thor workout

The Ultimate Guide to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor Workout

We’re all used to seeing actors make transformations for movie roles. Few, however, have been as impressive as the way that Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth bulked up to play Thor for the 2011 movie of the same name. More impressive yet, he has managed to pretty much maintain that muscular look for the last decade; especially for his numerous reprisals of the legendary character. In this article, we take a close look at Chris Hemsworth’s Thor workout.

Training Style

Chris and his trainer, Duffy Gaver, decided to follow a standard bodybuilding type training program to get him in shape to play Thor. The goal was to pack on 20 pounds of lean muscle mass in order to create a superhero body, which is precisely what they managed to do. 

chris hemsworth thor workout routine

After carefully going through the script of the first Thor movie, the pair decided to focus on the parts of the upper body that were most often seen. These were the shoulders and arms. There are a lot of scenes in the movie which show Thor sleeveless but not that many when he is completely topless. 

In the years since the first movie came out, Chris Hemsworth’s training program has remained pretty much the same. Of course, for each movie he and his trainer go through the script to see which body parts need emphasizing and adjust the training accordingly. However, the basic bodybuilding split routine format has remained constant.

The success of the Chris Hemsworth workout plan is not only evident from the results onscreen. To this very day, the search term ‘Chris Hemsworth workout’ is the top search when you put his name into Google.

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Unfortunately, the internet is not the most reliable of sources. That is why you will find all manner of workouts that are completely different from one another online, each claiming to be the original Thor workout. The actual workout plan to follow is taken directly from the record provided by Chris’ personal celebrity trainer, Duffy Gaver.

A Drug-Free Body?

The vast majority of people write off the muscle-gaining efforts of actors with the comment that it’s all steroids. However, according to Duffy Gaver, Chris didn’t touch a single substance that could be considered a steroid during his whole prep period. Whether that’s true or not we’ll never know, but one thing that is certain is that Hemsworth put every ounce of effort and intensity into his Thor prep. 

protein food

Chris also modified his diet to add 20 pounds of lean muscle mass to his body by eating more daily calories. He increased his daily amounts of calories by 500 to 1000 calories each day. He upped his intake of protein with an emphasis on the following sources of protein:

  • protein powder
  • animal proteins like chicken breasts, and salmon fillet.
  • red meat

He also ate more clean carbs, including sweet potato, brown bread slices, and leafy greens. Omega 3 fatty acids were also an important part of the diet plan. Of course, to turn those extra calories into muscle, you need to do the work in the gym. Here’s the way Chris did it …

The Chris Hemsworth Thor Workout Program

Chris followed a classic bodybuilder type workout, training Monday through Friday and having the weekends off. The focus was on compound muscle movements.  Here is a breakdown of his actual training routine for both the first Thor movie and Thor Ragnarok …

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Monday (Back)

Pull-up5 x 20/15/12/10/10 reps
Push-up5 x 20 reps
Hammer Strength Two-Arm Row4 x 12
Dumbbell Row4 x 12
Swiss Ball Hyperextension4 x 20/15/10/10

Note: On each succeeding set where Chris is doing a pyramid, he adds a little bit of weight to the bar.

Tuesday (Chest)

Barbell Flat Bench Press8 x 12/10/10/8/8/6/4/4
Incline Dumbbell Press4 x 12
Hammer Strength Chest Press4 x 15
Weighted Dip4 x 10
Cable Flye4 x 12

Wednesday (Legs)

Back Squat7 x 10/8/6/5/4/3/3
Leg Press1 x failure
Bodyweight Walking Lunge4 x 20
Single-Leg Curl3 x 20
Standing Calf Raise3 x 20

Note: On the leg press, Chris used a drop set system. He started with six 45-pound plates on each side of the leg press machine and went to failure, he then had his trainer strip of one plate from each side and continued to failure; this process was continued until there was just one plate left on each side. Having two training partners can help to make the process faster.

Thursday (Shoulders)

Military Press7 x 10/8/6/5/4/3/3
Arnold Press4 x 12
Barbell Shrug4 x 12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise3 x 15
Dumbbell Front Raise3 x 15
Dumbbell Rear Delt Flye3 x 15

Friday (Arms)

Barbell Biceps Curls3 x 10
Skull Crusher3 x 10
EZ Bar Preacher Curl3 x 10
Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension3 x 10
Dumbbell Hammer Curl3 x12
Rope Pressdown3 x12
Barbell Wrist Curl3 x 20
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl3 x 20

How to Train Like Thor

You can train the same way that Chris Hemsworth did to pack on 20 pounds of muscle for his movie roles. But just doing the same mechanical movements is not going to cut it. It is up to you to summon up the same level of intensity and consistency that Hemsworth brought to the gym each and every day. 

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You must also be committed to progressive resistance. You will see on the above program that Chris relied heavily on the pyramid rep scheme where he added weight on each succeeding set as he lowered the reps slightly. This is the key to adding muscle mass to your body. Even if you are adding just a pound or two to the bar, you need to be striving to push more weight in every workout.

In order to be able to do that, you will need to take longer rest periods between sets. Give yourself as much as 2-3 minutes to fully recover between each set.


The Chris Hemsworth transformation into Thor was the result of hard work, heavy weights, sweat, and consistency. Now that you’ve got access to his complete workout program, it’s up to you to bring the Thor-like intensity needed to pack 20 pounds of muscle onto your own physique.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours a day does Chris Hemsworth work out?

Chris’s workouts usually take about an hour and a quarter each day, Monday through Friday. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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