He’s played some of the biggest roles in pop culture history, but with Bane’s bulging biceps and muscularity, Tom Hardy became an aspirational figure for gym-goers the world over.
Hollywood has long produced an Internet-breaking transformation, whether it be a leading man bulking up for a role or shedding the pounds. From Christian Bale to Brad Pitt’s Fight Club six-pack or Kumail Nanjiani’s epic superhero transformation that saw him become a convert to a life of fitness, many of these transformations speak to the sheer drive and determination of those people behind it. But when it comes to Tom Hardy, this is a star who defies all expectation. No matter the role, he gives himself entirely to the project, transforming before our eyes to become another character entirely.
But when it comes to his most notable physical transformations, it would be impossible to look past Hardy’s bulk up as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. With his bulging biceps and imposing muscularity, Hardy presented a formidable presence on screen. Most astonishingly though, he managed to do so in just three short months.
So, just how did he do it? Here, we examine the complete diet and workout routine that saw Hardy transform into the iconic figure that is Bane.
What was Tom Hardy’s diet plan for Bane?
To bulk up for the part, Hardy had to increase his caloric intake rather dramatically. He had three large meals a day, including three snacks between meals and an impressive range of supplements for good measure, too.
According to reports, Hardy’s daily caloric intake came to a rough total of 3,300 calories, comprising of 450 grams of carbs, 210 or so grams of protein and under 90 grams of fat. While it didn’t prove as restrictive as other celebrities who have stuck to the bland kind of clean eating diets that see their fridges stocked solely with chicken breast and spinach, Hardy still ate clean but was fuelled enough to keep up the intensity of his workouts.
As he explained when training for the role of Charles Bronson, “We didn’t have any time to waste, so I started eating and my arse very quickly got fat. For Bronson, I put on about 7lbs a week – with no steroids. In the end, I’d put on about 2 and a half stone by eating chicken and rice, which was my staple diet throughout the day.”
Favoured supplements of Hardy’s include protein powder, pre-workout and protein bars, along with amino acids and high-quality nutrients and minerals. While it goes without saying that supplements can never replace a balanced diet, Hardy expressed that his training and recovery were greatly enhanced thanks to his supplements. For those looking to replicate the star’s routine, consider adding whey protein which can speed up muscle growth via repairing muscles and tissues, and creatin which enhances strength, increases muscle mass and helps recovery.
- 2 whole eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 4 slices of brown toast
- Mixed fruit and nuts
- 200 g (7 oz) of lean steak
- 100 g of brown rice
- Grilled asparagus
- 2 scoops of whey protein
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Skim or almond milk
- 1 banana
- 225 g (8 oz) of chicken breast
- 200 g of brown rice
- Grilled vegetables
- 90g-100g of tuna
- Fillings: tomato & lettuce
- Your choice of sauce
- 2 slices of brown bread
- 1 wholemeal pita wrap
- 100-150g of oatmeal
- 1 scoop of whey protein
- 1 handful of blueberries
How did Tom Hardy workout for Bane?
To get into shape as one of the most physically dominating villains of all time, Hardy trained four times a week in order to add over 30 pounds of muscle and strength to his frame. To ensure he managed to train consistently throughout the process and avoid injury, Hardy took Wednesdays off and focused solely on recovery.
On Wednesday, Hardy favoured active recovery and engaged in light cardio, yoga and active and static stretching. He also used a foam roller to aid muscle recovery. Mainly though, his training sessions throughout the week sought to maximise growth of chest, arm, back and leg muscles. He gained 14kg of mass for the role of Bane, bringing his rather slender 76kg frame up to 90kg of pure muscle.
According to Hardy, each workout consisted of compound exercises and isometric exercises performed with high repetition. They required medium to heavy weights with the use of barbells, dumbbells, machines and personal bodyweight. On Monday, Hardy trained chest and legs, Tuesday he trained arms and legs, Wednesday was recovery, Thursday was abs and back, and Friday arms and legs. Here’s a breakdown of each workout.
Monday: Chest and Legs
- Floor Crunch – 4 sets of 10-20 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Modified Arching Pull Up – 2 sets till muscle failure
- Dumbbell Floor Press – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Incline Barbell Bench Press –2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Partial Deadlift – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Clean & Press – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
Tuesday: Arms and Legs
- Dips – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Seated Barbell Curl – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Hanging Leg Raise – 4 sets of 10-20 reps
- Modified Hamstring Raise – 2 sets till muscle failure
- Walking Lunge – 2 sets of 15-20 steps
- Full-Range Squat – 5 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Calf Raise (weight increments per set) – 3 sets of 3 reps
- Foam roller work to break down scar tissue
- Static stretches to loosen up muscles
- Slow and controlled active stretching for improved mobility
Thursday: Abs and Back
- Incline Sit Up – 4 sets of 10-20 reps
- Wide Grip Upright Row – 2 reps of 8-12 reps
- Barbell Bench Press – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Double Plate Raise – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- T Bar or Barbell Row – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Side to Side Pull Up – 2 sets till muscle failure
- Feet Elevated 3 Point Push Up – 2 sets till muscle failure
Friday: Arms and Legs
- Standing Dumbbell Curl – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Decline Close-Grip Tricep Press – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Lying Leg Raise – 4 sets of 10-20 reps
- Seated Calf Raise – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Romanian Deadlift – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Single-Leg Press – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Weighted Front Squat – 2 sets of 8-12 reps