3 sets x 6-8 reps (2 minutes rest between sets)
Skull Crushers: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (2 minutes rest between sets)
DB Lateral Raises: 5 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6 + 12-15 (30 seconds rest between sets)
Workout B – Legs and Abs
Barbell Squats: 3 sets x 6-8 reps (3 mins rest)
Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets x 8-10 reps (2 mins rest)
Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 10-15 reps (90 seconds rest)
Calf Raises: 3 sets x 10-15 reps (60 seconds rest)
Hanging Leg Raises (feet to bar): 4 sets x 10-12 reps (60-90 seconds rest)
Abs Wheel Roll outs: 4 sets x 10-15 reps (60-90 seconds rest)
Workout C – Upperbody (Shoulder Emphasis)
Standing Barbell Press: 2 sets x 6-8 reps + 3 sets x 8-10 reps (2-3 mins rest between sets)
Weighted Pull ups: 2 sets x 6-8 reps + 3 sets x 8-10 reps (2-3 mins rest between sets)
Incline DB Bench: 4 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (30 seconds rest between sets)
Incline DB Curls: 3 sets x 6-8 reps (2 minutes rest between sets)
Cable Triceps Push Downs: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (1 minute rest between sets)
One Arm Cable Lateral Raises: 5 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6 + 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest between sets)
- You will be training 3x per week on non consecutive days (ex: mon, wed and fri)
- For the first two exercises of each workout I recommend performing 2-3 warm up sets. 5 reps, 3 reps and 1 rep with progressively heavier weight before doing your first work set.
- For the first two exercises of the upperbody workouts you will perform 2 heavy sets for 6-8 reps. You will then reduce the weight by 10-15% and perform an additional 3 sets for 8-10 reps.
- For the third exercise of the upperbody workouts you will select a weight you can do for 12 reps. Rest only 30 seconds between sets and perform 12, 10, 8, 6. This will create cumulative fatigue and trigger sarcoplasmic muscle growth.
- You will be doing the same on lateral raises but you after finishing the fourth set of 6 reps you will drop the weight and perform a fifth set for 12-15 reps.
- On all movements I recommend stopping 1-2 reps before you reach muscle failure. This will help to avoid burnout.
- You should be tracking your workouts and aiming to set personal records each week by performing more reps or increasing the weight lifted.
My Man of Steel – Superhero Physique Journey
I have actually been focusing on adding muscle over the past 9 months to attain the Kinobody Superhero Physique. Honestly, I don’t know if I want to get any bigger. With consistent training and proper eating, the muscle has been coming on very nicely. I have been using my dual pyramid training philosophy on my arms and shoulders and regular reverse pyramid training on my chest and back. The strength has been increasing unbelievably fast: Incline Benching 260 for 6, Chin ups with 115 for 6 and Barbell Curling 140 lbs for 6. I think my next step is to drop 1-2% body fat so my waist becomes more taut, my face and abs more chiseled and my shoulders and arms, more separated. After that I will just focus on effortless maintenance.
If you’re looking for a complete workout system designed to build the Greek God / Superhero Physique, my Kinobody Muscle Building Course gets the job done very well. You will be training three times per week, and each week that goes by you will be measurably stronger, harder and bigger in the right places. This is not a routine to get you pumped up in a few weeks. It takes time and hard work and you will be training to lift very heavy weights; think weighted chin ups with 100+ lbs and incline benching with 225 lbs. If you’re serious with your training and not afraid to push yourself you can really benefit from it.