To be the first-ever female superhero to headline a Marvel movie, you have to be something special.

Thankfully for comic book fans (and the members of the MCU left in limbo after the events of Avengers: Infinity War), Captain Marvel, as portrayed by Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson, has more than enough power to lead her own 1990s-set film—then (potentially) save the universe from Thanos’ plans in the final film of the MCU’s current phase.

Larson has the bonafides to play just about any role she’d want as an actress, but the physical demands of portraying a superhero gave the 29-year-old star a new type of challenge. Larson admitted that she wasn’t much for the gym before shooting the film—but that all changed as she trained for the role. “I just wanted to be a brain, so I’ve only cared about reading books and understanding words, and anything that involved my body made me itchy,” she told E! News. “But this was an opportunity for me to … make my body mine.”

Larson worked with LA-based trainer Jason Walsh, who counts Matt Damon, Miles Teller, and John Krasinski as past clients, to get in superhero shape. “Brie came to me, and the good thing was we had 9 months,” Walsh told Men’s Health when we stopped by his gym. “Her character is very very physical, so we needed her to be super resilient, super strong, so that she can recover from this and not risk shutting down production.”

To demonstrate how he helped Larson transform from a cerebral actress into a proud Instagram fitness maven and believable superhero, Walsh walked us through one of their typical training sessions, which calls for a progressive overload to help break through plateaus.

“Brie worked out 5 days a week with me pretty much the whole nine months,” says Walsh, before giving Larson the highest praise a trainer can bestow upon a client. “She worked her ass off to get into shape for this movie.”

If you want to give the program a try, check out the video above and follow the notes below. Don’t be afraid to adjust the loads and weights to fit your own training level—and don’t think that you can’t take on the routine just because Larson happens to be a woman. “She got pound for pound as strong as any guy I know,” says Walsh. “And that’s saying something.”

The Warmup

Full Body Foam Roll

1 to 3 minutes in each position

World’s Greatest Stretch

5 to 6 reps per side

Activation Exercises

The aim of these moves is to get the muscles that support your spine fully activated and ready to perform.

Half-Kneeling Band Rows

2 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Hip Thrusts

2 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Bench Y-T-W Raise

1 set of 10 to 15 reps for each motion

Medicine Ball Slam

2 sets of 10 to 15 reps


Primary Exercises

Walsh calls this section the “meat and potatoes” of the programing. “This is the body working, recruiting every single muscle, multi-joint movements,” he says. “This is where you get the most out of your workout.”

Landmine Deadlift

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Single-Leg Landmine Deadlift

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per leg

Eccentric Bench Pushup

2 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Isometric Pushup

2 to 3 sets of 3 to 4 10 second holds at each position

Weighted Pushup

2 sets of 8 to 10 reps

You can use chains to get that dynamic load, but if you don’t have any on hand, place a plate on your back to add weight. This can also help with your form—if the plate moves and slides, you need to squeeze your core more to keep your spine straight.

Dumbbell Total Body Complex

6 reps of each movement

  • Upright Row
  • Snatch
  • Push Press
  • Bent-Over Row
  • Snatch

    Chinup Series

    Isometric Chinup Hold

    2 to 3 sets of 3 to 4 10 second holds

    90-Degree Chinup Hold

    2 to 3 sets of 3 to 4 10 second holds

    3-Step Isometric Chinup

    2 sets of 2 to 3 reps

    Assisted Eccentric Chinup

    2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Assisted Chinup

    2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Full Chinup

    2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Brett Williams
    Brett Williams is an Associate Fitness Editor at Men’s Health.

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