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How To Transform like Captain America

Now known as Captain America “The Super Soldier”, Steve Rogers was once a small, skinny man who would have gone un-noticed when walking down the street.  How things changed when the once puny Steve Rogers became the hero we all know, dressed in the stars and stripes as Captain America, the original Avenger; the Super Soldier.  In this article we’ll explore some ideas of how Captain America came to be, what would have needed to happen to see such a dramatic change, what training would be needed to maintain such a physique and how you can start a Captain America transformation of your own.

Starting the Transformation

First things first, this transformation doesn’t start in the gym.  Depending on your starting point this is arguably a complete lifestyle shift.  Working out in the gym and lifting weights is just part of change, you need to ensure you get enough rest to enable your body to recover properly and crucially you must focus on food and your diet.  The food and fuel that you put into your body will ultimately define how hard you can train and how impressive you gains will be.

Supplements might also play a part in the results that you see, not simply impacting your size but also the speed at which you see them.  Selecting the right supplements that best suit your body, lifestyle and diet is key to maximising your results.  Listen to your body and don’t overload it, results will come, but let your body adapt….it’ll make the results much stronger and easier to maintain.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger …… Better

And so we begin.  You’ve seen Captain America on the big screen, saving the day and looking great and you want a piece of the action, well the trick to looking like The Cap is to train like The Cap.  The old phrase “you get what you put in” really couldn’t me more true. 

Interestingly we’ve noticed even Captain America has developed further since his first outing in Marvels “Avengers”, looking bigger in “Captain America: The First Avenger”, more lean in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” then taking his body and physique to a whole new level in the latest “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

So the question on all of our lips is….How does he do it??

Training like a Superhero

So where to start?  If you want to produce results like Steve Rogers to Captain America you need to get into the mind set of “bulking up” and adding size which you’ll need to do in the kitchen as well as the gym.  The exercises to focus on are compound exercises otherwise known as compound lifts, adding higher weights and keeping your rep count low to something like five or six reps.  It’s important to add enough weight to each set to make sure that you’re failing around this rep count to push yourself, your body and muscles to absolute limit each time.

Why Compound Exercises?  This is how you’ll add size to your frame as well as great definition and providing you continue to stretch you’ll also stay very mobile and flexible.  After all, if you’re going to transform like the .Cap then you’ll need to be ready to run and jump into battle….being heavy and sluggish will get you nowhere!

Compound Exercises

Ultimately this any controlled lifting exercise of a major muscle group with heavy weight and low rep combination.  Exercises and movements to focus on and master are; Squats, Deadlifts, Shoulder Press, Bench Press and Incline Bench Press, Weighted Dips, Weighted Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups and Lateral Raises.

Completing all of these exercises to six rep failure in one training session might prove difficult, so break them down into two, three or four workout sessions until your fitness, strength and stamina improves enough to take on them all in one session.  Remember there’s no point skipping or holding back on an exercise because it’ll only hamper your development and overall transformation.

My Suggestion and Recommendation for Training

To obtain the best results from your training, I’d recommend focusing on two muscle groups in each training session, for example; Legs and Triceps, Chest and Biceps, Shoulders and Back.  Training in this way will mean you can push to your absolute limit each time and importantly it enables you to train more regularly because it’ll give your individual muscle groups more time to rest and recover; which if you’re not familiar with is one of the key factors to weight training and bodybuilding…. Recovery is crucial to enable and assist muscle regeneration and growth.

Each training session objective should be to destroy the muscles you’re working.  When you’ve finished, move on to core and abs at the end of every workout.  You use your abs daily in pretty much everything you do, so in order to get good definition you need to continually find new ways of working them.  A combination of static and moving exercises would be recommended.

I’d also recommend using different grips and angles when lifting, for example with your chest press, use a close grip as well as a wide grip on the bar to make sure you’re working the full width of the pectoral muscle.  You can also use different angles with the bench you’re using for the incline press to again make sure you’re working the full range of the muscle.

Simple is Effective

Don’t be worried about going “old school” in the gym.  In fact you should embrace the more classic or traditional method of fitness and bodybuilding training; throw some free weights about and incorporate some weighted pull-up, weighted dips and press-ups.  Press-ups with a plate on your back too is a great way to stretch and rip your chest muscles for amazing gains and great size.  The exercises are extremely simple but they’re very easy to do and are very effective.

Keeping Fitness High with Resistance Training

This may seem a little contradictive after just highlighting the benefits of classic bodybuilding exercises, but I’d also consider including a training method called plyometrics.  Box jumps or squats into box jumps, single arm clean and press, floor wipers, hill climbers and burpees.  These are all exercises that increase the heart rate and force your body into a cardio state which will assist in keeping you fit, burning fat and tightening your physique.

Jump rope is also a very fast way to increase your heart rate to start your body burning fat, helping you look shredded and lean.

Compound Lifting

We’ve already hinted at compound exercises and compound lifting so now we’ll look in more detail at some specific lifts to focus on each major muscle group to give you a good grounding for starting your transformation process;


These are the bread and butter when it comes to training your legs.  With the bar resting on the back of your shoulders, hold the bar to ensure its sitting firm and doesn’t slip down your back.  Keep your legs shoulder width apart (at least) and be sure to keep your hips and shoulders are aligned as this will stop you from leaning forward and not putting the weight through your legs.  Also when starting the squat, drive the weight through your heels only using your toes to balance yourself, this will make sure that you’re working your quads to the maximum.

Chest Press

The trick to bulking your chest is to control your lifting, whether on the rack or using dumbbells make sure you bring the bar to your chest slowly and raise it at the same speed.  Rushing this movement will only cheat the muscle and won’t rip the fibres well enough to achieve the best results.

You should perform a chest press on a flat bench and also on an incline and decline bench as well, this will make sure you’re working the full range of the muscle and not just the middle.  This will give your chest a full body look.

Shoulder Press

This exercise can be done stood up or sat down but I’d suggest doing this sat down on a seated beach with a well-supported back.  When pressing you must make sure that you’re controlling the lift with steady movements and ensure you press the dumbbells straight up but don’t lock out your arms at the elbow to prevent injury like hyper extension.  To help guide the weights up, try concentrating on getting the dumbbells to touch when at the top of the lift then bring them down slowly until they are at shoulder level or just above your shoulders.

Biceps and Triceps

The trick to making your arms look bigger is to work more on your triceps more than your biceps, the hint is in the names; Triceps have three heads and Biceps have two heads, therefore your Triceps are naturally bigger.

·         Biceps – A simple Bicep Curl will give you height to your biceps and make them look bigger.  Changing the angle of the dumbbell to a hammer curl will help in lengthening and stretching your bicep muscles.  These two exercises will increase the size and overall strength of your biceps.

·         Triceps – Exercises like Tricep Press, Tricep Extensions or Skull Crushers are great ways to increase the length and height of your Tricep muscles.  Be sure when doing any of these exercises to keep your elbows in line with your body and not pointing out, this will work the full length of the muscles.

Weighted Pull-Ups

The perfect exercise to work your rear deltoids, latissimus dorsi (lats) and trapezius (traps) in one movement.  You can change the position of your hands with a wider or closer grip to work a bigger range of the muscles.  Hanging a weight from our waist will increase resistance and ultimately improve your power to weight ratio.

Standing and Seated Row

A seated or bent over row is also a very good exercise to work your upper back.  This will work on widening your back muscles and increasing upper body strength.  A bent over row also has benefits in working your core as well.

Compound Lift Summary

These compound lifts are seen as core exercises and will work the main or largest muscle groups in your body and will kick start growth after each workout.  You can combine two muscle groups in one workout session but it is suggested that you don’t work the same muscle group continuously or one day after another to prevent injury and to allow the muscles to recovery correctly.  A muscle needs to recover correctly before being put under stress again to prevent long term damage.

Transformation Summary

Following the above suggestions and tips will soon have you transforming your body just like Steve Rogers into Captain America.  The compound lifts that have been suggested will improve size and strength and kick-start your body into bulking but importantly looking lean.  Be sure to stretch all muscles that have been exercised and continue to shock your body during your workouts, mix up your workouts or change the order in which you exercise, this will force your muscles to work when at different levels of fatigue which will improve the results.

Getting your diet right is a crucial part of this transformation as it is with all bodybuilding.  You need to fuel your body correctly if you want it to perform and grow.  This will means you will need to focus on eating more often and eating the correct level of carbs, proteins, fibres and vitamins.  Creating a diet and eating plan will help in getting this right and help with sticking to a routine. 

Now it’s over to you!  Good luck with your transformation!

About the Author

Kevin Hodges owner of has been involved in sport and fitness from a very early age; first being a captain of a swimming team at multiple levels, playing hockey then moving to play rugby union where size and fitness really mattered.

Started bodybuilding as a hobby and now continues to regularly workout whilst using experience to guide and train others. Also reviews legal and safe bodybuilding and fitness steroid alternatives for maximum results in the gym.

Visit his website Crazy Gain for all the latest articles and reviews!

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