Get a body like Christian Bale

Advice Max Anderton
26 Jul 2012
Get a body like Christian Bale | Men's Fitness UK

MF asks what type of training you would need to do to be Bale's Batman.

Batman may be a fantastical comic book superhero, but for many people the character’s main appeal is that he has no actual superpowers. After watching The Dark Knight Rises - the finale of a trilogy that successfully imagines Batman in a real(ish)-world setting – we got thinking. What type of training would you need to do to become Batman?

Admittedly, Bruce Wayne has more money and resources to invest in crime-fighting technology than anyone could hope to compete with in real life, but when it comes to strength, cardio and fighting ability, Batman has the edge over his opponents because of his commitment to training.

The Batman Files is a new book that consists of journal entries from Batman's war on crime, among them this training schedule:

BATMAN’S TRAINING SCHEDULE
 
SUNDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes of meditation

Evening
- Clean and jerk lifts – 3 reps/8 sets, 118kg
- Five sets of 400m run, 21 kettlebell swings, 12 pull-ups, 30 minutes flexibility work, 30 minutes sparring

MONDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes of martial arts

Evening
- 5 sets of 6m rope climbs
- 30 minutes of gymnastic rings
- High box jumps – 12 reps/8 sets
- Crunches - 50 reps/5 sets
- 30 minutes of bag work
- 30 minutes of flexibility work
- 30 minutes of sparring

TUESDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes of yoga

Evening
- 800m swim
- Heavy deadlift – 5 reps/7 sets, 280kg
- Lighter deadlift – 30 reps, 140kg
- 30 minutes of sparring

WEDNESDAY - REST DAY

Morning
- 32km run

Evening
- 30 minutes of target practice
- 30 minutes of flexibility work
- 30 minutes of upper-body basics
- 30 minutes of lower-body basics
- 30 minutes of observation
- 30 minutes of meditation
- 30 minutes of holds and pressure points

THURSDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes of traditional kata (focus on Okinawan forms)

Evening
- Squats – 5 reps/10 sets, 240kg
- 1 hour of bouldering
- 30 minutes of flexibility work
- Crunches – 50 reps/5 sets
- 30 minutes of target practice
- 30 minutes of heavy bag work

FRIDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes of meditation

Evening
- Clean and jerk lifts – 3 reps/8 sets, 120kg
- 5 sets metabolic conditioning - 400m run, 21 kettlebell swings, 12 pull-ups
- 30 minutes of flexibility work
- 30 minutes of sparring

SATURDAY

Morning
- 30-minute run
- 30 minutes yoga

Evening
- Crunches – 50 reps/5 sets
- Squats – 5 reps/10 sets, 120kg
- Press-ups - 50 reps/5 sets
- 30 minutes on the monkey bars
- 30 minutes on the pommel horse
- 30 minutes on the heavy bag
- 400m swim

We showed the schedule to top personal trainers Chet Morjaria and Dave Fletcher to see what they made of it and to ask whether it would be possible to do in real life.

'First of all, the weights that Bruce Wayne is lifting are beyond the capabilities of most mere mortals for even a single rep, says Morjaria. 'This training plan is not only intense on the body - in addition, the time required to fulfill these sessions would place them beyond the average working persons schedule. Though if you're a billionaire like Bruce Wayne, the daily pressures of work are less of an issue!

'Wednesday is scheduled as an off-day - with 'only' skill training in the afternoon (albeit three and a half hours of it!). However, the morning consists of a 20 mile run - not far off the marathon distance that many of us train specifically for, for months. His goal time is a very fast time for a single mile...to continue this for 20 miles is nothing short of superhuman.

'There is no doubt this is a very full-on schedule, it would tax even the fittest and strongest of people. To train like this would require more than just a desire to get fitter - it would need an unwavering driving force. Bruce Wayne is deeply motivated to train like this through witnessing the attack on his parents that took their lives - he immerses himself in intense physical, mental and skill training in order to avenge their deaths through fighting crime as Batman.'

'The program is (a) too focused on high rep routines and (b) has been loaded with too much volume to reap the desired strength and power gains,' adds Fletcher. More is not always better particularly when designing program for advanced exercisers. There needs to be more focus on strength and power, which would require much more low-rep/high-intensity work.'
 
So perhaps not surprisingly, Batman's workout schedule is pretty unfeasible in real life, especially for anyone with a job, or for that matter any commitments beyond fighting an endless war on crime. However, Christian Bale looks the part in The Dark Knight Rises and we don't want to crush anyone's dreams of becoming a real-life version of the caped crusader a body like his is certainly attainable.
 
Cancel that batsuit order and try Dave Fletcher's Batman workout (see below). It may not be as hardcore as Bruce Wayne's, but with a focus on stripping fat, building muscle and improving strength and endurance, including it in your weekly training program will help you get a body like Bale. 

Extra info

 
Dave Fletcher's Batman workout

Each circuit follows the 6,12,24 rep routine with 1-3min rest between sets and is not recommended for beginners or novice crime fighters.

Intermediate (2-3 sets)
Advanced (4-5 sets)

A1 Barbell straight-leg deadlift
A2 Dumbbell squat jump
A3 Bodyweight lunge jump
B1 Gorilla chin-up
B2 Power press-up
B3 Dumbbell alternate shoulder press (12 each side)
C1 Hanging straight-leg raise
C2 Gym ball straight arm push
C3 Bodyweight plank elbow raise (12 each side)

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