Thor Workout: How Chris Hemsworth Had To Get Fit Quick

Thor Workout

When it was time for Chris Hemsworth to return to his role as Thor for Thor: The Dark World, he had to get fit quick. Chris Hemsworth was just coming off filming Rush, where he had a much slimmer physique. The Thor workout for Thor: The Dark World involved included heavy lifting, kettlebells and even fat-burning Tabata training.

The training that Chris Hemsworth used for Thor was a combination of weight training and high intensity interval training. For the Thor workout, Chris Hemsworth used this powerful combination because he had to get fit quick. Heavy lifting mixed with Tabata training not only adds size, but burns fat to give Thor a sculpted, lean physique.

For the Thor 2: The Dark World workout, Chris Hemsworth went back to his trainer from previous movies. See the original Chris Hemsworth workout here. In order to get fit quick, Chris Hemsworth works out with personal trainer Mike Knight of Art of Strength. Mike Knight is known especially for his high-paced Kettlebell workouts, which are known to get you cut while maintaining muscle tone.

Chris Hemsworth and his trainer Mike Knight divulged the details of the Thor 2 workout routine to Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness Magazine, and even a local newspaper:

Thor Workout For Monday = Chest/Legs Day

The Thor Workout for Monday is all about using barbells to get stronger. You are going to work your chest and legs hardcore on Monday. In fact, Mike Knight likes to have his clients work their legs almost every day. Since the legs are the biggest muscle group in your body, Mike Knight was constantly incorporating lower body workouts into the routine. He wanted Thor to be able to show off his core and lower body with pride.

Barbell Bench Press3-51260 secs8-12 repsAim for 12
Incline Bench Press3-51260 secs
Decline Bench Press3-51260 secs
Dumbbell Flys3-51260 secs
Weighted Dips3-51260 secs
Barbell Squat3-51260 secs
Double KB Front Squat3-51260 secs
Stiff-Legged Deadlift3-51260 secs
Hamstring Curls3-51260 secs
Leg Extensions3-51260 secs
  • Training for Muscle Growth: 8-12 reps for 3-5 sets per exercise. Rest 1 min between sets.

Chest exercises:

  1. Barbell Bench Press
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Decline Bench Press
  4. Dumbbell Flys
  5. Weighted Dips

Leg exercises:

  1. Barbell Squat
  2. Double Kettlebell Front Squats
  3. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  4. Hamstring Curls
  5. Leg Extensions

Monday is your big day, where you work your two largest muscle groups. When training, it is important to remember your goals. Chris Hemworth’s weight training goals were about getting bigger and muscle growth. Therefore, for Thor, he aimed for 8-12 reps per set. They used other days of the week for fat loss by utilizing boxing, MMA, and Kettlebell Tabata training. For the Thor workout, you want muscle growth to get fit quick.


About the physique for the Thor workout, Chris Hemsworth says:

“In the comic strip Thor looks to be around 500lb, so obviously that wasn’t my goal, but it was very important for me to look the part and be as powerful as strong as I could while still maintaining that element of agility.”

Here is a video of Mike Knight taking a reporter through many of the exercises in the Thor workout:

When asked about his routine for Thor, Chris Hemsworth says:

The truth is there is no 5 minute quick routine. Unfortunately, it is what you don’t want to hear. Which is it’s a good hour or so in the gym every day. And, a very strict diet. And um, lots of weightlifting and good, old-fashioned bodybuilding. This time around it was a bit more functional training, boxing, some Muay Thai to get me looking rocky.

Thor Workout For Tuesday = Back & Bicep / Tabata Training

The Thor Workout for Tuesday is about doing back and Tabata training. This helps Chris Hemsworth chisel his body into a V-shape, with total body fat-burning exercises to boot. His trainer, Mike Knight, starts him off with a light warmup. They do some back work Tabata weight training. Then, they spend some time doing Tabata training with kettlebells.



The Thor workout for Tuesday starts with a back warmup. Do 3 sets of each exercise with moderate weight. For the pullups, use back weights if you are in good shape. If you need help, use the machine in most gyms that is weight-assisted.

  1. One-legged Deadlift
  2. Back-weighted pullups

Tuesday is for back, biceps and Tabata training. This is where you work your two largest muscle groups. When training, your reps determine the type of body composition  you will gain. To get fit quick, Chris Hemsworth would perform the following:

Bent-over Row3-51260 secs8-12 repsAim for 12
Weighted Pull-Ups3-51260 secs
Weighted Chin-Ups3-51260 secs
Bicep Curls3-51260 secs
Hammer Curls3-51260 secs
  • Training for Muscle Growth: 8-12 reps for 3-5 sets per exercise. Rest 1 min between sets.

Back/Bicep exercises:

  1. Bent-over Row
  2. Weighted Pull-Ups
  3. Weighted Chin-Ups
  4. Bicep Curls
  5. Hammer Curls

Tabata Training / Kettlebell Workouts

The Tabata training / Kettlebell workouts are performed as a circuit. Tabata training is where you perform one exercise for 20 seconds on / followed by 10 seconds rest. You then go onto the next exercise, repeating the 20 seconds on / 10 seconds rest. So, do each exercise for 2o seconds. Then, you have 10 seconds of rest. Move onto the next exercise, until you’ve performed one set of each exercise.

Tabata Training:

Do each circuit exercise, based on the number of rounds listed below: 20 secs on / 10 secs rest = 1 round:

  1. Kettlebell Squats (4 rounds)
  2. Kettlebell Snatches (8 rounds)

Kettlebell Pyramid: 5 sets

  • Kettlebell Swings:
  • Two hand swings (1 round-10 reps)
  • Right hand only swings (1 round-15 reps)
  • Left hand only swings (1 round-15 reps)
  • Alternating hands swings (1 round- 10 reps)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Kettlebell Cleans:
  • 5 Right hand/5 Left hand
  • 4 Right hand/4 Left hand
  • 3 Right hand/3 Left hand
  • 2 Right hand/2 Left hand
  • 1 Right hand/1 Left hand
  • (work way back up to 5)

After going all the way down, work your way back up, adding 1 rep at a time, for a total of 60 reps with no rest. Work your way up to doing 5 total sets of the kettlebell pyramid.

Although there’s no video of Thor going through this routine, there is one of Mark Mitera. Mark Mitera is a member of the Montreal Canadiens, who also trains at Art of Strength (AOS). The Detroit Red Wings and Lions, University of Michigan, and other hockey players also train at AOS. Here, you can see Mark Mitera performing the Kettlebell Cleans circuit:

Speaking about the challenge of creating the Chris Hemsworth workout, Duffy Gaver said:

It’s a lot of work to keep the bulk on. I have to do a workout for an hour or two every day and eat ridiculous amounts of protein. I’m pretty much carb free at the moment. It’s so boring.

Thor Workout For Wednesday = Boxing & Abs

When they started training Michael Knight let Chris Hemsworth use Wednesday as a rest day. But, as filming got closer, the Thor Workout for Wednesday became Boxing & Abs Day. The boxing and Mixed Martial Arts was done to torch Thor’s body fat. The abs work was done, also, to get Thor in Hollywood screen shape.



For a warmup, trainer Mike Knight of AOS would have Chris Hemsworth do a Ladder Turkish Getup with using 24,28,26, and 40 kg. Here’s a video of the trainer performing the warmup.

Boxing/MMA training:

Forearm Plank with Leg Lift33030 secs
Cable Crunch33030 secs
Upper Body Ab Crunches33030 secs
Reverse Crunches33030 secs
Roman Chair Leg Raise33030 secs
Oblique Crunches33030 secs
Side Oblique Crunches33030 secs

Ab exercises: (3 sets of 30 reps each exercise)

  1. Forearm Plank with Leg Lift
  2. Cable Crunch
  3. Upper Body Ab Crunches
  4. Reverse Crunches
  5. Roman Chair Leg Raise
  6. Oblique Crunches
  7. Side Oblique Crunches

thor arms workout

The Thor transformation has made Chris Hemsworth a muscular, iconic figure. About the transformation, Chris Hemsworth says:

You start to feel like people think that’s really you. I suppose it’s fair enough if that’s all they’ve seen of you.

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About the Author:

Chris Davis is focused on bringing you the most popular information on celebrity and athlete workouts. His goal is to make you stronger. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

  • Jay

    Strange, no mention of Human Growth Hormone.

    • Chris Davis

      Is it true?

  • Dan

    He doesn’t do shoulders ? And is this to gain muscle mass

    • Chris Davis

      Thursday is the Big Shoulder day for Chris Hemsworth. Also, the kettlebell workouts develop the shoulders as well. The goal for the Thor 2 workout was to gain muscle and get fit quick.

      The barbell and dumbbell workouts were designed to gain muscle mass. The kettlebell and Tabata training were designed to “shred every last ounce of fat,” according to his trainer.