The Obsession with the Superhero Physique

The terms “superhero” and “fitness” have become more inseparable over the years. As a highly influential institute that can sway views on society and help define different facets of pop culture, Hollywood has helped bring the mythology of these comic book characters to cinematic life. The film industry has also helped cultivate and find a new fitness trend – the superhero physique.

Massive muscles, a shredded core, and god-like frame have become almost a standard depiction for superheroes, and toned abs on a slender figure with real functional strength for superheroines. For fans of the genre, it has become not just an expectation, but a source of inspiration.

When actor Chris Hemsworth gave fans a glimpse of his workout regimen in preparation for Thor: Ragnarok on Instagram, the post went viral. Screenrant reported that Hemsworth sought the advice and services of Australian trainer Luke Zocchi who gave the actor an intense fitness itinerary. Mixing the tenets of boxing, interval and resistance-training, and cardio exercises, the site showed Hemsworth executing rigorous movements that involved bear crawls, heavy medicine ball slams, battle ropes, and much more. Amassing more than four million views and 25,800 comments, the short video received a lot of positive feedback from comic book fans and fitness enthusiasts.

To prepare for Wonder Woman, actress Gal Gadot also dedicated a great amount of time exercising to fulfill the physical requirements of the character. Elle revealed how Gadot worked out for about six hours a day over a span of six months. The training she did included gym work, fight choreography, boxing, wall climbing and even horseback riding. During the height of her training, she would update her Instagram account and post pictures of her progress. Similar to Hemsworth, Gadot’s posts were received positively via thousands of views and comments. Their training became much more than preparing for the character; it became a fitness term in its own right.

The muscular superhero physique is nothing new. Physical strength has always been celebrated in culture from the Greek myths of Hercules and Achilles, to modern heroes like Superman and Captain America. This common depiction of strength is present in all depictions of heroes whether it is in books, films or games. Digital game provider Slingo has a number of titles that feature superheroes, both male and female, all exhibiting strong muscle physiques. The gaming platform draws inspiration from classic Greek myths in the game Kronos, and from modern idols like the Amazon Queen which takes cues from Wonder Woman. Fans playing these games will automatically associate the images of strength with superheroes because the symbol of strength is so ingrained in our culture. That’s why the appeal of superheroes doesn’t look like losing any steam any time soon.

Movie Pilot stresses that Hollywood studios will keep churning out superhero movies because aside from the fact that they offer great economic prospects, the stories are universally-driven. Aside from having different avenues to rejuvenate one’s love for different characters of the comic book world, the possibilities for comic book story telling are endless. And with more superheroes, will come more instances to be inspired to build the perfect superhero physique.

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