Train Like Chris Hemsworth With His Home Thor Workout

Chantelle Pattermore
·7-min read
Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

From Esquire

Chris Hemsworth is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. By which we mean, he is literally larger than basically anyone else he might appear on-screen with. Since taking on the role of Marvel superhero Thor in 2011, the Australian actor has packed on so much muscle you pity the poor wardrobe team, who must have to keep letting out his costumes.

It's got so bad that Hemsworth's stunt double, Bobby Holland Hanton – who has to level up his own body each time the A-lister embiggens himself for a new film – has complained about the incessant eating-training-eating schedule he has to follow. "Everyone's like, 'Wow, look at the size of him,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, it's brilliant, now I have to put on that size too,'" Hanton said in an interview with Australian radio. "I text him and I'm like, 'Thanks very much, dude, it's going to be even harder this time.'"

Most of the time, Hemsworth builds muscle in the time-honoured way: lift heavy things, push heavy things, throw heavy things. He then shares that self-inflicted punishment to his Instagram, where followers can be inspired/put off exercise for life by things like sled pulls that almost make him throw up. Rather you than us, Chris.

Last year, however, Hemsworth found himself locked down without access to any gym kit. Rather than take the hint and spend the ensuing months wolfing down Ben & Jerry's in front of Netflix's best films, he put the rest of us to shame by tapping Luke Zocchi, his longtime PT and one of the founding trainers on Hemsworth's health and fitness app, Centr, for a set of workouts that required no equipment but would ensure he could stay on top of his gains at home.

Training in the time of Covid

A fellow Byron Bay resident, Zocchi and Hemsworth met back in primary school and have remained pals, catching up each Christmas after Hemsworth moved Stateside. However, one festive season saw the pair bond over more than just beers and turkey.

“We spent one Christmas on holiday together in Costa Rica and I was training with Chris everyday: boxing and going running in the mornings,” says Zocchi. “Early the next year, he called and asked if I wanted to help him prep for a film – it was going to be a six-week job. I jumped at the chance and, before I knew it, I was in LA training him. That six weeks has snowballed into eight years and 10 films.”

During lockdown, much of Hemsworth’s training focused on strength work in preparation for a challenge he was doing for an upcoming National Geographic series. “I can't say too much because the episode hasn't aired,” Zocchi says. “But I can tell you our training was focused on getting bigger and stronger through heavy weight training. We were doing traditional movements: a push session would involve bench press, shoulder press, and chest flies; a pull session would incorporate weighted pull-ups, rows and rear flies. Meanwhile, a leg session would involve leg press, front squats, lunges and sled work, while an arm session entailed chin-ups, bicep curls, dips, and tricep extensions.”

But with the heavy metal off limits, Zocchi and Hemsworth were forced to improvise. “We were playing around doing bicep curls with four litre laundry liquid containers,” says Zocchi. “It was actually pretty hard because there was detergent on the handles and it was really hard to grip.” Soap boxes aside, other easy-to-acquire pieces of at-home kit that Zocchi uses to train Hemsworth include TRX straps, resistance bands, balance trainers and dumbbells.

The Chris Hemsworth-approved home workout

While Zocchi notes though the exercises he does with Hemsworth vary according to the role he is in training for, the following routine is “a good go-to workout that we do when we are limited with equipment.” Which makes it perfect for lockdown, because all that’s required is something do pull-ups with, and your own bodyweight. No excuses.

Warm up:

Work through each move in order, without rest. Rest for 30 seconds between each set, then repeat for four rounds total.

Bear crawl

Reps: 5 metres forward and back

Sets: 4

Rest: None

Get down on all fours, then crawl forwards – left hand moves with right foot, then right hand with left foot. Brace your core to keep your torso solid and don't rush. Crawl forwards five metres, then pause and reverse. Repeat three times, then move straight onto the sit-thrus.

Sit-thrus

Reps: 10

Sets: 4

Rest: None

Start in your bear crawl position. Keeping your hands flat, twist to the left and straighten your right leg as you bring it under your body. Tap your heel on the floor, then reverse the move and repeat with your left leg – that's one rep. Repeat 10 times, then move straight into the gorilla crawls.

Gorilla crawl

Reps: 5 metres forward and back

Sets: 4

Rest: None

Squat down and balance on your toes and the palms of your hands. Lean forward and reach out, then hold your weight on your hands as you jump your legs forward – you know, like a gorilla. Repeat until you've gone forward five metres, then reverse the move.

Pulse squats

Reps: 10

Sets: 4

Rest: 30 seconds

Sink into a squat and as your thighs get parallel with the floor, push back up about six inches. Drop down again, then back up, then down, until you've done 10 reps. Take a 30-second breather, then repeat all four moves.

The workout

Chris Hemsworth's home workout is built around four core moves, which hit every muscle group in every plane of motion, and prove that you don't need any equipment to build serious muscle. Work through each move in order, then rest for 30-40 seconds before you repeat the whole shebang. Five sets is good, but not Thor good. "We go up to 12 sometimes," says Zocchi. "See how you go."

Pull-ups

Reps: 10

Sets: 5

Rest: None

You kick things off with the king of upper-body exercises. Grab a pull-up bar (or tree branch, or door frame, or girder...) with an overhand grip. From a dead hang, brace your core and glutes as you squeeze your lats to lift your body towards the bar. Try to get your chest to hand height, pause, then slowly lower back into a dead hang. If you can't do 10, work to failure on each set, or try wrapping a resistance band around your feet to make it easier.

Bodyweight squats


Reps: 10

Sets: 5

Rest: None

Rest your upper-body by hammering your legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then push your hips back and sink down until your thighs are past the level of your knees. Pause, then drive back up explosively, keeping your weight on your heels throughout. If it's feeling a bit easy, grab something heavy.

Push-ups

Reps: 10

Sets: 5

Rest: None

Next, more upper-body. Drop into a push-up position – palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, body flat, weight on your toes – then slowly lower your body until your chest almost touches the ground. Pause, then drive up explosively. Pacing is key here – think two seconds down, one second up.

Jumping lunges

Reps: 10

Sets: 5

Rest: 30-40 seconds

Finally, more legs. From standing, lunge forward with your right leg and sink down until your left knee is almost touching the floor. Now drive up explosively, so your feet leave the ground, and swap feet position so your land with your left foot forward, right back. Repeat, taking you back to your original lunge – that's one rep. Repeat for 10, take a breather, then go back to your pull-ups.

Chris Hemsworth and Luke Zocchi's workouts are available on the Centr app

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