It’s commonplace to hear actors talk about how much time they spend in the gym to prepare for a movie role now, but Hollywood stars weren’t always concerned with hoisting dumbbells or tracking calories. Then the ’80s happened—or, more accurately, Arnold happened. The seven-time Mr. Olympia helped bring muscle into the mainstream, with movies like 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, 1984’s The Terminator, and 1987’s Predator raking in millions of dollars and exposing countless eyeballs to Schwarzenegger’s peak physique. Suddenly, beefy action heroes were everywhere, and if you wanted to be a blockbuster action star, you had to hit the gym.
Now incredible physique transformations are an annual, if not monthly, occurrence on the silver screen, with some of the biggest names making even bigger strides in the gym. Thankfully, you can do more than gawk at the latest pair of superhero biceps; you can include their workouts into your own routine. Whether you want to look like a superhero, a jacked demon from hell, or whatever The Rock is playing this week, we’ve outlined routines from some Hollywood heavyweights so you can get your body camera-ready.
FITTEST ROLE: CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)
M&F FACT: The prop department on Conan apparently couldn’t whip up a convincing fake vul