Chris Hemsworth Wanted Smaller Biceps for ‘Extraction 2’

Chris Hemsworth is at his physical best in new Netflix movie Extraction 2. He’s never been fitter and never looked better, but surprisingly going into production he was concerned he had too much muscle.

Luke Zocchi – Hemsworth’s lifelong friend and trainer – has been in charge of keeping the actor in shape throughout his career. You may have seen him on Hemsworth’s Disney+ series Limitless, or if you’ve ever subscribed to his fitness app Centr, you’ll find Zocchi giving all sorts of workout tips. Prior to the filming of Extraction 2, the pair realised that the approach and routines they had been using for the past decade needed a rethink.

‘Thor required mostly aesthetic bodywork,’ Hemsworth told GQ. ‘Whereas for Extraction 2, far greater athleticism was needed.’

Hemsworth turns 40 this year and what was being asked of him for the sequel to the Netflix hit implied a definite change of priorities. ‘When we started it was more, more, more and harder, harder, harder,’ says Zocchi. ‘But Extraction 2 required so much more of him physically with stunts and all the action scenes so his sessions needed to be based around recovery and really trying to look after him.’

Rest and recovery has never been part of Hemsworth’s vocabulary, nor his routine in the gym, so to enforce that change, Zocchi turned to the experience of Michal Novotný. In addition to working with the Czech Republic national team, he is a professor in the Master of Sports Physiotherapy at the European University of Madrid, and his approach was to treat him as if he were a professional athlete. ‘He told me: “Guys, you need to bring it right back. This man is not resting nearly as much as he would if he was a pro athlete, He’s on set filming all day then he’s trying to train at the end of the day”,’ Zocchi recalls.

For Extraction 2, the instructions were simple: ‘He needed to not have such big muscles,’ Novotný tells GQ, so the goal was muscle definition and better overall fitness, paying close attention to the back pain that has plagued him. Hemsworth over the years. One day at the gym, Hemsworth asked Novotný what was the best way to work the biceps to make them more defined and smaller. ‘It’s important to work the biceps along with the upright deltoids in the fly position,’ Novotný says. ‘It’s not to have a bigger biceps, but the opposite. Hemsworth wanted to have smaller, more defined biceps.’

Zocchi says this was a revelation for Hemsworth, as small tweaks to the techniques improved along the way. The Czech coach made small but significant changes to Hemsworth’s routine. The first was to work the biceps not as an isolated muscle, but as a muscular chain, either with front deltoids and abdominals, or with lateral deltoids and lateral abdominals. ‘I also wanted to improve the puntum fixum (holding point) of biceps on core muscles. Here the idea is to work biceps contraction together with contraction on core muscles. That means I put him into static core positions while working his biceps using weights.’

Lastly, he sought to work the biceps along with the legs in a dynamic core with lateral steps + unilateral biceps, front lunges with bilateral biceps, and backward lunges with unilateral biceps. In all of them a resistance band was used between the legs and another elastic one that went from the legs to the arms… In case you want to try.

From: Men’s Health Spain

Headshot of Joaquín Gasca Calatayud

Joaquín Gasca es experto en deportes de competición, tecnología y motor. Hace un tiempo que colgó las botas de tacos para centrarse en el pádel y el running… cosas de la edad, se queja. Pero también se apunta a cualquier bombardeo que tenga que ver con poner su cuerpo al límite, sea al volante de un Aston Martin o yendo a la oficina en patinete.    

Es muy del Atlético de Madrid, así que cuando futbolistas como Marcos Llorente o Álvaro Morata han protagonizado la portada de Men’s Health, allí estaba él para escribirlas. Acaba de correr su primer maratón para Runner’s World, y como pasa en este universo, ya está buscando el siguiente para bajar de las 3 horas. Si hay que testear cualquier tipo de pala de pádel, vehículo o reloj, no pone problema. Incluso zapatillas. Lo que haga falta en equipación deportiva.    

Joaquín se graduó en periodismo por la USP-CEU en 2013, pero desde 2009, cuando entró en el periódico de la Universidad, ya comenzó a ejercer de “periodista” 360 en digital y papel. Los siguientes pasos de sus casi 15 años de carrera los dio haciendo cultura y deporte en la revista Shangay, hasta que entró en Hearst una semana antes del inicio de la pandemia en 2020. También es profesor de redes sociales y nuevas tecnologías en la Universitas Senioribvs CEU y forma parte del Innovation HUB de Hearst para investigar sobre nuevas tendencias. 

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