Chris Hemsworth’s trainer reveals the seasonal workout to replicate his rig


The man responsible for Chris Hemsworth’s enviable muscles, Ross Edgley, reveals the seasonal workout you need to replicate his superhero-esque rig.

Although this periodised plan is typically adopted by elite-level athletes, it’s useful when applying these sports-science principles to adventure, too.

Scientists believe our wanderlust-gene-carrying ancestors were the ones who pioneered exploration of our planet as they climbed mountains, crossed oceans and had dreams of exploring beyond the horizon.

But what about those without the wanderlust gene? Well, I’d argue they also need adventure (perhaps more so).

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Granted, they’re not inherently programmed with a desire to feel the sand beneath their toes in the Sahara Desert or go streaking in the snow across the Arctic Circle, but they require adventure to escape the shackles of the “comfort zone”.

Changing your training with the changing of the seasons was partly inspired by ancient philosophy that believed the best plans were those that worked in harmony with nature.

1. Spring (build)

The focus is on building on your “athletic base” as the volume of training is kept high and the intensity of training is incrementally increased.

Put simply, this is a method, theory and philosophy of training that helps athletes specialise and refine their specific skills.

2. Summer (peak)

The focus is on “peaking” as the volume of training is reduced but the intensity is increased, while ensuring you’re recovering as hard as you train.

3. Autumn (recover)

The focus is on “active recovery”, where both the volume and the intensity of training are kept low, allowing the mind and body time to rest.

Scheduling sleep is critical during this time, as well as understanding ancient and modern sports rehabilitation practices, and the power of strength training and theories in evolutionary medicine, to rebuild the durability of the joints, muscles and tendons.

4. Winter (base)

The focus is to create an “athletic base” with a high volume of training at a low intensity, while also improving work capacity (the body’s ability to perform and positively tolerate training of a given intensity or duration).

The National Strength and Conditioning Association [a worldwide authority that informs and supports exercise professionals] believes that long-slow distance running or swimming is a great way to “increase the athlete’s tolerance for more intense training”.

This is why swimming is brilliant as a training tool – even if your goal isn’t to be an open-water swimmer – as it’s a non-weight bearing exercise, which allows you to train your work capacity while continuing to care for the joints, muscles and tendons.

Spring into action

Edgley breaks down his AM/PM workout plan for this season

  • Monday: (AM) Swim & interval training and (PM) “Pull” training (see below)
  • Tuesday: (AM) Open water swim
  • Wednesday: (AM) Swim & interval training, and (PM) Lower body routine (see below)
  • Thursday: (AM) Open water swim
  • Friday: (AM) Swim & interval training, and (PM) “Push training (see below)
  • Saturday: (AM) Open water swim
  • Sunday: rest

“Pull” training:

  • Passive hang (brachiating): 60 seconds, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Scapula pull ups: 10 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Overhead medicine ball slams: 4-6 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Overhand (pronated) weighted pull ups: 8-10 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Hanging barbell high pull: 4-6 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Band-resisted single-arm rows: 4-6 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Cable face pulls: 10-12 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 60 seconds
  • Single-arm plank row pulls: 60 seconds each arm or 20 metres, 4 sets, rest 60 seconds

Lower body routine:

  • Box jumps: 5-7 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 120 seconds
  • Front seated squats: 8-10 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Single-arm dumbbell side lunge and touch: 10 each side, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Battle rope wrestler throws: 8 each side, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • The stability ball log roll: 60 seconds, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Pallof hold & press: 60 seconds, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • V-sit flutter kick: 60 seconds, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds

“Push” training:

  • External rotation with band: 8-12 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Internal rotation with band: 8-12 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Scapula pushups: 10 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Plyometric pushups: 5 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Band-resisted pushups: 8-10, 3 sets, rest 90 seconds
  • Single-arm kettlebell shoulder press: 12 each arm, 3 sets, rest 60 seconds
  • Band-resisted tricep push-downs: 12 repetitions, 3 sets, rest 60 seconds
  • Battle rope plank single-arm waves: 60 seconds each arm, 4 sets, rest 60 seconds

This is an edited extract from Blueprint: Build A Bulletproof Body For Extreme Adventure In 365 Days by Ross Edgley (HarperCollins, $34.99), out now.

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