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Hugh Jackman is one of those guys who is in better shape at 48 then he was at 30, and he owes it all to an insane amount of hard work, and the training of coach David Kingsbury.
If you’ve seen Hugh in one of the X-men movies (or in his standalone movies playing Logan) you’ll be aware of the incredible shape that he has got into to play the role.
Trying to look as ripped as a comic book character is always one of the most difficult tasks for an actor to achieve.
In this article we will take a look at the program that Hugh followed, the diet that he used, and the supplements that he took. Ideally you should be looking to learn from his program rather than follow it specifically, this is because Hugh’s program was designed for him personally, and not designed for you.
But you can still learn a great deal and apply some of the methods to your own training.
The Wolverine Training Program
The goal of the wolverine training program was to get Hugh as muscular as possible but with as little body fat as possible.
His training was based on hypertrophy, but two different types. There’s myofibril hypertrophy which is the type that strength training creates (think Olympic weightlifters who have dense and incredibly strong muscles) and there’s sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which is what bodybuilders have.
Each session would concentrate on myofibril hypertrophy first, using big compound lifts such as deadlifts, squats, and shoulder presses, then it would finish with bodybuilders style training (high rep sets, drop sets, supersets etc) that would allow him to train to failure.
When he was trying to lose weight they would add in a lot of cardio too.
They would follow a 4 week training cycle, that would start with four sets of five reps for an exercise (let’s say deadlift) at a weight of 60-75% of 1rm. The next week they would lower the reps to 4 and increase the weight slightly. Then in the third week they would lower the reps further still (3 per set) and would increase the weight to 90% of a 1rm. The fourth week would be used as a de-load where the weights would drop to around 40-60% of 1rm and the reps would increase to ten per set.
One thing that his trainer did was to train with Hugh, something that a lot of trainers wouldn’t do. This probably worked out well though as both men are highly competitive and they probably pushed each other further.
If you are looking to get the most out of training then finding a great training partner might be a good idea.
Diet like Hugh Jackman
There were two goals for Hugh Jackman when he started, get bigger muscles and lose as much body fat as possible.
This is something that is almost impossible to achieve at the same time, so Jackman and his trainer decided to split the training into a bulk and a cut.
This means that for the first half of their time together they were trying to build muscle (while trying to limit fat gain as much as possible).
In the second half they tried (and succeeded) to drop as much body fat as possible while preserving muscle mass.
This is a simple job in theory, just slowly increase calories while bulking and then lower them back down again while cutting. This requires a lot of planning and a lot of discipline, but it is easily repeatable once you have learned:
- What your current calorie average is
- What it needs to be to maintain/increase/decrease your body weight
- What your macros need to be
Throughout the program, whether he was in a bulk or a cut Hugh would carb cycle.
On training days he would eat a very high carbohydrate diet that would be used to fuel his performances, while on non-training days he would keep carbohydrates to a minimum.
This is a very clever way to keep body fat low while bulking, it’s also a really good way to still train while on a cut as you are using the extra calories purely for your training.
What Supplements would Hugh Jackman use?
Surprisingly the supplements used by Hugh Jackman while training were scarce, he used creatine every day (which is a great way to improve workouts and hypertrophy) and used BCAAs while training.
There’s no mention anywhere of whey protein shakes, but it seems likely that there would be a use for them in his training.
One thing that Jackman had that most people don’t is time, he was able to dedicate himself entirely to his goal.
If you can do this too then you can expect similar results, you’ll also require a good training partner, a healthy diet, an intense training program, and an impressive deadlift. Get all these and you could be the next wolverine lookalike.