Build upper-body muscle and an immense core with Hardy's fighter workout
British film star Tom Hardy had to get into the shape of his life for mixed martial arts film Warrior. Follow his muscle maxims and you too can pack on lean muscle worthy of the Octagon.
Hardy’s trainer, Pnut, has a simple but unorthodox method for bulking fast. “I call my philosophy ‘signalling’,” he says. “Throughout the day you need to send constant signals to your body, so that it adapts in the direction you point it in. It’s better to do 10 press-ups every hour than 100 in a single burst. If you do things often enough, your body adapts for the task you set it, and you evolve.”
Pnut recommends performing these exercises four times a day – when you wake up, at lunchtime, when you get home from work and before bed. It should only take about 20 minutes, but don’t rush. Use light weights and move slowly through the exercises, concentrating on perfect form. Start by doing it in the morning and evening, and then gradually add the other sessions in. If you want to pile on muscle as soon as possible, you’re going to have to get used to working out little but often. “Remember,” says Pnut, “there are no shortcuts.”
Perform these 3 exercises back-to-back, in sets of 10 reps, then 7 reps, then 5 reps, then 3 reps, each with no recovery time between each movement.
Perform the first set with your hands shoulder-width apart. For the next set, do it with your forefingers and thumbs forming a ‘diamond’ shape below your chest. For the third set, have your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. And for the final set, ball your fists and rest on your knuckles.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an 8kg kettlebell (or dumb bell) in each hand, palms forward. Raise your arms through 180 degrees, maintaining your palm position, until your fists meet above your head. Lower to the start position. To increase difficulty, up the weight or stand on one leg.
Sit on the ground, legs straight in front of you, and grab the seat of a chair with your hands behind you (fingers pointing towards your body). Keep your back straight and push down on the chair to raise your backside off the floor until your arms are extended. Lower yourself until you are almost touching the floor. That’s one rep.
Gain back flexibility, a powerful neck and massive core strength. Only move on to the next level when you are confident of your strength, or you risk a neck injury.
Lie on a mat, with your feet on the ground, knees bent. Lift your hips off the mat. As you do this bring your hands to your ears, palms on the floor, fingers pointing to your feet. Do 10 reps, then 7 reps (counting 1 at the top), then 5 reps (counting to 3 at the top), then 3 reps (counting to 5 at the top).
Push to the extended position from stage 1. Press through your hands, lift your shoulders off and allow your head to tilt back so the top of it rests on the floor. Push from your heels onto your toes. ALL your weight should go through your toes and hands, NOT your head. Follow the rep count as before.
As your flexibility increases, rest 90% of your body-weight on your hands, and allow your head to carry 10%. Slowly increase this session by session until you can carry more weight on your head than your hands. Rep count as before. Warning: do not rush or you risk damaging your neck.
When you are able to carry all your bodyweight through your head, raise into the bridge position without using your hands for support. Keep them close to the side of your head in case they are needed for stability, and perform the same set/ rep count as before.
To be performed ONLY when stage 4 is easy. Assume the extended bridge from stage 3, holding a light barbell across your chest, or a 2kg dumbbell in each hand. Perform 5 bench-press movements (or 5 chest flies with the dumb-bells). As it gets easier, increase the weight.
This develops core strength and the size and power of your abs from the top to the bottom. Again, start with stage one and increase the difficulty as you get stronger.
Lie on a mat, with your legs together, hands clasped behind your head. Lift your head and shoulders and hold. Then, tighten your abs and lift your legs. Lower to the start position. Do sets of 10 reps, then 7, then 5, then 3.
Perform the movement from stage 1, then, at the top of the position, bend your knees and pull them in to touch your elbows. Then straighten your legs and lower back to the starting position, flat on the mat. Do set/reps as before.
Perform the movement from stage 1, then, at the top, pull your knees in to touch your elbows – but, don’t bend your legs. Much harder, right? Move your legs back to the start, then lower everything back to the mat. Do sets/reps as before.
Take an 8kg kettlebell and push the tip of your left shoe through the handle. Wrap your right foot around to hold it in place, then perform the movement from stage 1 with the kettlebell weighing your legs down. Do sets/reps as before.
Perform this circuit several times a day and your body will realize it needs to adapt to this new lifestyle.