Portman reprises her role as Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor in the Marvel picture, which will be released on July 8. She is now wielding Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer, and she has the ability to throw lightning.
Naomi Pendergast of Australia’s RPX Fitness was in charge of getting the actress ripped, growing Portman’s biceps, and giving her abdominal definition.
Commenting on what muscle group they chose to focus on, Pendergast said, “The goal and initial brief for working with Natalie was to develop arm and abdominal definition. However, to safely get Natalie to this goal without injury we worked to condition her body first for about four months. This meant we could safely up the load to bulk her up without negatively affecting her joints.”
“We started five months before filming and continued to train throughout the filming process to maintain her muscle. The total time we trained for the movie was around 10 months,” she added.
Asked particularly about how they planned to help Portman bulk up her arms, Pendergast said, “Initially, it was about prepping Natalie’s body for the heavyweights to avoid injury. We worked on building her upper body three times a week, which included arm, back, chest exercises, boxing, skipping, and running. The other two days were dedicated to injury prevention work, which included Pilates-based exercises, stretching, release work, and balance exercises.”
Describing her warm-up routine, the trainer said, “Warming up would usually consist of various body-weight, Swiss ball, or band exercises to fire up the system and get the body connecting well. Stretches are sometimes included in the warmup, but I mostly use exercises that activate weak muscles rather than just stretching the tight muscles. Warming up in this way ensures everything is switching on as it should before we put heavy loads onto her body.”
“Natalie’s role was very physical and required her to do quite a bit with her upper body. Overall, she managed to get through everything really well without any major injuries. There were a few days after long stunt sessions where she pulled up a little sore in the wrists and neck, but she was able to overcome this with some release work from massage,” she clarified.
“We worked every day for around 1½-2 hours, depending on her schedule. Once filming started, Natalie’s schedule was very busy so we would train early, around 4:30 a.m., before she started for the day,” Pendergast revealed, adding, “Initially, we trained at her house — as it was in the middle of lockdown — which meant using mainly free weights to do our training. Once filming started, we were able to work out in a gym, which meant we had access to a lot more for our sessions, which was great.”
Nutrition being an essential part of any workout regime, Portman also focused on getting on the right diet. “Natalie is an extremely healthy person with a very wholesome and clean diet, so we did not have to make any major changes to her food. Natalie is a vegan, so for her to get enough protein to bulk up the way she needed we had to increase her daily amount by adding vegan-based protein powders a couple of times a day,” Pendergast described.
A typical upper-body strength session would include a good warmup that included body-weight exercises, bands, and gliding discs and focused on bringing the upper body into alignment so they could optimise the strength gains.
They would next perform a major set of exercises, including supersets, with a one-minute stretch rest between every set.
• Dumbbell row — 10 slow reps
• Body-weight offset pushup — 10 slow reps
• Lat stretch (rest exercise)
• Dumbbell reverse fly — 10 slow reps
• Dumbbell seated shoulder press — 10 slow reps
• Back stretch (rest exercise)
• Standing dumbbell arm raise (palms up) — 20 slow reps
• Assisted pull ups — 6-8 controlled reps
• Roll up (rest exercise)
• Dumbbell bicep curl — 10-12 reps
• Dumbbell triceps press — 15 reps
• Upper body rotation stretch (rest exercise)
Boxing and skipping round – 4-5 sets of:
• 2 minute boxing
• 1 minute skipping
• 2 x 50m sprints
• Rest 1.5 minutes
Core work and stretching
• Abdominal plank on elbows — 1 minute
• Side plank on elbow — 1 minute each side
• Basic curl focused on pelvic control
• Foot, leg and hip stretches