Famous for her role as a superhero in 2019's Captain Marvel, US actress Brie Larson is no stranger to a gruelling workout routine.
And it seems like her efforts have paid off, as the 32-year-old looks strong, lean and fit; a testament to her hard work.
WATCH: Brie Larson reveals intense training regime for Captain Marvel
Naturally, like all normal people (ahem), I decided to try and live like Brie, by copying the workout routine that she took on for her role as superhero Carol Danvers in 2019's Captain Marvel. This savage-looking workout routine is also something that Brie has worked with for other Marvel films. Plus she's also reappearing in 2023's The Marvels, so I assume she may have worked out in a similar fashion for that too.
The beauty of Brie, is that prior to this Marvel-lous training routine (geddit?), she's admitted to being someone who became out of breath when walking up a hill.
Speaking to Insider she said: "I started this journey thinking I'll get strong and I had no idea. I went far beyond what I ever believed was possible for my body."
Brie Larson showed off her killer abs on Instagram
Now though, I mean, look at her go. She is strong, with a capital S, proving that no matter your starting point, YES you CAN do it. Pull-ups certainly are not for the weak…
Brie, much like the rest of us, was left seriously in awe of what her body can achieve.
Brie Larson wows her followers with her workout videos
"Being able to hip thrust 400 pounds, deadlift 200 pounds, push my trainer's Jeep, I mean, it's an incredible experience to realise what's inside of you is well beyond what you knew was possible."
Ms Larson is my kind of woman. So naturally, when I was asked to train like her for a week, I jumped at the chance.
I'm a big gym-goer, working out consistently and incorporating a range of different movement styles. So the thought of training like a superhero sounded epic.
Brie Larson recently took up rowing
What is Brie Larson's workout routine?
OK, so fangirling aside, what has Brie been doing to get so damn fit?
I scoured the web in a bid to suss out Brie's workouts. Luckily, she shares a lot on her social media platforms as well as her jam-packed Youtube channel.
Brie does a real mix of workouts, from resistance training through to boxing and dancing. This chick is a force to be reckoned with- 90kg deadlifts, 180kg hip thrusts (wtf, this is mental), pull-ups, chain resisted push-ups…let me tell you now; these aren't easy.
Brie uses chains for resistance in her workouts
For context, I hip thrust max 110kg at the moment, and that's a couple of reps with a face like an angry rhino. So, 180kg is jaw-to-the-floor impressive.
It's celebrity trainer Jason Walsh that guided Brie into her fit state. He's trained a stack of celebrities, including Victoria's Secret models. So it's safe to say, he knows what he's doing.
Speaking of his routine with Brie, Jason explained to Men's Journal that they would practice mobility work, activation work, and then primary strength exercises.
"That could be a squat aspect, bilateral exercises, unilateral moves, hip-hinge work, and a lot of hip thrusting and posterior chain work to fire up and support the spine. Then we'd do circuits of secondary exercises—basically everything other than those primary moves—and make sure her joints were supported and muscles were activated throughout the workout."
It sounds complex, but essentially, Jason was/is on a mission to boost Brie's strength without causing her injury.
Brie Larson performs reps to up her strength
Brie's workouts also require plenty of stretching. Speaking on her Youtube channel, the actress said that she stretches before each of her workouts and even on days when she knows her body 'just needs a little extra love.'
Brie Larson's gym-based workouts.
It was actually quite tricky to source the exact workout followed by Brie but I did find a seven-day plan online which is pretty much along the lines of everything I had been reading about Brie’s workout routine.
Brie Larson's Deadlift, Back and Biceps routine
- 1. Push-ups (3 sets, 20 reps)
- 2. Deadlifts (5 sets, 12, 10, 8, 5, 3 reps)
- 3. Cable Rows (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 4. Step Up Bicep Curls (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 5. Lateral Pulldowns (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 6. Chin-Ups (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 7. Hammer Curls (3 sets, 10 reps)
Brie Larson's super-toned arms are down to bicep curls
Brie Larson's Squats, Glutes and Legs workout
- 1. Air Squats (3 sets, 15 reps)
- 2. Squats (5 sets, 12, 10, 8, 5, 3 reps)
- 3. Weighted Hip Thrusts (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 4. Overhead Barbell Lunges (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 5. Leg Press (3 sets, 10 reps)
- 6. Calf Raises (3 sets, 15 reps)
- 7. Hamstring Curls (3 sets, 10 reps)
How many workouts does Brie Larson do each day?
The workout plan that I found suggests that Brie works out just once a day, which is great, as that's what I also do.
However, some further research led me to find a quote from her trainer Jason which revealed that on some days she worked out twice.
Brie Larson makes pull-ups look easy
Speaking to Men’s Journal he said: “When she got back from Avengers, it was game on. We got deep into heavy progression, doing two-a-days, four days a week, sometimes five days a week unless Brie was feeling destroyed.”
For the purpose of my experiment, I will be opting for one (intense!) workout a day. Here goes…
Following Brie Larson's workout routine
I attempted to work out like Brie Larson
Day 1 of working out like Brie Larson
Today I opted for a deadlift, back and biceps workout. I did seven moves, with three to five sets of each and a rep count of between 10 and 20. See below.
1. Push-ups (three sets, 20 reps)
2. Deadlifts (five sets, 12, 10, eight, five, three reps)
3. Cable Rows (three sets, 10 reps)
4. Step Up Bicep Curls (three sets, 10 reps)
5. Lateral Pulldowns (three sets, 10 reps)
6. Chin-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
7. Hammer Curls (3 sets, 10 reps)
Although I know I should do more, I actually do neglect my upper body quite a lot, especially in comparison to how much I train my legs and glutes. So this workout made a nice change, however, three sets of 20 push-ups!? Are you kidding me? I can barely do 10 before my arms are crying, and the workout's only just begun.
The chin-ups I also struggled with and I’ll be honest, I only did one set of these. My arms were pretty fatigued by this point.
DAY 2 of Brie Larson's workout routine
To give my arms a breather after yesterday's brutal upper body sesh, I opted for Brie's lower body workout. Again, seven different exercises, tending to work for three sets of 10 reps for each.
Brie Larson's leg workout was less agonising than her upper body session
1. Air Squats (three sets, 15 reps)
2. Squats (give sets, 12, 10, eight, five, three reps)
3. Weighted Hip Thrusts (three sets, 10 reps)
4. Overhead Barbell Lunges (three sets, 10 reps)
5. Leg Press (three sets, 10 reps)
6. Calf Raises (three sets, 15 reps)
7. Hamstring Curls (three sets, 10 reps)
This was my kinda workout. I felt very comfortable doing this and even decided to add in a couple of extra sets on the hip thrusts. I love the fact that the workout starts with bodyweight squats, as this helped me to really activate my lower body, whilst still getting my heart rate up a little.
The calf raises are an exercise I rarely commit to, so I do expect that my calves will be crying a little tomorrow….
Day 3 of working out like Brie Larson
I was wrong. My legs feel fine, although my glutes are a little on fire. But, I like that feeling so I'll let it pass.
Today, I am back to upper body with the below.
1. Pull-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
2. Military Press (five sets, 12, 10, eight, five, three reps)
3. Front Raises (three sets, 10 reps)
4. Dumbbell Shrugs (three sets, 10 reps)
5. Power Cleans (three sets, 10 reps)
6. Dumbbell Snatches (three sets, 10 reps)
7. Shoulder Flies (three sets, 10 reps)
Brie Larson said she finds pull-ups 'fun'
If you’re not familiar with any of these moves and fancy giving them a go, a quick search on Youtube will offer a helping hand. To make this workout a little more brutal (and because I was really short on time today), I supersetted some of the moves. A superset involves two moves done back to back, with no rest in between. They're great for helping to improve muscular endurance as well as saving time.
Day 4 of Brie Larson's workouts
OK, my calf pain has kicked in from Brie’s lower body day. Luckily, today is a chest-based workout. I never train my chest so this should be fun.
1. Pull-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
2. Bench Press (five sets, 12, 10, eight, five, three reps)
3. Tricep Overhead Extension (three sets, 10 reps)
4. Incline Dumbbell Press (three sets, 10 reps)
5. Tricep Cable Pushdown (three sets, 10 reps)
6. Dips (three sets, 10 reps)
7. Weighted Push-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
This workout routine wasn't given to me by Jason himself, so I am fairly certain that there will be some differences to the ACTUAL Brie Larson Avenger's routine, however I'm certainly hitting all bases with the exercises I am doing, as this week, every muscle has been targeted.
Brie Larson has an extensive workout wardrobe
Pull-ups seem to be a favourite exercise of Brie's although unfortunately they're a move I struggle with. But, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. I'm definitely improving yet I have a long way to go before I can do three sets of 10 reps! Anyway, onwards and upwards. The bench press here left me for dead, and the weighted push-ups…well, I did them unweighted.
Day 5 of Brie Larson's workout routine
So, according to my findings, Brie also does an optional full-body day. Again, seven exercises, one of which is a cardio session. Hoorah, finally some cardio!
1. 45 min varied cardio
2.Front Squats (three sets, 10 reps)
3. Arnold Press (thee sets, 10 reps)
4. Dumbbell Clean and Press (three sets, 10 reps)
5. Pull-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
6. Push-Ups (three sets, 10 reps)
7. Burpees (three sets, 10 reps)
Every body part gets a workout in Brie Larson's exercise routine
I’ll be honest, this workout was fun. Because it hit so many different muscles, I didn’t fatigue too easily. Instead, I was left feeling strong and energised. I chose to run for the 45-minute cardio session before going into my front squats.
I hate to admit it, but the pull-up/push-up combo is getting a bit boring now. There really are only so many days I can keep doing these upper body exercises - my arms are actually starting to tremble! Anyway, I did as many reps as I could of the push-ups before dropping down to my knees to make them a little easier. I also used a resistance band for the pull-ups to take some of the strain off.
DAY 6 of training like Brie Larson
After five days of pretty intense resistance training, I decided to break the Brie mold and go for a nice gentle run outside. So, with my headphones in, the world (or rather, Greenwich Park) was my oyster and I galloped freely around in the sunshine for 90 minutes. It felt good actually to break away from the weights and just go running, with no time limit, no PB to hit and generally no pressure.
Brie's sculpted abs are a result of serious training
Day 7 or working out like Brie Larson
Today I rested. Brie takes rest days, so that means I do too.
As a PT, I'll always encourage at least one rest day a week or more, depending on your workout schedule and also fitness level. It's during these rest days that the body can recover properly and muscles can repair and grow.
So, avoiding rest days is just one big cardinal sin. A rest day doesn't mean total stillness though. If you're like me and need to move, then go for a walk, practice yoga or enjoy a gentle swim. Our bodies were made to move, but they do need rest from the intense work that we often subject them to.
Brie Larson knows the importance of rest days
What did I learn from training like Brie Larson for one week?
Practice practice practice
There are a bunch of exercises I always avoid, mainly because I can't do them well. These include press-ups, pull-ups and the chest press. But this workout routine forced me to go for them, and go for them hard, which by the end of the week, saw me improve dramatically. So, in short, if you struggle with something, don't avoid it. Instead, go for it, and you'll soon overcome the fear.
Brie Larson shared her motivation for getting fit
I felt less stressed
As someone who normally practices cardio alongside weights every day, I do find that my body gets very tense. It always feels heightened, and a little on edge and I do get more anxious during those weeks when my workout intensity is sky-high. So toning it down and focusing primarily on resistance training actually did my body and mind the world of good. I felt more composed and I also felt calmer.
This has definitely proven to me that I NEED to tone down the high-intensity work, as in reality, it's probably doing me no favours.
Stretching is so important
An obvious point perhaps, but prior to every workout, in true Brie Larson form, I stretched. I opted for dynamic stretches before a workout (these are stretches that involve movement, such as leg swings) and then static (still) stretches after each workout.
Throughout the week, although I felt muscle pain from the workout itself, my body still felt limber and I didn't wake up with that agonising tight feeling that you might experience after a workout with no stretching.
Big thumbs up to stretching!
Like this story? Sign up to our HELLO! Mail newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.