Henry Cavill prefers heavy squats over deadlifts – don't skip leg day if you want to look like him

Henry Cavill's favourite exercise is not what you think it is. Hint: it doesn't have anything to do with arms

Henry Cavill having a Muscletech shake after a workout
(Image credit: Muscletech)

Henry Cavill is an absolte beast. He's been actively working out for over a decade, and it shows. His shoulders are broad, his arms are massive, and his legs are like tree trunks. How did he get so big? Not by doing biceps curls, for sure. As a matter of fact, he prefers doing heavy squats, and lots of it.

As well as being an A-list actor, Cavill is now also the Chief Creative Director of MuscleTech (opens in new tab) and knows what exercises work for him. He looks great in every role he takes on, not least because he works hard both in front and behind the camera. And when I say behind the camera, I mean in the gym.

I don't think there is anyone in the world who's unfamiliar with that famous shirtless scene (opens in new tab) from the now eight-year-old movie Man of Steel; and if you, just like me, watched that scene over and over again 100 times, might conclude that Henry Cavill's workout consists of nothing but endless reps of bench presses and overhead presses.

In a recent interview with bodybuilding.com (linked above), Cavill was asked to name his favourite exercise from these three compound exercises: front squat, back squat or deadlift. Surprisingly, his answer wasn't "hands down deadlift" as I expected.

Instead, Cavill responded by saying he "used to really enjoy front squats" and that – and you might want to sit down for this – he prefers "back squats [now], especially if he's doing a lot of it."

Now, this might sound surprising for all the leg day skipping individuals out there, but squats are one of the best compound exercises you can do. Thanks to its variations, squats can build leg definition – obviously – as well as improve core strength and posture.

If you need a little more convincing to start doing squats, remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said this about squats: "I have no fear of fainting. I do squats until I fall over and pass out. So what? It’s not going to kill me. I wake up five minutes later and I’m OK. A lot of other athletes are afraid of this. So they don’t pass out. They don’t go on." Be like Arnie and Henry and start squatting today.

Has Cavill got anything against the King of Lifts? Nothing in particular but as he explains, he "used to love a good deadlift but these days he'll probably get more from a squat." That's fair enough for me.

Now that you're all hyped and ready to go heavy on your next workout, try this full body workout or this push-pull-leg workout for size. Here is a list of the best glute exercises or this big butt bonanza workout

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

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 (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).