SPSMSAIRI: Superhero Workout Book

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I know Thor – the Chris Hemsworth version, anyway – is more muscularly massive than Tony Stark. I know Bruce Lee’s physique is a lean, flexible fighting machine. But until I got this copy of Action Movie Hero Workouts by Dave Randolph, I did not know there were substantive differences between Batman (Bale) and Bond (Craig) by bod, nor would I have known how Brad Pitt’s Achilles and/or Tyler Durden likely did things differently in their fictional gyms.

It’s clear the book badly wants to use the word “superhero”; for those of you that didn’t know, Marvel and DC actually own a co-trademark on that term and get very sue-happy about it, but let’s just say most of the action heroes mentioned herein are of the comic-book variety (there’s no Rambo or Rocky, for example). And rather than tell you that Thor gets in shape swinging an impossibly dense hammer, it gives you a detailed workout to try to follow in Hemsworth’s footsteps, as well as dietary tips (I didn’t think unfermented soy was bad. I do know most fermented soy literally tastes like ass. Seriously. It’s called natto).

It’s not all for guys either, but mostly so – the only female workout here has Jessica Biel’s Abigail Whistler in mind, because “female action stars often share the same physique and likely do similar if not identical workouts…they don’t necessarily have defined arms and shoulders, a shapely rear end or killer thighs that can kick some serious butt.” Alrighty then.

There’s not a lot of geek talk within; it’s mostly analysis of what the relevant actors have said on record about their workouts, and extrapolating a system from that. The thing is, none of these are remotely like programs you can just do at home; gym equipment is needed, and in at least one case, a giant tire is called for. But if you sign up for a gym, you usually get one free training session anyway. This book may have some decent reminders to keep you on track, and like most workout books, it has instructions on the best form. But is it better than a more hardcore tome that doesn’t have the hero gimmick?

I suspect this will work best on kids and teens who want to start a workout program, and only have comic-book characters as points of reference. If they don’t get too disappointed when they realize that the full version requires more time than they can give, maybe they’ll take away something to aspire toward.