Training Lessons From Batman
He’s the only mortal who can take on Superman – but which Bat is best? Here’s our expert analysis
Though injection moulding was invented in 1872, Batsuit technology was still in its infancy by the 1960s so what you’re seeing in the original TV series is prime, unfiltered West (until Affleck took over the cape, the only man to match Batman’s DC-verified 6ft 2in stature). Unbelievably, over 120 episodes, Batman doesn’t do a single press-up, preferring to get his training on the job by beating up endless hired goons and occasionally running around carrying a bomb. Somehow, it works.
The lesson Integrate activity into your everyday life – perhaps by taking the stairs, doing the big shop or fighting a subordinate in your lunch break.
The first big-screen Bats relies on gear over grunt – he’d rather fling a remote-controlled Batarang than a punch, and isn’t above setting a man on fire with his car (opens in new tab) rather than engaging in a fair fight. His sole concession to working out: dangling from a pair of gravity-boots while he’s waiting for top reporter Vicki Vale to wake up after a champagne-fuelled sleepover. Incidentally, she still doesn’t make the connection. Journalism!
The lesson Your billion-dollar inheritance will win you a lot of fights, but it can’t help you get up the Gotham clocktower when the Joker’s heading for his emergency helicopter. Do some stair climbs.
Before Affleck, Bale was the uncontested king of the Bat-workout. Whether he’s doing plyometrics with the League of Shadows or busting out press-ups simply to impress Alfred, he was the first Batman who actually bothered to train onscreen. His finest moment? Going from a broken back to his prison-wall-scaling peak with nothing but calisthenics, then winning a rematch with Bane after cleverly spotting his weak point (spoilers: it was his face all along).
The lesson Press-ups and pull-ups beat almost anything else. Do five of the former, ten of the latter, rest a minute, and repeat as many times as possible until you look like this.
RECOMMENDED: Get a body like Christian Bale in Batman
The newest Batman’s also the most up-to-date with modern training theory. In Dawn Of Justice, you’ll see him dragging tyres and doing weighted chin-ups to sculpt a Superman-beating body. Of course, having an impossibly hi-tech robo-suit doesn’t hurt, but there’s an important takeaway: old-school training beats machines for building functional, fight-ready muscle.
The lesson Forearm strength is important. Once you’ve broken the ten pull-up barrier, add weight or do them hanging from a towel or rope to make bigger gains with fewer reps.
RECOMMENDED: Henry Cavill’s Workout Plan for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice
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From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.