Henry Cavill Workout Routine

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There are a lot of superheroes out there but none of them have the worldwide appeal that Superman enjoys. When it was announced several years ago that a new man of steel was set to emblazon the silver screen everyone wanted to see how this latest version was going to stack up.

Superman is famous for his wide shoulders, v-tapered upper body, and narrow waist. The man chosen to play the iconic superhero, Henry Cavill, was genetically blessed with a basic mesomorphic shape and also had naturally wide shoulders along with a narrow waist. However, what he was missing was lean muscle mass.

In this mega profile, we bring you the most complete Henry Cavill Workout analysis that you will find anywhere online. We are about to lay out everything you need to know in order to follow the Henry Cavill Superman workout and diet so that you can build your own superhero physique.

Henry Cavill Profile

Superman may be an iconic American superhero, but the man who plays him on the big screen happens to be British. Henry Cavill was born on the Channel Island of Jersey on May 5th, 1983.

He went to school in England and during his middle school years, he became interested in acting in school plays such as Grease and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During his teenage year, Henry happened to meet his acting idol, Russel Crowe, at an event that had a huge impact on him. Crowe sent him a message that read, “Dear Henry, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Henry got his break at the age of 17 with a role in The Count of Monte Cristo. He went onto appear in a number of British BBC productions including The Inspector Lynley Murders and Midsomer Murders.

His break into American film came in 2003 with a role in I Capture the Castle. In 2007 he starred in Red Riding Hood and Tristan and Isolde. Between 2007 and 2010, Cavill had a recurring role in The Tudors.

In 2006 he lost out on the coveted role of Superman for Superman Returns but finally nabbed the role 7 years later for Man of Steel followed by the 2016 sequel Batman v Superman.

The Henry Cavill superman was to be like no other. While the previous versions had actors who had less than inspiring physiques, this one was going to feature a superhero who looked like he could actually do the business.

In order for Cavill to achieve the ideal body for Superman, it required him to shed nearly 21 pounds of body fat and then packing on another 20 pounds of solid muscle.

The Henry Cavill Workout

Henry Cavill Workout Routine

Celebrity trainer Mark Twight was the perfect guy for Henry Cavill to work with in order to create the Superman workout. Twight is a former world-renowned mountain climber and is the founder of Gym Jones.

The pressure on Twight to bring to the screen the most believable Man of Steel yet was enormous, however, getting actors into top screen shape was nothing new to him. Back in 2006, he was chosen by Snyder to get Gerard Butler and around 40 actors who played Spartan warriors into ripped, muscular condition for the movie The 300.

Mark Twight and Cavill got together in February of 2011 to devise the ultimate Henry Cavill workout. That gave them 5 months to get Henry into Man of Steel shape before shooting began. They would also continue training during the seven months of shooting.

Before he even showed Henry the Man of Steel workout routine and nutrition program to transform him into Superman, Mark Twight made Cavill commit to getting between 9 and 10 hours of sleep every single night.

Here’s what Twight had to say about the importance of sleep . . .

“It’s like hey, guy you want to be an f-king Superman? Then do this one thing, which might be the most important piece of it. If you don’t get the sleep, if you can’t recover, then we can’t continue with this training and we won’t achieve the objective. The predatory effect that a lack of sleep has on the rest of the work you do is shockingly powerful. The HGH and testosterone secretion that happens during these deep sleep cycles is super important.”

Over the first two weeks of training, Henry slowly ramped up the intensity of his training in preparation for the more intense thee month workouts to follow. Cavill’s dietary modifications were also gradual. The changes began with the introduction of a supplement regimen that consisted of multi-vitamins, essential fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium.

Two months into his training program, Cavill ramped it up so that he was training twice per day. His caloric intake had ramped up to between five and six thousand calories each day.

During this muscle gain phase, Henry did not limit his macronutrient intake. Then, after having packed on 20 pounds of solid mass, he cut back on his carb intake in order to get defined.

It was important for Henry to build a solid foundation of training. Of course, as soon as filming began, Henry was no longer able to train twice per day. Then he had to cut the training back to just three days per week.

The negatives of cutting back the training volume while filming was offset by the solid muscle mass foundation that was created in the first three months.

The end result of the training was that Cavill was able to pack on around twenty pounds of solid muscle to weigh between 186 and 190 pounds for the movie at a body fat percentage of between 5 and 7 percent. For his shirtless scenes, that body fat percentage drops to between 3 and 4 percent.

For Cavill, a large part of the challenge was to overcome the mental barriers that were in his mind. He had to shatter his own self-perceived limits. For example, when he started out on his superman workout journey, he had a max deadlift of 300 pounds.

By the end of his Superman workout program, he was up to 435 pounds on his deadlift. He was also able to push his max push press up to 245 pounds, his back squat up to 365 pounds, and was able to do 10 sets of 10 reps in the front squat with 225 pounds.

Here’s what Cavill had to say about the mental side of training . . .

“I learned my limits go far beyond what my head thinks they are. Superman isn’t just about his strength or his abilities. It’s more about determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable problem, which is exactly how 305 pounds felt when I was stuck at the bottom of the front squat.”

Twight added the following observation about how the training helped build Henry Cavill’s mental strength . . .

“Fitness is strength and conditioning, but also strength of character. Cheating and shortcuts produce visible insecurity. Genuine accomplishment looks and feels different. It cannot be faked. By doing physically difficult things, by changing his body of his own will, Henry changed his attitude and his bearing. He looked huge. He walked huge. His attitude broadcast his physical capability.”

The Henry Cavill Workout for Fat Loss

Henry Cavill was an overweight young man prior to getting in shape for his most famous role, thus he had to take on an intense program to get rid of around twenty pounds of body fat. To achieve it, Mark Twight put him on a program that he called the ‘Tailpipe’ which involved a 100 rep workout to smoke calories, torch body fat, and get Cavill lean and mean.

The Tailpipe had two aspects to it – the training and the recuperation. Mark Twight explained . . .

“The exercise section is designed to get you gassed. However, the healing is equally essential.”

Here’s how it worked: Cavill would do 100 reps of an exercise and he would then take eight measured breaths in and out of his nose. He would then immediately go on to his next exercise.

Here is a typical Tailpipe Cavill workout . . .

  • Kettlebell Swings (40-pound kettlebell) – 100 reps
  • Push-Ups – 100 reps
  • Squats – 25% of one-rep max – 100 reps
  • Lunges (bodyweight) – 100 reps

The Henry Cavill Workout for Muscle

The Henry Cavill workout for Superman was a hypertrophy, athletic combination style of training. The goal was to produce that muscular, athletic look that Superman is famous for.

He needed to accentuate the classic v-shape to the upper body, with broad shoulders, defined arms, and a full, muscular chiseled chest. The waist needed to be as tight as possible.

As the Henry Cavill workout program was a hypertrophy program, he was only working out three days per week. For those three days of weight training, though, he put absolutely maximum effort into every single rep of every exercise. The training involved such intensity enhancing techniques as giant sets, supersets, tri-sets, and quad-sets.

Day One: Shoulders, Plyo, Glutes, Quads

A 4 exercise giant set consisting of . . .

  • Standing Barbell Military Press – 4 x 10 reps
  • Squat Jump – 4 x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 4 x 10 reps
  • Squat Jump – 4 x 10 reps

These exercises were done with no rest between them. Henry Cavill then rested for two and a half minutes before repeating the giant set. He completed four of these giant sets.

2 exercise superset consisting of . . .

  • Machine Shoulder Press – 3 x 12 reps
  • Rope Sissy Squat – 3 x 15 reps

After each superset, Cavill would rest for two minutes.

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Half Arnold Press – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Extension (toes out) – 3 x 15 reps
  • Broomstick Twist – 300 nonstop

Cavill would rest for two minutes between sets.

Day Two: Cardio

Day 2 of the Henry Cavill Man of Steel workout for cardio would consist of 50 minutes on the Stairmaster machine. He would do his workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Cavill would be sure to maintain a heart rate in excess of 150 beats per minute.

Day Three: Back, Rear Delts, Chest, Obliques

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Chin to Hand Wide Grip Pull-Ups – 3 x 5 reps per side
  • Dumbbell Incline Breaststroke – 3 x 12 reps
  • Side Plank Hip Dip – 3 x 15 reps

Henry Cavill would rest for two minutes between each tri-set.

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Straight Arm Pulldown – 3 x 12 reps
  • Rear Delt Rope Pull – 3 x 12 reps
  • Side Plank Twisting Crunch – 3 x 15

Henry Cavill would rest for two and a half minutes between each tri-set.

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Dumbbell Swimmer’s Fly – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Decline Medicine Ball Russian Twist – 3 sets of 30 reps per side
  • Broomstick Twist – 300 non-stop

Henry Cavill would rest for one minute between each tri-set.

Day 4 – Cardio

Day 4 of the Henry Cavill workout would consist of 30 minutes on the Concept 2 rowing machine. He would do his workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Cavill would be sure to maintain a heart rate in excess of 150 beats per minute.

Day 5 – Glutes, Quads, Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Core

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Dumbbell Snatch Drop Lunge – 3 sets of 6 reps on each side
  • Wide-Grip Dips – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 10 reps

Henry Cavill would rest for two minutes between each tri-set.

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Plyo Push Ups – 3 sets of reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl – 3 sets of 10 reps

Henry Cavill would rest for two minutes between each tri-set.

2 exercise superset consisting of . . .

  • Dumbbell Hold – 2 x As Long As Possible (ALAP)
  • Wood Chopper (High to Low) – 2 sets of 10 reps on each side
  • Henry Cavill would rest for one minute between each tri-set.

3 exercise tri-set consisting of . . .

  • Cable Overhead Triceps Extension – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Wood Chopper (Low to High) – 3 sets of 10 reps on each side
  • Broomstick Twist – 300 reps nonstop

Henry Cavill would rest for one minute between each tri-set.

Day 6 – Cardio

Day 6 of Henry Cavill’s workout would consist of 30 minutes on the treadmill. He would do his workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Cavill would be sure to maintain a heart rate in excess of 150 beats per minute. His treadmill training was a modified version of the Tabata High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Cavill would do a minute of high intensity followed by 30 seconds of recovery. The intensity sessions would build up in speed every minute to a peak and then repeat as follows:

  • 5.5 miles per hour
  • 6 miles per hour
  • 6.5 miles per hour
  • 7 miles per hour
  • 7.5 miles per hour
  • 8 miles per hour

Henry Cavill Man of Steel Workout Exercise Descriptions

Dumbbell Incline Breaststroke

  1. Lie facedown on an incline bench that is set to 45 degrees with a pair of light dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Start with your elbows tucked in at your sides and your palms facing each other (neutral position).
  3. Fully extend your arms out in front of you at your chin while pronating your wrists (your palms will e facing down).
  4. From here, move your arms in an arching motion to the sides and back into the start position, mimicking the motion of breaststroke in swimming.

Side Plank Twisting Crunch

  1. Start in a side plank position with your body facing sideways and all your weight resting on one elbow and the same side foot.
  2. With your top hand behind your head, perform a twisting crunch straight down to the floor.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the side plank position.
  4. Repeat all reps on that side, then switch sides.

Squat Jump

  1. First, perform a full squat.
  2. Then, explode out of the bottom to jump vertically at the top of each rep.

With this exercise, Henry Cavill would keep his weight down to no more than 30% of his one-rep max on the conventional back squat exercise. You should do the same thing.

To vary things up a little, Henry Cavill would also do this exercise with a barbell, while holding dumbbells and with a sandbag across his shoulders.

Rear Delt Rope Pull

  1. Stand in front of a high cable pulley machine and grasp onto a rope attachment with both hands.
  2. Lean back slightly and stabilize yourself, then pull your hands toward your chin.
  3. Lead with your elbows, finishing with them above shoulder height.

 

Henry Cavill would concentrate on the posterior delts through the movement.

Chin to Hand Wide Grip Pull-Ups

  1. Take a wide grip on the pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Pull yourself up and to one side, so that your chin touches your hand at the top.
  3. Lower back down to the middle, then repeat to the opposite side.

 

Henry Cavill would be sure to keep this movement strict, with no swinging or kipping of his body.
To train like Henry Cavill, be sure to follow his example.

Dumbbell Swimmer’s Flye

  1. Lie face down on a flat bench, holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your chest with your arms bent and palms facing in.
  2. Perform a close grip press, then lower the dumbbells out to the sides in a flye motion with arms extended.
  3. When your arms reach parallel to the floor, pull the dumbbells back into the start position.

Dumbbell Snap Drop Lunge

  1. Perform a dumbbell snatch and land in the split position, with one foot in front of the other, at the bottom of a lunge.
  2. Immediately explode back up to standing while lowering the dumbbell back down.
  3. Go right into the next rep, alternating legs so that the opposite foot is forward this time.
  4. Switch legs every rep.

 

Henry Cavill would perform this high-intensity exercise as an explosive move, pulling hard on the snatch and essentially jumping out of the full lunge position on every rep.

Half Arnold Press

  1. Sitting on the edge of a flat bench, start with the dumbbells at chest level, palms facing you.
  2. Press the dumbbells only halfway up to where your upper arms are parallel to the floor while rotating your wrists so that your palms face forward at the top of the rep.

 

To achieve those Man of Steel shoulders, Henry Cavill would be sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout the move and to concentrate on working the front delts.

Dumbbell Hold

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Lift your arms up so that they are parallel to the floor without bending your elbows.
  3. Hold this position for as long as you can, trying not to let your arms drop at all.

 

This exercise puts direct stress on the front deltoids. Henry Cavill progressively built up his isometric hold on this exercise in order to fill out those Superman shoulders.

Wood Chopper

  1. Stand to the side of a cable machine with the cable set at a high level.
  2. Grab the cable with both hands and then bring the cable down and across your body.
  3. Twist your body as you perform this action.

 

Henry Cavill would try to get a strong focus on the external obliques with this exercise. He would do the woodchopper exercise with the cable set in both a high and a low position.

Henry Cavill Diet

To get into Man of Steel shape, Henry Cavill had to completely overhaul his way of eating. He knew that it didn’t matter how hard his Man of Steel workout routine was, if he didn’t give his body the right nutrients every single day, he would never be able to achieve the Man of Steel’s physique.

To help him get his nutrition right, Henry Cavill employed the service of nutritionist Erin Blevins who was the wife of Michael Blevins who periodically trained Cavill.

In order to pack on the twenty pounds of muscle that were needed to realistically portray the Man of Steel, Cavill had to ramp up his caloric intake dramatically. That meant going from around two and a half thousand calories per day to between five and six thousand calories per day.

Let’s take a look at what a typical day of eating was like for Henry Cavill during the mass-building phase of his man of steel prep.

Meal One

Henry Cavill’s Superman workout routine would require him to get in early morning cardio sessions before breakfast three days per week. He’d then be ready for eating at around 7:30 am.

His first meal would consist of five egg whites, two egg yolks, and eight ounces of steak and he would add pink Himalayan salt.

Henry Cavill would follow this breakfast meal up with an oatmeal protein shake. He would put a cup of Quaker Oats in a blender, along with one scoop of whey protein isolate and three-quarters of a cup of water. Cavill blended it up for 30 seconds and then gulped it straight down.

Meal Two

Henry Cavill’s second meal of the day would be at 9 am. It would consist of a scoop and a half of protein powder along with half a cup of cottage cheese.

He would also have two cups of grapes with this meal along with a handful of sunflower seeds to provide the healthy fats that his body needed.

Pre-Workout

Prior to his workout, Henry Cavill would get a caffeine hit by way of Nespresso.

Post-Workout

Henry Cavill’s post-workout meal consisted of a whey isolate protein shake. It would consist of a scoop of protein powder, along with peanut butter, almond, or cashew milk. Cavill would also add a scoop of maltodextrin which is essentially sugar.

This was designed to replace the glycogen stores in his muscles that had been used up in his workout.

Meal Three

A typical Henry Cavill mass gain lunch would consist of chicken and potatoes. Cavill was a big fan of curry style chicken and would eat a pound of chicken along with two large sliced potatoes in avocado oil.

He would also have an apple as part of his lunch meal.

Meal Four

Henry Cavill would have his 4th meal around four in the afternoon. He would mix about a cup and a half of Greek Yogurt with a scoop of whey isolate protein powder. That provided him with around 80 grams of protein in one meal. Once thoroughly mixed, the bowl would be put in the fridge for thirty minutes to bring it to the ideal consistency.

Along with the Greek Yogurt and protein powder blend, Henry ate two oranges and a handful of almonds.

Meal Five

Cavill’s dinner meal consisted of Bison steak and brown rice pasta.

Meal Six

Before bed, Henry Cavill would have one final protein shake. He used a casein protein powder, as this provided a slow release of nutrients into his muscle cells throughout the night. Cavill also added a greens powder product to his evening protein powder.

As you may have noticed there were no green vegetables in his other meals, so the greens powder was how was getting vegetable-based micronutrients into his system.

Wrap Up

The Henry Cavill workout to achieve the Man of Steel physique was intense and prolonged but it totally transformed Henry Cavill’s physique to create a body to look like the comic book version of Superman. This workout regimen required Henry Cavill to work out for five months with high-intensity workouts. Henry Cavill’s diet also played a huge part in his Superman transformation.

In this article, we’ve detailed every aspect of the Henry Cavill weight training workout routine so that you can train like Henry Cavill and create your own personal Man of Steel body.

 

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Steve Theunissen

For the past five years, I have been a full-time fitness writer.  I also love to write about history and have written more than thirty books on the great battles throughout history. I live in sunny Tauranga, New Zealand with my wife of 33 years, Shelley.

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