Which superhero has the best physique?

Posted: June 12, 2014 in fitness, fun
Tags: , , , ,

You guys probably know by now that not only am I a fitness “buff” but a fan of comic book movies (actually I’ve been a fan of superheroes and comic books since before I could walk).

So combining those two loves for me is a huge thrill, and something I just took to the next level with a book I wrote called SUPERHERO PHYSIQUE.

So to honor this recent publication I want to pose the question: which superhero had the best physique?

This is obviously a very subjective question, even Frank Zane said that bodybuilding and its judging is so subjective that it will never be considered a “sport”.

I’m going to put the following rules into this particular question:

  • This is specifically about movie superheroes (not cartoons or comics)
  • One of the criteria will be how the actor looked before preparing for the role

  • Contestants (alphabetically):
    Captain America
    The Incredible Hulk


    To date the best physical specimen for Batman is Christian Bale…

    Christian Bale packed on a ton of muscle after being sickly lean for the Machinist. He got big but managed to stay fairly lean.

    However in American Psycho Bale had an amazing physique that I would wen rank higher than his Batman.


    Chris Evens had to look big and powerful after stepping out of the super soldier chamber, and he did it well. He looked fantastic.

    However he was previously in great shape for such roles as Human Torch in the fantastic four.


    Hulk is an easy pick for being simply huge, but since most incarnations have been CGI we an only look at Lou Ferrigno.

    Lou was huge and ripped as hulk, but has the advantage of being a professional bodybuilder. Not to take anything away from him, he just did not have to undertake the same kind of transformation some of the others did for their roles.


    Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield both had to do some physical preparation for the role of Spidey. To me the far and away winner is Maguire. He had to put on some muscle, and got noticeably lean as well, where Garfield is more of just a skinny guy. Maguire underwent his transformation while adhering to a vegetarian diet, which may have been to his detriment but should be respected.


    Three actors have done impressive physical work to prepare to take on the role of the man of steel:

    Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh both added decent size without extra chub for the role and neither one came from a fitness background.

    Henry Caville on the other hand was in very good shape for The Immortals.

    All the same, Caville put on noticeable size and still was quite lean for this role. Kevin Smith astutely noted that this was the closest to a comic book Superman we’ve seen to date.


    Before becoming the Wolverine, Huge Jackman was a stage actor and his most noteworthy performance was playing the muscle-bound goon Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. However he was not overly huge for that role. When he first hit the screen in 1999 his physique away the time was not stellar but still quite good. Director Bryan Singer made it sound like they made his physique work by arranging the shooing schedule for the topless scenes around his training schedule, and did some close ups when he wasn’t at his peak.

    However, if we fast-forward to his latest outings as Wolverine, he is in absolutely ridiculous shape especially when we consider he is getting to the age where hormones are not on his side.


    As I mentioned before, it’s a very subjective topic. In Superhero Physique I included 12 training programs designed to help you build your physique in the model of the superhero of your choosing as well as a bonus chapter to help you create your own program.

    The winner for me? I’ll tell you after you tell me 🙂 Who’s your pick?

    Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine training and diet

    Thor Mass Program

    Man of Steel: Building a physique like Henry Cavill’s Superman

    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    1. kenny wong says:

      My favourite is Captain America! 🙂

    2. […] Related: Which superhero has the best physique? […]

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