The Brandon Routh Superman workout

Any actor willing to take on the role of Superman will always have big shoes to fill. 

The role comes with major pressure of not only the acting part of playing the most iconic superhero ever, but also but also physically looking like an invulnerable force capable of catching planes on a baseball field and pushing islands into outer space

After earning the role of Clark Kent/Superman for the 2006 film Superman Returns, ​Routh started an intense workout regimen and diet plan, which allowed him to pack on 22 pounds of muscle in just 5 months. 

Brandon Routh Superman workout

Brandon Routh in Superman Returns - Photo Credit - Warner Bros.

The Brandon Routh Superman workout routine

Routh shared a little bit about what his workout and diet routine were like at the time in an interview with People magazine. His lifting workouts were done 6 days per week and would start as early as 4:45 a.m. They consisted of: 

  • 20 minutes of cardio
  • 50 minutes of weight training
  • 10-20 minutes of slow-burn cardio

Routh was in excellent shape before gaining the role, but didn't quite have the bulk of the Man of Steel. His exercise regimen allowed him to put on too muscle too quickly, and he had to cut back on the weight training. He shared in an interview with SuperHeroHype how he physically trained to be able to look the part of the DC Comics legend. 

Brandon RouthOn the type of training he did to prepare for the role of Superman/Clark Kent                 

Well, I did a lot of things. I lifted weights obviously. I did Rope Yoga, which is a mix between pilates and yoga and that my first trainer Gudni Gunnarsson created. It's a great core building routine so that was put in place so that I could sustain myself with the wires and the harness for extended periods of time. So we did that early on. Also with weights and especially training my body to get in shape. We got my body in shape to be in shape. I mean, I was in shape, I was an athlete before that. I did certain things, but never to this extent. 

The Rope Yoga and strength training sessions helped to get his body ready in several way. In addition to adding lean muscle mass that would help him fill out his tights, he also developed a strong core and functional strength which helped him when filming action scenes. 

Variety was a crucial part of his training program, and Routh never did the same workout twice. His trainer, Michael Ryan, said that "The aim was to continually shock the it was never getting used to the same workout."​ Varying workouts like this prevents the body from adapting too quickly and stalling progress. 

The Brandon Routh Superman diet plan

When preparing for the role of Superman, Routh ate a very strict diet in order to not gain any unwanted body fat. He had to find a balance between adding muscle and keeping off extra weight that would make him too bulky. His typical daily intake consisted of: 

  • 5 meals per day
  • 2,200 calories per day
  • meat
  • fruit
  • nuts

This might not sound like a lot of calories for someone who was around 6'2" and 220 pounds at the time of filming, but it makes sense considering they were more worried about him putting on too much size rather than too little. Meat, fruits, and nuts can be a solid foundation to any good diet program. 


While Routh only got to play Superman in one film, he made a big impression with fans with his versatility to play both Clark Kent and his alter-ego and was eventually able to get another chance at playing a superhero. He currently plays Ray Palmer/The Atom on the CW TV series Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow

In addition to his superhero roles, Routh has played a number of diverse and unique characters throughout his career. He is also known for his role on the TV series Chuck, as well as parts in films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

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