Man of Steel: Cavill’s Physical Training

To develop the physique the role required, Henry Cavill engaged in months of training with Mark Twight of Gym Jones.

Twight, who first worked with Zack Snyder on “300,” recalls, “Zack came to me and said, ‘I’ve got another project and it’s probably going to be harder than the first one. I need you to make somebody look like Superman.'”

The very idea, Twight admits, “scared the daylights out of me. But Zack brought me someone who was willing to put in the work. Fitness is not just physical strength and conditioning, it’s also strength of character. It’s committing all of your available resources to the achievement of an objective. Only if expectations are higher can achievements be higher.”

Incorporating a combination of various transferable functional training techniques, Twight and his team, including trainer Michael Blevins, were able to work with the actor to attain the skills, strength and confidence he needed to perform wire work, fight scenes and stunts.

“Once he realized he could dead-lift more than two times his body weight, he believed,” Twight says. “Henry achieved a level of discipline and a physical capacity that was outstanding.” Most importantly, Cavill reached his goals—and added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame—with nothing more than hard work and discipline. “Henry said he wanted to look the same outside the suit as he did when he was wearing it,” Twight adds. “He didn’t even need body makeup for those scenes where he had his shirt off because he had done the work and he wanted that work to show.”

“The training was a genuine discovery,” Cavill remarks. “I learned I could do all sorts of things that I never thought possible. Mark kept things constantly evolving and opened my eyes to seeing past what I thought were my limits. He had the ability to crush me, but just enough that I couldn’t walk properly and I felt horrible and a little sick…but I still wanted to come back,” he smiles. The intense training led to what Cavill calls a “recognition moment,” during which “you think, okay, I can do this. It’s not going to kill me, for one. And two, I’m in safe hands. And three, I’m actually enjoying it. Yeah, it hurt. It was excruciating. But I liked pushing past that point to where you realize your body is actually more than capable of doing it. The moment when that happens is wonderful.”

In this revelation, Twight sees parallels between the character and the actor. “Superman’s is a story of self-discovery. Henry’s journey was quite similar in a way. He discovered his capacity and the confidence that comes with being physically capable and knowing how to produce whatever result in his body he wants.”

Roven adds, “Henry completely metamorphosed his body. He already had a great physique, but he really turned it into something super for this film.”