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How to Get a Superhero Body

Updated on April 1, 2013

Why A Superhero Body?

The classic, chiseled look of Superman is undoubtedly one of the most sought after features of any fitness junkie. Sometimes fitness guys get flack for 'looking good, but not being strong'. This may be true in some cases. They will look like Superman but fight like the Joker. On the other hand, you have the power-lifters. No doubt they are strong like an ox, but they look like one too. These guys can put up incredible numbers in the gym while the fitness guys get the 'aesthetics'. You want to be strong, but also look good. The body of a Superhero contains both strength and aesthetics. You look as strong as you actually are. This means you can put up a ton (literally?) of weight while also flashing a 'The Situation' approved eight pack. You don't have to choose sides, this is actually one case you can have your protein cake and eat it too. Here's how..

Mike O'Hearn
Mike O'Hearn

Hero Step 1: Supercharge Your Lifts

To begin Superhero training you're going to have to redirect your work outs. Cut out the little weight.

Check out Newton's Third Law of Motion, it states, "When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = -F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction." (Wikipedia) Which basically says the more you lift the stronger/bigger you get.

We won't go too much in to the lifting techniques. Mike O'hearn can do a great job of that. He's pioneering 'Power Bodybuilding'. If you didn't know, Mike is a living fitness world legend. He's played Superman, battled contestants on American Gladiators as Titan, and won Mr. Universe three times. So it's safe to say he know's what's up when it comes to looking great and being strong. This guy does 800 lbs squats for reps... Mike does three main lifts; squat, dead lift, and bench. There are several variations to these and the styles are different than the conventional basic trio.

You will be putting so much blunt force trauma on your body it will need plenty of rest. This is going to be some massive weight. This is a man's workout, no more playing around and no curls for the gurls bullshit. If you can survive this, you will be stronger than the fitness guys and look wayy better than the powerlifters. The perfect body with matching strength, that's what we call a superhero.

Hero Lift 1: The Deadlift

WARNING: Do not attempt deadlifts for the first time with ANY weight. Get your form perfect first. Even then have someone watching and critiquing you. These can screw you up horribly. I say this from experience.

I call deadlifts the 'steroid lift'. You know why? Because they stimulate HGH growth hormone in your body. Doing curls doesn't do this. You need heavy weight, with compound movements to smack your nervous system into action to produce bodily roids. Your testosterone will be off the charts after doing these.Actually, all 3 of the Hero Trio (bench, deadlifts, squats) will do it. Anyway, my style of deadlifts is called 'sumo'.

Sumo is different from regular deadlifts because it takes added pressure off your lower back and places it with the hips and your center of gravity. I've got the back of a 89yr old Giraffe so sumo is the only way I can deadlift safely. In sumo, your hips are open with the feet under the bar and slightly pointed out. I use the inverted grip with one hand regular and one with the palm facing out. Mike advises to start out doing 7 sets of 4.

Hero Lift 2: The Bench

This isn't your typical style of benching. We are power lifters now, not pansy meat heads. We hold technique above all. The trick is to work smarter, not harder. In power lifting bench, as you go down turn the elbows in toward your chest. It's almost as if you are benching with dumbbells, This takes the pressure off your pectoral connection tissue to the shoulder (very common injury). This is also a more 'fast twitch' move. The trick is going heavy and getting adequate rest between each set. We want the muscles to refill of glycogen and ready to bust into action again.

This is true for the entire Hero Trio. Do big weights quickly then rest. It's not a race or cardio workout. After completing (1) of the Hero Trio for the workout then you can get in the high-intensity, no rest bodybuilding work. Again, do 7 sets of 4 to start off.

Hero Lift 3: The Squat

Ever see those guys in the gym with massive upper bodies and twig legs? Yeah, those guys suck. TRAIN YOUR DAMN LEGS!! You look like freaking Johnny Bravo. Squats do so much for your entire body I could write several articles on its benefits alone. But this will be a brief over view of my two favorite squat styles: power lifting and front squats.

Power lifting squats (seen above) are different than body lifting squats. Like sumo deadlifts, the hips are wider and toes pointed slightly out. Also, the bar is set farther down the shoulder blades. The motion is more of 'sitting back' motion than a squatting one. Think of sitting down in a chair with your chest up then firing the glutes/hips back up. It's a little more dynamic movement. Again, be careful when first doing these and use a belt if needed. The main theme is to go heavy. IF THE WEIGHT DOESN'T SCARE YOU IT'S NOT BIG ENOUGH. To be superhuman you've got to start putting up the superhuman weight. Don't worry you'll get there. Like the last two 7 sets of 4.

On a side note, try substituting front squats every now and then. They do wonders for the core, shoulders, and quads. They also help you stay flexible and undo any dissertation of the chest (when you bench too much and your shoulders are permanently fixed in an inward position).

Mike O'Hearn on Power Bodylifting

Hero Step 2: Body Shredding

For every workout you will do one of the Hero Trio. After that, pick two or three bodybuilding type exercises. For example, after deadlifts I'll do lat pull downs, chest flyes, and hamstring pulls. These are more reps with less weight. Mike prefers you stick to 5 sets of 8. This is where you take all that power you've built up and put the shredding power of bodybuilding behind it. This can be cardio in itself, but if you feel you need extra try doing 15 min brisk walk on elevated treadmill. Try to hit multiple muscle groups during each workout. This will get your entire body building back to form a solid steel exterior and interior.

After doing such an intense workout your body will be exhausted and depleted of nutrients. Now comes one of the most important parts in your superhero journey, getting the right supplement nutrition.

Hero Essentials 1: Protein

Not enough protein is the kryptonite of any superhero in training. But, not all proteins are equal. You want the most bang for your buck and quality is much more important than quantity. Some of the cheaper (aka Walmart) brands contain krypotnite you don't need like LEAD and ASPARTAME. A solid protein supplement is the backbone of our workout support staff. While protein in itself is great, we want to get a powder that does a little extra. That's why I've listed the top 5 proteins that give you the best value and quality. The one's listed below some of the top rated on Amazon.

Which Superhero is more shredded?

See results

Hero Essentials 2: Pre-Workout

Every time you step into the gym it should be a battle. The weight should make you nervous and you WILL have to have a warrior's mindset. If your diet or sleep is sub par your energy levels going in may be lacking. That's when I break out the PW (pre-workout). Just as every Superhero puts on their uniform before fighting evil, you can put on your game face behind the energy blitz of a great PW. WARNIG: Some pre-workouts contain ingredients that are known to be hazardness to your health over time. I've selected the best rated that are not the kind filled with synthetic crap (I'm looking at you Jack3d.) These are not to be used every day and be sure to go low on overall caffeine limit on days you do blitz up.

Hero Essentials 3: Recovery

After every hard battle its crucial to rest. Your muscles don't grown in the gym, they grow at night. These supplements can aid growth in muscle, hgh, testosterone, and eliminate soreness. If you're not getting the right set of amino acids or sleep your muscle development can be hindered. Getting a super hero body is a delicate balance of the right training and the right nutrition at the right time. If you're going through the workouts above, your body is going to be starving and broken. It desperately needs crucial ingredients it can't get from food alone ( or at least TODAY'S nutrient void food alone).

Top Rated Recovery Products

NOW Sports Nutrition, L-Glutamine Pure Powder, Nitrogen Transporter*, Amino Acid, 1-Pound
NOW Sports Nutrition, L-Glutamine Pure Powder, Nitrogen Transporter*, Amino Acid, 1-Pound
With a superhero workout, your body can't produce the amount of L-Glutamine it needs. Glutamine is a precurser to GABA, which unleashes HgH (human growth hormone). It also aids in muscle mass.

Hero Sidekicks: Vitamins

Vitamins are the small details that can take you to that extra level. This is the time where you are on the verge of greatness and need an extra boost. Trimming that last bit of fat off naturally is the best way. Along with a proper diet, there are a few different vitamins that can aid in fat loss/muscle growth. These are the ones you probably are not getting enough of and the most effective.

Top Rated Vitamins

Barlean’s Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements with Orange Flavor - 1000mg Softgel with 680mg EPA /DHA Ultra Purified, Pharmaceutical Grade, Triglyceride Form Fish Oil - Non-GMO, Gluten-Free - 250 Softgels
Barlean’s Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements with Orange Flavor - 1000mg Softgel with 680mg EPA /DHA Ultra Purified, Pharmaceutical Grade, Triglyceride Form Fish Oil - Non-GMO, Gluten-Free - 250 Softgels
Unless you are eating fresh, mercury free cod everyday, fish oil is a must have supplement. Fish oil hosts a bounty of Omega-3 fatty acids, which drives blood flow circulation, improves recovery, and sharpens the brain. One of the most documented and proven vitamin supplements.

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