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HOW TO GET A BODY LIKE CHRIS HEMSWORTH: THOR ARMS WORKOUT

Chris Hemsworth is known for his incredible arms playing the role of Thor in the Avengers movies.

Thor’s arms are built not just for strength and size, but also functionality to master the gruelling fight scenes required of a Marvel superhero.

When it comes to training arms, the focus is as much on quality as it is of quantity when it comes to growing your biceps and triceps.

Growing a set of arms like Hemsworth’s Thor character requires patience, consistency and progressively overloading the muscles.

Why This Workout Works

The key exercises for this workout vary from a mix of big movements mainly using an individual’s bodyweight with extra load added, and isolation exercises that easily increases the volume.

Exercises like weighted chin-ups and weighted dips and endless variations of curls and extensions starting from the most taxing to the least (even though it may not feel like it by the end of the workout).

Each superset increases in reps covering different mechanisms of hypertrophy. The heavy rep ranges (6 reps) come first, while the individual has not been fatigued.

Heavy reps are used to stimulate an insulin-like growth factor known as ‘mechano growth factor’ a driving force to stimulate muscle growth can only occur through mechanical load.

As the reps get higher (8-10 reps) the exercises become more isolated. The barbell curl and barbell skull crushers are quick and easy to set up with secure positioning.

Then reps increase higher (12-15 reps) covering more metabolic stress on this superset. Lastly, there is a ‘finisher’.

Hemsworth is well known for doing intense workouts, but equally they are workouts that are also goal focused. 

So the finisher can be one of two choices – two basic exercises with one end goal. 100 tricep push-ups for every break = 10 dumbbell hammer curls or ‘run the rack’ with dumbbell curls (read the explanation below).

Here is our workout to get arms like Chris Hemsworth:

The Workout

How to Perform the Exercises 

This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.

If you are unsure and want access to training programmes, nutrition information and over 250+ demonstration videos, sign up for LiveUP online coaching today or consult a qualified PT.

The Set-Up

  • Aim to have the necessary range-of-motion close to 180-degree shoulder flexion (raising the arm above the head)
  • Use a step/bench to get to the handles, or jump up if you can.
  • Hang in a neutral grip, cross the lower legs and squeeze the glutes.
  • Engage the shoulder blades
  • Keep the head in a neutral position.

The Movement

  • The range-of-motion in the bottom position will be dictated by the control of the shoulder blades. Start with a little tension in the lats by engaging the shoulder blades.
  • Lead with the chest all the way and hold at the top.
  • Aim to get the shoulder blades pinched together at the top.
  • Slowly lower with control all the way down to the bottom.
  • Each rep should be initiated with the shoulder blades.

Trainer Tips

  • If grip fails when trying to train back, it is worth using lifting straps to support the grip.
  • Think about driving the elbows into the back pockets to maximise the contraction.
  • Try not to move the hips to get further up.
  • Don’t swing the knees forward to get that last few inches at the top of the movement.
  • Aim to keep the shoulders blades pinched together and not round at the top to finish the movement.

The Set-Up

  • Ensure there is plenty of range-of-motion in the shoulder joint for the elbows to reach 90 degrees.
  • Grip the handles in a neutral grip with hands just slightly wider than the shoulders.
  • Use a step, or jump up to the top position of the movement, where the arms are just short of full lock-out.
  • Retract and depress the shoulders blades into a strong and stable position.
  • Cross the legs and squeeze the glutes.
  • Brace the mid-section
  • Keep the head in a neutral position.

The Movement

  • Slowly lower down with control closing the space in the elbow joint.
  • Keep the lower arms perpendicular to the floor.
  • Stop and hold once 90 degrees is reached or until limited by the shoulder joint.
  • Remain upright, keeping the shoulders in a strong and stable position.
  • Push hard into the palms to get back to the start position.
  • Repeat the rep when 5 degrees away from locking out the elbow joint.

Trainer Tips 

  • Avoid leaning forward to minimise chest involvement.
  • Upper back engaged throughout to keep shoulders in the right position.
  • Aim to stop at the right angle and not go too deep in the movement which will move the shoulders out of place.
  • Think about keeping constant tension in the triceps. Locking out removes the tension.

The Set-Up

  • Pick up the dumbbells and sit on the bench.
  • Let your arms hang by your sides and hold the dumbbells with either an underhand or neutral grip.
  • Point your chest up and pinch your shoulder blades back together.
  • Position your elbows directly below your shoulders.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The Movement

  • Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
  • Keep your upper arms still and wrists straight throughout the movement.
  • You have reached the end of your range of motion when you cannot move any further without your shoulders or elbows pulling forwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your biceps).
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer Tips 

  • Keep your upper arms still and elbows fixed below your shoulders to keep maximal tension on your biceps.
  • Focus on curling your little finger up towards the ceiling to help create a more intense contraction.
  • Single-joint exercises like the dumbbell biceps curl require less full-body effort than multi-joint exercises and it can be tempting to cut short your rest period. Make sure you stick to the recommended rest interval to give your muscles time to recover and maintain performance levels.

The Set-Up

  • Pick up the barbell using a pronated grip (palms facing down) and sit on the bench with the bar resting on your thighs.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, with your heels under or behind your knees and flat on the floor.
  • Lie back, using your thighs to help get the barbell into position level with your chest.
  • Point your chest up towards the ceiling and pinch your shoulder blades back together.
  • Your head, shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench, and there will be a small gap between your lower back and the bench.
  • Using a pronated grip, press the barbell directly upwards until you have fully extended your arms overhead.
  • Tuck your elbows in and position your upper arms perpendicular to the floor.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The Movement

  • Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to lower the weight down towards your shoulders.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you have fully flexed your elbows.
  • Pause for a moment before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer Tips

  • Make sure to move through the fullest range-of-motion possible, fully flexing your elbows on the downwards movement.
  • Keep your upper arms still and do not let the weight pull you out of position. The only movement should come from your forearms hinging on your elbow joints.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in and do not let them flare out at any point during the movement.
  • Single-joint exercises, like the barbell skull crusher, require less full-body effort than multi-joint exercises, and it can be tempting to cut short your rest period. Make sure you stick to the recommended rest interval to give your muscles time to recover and maintain performance levels.
  • If any discomfort occurs in the wrists, swap a straight bar for an EZ bar. Then find the appropriate angle to minimise pressure and maximise output with the triceps.

The Set-Up 

  • Adjust the cable to the highest setting and attach two standard length rope attachments or one long rope attachment.
  • Hold the ropes with a neutral grip and take three to four steps back from the station.
  • If performing the standing version, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and lean forward slightly.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back together and pull your elbows back behind your shoulders.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The Movement

  • Keeping your upper arms and torso still, extend your elbows to straighten your arms.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you cannot move any further without your upper back rounding and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your triceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer Tips

  • Make sure to move through the fullest range-of-motion possible, fully flexing your elbows on the return to the start position.
  • Keep your upper arms still and do not let the weight pull you out of position. The only movement should come from your forearms hinging on your elbow joints.
  • Single-joint exercises like the cable triceps extension require less full-body effort than multi-joint exercises, and it can be tempting to cut short your rest period. Make sure you stick to the recommended rest interval to give your muscles time to recover and maintain performance level.

By Matthew Johnstone

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