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Stephen Amell Workout - Get a Ripped Superhero Body Like the Arrow

Updated on November 24, 2015
Stephen Amell
Stephen Amell

Stephen Amell is a superhero in real life too. On-screen he fights bad guy and off-screen he motivates the youth to fight cancer. He started this movement to get the younger generation involved in the fight against cancer. Click here to visit F@#k Cancer.

Anyone who has watched the Arrow in action, kicking criminal ass, knows how badass the best superhero on TV is.

Arrow is the TV version of The Dark Knight series, minus the Batman’s super cool gadgets, unfortunately. But they make it up with kickass fight scenes, addictive script, nail biting plot twists, and superb acting by the cast. And of course there is the star of the show, Stephen Amell, without whom I doubt the show would have been as successful as it is.

Stephen Amell is perfect for the role of a vigilante. He has that dark cold look in his eyes that brings genuinity to his character. He has a superhero physique and fighter strength and agility. He can do crazy gymnastic-plyo pull ups that totally look like someone learned hanging on tree branches on a remote island. And those abs look like they can take an arrow.

If you want to look like a superhero, you’ll have to train like one. You’ll have to spend at least five years on a remote island by yourself fight climb trees.

Okay, don’t stop reading. I am just kidding. I am sure that’s not what Stephen Amell did to get ripped. There are a bunch workouts out there you can try to achieve that look. Even calisthenics work.

In this article I will give you a workout routine for getting the Arrow look. You might have to alter it to little to suit your goals, your body type, strength goals and lifestyle.

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Step 1) Get prepared mentally

I know you have heard this before somewhere. It sounds like a line from a self help guide, but it is important that you know this: If you are not mentally prepared for something, you are likely to give up the moment something goes wrong; your mind is always looking for the smallest excuse to quit.

To mentally prepare yourself, you must know what you are doing. Write down a plan. I don't mean just a workout. I mean how you are going to manage your time to work out still and do other stuff.

Prepare for the obstacles you might face, and find a way to deal with them. If you don't have time for going to the gym; workout at home. If you don't have any equipments at home; make your own. Improvise.

The Routine

The following routine consists mainly of compound lifts, is done six days a week with full body training on alternate days, and using heavy weights.

Since our goal is to gain muscle mass and strength while still maintaining flexibility and health, we will stick to low reps. Heavy low rep training is the safest way to lift. We are going to stick to five or less reps in our main lifts.

Also, if you want to give bodyweight routine a try, this is the best book out there: Convict Conditioning: How to Bust Free of All Weakness-Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength by Paul Wade -

Muscle groups
Legs, back, arms
Squats/ deadlift (5X10), pull ups (5X10)
Bar hang
Legs, chest
Squats/ deadlift (5X10), incline bench press/ incline dumbell press (5X10)
Jump rope, verticle jumps
Legs, shoulders
Squats/ deadlift (5X10), overhead press (5X10)
Alternate leg raises (10X5), L sits (1 minX5), Leg raises (10X3),

Workout guidelines

For putting on muscle mass do five reps in each set. You'll be doing ten sets of major lifts so the volume will be enough to make your body grow. If ten sets is too much for you, try to make at least eight.

Avoid overeating and try to avoid cardio or any other physically demanding activities while bulking up. You can eat fried or fatty foods an hour after workout.

The deadlifts/ squats will work your abs hard, so adding ab exercises in between the workout may interfere with your recovery and progress. Keep the ab work for Saturday.

During a high rep set (over five reps) the stabilizing muscle are prematurely fatigued. Continuing the lift at this stage is counterproductive and unsafe.

While you may get away with it lifting light weights, your odds of getting injured are increased when you are dealing with heavy loads.

The Exercises

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlift
  3. Pull ups
  4. Leg raises
  5. Towel/ Bar hangs
  6. Incline dumbbell press
  7. Stretching

Explosive squats
Explosive squats


The squat is an excellent upper and lower body exercise. It was in the old days and still is the favorite lift of many strongman and aesthetes. Many call it "The king of all exercises."

If you want to gain some real muscle and function strength, you must try squats.

There are many variations of the squat, such as Front squat, Body-weight squat, Hindu squat, Pistol squat, Box squat etc. These variations have different purposes and come in handy.

Primary muscles worked by squats: Upper back, Quads and Glutes.

Secondary target muscles: Hamstrings, Lower back, Abs, and the stabilizing muscles in the core.

Deadlift | Source


Some folks argue that deadlift is the true king of all exercises and not squats. I don't disagree.

Deadlift builds functional strength that passes over to other movements. It builds core strength which is crucial in everything you do. You can't be strong if your core is weak.

DL works the spinal muscles. Although, there is no specific exercise for these muscles and bridges work only so far.

Primary target muscles: Quads, Hamstrings, Upper back, Lower back.

Secondary target muscles: Grip, Deltoids (Shoulder), Core, Spinal muscles, Abs.

Pull ups
Pull ups | Source

Pull Ups

Forget curls. Pull ups are way better for building a strong back and arms. You don't need rows to get a bigger and stronger back, pull ups will do the job better. And you'll be doing lots of Deadlifts, your back has no option but to grow. Pull ups are also safer and keep your back healthy.

Primary target muscles: Upper back, Lower back, Forearms (grip), Biceps.

Secondary target muscles: Abs, Glutes, Core.

If you don't own a pull-up bar, here is the one I'd recommend: Iron Gym Upper Body Workout -

Note that doing endless reps won't make you stronger; you have to add more resistance to increase the difficulty of the movement.
By resistance I don't mean adding weight belts. You can increase resistance by varying the weight distribution and leverage. It's lot harder to perform pull ups with one arm than it is to do them with both arms. In both cases your body weight remains the same, but the resistance increases since you are pulling your weight with one arm.

Changing the leverage also changes the difficulty of a movement; doing a pull up with your legs crossed in front of you makes it easier.

Leg Raises

It's unnecessary to do both crunches and leg raises for your ab training. And leg raises is a better option than crunches for many reasons.

There are many variations of leg raises you can do, such as Knee tucks, Flat leg to hanging leg raises.
Here are some LR variations you can do. Start from the one that comfortable for you to do, and progress to the next step as you get better.

Flat Leg raises
Flat Leg raises | Source
  1. Knee tucks
  2. Flat knee raises
  3. Flat bent leg raises
  4. Flat leg raises
  5. Hanging knee raises
  6. Hanging bent leg raises
  7. Hanging leg raises

I will post an article on leg raises and provide techniques for above variations, but till then just google them and find the correct techniques.

When done in correct form and momentum, leg raises are harder to master than crunches, but they are also more effective. Don't forget to tighten your abs during the exercise.

He did it on tree branches!
He did it on tree branches!

Towel/ Bar hangs

Forearm curls are old school. We build grip hanging.

Here is an idea. Wrap your pull up bar with a towel, so that when you do your sets of leg raises your forearms are working hard to grip the bar.

On forearms day, just hang on to the bar and watch TV or something.

And don't forget to crush the bar as hard as you can. Soon you'll have to be careful not to break the other guy's arm during handshakes.

Lighter weights don't necessarily mean less strength. Your incline dumbbell press is not going to be anywhere near what you bench, but it builds functional strength that you can use under uneven load.

You can workout your chest with pushups. Increase the resistance by decreasing the leverage. It takes a lot of strength to do one arm pushups.

Bruce Lee doing his legendary 2 finger push up. One arm push ups build an iron CHEST.
Bruce Lee doing his legendary 2 finger push up. One arm push ups build an iron CHEST.

Incline bench/ dumbbell press

Bench press is the most popular lift among gym goers. After all, it's considered to be the ultimate "measure" of strength. "How much do you bench?" I am sure someone has asked you this question before. But we are going to do the incline version. Incline bench or dumbbell press gives you the square shape in the chest while the traditional flat bench press gives a round shape that sometimes looks like, well, man-boobs.

Primary target muscles: chest, triceps, and front deltoids.

Secondary target muscles: back, and rear deltoids.

Bench press is a great mass builder. It's a compound lift and targets major muscles in the upper body. But the problem with bench press is that it forces you to move heavy weights in an unnatural way; the elbows are forced out. This is fine under light weights, but as you progress to heavier weights, the load is too high and it can lead to serious injuries.

Dumbbell bench press is a better option.Your arms are not locked in a fixed position, so they move naturally and stabilizing muscles work hard. You will lift lighter weights as compared to the barbell bench press though.

Bench press mostly work the triceps and shoulder muscles. It's not a primary chest exercise. Replace that with overhead press and incline dumbbell press.

The Incline dumbbell press will work the chest and the overhead press should cover the triceps and shoulder muscles.

Don't do this! You are not a ballerina.
Don't do this! You are not a ballerina. | Source

Stretching and Warm Up

Don't ignore this!

I know you have read this a million times, you know I will talk about the importance of warming up, and are thinking of skipping this part. But do so at your own risk.

Bruce Lee, the legendary fighter, knew the importance of warming up and stretching the muscles before a workout, still he forgot to warm up or ignored it before doing a heavy set of Barbell good morning.

This lead to the injury that almost end his career. He had severely damaged a 4th sacral nerve. Doctors said he won't be able to practice martial arts again. They even doubted that he will even be able to walk again. He had to spend six months in bed, resting.

If this can happen to Bruce Lee, this can happen to you too.

Just do some jumping rope and stretching and may be a light set of compound lifts, and you are good to go.


Muscle building diet in a nutshell:

1. Eat proteins

2. Eat fiber

3. Consume fish oil

4. Drink lots of water.

5. Eat more calories than you burn.

6. Endomorphs should keep the fat intake to minimum.

Well, now you know everything you need to build a physique like Stephen Amell, so don't waste any more time looking for workouts. Get to the gym and start lifting.

Good luck and lift safe!

© 2014 Dattaraj


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