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May 01, 2009

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine Workout

There are a lot of people talking about how Jacked Hugh Jackman looks in Wolverine.

And there are a lot of people asking him about his workout.

But they seem to be glazing over some of the most important points.

Hugh Jackman has been working on the Wolverine Body for a year.


Building muscle takes longer than losing fat, and it's going to take some serious dedication to make that happen.

Unfortunately, today's quick fix society, people try something for a few weeks, they don't look like they're a member of the X-Men, they stop and try something new.

Switching to another program is quitting.

Pick a program, follow it exactly, and stick with it until you get results.

The Wolverine Workout is Big, Loud, Hard and Heavy

So what did Hugh Jackman do for a year?  Mostly big lifts.

This shouldn't surprise you, he moved heavy iron.  Bench press, barbell rows, heavy barbell lunges, squats, ect.

He rocked the big, hard lifts.

He didn't say how much he was squatting, but he did mention he's benching 315.

If he benches 315, I'd imagine he's squatting at least 315 also. 

Food for thought - Get real about what it takes in the gym:
If you want a body like Wolverine, you should be working on benching 315 and squatting 315.  How ever long it takes.

Why would you waste your time on the crunch machine?  What are you doing on the eliptical machine?  Machine curls, are you joking?  Seriously?

You'll notice next time you go to the gym - the people doing big lifts have ripped superhero bodies.

The girls and the guys.  The guys get jacked, the girls just get wicked lean.  Big lifts work for everyone.

The people who avoid big lifts "because they're hard" or "because they don't know how to do them" don't have a body that anyone is going to notice, much less a superhero body.

If Wolverine is stronger than you, fix that first.
It took Hugh Jackman a year.

If you have to learn the form...
If you have to put in the work...
If it took you a year, wouldn't it totally be worth it?

Do what ever you want, after you get strong in the major lifts - pushing, pulling and squatting. 

So grab yourself a barbell, and start the long, rewarding task of building real strength on the bench, the bent over row, and the squat. 

The Wolverine Workout Cylces

And check this out - Hugh is smart enough to cycle his Wolverine workout.

People tend to make one of two mistakes: They either never change their workout, or they change too often and change too much.

He doesn't do the same thing forever.  He sticks on a phase long enough to cause a result, and then he changes.  For him, that's every three weeks.  (note: More advanced lifters can do three week phases, intermediate lifters should do 4-6 week phases, beginners should do 8 week phases -JH)

Hugh does three weeks of heavy sets, with lots of rest.

Then he does three weeks of lighter sets, with slower tempo (3 seconds down, one second up.  Or 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up).

The last phase of the cycle is three weeks of explosive lifting.

Rinse and repeat.  The movements don't change, but the amount of weight he uses, the speed he lifts it, and the amount of rest, all those variables change.

I've often said that your workout should be like seasons, it should change systematically.  

How Would Wolverine Do This Workout?

Xmen_wolverine_hughjackmanThis is key - 

Hugh would actually imagine he was wolverine while he was doing the workout.

He wasn't lifting like Hugh Jackman would workout.  He didn't want a Hugh Jackman body.

He wanted a Wolverine Workout, so he lifted like Wolverine.

That included growling and screaming, and attacking his lifting like his life depended on it.

I ask my clients this all the time: "Who do you want to look like?"

And once you get an idea in your head of how you want to look, imagine how that person eats, imagine how that person works out, imagine how that person talks about eating and working out.

Wolverine wouldn't make excuses about going to the gym.

And Wolverine wouldn't punk out on his workouts.

Hugh Jackman set that as the standard he had to live up to.  And he then he just did live up to that standard.  

The body came as a natural consequence of that.

And What Do You Feed a Wolverine?

Hugh's diet was simple - he ate a 1000 calories more than he normally eats.

That pre-supposes something though - to eat 1000 calories more than you normally eat, you'd have to be keeping a food journal, and know how many calories you are eating now.

No one ever gets a really hardcore body without tracking what they are putting in their body for fuel. 

If you aren't keeping a food journal, you have absolutely no chance of looking like Wolverine, no matter what you do in the gym.

You Earn Your Body


Hugh definitely earned his.

The only difference between you and Hugh Jackman, is what you eat and what you do in the weight room

I don't care if you want a body like Wolverine, or a body like Kayla Silverfox, you earn your body with the work you do and choices you make.

The Wolverine Body came as a natural consequence of Hugh Jackman being Wolverine every day, in the gym and in the kitchen.

*Note: This article was about Hugh Jackman's Workout for the first Wolverine movie (X-Men Origens: Wolverine) - for the update on his workout for the second Wolverine movie (The Wolverine), go here:   Hugh Jackman's Wolverine Workout Breaks The Rules



By Josh Hillis



Josh is the author of the ever-popular fat loss e-book: The Stubborn Seven Pounds


If you've already completed The Stubborn Seven Pounds, take it to the next level with one of these two programs:





"I've seen more results in 6 weeks training with Josh than I saw in the previous two years working out on my own" -Stephanie Weis















Good article, I found it very motivating

I liked this article. Except for one thing - if you are benching 315 - you should be squatting more than 315. I have been heavily involved in fitness for 10 years (I am 24) and I have had many lifting coaches from the various teams I have participated on. Say you are 185lbs: this makes 315 lbs a good max bench press, but would be a low max squat. Max squat should be much closer to the 400 range.

Other than that - excellent article! I like it when you show how celebrities get in good shape, so I can show the people I give fitness advice to that I am telling the truth and that I'm not crazy!

Thank you,

Of course you should squat more than you bench.

But most of the people reading this probably don't squat anywhere near 315, if they really squat at all.

For most Americans, squatting 200 would be such a drastic improvement in strength that it would completely transform their body.

My biggest point with that was just that most dudes really need to work on getting stronger in big lifts.


Touche, salesman. I understand your point and agree with you on it. BTW I have read this article over a few times and I like it more every time I read it! Gotta think you are wolverine to be wolverine. I train with a few marines (some of my friends) - gotta work out like your life depends on it, because it will. That mindset leads to better fitness. Good stuff!

woo hoo i'm better than average on the lower half anyway squatting 525 lbs and weiging only 183 lbs. i use to workout 4x405, but right now my bench sits at about 245 lbs.

Dude this blog is intense. I love your writing style man. I feel like that too, whether it's about getting the wolverine body or not. People need to man up and start making choices and owning what they got! Love the way you tell it like it is brother!

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Just read the first chapter of the 7 stubborn pounds book and want to THANK you for making it veg-friendly. I am vegan and really hate it when a trainer is not willing to work with that. I'm not vegan for health reasons, so health reasons aren't going to dissuade me from doing it! A good trainer works with the client and their needs. I'm way more psyched about all your products now that I know you're cool with the vegans. Thanks a ton! :)

I'm looking forward to taking a look at your book. You've definitely got a passionate writing style and so I believe the words that your saying. I feel that way about many things I do in life. If you're not passionate about probably doesn't really matter, whatever it is you're involved in. I do all natural body weight exercises (calisthenics) and I'm a bit uncertain about whether or not its better for you tahn weights, but I do know that it makes me feel better about myself than if I hadn't done anything.'s free, lol. At least it gets me off my ass and working out.

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