Chris Evans’s Biggest Muscle-Building Secrets

Follow his lead to get into bad guy–busting shape.

Chris Evans’s Biggest Muscle-Building Secrets

Follow his lead to get into bad guy–busting shape.

In his new film Gifted, released this weekend, Chris Evans has set aside his trusty winged helmet and vibranium shield to play an average, salt-of-the-earth everyman who is tasked with caring for his niece. (Always the hero!) But what Evans hasn’t set aside, of course, is his always enviable, lean-yet-muscular physique.

Ever wondered how the Cap’n does it? We have. And that’s why we’ve compiled his three biggest muscle-building secrets—from the one hardcore lift he hates (but swears by) to his unique approach to cardio—right here. So read on, and feel free to unleash your own inner hero whenever you like. And if you’re too busy to adopt a strength-training routine like Evans’s, don’t worry. You can still try these 5 Exercises in 10 Minutes That Will Transform Your Body.

Chris Evans no cardio

1
Cut Out Cardio

To bulk up for Captain America: Winter Solider, Evans did all of the workouts you’re used to—deadlifts, squats, bicep curls, triceps extensions, bench and incline presses, you name it. But get this: he didn’t do a minute of dedicated cardio.

As he told bodybuilding.com, “If I do cardio, I’ll disappear.”

Evans is so naturally slender, he had to focus purely on building muscle and keeping it strong; no time was spent on burning fat. So if you’re a trim guy looking to add some meat, cut out the cardio. Of course, if you simply want to look trim, start by following these 5 no-brainer secrets.

Chris Evans workout military press

2
Kneel for Your Military Presses

If there’s one super-villain to top all super-villains, it’s the guy who invented the military press. But, alas, the military press is an essential evil; as horrifically painful as each rep is, the exercise is fantastic for your shoulders. While bulking up, Evans added a little twist to everyone’s least favorite exercise: he did it while kneeling. By doing your military presses on your knees, as opposed to using a dedicated bench with back support, you force your core muscles to strain too. In short, this will give you abs. And if that’s what you really want—it is—be sure to learn about the number one reason you don’t have abs yet.

Chris Evans workout bicep curl

3
Work Out Two Muscle Groups at a Time

Evans is very organized with his routine. “We would take two muscle groups, whether it was chest and back or biceps and triceps, and […] just destroy them over two hours,” he told bodybuilding.com. He did this six days a week, Monday through Friday, with a rest day on Saturday. (Sunday was a dedicated day to working any muscle he thought needed more work.) Follow his lead, and you’re sure to bulk up. And once these are burned in your brain—and your muscles are just, well, burning—move on to 10 more advanced ways of gaining muscle fast.

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