Probably one of the “Baddest” comic book characters of all time is Wolverine! With the current shotting of the second origins movie and new pictures of Hugh Jackman surfacing I thought we would look at how Jackman got in the best shape of his life which was for Wolverine Origins!

Hugh Jackman is probably one of the biggest Australian movie superstars in a very long time. However what we didn’t know is that for the last 20 years Jackman has been training in the gym and using his personal trainer Mike Ryan. Ryan has been Jackmans’ trainer for previous movies such as Van Helsing and the X men series.

So how did they get Jackman to the point where he looked like the “Baddest” man on the planet! Well Jackman would fit his training around hectic filming schedules, so normally they would train at the crack of dawn. ‘We have a philosophy of training first thing in the morning,’ says Ryan. ‘Research suggests that people who train in the afternoons consistently do workouts  of far less intensity than those who do train in the morning. When Hugh has a 6am filming start, that means we’ll be in the gym by 4am.’

A normal workout would take an hour to 90 minutes, including warm-up and cardio sessions. ‘We never start a weights session without a minimum ten-minute cardio warm-up. Never, ever,’ says Ryan. ‘After a session we often finish with 20 minutes of cardio, which could be a run or run/swim.’

Ryan bases the weight workouts on big compound lifts and adds some twists. ‘The fundamental training principles are based on the core body-building moves such as squats, deadlifts, presses – simple moves, but I mix things up. We change the angles on the bench, play with the tempo, weight, time, rest. The same workout can be done ten different ways by making these small changes.’

Ryan splits the sessions between muscle groups, so one day might target chest and triceps, while another day focuses on back and biceps. ‘I believe in controlled overload,’ he says. ‘To push the muscles to failure by the last set, we’ll superset compound moves with isolation ones – for example, go from a dumb-bell bench press straight into a fly. By the last set you need a spotter to help you squeeze out those last couple of reps.’

How to do these workouts:
– Warm up first with ten minutes of cardio and light bodyweight movements.
– Do the pairs of exercises as supersets, performing one set of the first exercise, then moving immediately on to a set of the second exercise.
– Rest for the stated time before repeating.
– Choose a weight that you can manage with perfect form, but which leads to muscular failure by the end of the final set.
– Take one second to the lift the weight, pause for another second, then take two to three seconds to lower again.

Mike Ryan’s training tips:
– ‘Train in the morning where possible – it’s the best way to ensure intensity.’
– ‘Always warm up sufficiently – not just with cardio, but by doing the movements before adding weights.’
– ‘Work on ‘progressive overload – always keep increasing the weight, and keep a training diary to record your progress.’
– ‘Mix things up – constantly change the tempo, speed, incline, grip – anything so that you’re not always performing the same movement.’
– ‘Feel the movement – focus on each muscle activation rather than simply aiming to finish the set.’
– ‘Work with a trainer – it will help with motivation.’
– ‘Don’t overtrain – learn what your body can cope with.’
– ‘Get plenty of rest – at least seven hours of good sleep a night.’

So there is the basics of the training but as many people know and will contest to the most important part of any training program is DIET (aka what you eat!)

Jackman kept to the main principles of a weight lifting diet. He would eat 6 – 7 times a day. He would get all his protein from natural, unprocessed sources and drink mainly water. The need for good-quality protein either side of a hard workout is also a priority. ‘If you can’t get it from natural sources,’ Ryan says, ‘use a supplement. We were using protein powder regularly. I made sure Hugh got plenty of amino acids before training and immediately after, and then he would have a slow-acting protein at night-time, such as cottage cheese.’

So hopefully the new movie will be fantastic and you can be sure that Hugh Jackman will be in FANTASTIC shape for the movie. I would advise looking into seeing your local gym or personal trainer. I believe as a trainer that anyone can achieve these results if you put in the hard work and dedication.