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How This Batman Actor Turned His Fat Into Muscle

In 2012, Tom Hardy’s transformation into Gotham juggernaut Bane was legendary. The actor, who had previously rocked other body changing roles that were in Warrior and Bronson, had beefed up a lot to play Batman’s arch-enemy in the third movie of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.

Almost a decade later, Hardy’s portrayal of Bane is still being talked about and, during a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, the actor has shared the mental and physical toll the role had taken on him. In the newest episode of BBC Radio 1’s ‘Kids Ask’ web series, a budding journalist questioned Hardy about the preparation that was required for the movie— more specifically, how did Hardy get “so muscly” in order to play the role of Bane.

“If you really look closely at the photographs of Bane, I was actually overweight. I ate a lot and I was not much heavier than I am today, but I just ate even more pizza. They shoot you from low to make you seem big,” said Hardy. “People would open up the lids on their motorbike helmets and say ‘I always thought you were bigger’…I was just bald headed, slightly chubby and with thin arms.”

“That is the magic of lighting and three or four months of exercising and consuming lots of pizza. It was not healthy for my heart. The point was to seem as big as possible,” he said. “I have very skinny legs and my stunt man, Jacob Tomuri , liked to say ‘Why did Tom come in here riding an emu?”

To meet the high demands of the acting role, Hardy — chameleonic as ever — gained 30lbs in weight, bringing him to a hefty 90 kilos. “This compared to Christian Bale I have been by no means extreme in what my body changes were,” Hardy said.

Hardy did a bulk-up “matrix” (check the workouts out below) to build more muscle on his arms, chest and shoulders. Using a descending ‘ladder’ format, Hardy would perform a four-round circuit, going from 10 repetitions in the first round, to seven reps, to five reps, then to three reps. By utilizing his own body weight, he was able to pack-on more muscle in a frighteningly short time frame.

The Square: 10, 7, 5, 3 Reps

Place your palms so they are ‘square’ with your shoulders. Try to Keep your elbows tucked in, while moving alongside your torso to better detonate your triceps.

The Rectangle: 10, 7, 5, 3 Reps

Set your hands far apart, so that when you start to lower your chest to the floor your chest, arms and the floor will form a rectangle.

The Eagle: 10, 7, 5, 3 Reps

Start in the exact same position from above, but this time spread your fingers as you descend and turn them outwards.

The Kong: 10, 7, 5, 3 Reps

Assume the press-up position while on your knuckles, keeping your arms at shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest down to the floor, while allowing your elbows to bend back like a grasshopper’s legs would. This is a killer on your shoulders.

The Diamond: 10, 7, 5, 3 Reps

Put your index fingers and thumbs together in a diamond shape. Bring your chest down to the center of the diamond, then push yourself back up again. Breathe raggedly.

Author: Blake Ambrose

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