How To Train To Look Like A Superhero –

Superheroes are the total fitness package. They are immensely strong, phenomenally powerful, incredibly fast, and have fantastic endurance too. And yes, some of them can fly too, but that’s not really something you can train for!

Unless you have recently been bitten by a radioactive spider, you are going to have to get your superpowers the old-fashioned way – by earning them in the gym.

This workout is designed to increase your all-round fitness and performance, and get you ripped. After all, there is no point in being a superhero if you don’t look good too. Before we explain the program, let’s take a look at the fitness components you’ll be working on over the coming 12 weeks.  


Strength is your ability to exert maximum force. In other words, it’s your ability to lift heavyweights – such as hoisting a car off a fallen superhero comrade. Strength is developed by lifting heavy weights for low reps and focusing primarily on compound exercises such as squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.

As an added benefit, stronger muscles are also bigger muscles, so training for strength will improve your performance AND your appearance at the same time.  


Power is strength expressed at speed. Activities that involve power include punching, kicking, throwing, sprinting, and jumping – all pretty standard activities for the average superhero. To train for power, you need to lift weights quickly.

Good power exercises include box and hurdle jumps, medicine ball throws, and specialist exercises like power cleans, snatches, and plyometrics.  


Endurance is your ability to resist fatigue and continue working despite being tired. For example, in a superhero battle, it means you can keep fighting all day against wave after wave of evil enemies. 

To develop endurance, you need to get used to pushing your body longer and harder than usual. One way to do this is by moving quickly from one exercise to the next in your workout. Cardio and interval training will also help develop your endurance. 

Getting ripped

The lower your body fat levels are, the more defined your muscles will become. Low levels of body fat can also improve your performance as fat is just “dead weight” that can slow you down or tire you out.

Imagine climbing a tall building while carrying 20 pounds of extra weight. It’ll be much easier if you are leaner and lighter. As an added bonus, you’ll look better in your spandex superhero costume too!

Getting ripped requires a combination of training and good nutrition. The following workout takes care of the training part, but you’ll need to do your part by eating clean and filling up on healthy foods.

Lean protein, starchy carbs, and healthy fats are your friends, while takeouts, sugar, and junk food are your foes. Adjust your diet to reflect your superhero training goals. 

This workout is designed to build muscle, power, and strength, boost endurance, and strip fat all at the same time. To achieve this, you are going to engage in something called Metabolic Resistance Training, or MRT for short. Studies suggest that this is one of the best ways to achieve all these goals at the same time (1). 

It’s also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increase good cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure more than low-intensity cardio (2). 

Metabolic resistance training offers a range of benefits over traditional set-and-rep resistance training, including: 

  • Shorter workouts
  • Burn more calories per workout  
  • Increased post-exercise metabolic rate for faster fat loss 
  • Indirect cardio effect
  • Rapid results 

Metabolic Resistance Training is very similar to circuit training but, with MRT, weights, and reps are more in line with strength and bodybuilding-style training. In contrast, circuit training usually uses lighter weights, higher reps, and more bodyweight exercises.

Young Lee Priest

At the end of each superhero workout, you are also going to do a finisher. Finishers develop cardiovascular fitness, burn even more calories and fat, and also help develop mental and physical toughness, something all superheroes need in abundance. The finisher will take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete but should leave you feeling exhausted.

To develop your superhero fitness, there are also two short interval training workouts per week. The good news is that you don’t have to go to the gym to do these workouts. All you’ll need is some space to run or a jump rope, and 20-30 minutes of spare time.

 Here’s your weekly workout plan: 

Monday  Superhero workout 1 
Tuesday  Intervals 1
Wednesday  Superhero workout 2
Thursday  Rest 
Friday   Superhero workout 3  
Saturday  Intervals 2
Sunday  Rest 

Follow this program for 12 weeks, working hard to increase your weights little by little as you progress. That’s how you build muscle and increase strength.

Note: MRT is hard work. You’ll feel it in your muscles, and your heart and lungs are going to feel it too. If you are a beginner, use light weights and don’t rush between exercises. Take your time and speed up as you get fitter. Doing too much too soon will leave you tired and sore and could cause injury. 

The workouts

Always warm-up before you work out. A few minutes of light cardio, followed by some mobility and dynamic stretching exercises, will do the job. Finish your warm-up with 1-2 light sets of the first three exercises in your program to prepare your major muscles and joints for what you are about to do.    

Superhero workout 1

  Exercise  Reps Laps  Recovery
1 Barbell back squats  5 2-4 depending on your fitness 15-30 seconds between exercises, 2-3 minutes between laps
2 Pull-ups  AMRAP
3 Barbell shoulder press 5
4 Romanian deadlifts  8
5 Inc. DB bench press 8
6 Cable rows  12
7 DB squat jumps  12
8 Push-ups   AMRAP
9 High pulls from knees 8
10 Hanging knees to chest 12

*AMRAP – do As Many Reps as Possible. 

 Finisher: Run or row one mile as fast as you can. Treat this finisher as a race.

Superhero workout 2

  Exercise  Reps Sets Recovery
1 Front squats  5 2-4 depending on your fitness 15-30 seconds between exercises, 2-3 minutes between laps
2 Lat pulldowns  12
3 DB push press  8
4 Leg curls  12
5 DB rows  12
6 Bench press 5
7 Box jumps   12
8 Dumbbell curls  8
9 DB skull crushers  8
10 Cable crunches  12

*AMRAP – do As Many Reps as Possible. 

 Finisher: Tabata burpees – do 20 seconds of burpees, rest for ten seconds, and repeat eight times to total four minutes.  

Superhero workout 3

  Exercise  Reps Sets Recovery
1 Deadlifts  5 2-4 depending on your fitness 15-30 seconds between exercises, 2-3 minutes between laps
2 Decline bench press 5
3 Chin-ups AMRAP
4 DB thrusters  12
5 DB pullovers  12
6 Upright rows  12
7 Split squat jumps  12 per leg 
8 Barbell curls  12
9 Plyo push-ups   AMRAP
10 Cable woodchops  12 per side

*AMRAP – do As Many Reps as Possible. 

 Finisher: Heavy bag intervals – hit a heavy bag for 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat five times to total 7 ½ minutes. No heavy bag? Hit a tire with a sledgehammer or do medicine ball slams instead. 

Intervals 1

 Jog or jump rope slowly for 3-5 minutes to warm up.   

  • Sprint or jump rope as fast as you can for 45 seconds. 
  • Rest for 45 seconds. 
  • Repeat 10 times to total 15 minutes 


Intervals 2

 Jog or jump rope slowly for 3-5 minutes to warm up.   

  • Sprint or jump rope as fast as you can for 60 seconds. 
  • Rest for 60 seconds. 
  • Repeat 8 times to total 16 minutes  


Just because you don’t have superpowers doesn’t mean you can’t be a superhero. Train hard, eat right, and you can transform your body in a matter of weeks.

All that’s left for you to do is choose your new superhero name and wait for the Avengers or Justice league to give you a call! 


  1. PubMed: Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management
  1. PubMed: Effects of high-intensity circuit training, low-intensity circuit training and endurance training on blood pressure and lipoproteins in middle-aged overweight men


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