One only needs to hear the name Chris Hemsworth to conjure images of Australia’s Golden Boy, all ripped, with bulging biceps and the kind of gym-honed body most devote their entire lives to attain. Since bursting onto the scenes as Thor, Hemsworth has become the go-to guy for action flicks or anything, really, that requires a well-trained, buff star. He stunned in the 2020 Netflix hit Extraction and continues to win over audiences in the Avengers and Thor franchises. But when you have a body that’s as much a part of your business as Hemsworth’s, it doesn’t come without some sacrifice.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Hemsworth spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic had interrupted the filming schedule for both a Hulk Hogan biopic and Thor: Love and Thunder. But rather than focus on the negatives, Hemsworth expressed that as a result of the disruption, he’d been able to double-down on his fitness and training regime, taking his fitness levels to new heights. “I’m probably the fittest and strongest I’ve been before all the Thors. Having this time at home meant I explored different methods, to see how I can manipulate my body with just the right amount of powerlifting and bodybuilding workouts.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the original 2011 Thor release, but Hemsworth admits that in that time, he’s approached training for the role different, largely thanks to a number of mistakes he’s learned from. “For years I probably overtrained,” he said. “People who do muscle-building often don’t realise it’s a sport that shouldn’t be seven days a week, two hours a day. I was doing that in the previous Thors, and was coming up sorer, with less energy.”
Thanks to his starring role in Thor, Hemsworth has become quite the action hero in Hollywood. He’s stunned in performances that require some muscle behind the character and in his case, no CGI is required. That said, it has meant that Hemsworth has been pushed towards certain roles and away from others. “There’s an aesthetic that the role requires. Bodybuilding is seen as vanity, whereas if I put on a bunch of unhealthy weight, or got unhealthily skinny for a role, I’d probably be called a serious actor,” Hemsworth explains.
“The training across 10 years of doing it is a full-time job. That and then a 12-hour shooting day – it’s a real grind. It’s incredibly rewarding, too – you have to look at it like a professional athlete.”
Hemsworth’s trainer, Luke Zocchi, explained the method behind the madness. “Chris has focused on functional moves with bodyweight and weighted exercises,” he told Men’s Health. “He has reduced his gym time by cutting out rest periods. It’s surprising how challenging functional exercises can be even without weights. He now moves better in everyday life and has improved his core strength.”