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Training Like a Superhero!

As a kid, most of us dreamed of being superheroes. Maybe it was The Flash, whose incredible speed would make us the quickest kid on the playground, or Superman, whose ability to fly would make things incredibly easy for us. As we aged and learned more about the world, we soon learned that the men and women we worshipped in the magazines didn’t really exist, but provided some terrific role models for behaviors we should exhibit as adults. But what we didn’t realize is that many of the actions they would have taken to achieve those super-human powers are the same things they should be doing as an adult. Let’s look at some ways you can work to achieve a mortal level of superhero strength.


We all know that Superman was strong. He was probably the strongest out of all of the comic book superheroes. Granted, he arrived from the planet Krypton, which is a gift that none of us can achieve. However, we can train in the gym with the goal of attaining Superman levels of strength. Superman had the advantage of looking incredible, and performing at high levels as well.  

To achieve Superman physique and performance, you should use a traditional bodybuilding body part split, along with some heavy 1RM (one repetition max) work to attain that superhuman strength that the other mere mortals in the gym won’t possess.  A typical workout would look something like this:

Monday: Chest

  • 4 sets bench press, 1 max out
  • 4 sets incline DB press
  • 1 max out
  • 4 sets dips
  • 4 sets cable crossovers

 Tuesday: Back 

  • 4 sets deadlift
  • 1 max out
  • 4 sets barbell rows
  • 4 sets chins
  • 4 sets pulley rows

 Wednesday: Shoulders 

  • 4 sets clean & press
  • 1 max out
  • 4 sets seated barbell press
  • 4 sets side raises
  • 4 sets bent over lateral raises

 Thursday: Biceps & Triceps

  • 4 sets barbell curls
  • 4 sets DB curls
  • 4 sets hammer curls
  • 4 sets skull crushers
  • 4 sets DB kick backs
  • 4 sets cable pressdowns for triceps

Friday: Legs

  • 4 sets squats
  • 1 max out
  • 4 sets hack squat
  • 4 sets lunges
  • 3 sets leg extensions
  • 6 sets hamstring curls
  • 8 sets of calf raises of your choice


Explosive speed comes from fully developing your fast twitch muscle fibers. Many world class elite athletes are born with this. The rest of us have to work for it. You can greatly increase your explosive output power by simply practicing. Sprint once a week following your leg day training for your cardio that day. Over time, your muscle fibers will react faster and with more explosive power, making you stronger as a result!


Aqua Man was pretty effective in the water, and if you desire, you can be too! Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise which could save your life one day.  It also provides a great deal of back training, which is very helpful for achieving the overall athlete you wish to attain. Swim on back day for your cardio, immediately after your back workout, if possible. Swimming before back day may leave you sore in the lats before you pick up your first weight that day!


One characteristic that the superheroes shared, often overlooked but never absent, is vitality.They were a healthy group, with clear skin, strong health and great recovery ability. Of course, a vibrant appearance sold more comic books, but it is also what we would have seen in a person with a strong immune system. Stress is a killer, and something which will hamper your overall life quality, as well as the gains in strength, size, stamina and leanness which you’re working to achieve are a result of your training and nutritional efforts. Work to manage your stress, eliminating small problems before they become big ones, even if it is at the expense of a few workouts. Superman had to worry about saving the planet, and be bounced back from stress quickly. You have much less on your plate – you can handle it!

Of course, nutrition plays a key role in all of these superhero powers. Eat the right kinds of foods, and the muscle fibers of your body will grow back stronger, following each tough workout. A diet rich in protein sources such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, whey protein, casein protein, and turkey will give your body a wide variety of amino acids, which are key components for the critical muscle growth period in the 48 hours following a workout. Choose carbohydrate sources such as beans, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables, which will allow you to have the energy for long superhero style workouts.  And of course, any superhero worth his or her salt knows the importance of drinking enough water each day! 

There’s a good chance that you’ll never be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or zip around the planet in minutes. However, in a world full of sedentary mortals whose only daily exercise involves that long trek from the couch to the refrigerator and back, you can attain superhuman advantages if you choose to employ steady training and wise nutrition. You’ll be a superhero compared to your former self, and you’ll be stronger and live longer as a result.  Good luck!

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