We all have our favorite superheroes. We identify with them based on their backstories, their special super powers and their ability to save the day.
Starting a list of the absolute best would cause more debates than an “X Best Exercises to Build Muscle” article.
One thing that is common for many of these icons of crime fighting is that they are jacked.
Not only do they look good but when the time comes, they can display strength of some kind.
Some have power. Others have speed. Some may even be superior fighters.
As for the rest of us mortals on Earth, we’re not blessed to be superhuman.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take that inspiration and apply it to our own development.
What follows is a workout that’ll take you around 90 minutes to complete. You train everything from shoulders to legs and will burn tons of calories along the way. Get into your own superhero mode and start developing your powers today.
Note: Don’t wear a cape when doing this. People at the gym will look at you funny.
|Standing Overhead Barbell Press||5||5|
|Alternating Flat Dumbbell Press||3||8|
|One Arm Machine Row||3||8|
|Single Leg Press||3||12|
|Planks for Time with Weight||2||Failure|
|Medicine Ball Slams||2||10|
|Boxing Bag Drill||3||30 Secs Each|
*Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.
Standing Overhead Barbell Press
You never know when you’ll need to hold a heavy object over your head and pressing power is something you can never have enough of.
The first two sets are warm up sets to build up to your heaviest weight. Once you reach that top weight, do three sets of five reps. Your last rep of the last set should be a struggle but achievable.
Alternating Incline Dumbbell Press
A complete body of work means that both sides should be as close to equal as possible. Set your adjustable bench for the lowest incline possible so you can focus more on developing that upper chest area so the pecs really look more powerful.
For this exercise, you should still hold dumbbells in each hand but only one will move. Hold the non-working weight at the top while performing reps with the other. When you finish one side, switch and work the other.
How many movies have you seen someone hanging off the edge of a cliff or building? If they can pull themselves up, that wouldn’t be an issue now, would it?
Getting better on pullups can transfer to improvement on several other movements like rows and even deadlifts so it pays to play with them. If you need to use a band or assistant for now, go for it.
One Arm Machine Row
Like the alternating dumbbell press, working on each side is good for the back too. The one-arm machine row is different than a dumbbell version because you’re in a fixed position and it can help you isolate the working area more effectively.
As long as you don’t sacrifice form, feel free to pile the weights on. Going without straps will help you maximize your grip too but if you feel you need them, use them.
Now we’re going to shift our focus on the lower body. The Romanian deadlift is very effective at helping you train the hamstrings and glutes as well as the lower back. Your legs are your foundation so the stronger they are, the better you will be.
Add weight each set until you reach the top weight. The last rep of the last set should be a challenge but still achievable to perform.
Single Leg Press
The other leg movement you’ll do on this workout is the single leg press. This is a great way to pack some weight on and really challenge your quads in a safe fashion. Go heavy with these but don’t use that as a reason to shortchange the rep range.
Each rep should be of good quality with a long-range of motion. To save time on these, immediately switch legs as soon as you finish with the previous one and keep rest to a minimum.
We can’t leap tall buildings but we can gain an inch or two on our vertical, right. This is as simple as it looks. Try to jump as high as you can from a standing position. Jump as high as you can, reset, repeat. Do five jumps per set and perform three sets.
Your goal should be to get as high as possible every time. One way to measure your improvement is by standing under a basketball rim and attempting to reach the rim or at least get higher on the net.
Planks for Time with Weight
An exercise that doesn’t require any movement might not appear to be superheroic but this is one that will make you feel like a man of steel once you master it.
Make sure your upper arms are vertical so the shoulders are directly over the elbows. Your entire forearms should be resting on the floor and you should be up on your toes. Hold this position for as long as possible up to two minutes. Once you can do that twice, start having a partner add weight to your back to make it more challenging.
Medicine Ball Slams
This is going to serve two purposes. First, it will help you channel your force into moving one object as intensely as possible so a lot of your body will be active. Second, it’s simply a great way to relieve yourself of frustration when you have a bad day so it may even help you mentally too.
Take the ball and raise it up over your head. When you go to slam it, channel everything you have in your shoulders, arms, and use your body to generate as much energy as possible into that ball. Your goal isn’t to slam the ball into the floor. It’s to create a hole in the floor or ground and the ball is your tool of choice. Seriously make yourself create that mindset to get the most out of this.
Boxing Bag Drill
Many superheroes don’t like to fight but when they have to, they better win. Hitting a heavy bag is an excellent way to burn calories and challenge yourself aerobically in a short amount of time. For this portion of the workout, you’re going to perform three “rounds”. Round 1 is about jabs. Do 15 seconds with one hand followed by 15 with the other.
Round 2 is combinations and use whatever combos you prefer. Left jab followed by right cross or vice versa, throw a hook in if you like, it’s up to you. Round 3 is the most intense and fun round because it’s all about power. Each punch should be with bad intentions. You’re trying to knock a bad guy out. Don’t hit the bag, try to hit through it.
Speed matters whether you’re rushing to help a citizen or chasing that bad guy who’s trying to escape. If you can’t do this at the gym then find a local track or a long open distance where you can run.
Your first couple runs are to prepare for the last three so take those a little easy. The last three sprints are all-out. Give this all you got because this is the end of the session. Once you complete the last sprint, go home and start recovering because you’ll have to be ready to save the day again.