When the epic Immortals hits the big-screen this weekend, theater-goers are sure to agree that the film's leading man, Henry Cavill, does indeed have a body worthy of a Greek God. But turns out, the actor was just getting warmed up.
Soon after wrapping Immortals, Cavill began prepping for his role as the next Superman. To become a little more super, he turned to Mark Twight, owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City -- the same fitness expert who transformed the cast of 300 into an army of men with washboard abs. Twight uses a punishing training routine called the "tailpipe": a 100-rep workout that'll smoke calories, torch fat, and leave you exhausted (ha!). The tailpipe has two "sides," exercise and recovery, explains Dan John, Twight's colleague and fellow strength coach. "The exercise portion is designed to get you gassed," he says. "but the recovery is just as important."
Twight's tailpipe recovery method: the moment you finish an exercise, calmly take eight controlled breaths in and out of your nose. "Fight the urge to gasp, throw yourself around, or change songs on your ipod," says john. Then immediately start the next exercise. (Another thing you should avoid: The Worst Chicken Dishes in America.)
Bonus: The tailpipe can also improve your sports performance, John says, because it helps manage "the stress of extreme fatigue." After your final tailpipe recovery, attempt a fundamental sport skill. For example, take three free throws, using three basketballs that you've placed nearby ahead of time. "Become better at dealing with this stress, and you might suddenly find yourself becoming a clutch player."
Use this routine at the end of your regular workout, or as an intense circuit you can do almost anywhere. Perform the exercises in the order shown; a 16-kilogram (35-pound) kettlebell or dumbbell is recommended for the movements that require a weight. (If that's too hard, downsize.) Do 25 reps of each exercise, using the tailpipe recovery technique between each move (and after the last). (For another great lung-busting routine, check out The Spartacus Workout, Men's Health's most popular flab-blasting plan ever.
1. Goblet Squat
Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and stand with your feet just beyond shoulder width. Cup the weight with both hands and hold it vertically next to your chest, your elbows pointing down. Keeping your back naturally arched, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as far as you can. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat.
2. Kettlebell Swing
Bend at your hips and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands at arm's length down in front of you. Rock back slightly and "hike" the kettlebell between your legs. Then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the weight to shoulder height. Allow momentum to swing the weight. Reverse the move between your legs, and keep swinging.
3. Squat Thrust
Stand with your feet slightly beyond shoulder-width apart. Bending at your hips and knees, squat and lower your body until you can place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs backward into a pushup position, and then immediately reverse the move and quickly stand up from the squat. That's 1 rep. To add to the challenge, jump up from the squat instead of standing up.
Want to learn more great moves to sculpt your body? Then check out The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises and The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, where you'll find full-color photos of more than 500 exercises, and dozens of great workouts.
4. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms above your head and quickly kick your legs out to the sides. Without pausing, reverse the movement. That's 1 rep.