After rewatching Henry Cavill's 'Man of Steel' workout video, I found something peculiar

Cavill's superhero shoulders for Man of Steel were built using an unusual delt exercise

Henry Cavill attends "The Witcher": A Netflix Original Series Panel during 2019 Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on July 19, 2019 in San Diego, California
(Image credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

One of my favourite hobbies is watching (and rewatching) videos of Henry Cavill. He talks about supplements these days rather than how he works out, which is a shame, but there are plenty of videos of how Henry used to train – good enough for me. And one benefit of rewatching the same footage over and over again is that you notice things you didn't before, such as that Henry did a lot of delt exercises to get ready for the movie, upright rows in particular.

It makes total sense for Henry to bomb the shoulders for a role such as Superman. In fact, every person interested in bodybuilding should emphasise the development of their shoulder muscles, not least because, unlike having a six-pack, boulder shoulders are actually visible even if you're wearing a t-shirt. And Henry's got delts for days, people!

Here's the video:

In case you didn't count (I did), Henry performs no less than 10 shoulder exercises in the video. That's a lot, although it's worth mentioning that not all footage was taken of just one workout, still; taking on the role of the Man of Steel required superhero-level delt workouts.

The best shoulder exercise – at least the one that's featured in the video the most – Henry uses is the upright row. The upright row has a bad reputation in bodybuilding circles, mainly because people use the wrong home gym equipment – Olympic barbells – and overexert their joints.

There are two things that can horribly wrong when doing upright rows. First, by using a barbell, you can over-twist the wrist joint which, combined with lifting weights, can result in injuries. Secondly, there is no need to lift the weights all the way to eye level; it's enough for them to be about chin height in the top position.

How to perform upright rows correctly

You should do upright rows the same way Henry Cavill does, using dumbbells or resistance bands. I sometimes use E-Z bars, that's also a good alternative option. You can use whatever weight, as long as it allows the wrists to move freely and stay in a neutral position throughout the movement.

To perform an upright row, pick the weight(s) up from the floor and stand up, legs shoulder-width apart, arms hanging but holding the weight in front of your body, not by your side. It's easier to find this position when working with resistance bands; you'll naturally hold the looped in the middle, not to the sides.

Then, brace your core and move the weight(s) up towards your chin. Lift with your shoulders and move the rest of the arm with them. Once the movement reached its natural apex, hold for a second and lower the weights to return to the starting position.

As with any muscle-building exercise, focus on slow, controlled movements and establishing the muscle-mind connection to help grow big muscles faster.

T3 hearts Henry Cavill

Interested in learning more about how Henry and other celebrity buff people train and eat to get big? Have a look at the Henry Cavill Witcher workout and find out which is Henry Cavill's favourite exercise and his favourite fitness gadget. Speaking of fitness gadgets: Reacher-star Alan Ritchson's fitness tracker of choice might surprise you!

Chris Hemsworth is also famous for being fit and naturally, we covered many of his workouts on T3 before. Here's Chris Hemsworth's full-body workout and an exercise routine also from the God of Big Arms that uses a medicine ball to build explosive strength.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym reviews.