Chris Hemsworth's five-move dumbbell workout builds upper body muscle

It only takes five moves and a set of dumbbells to develop strength with this Chris Pratt-approved workout

Chris Hemsworth working out with his trainer Luke Zocchi
(Image credit: Centr)

Although Chris Hemsworth is known for his superhero physique, his day-to-day training is much more accessible. If you want to build lean upper body muscle, all you need is Hemsworth's five-move routine and a set of dumbbells to get started.

If you're working out at home, it's worth picking up the best adjustable dumbbells. These combine several weights into one, so you can get results without a whole weights rack. For those training at the gym, use these beginner strength training tips to find your ideal load.

Hemsworth developed the workout for his workout app, Centr (opens in new tab), and shared the five-move routine on Instagram with just a single instruction; "Every 10 reps, the exercise will change, but the difficulty gets easier. Don't stop until you hit 50 reps!"

You start the round with a dumbbell burpee curl, which works several muscles and raises your heart rate, and finish it off with a standing shoulder press. The aim is to repeat the round five times for a muscle-building upper body workout.

To get the most from your training and avoid injury (a particular concern when working with weights), it's essential to focus on your form. Fortunately, you can use Hemsworth's demonstrations to perfect your technique before you start.

Watch Chris Hemsworth's five-move dumbbell workout

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) (opens in new tab)

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Moves like dumbbell burpee curls and squat curl presses are examples of compound exercises, activities that activate several muscles simultaneously. This makes them an ideal choice when you're tight on time but still want to see results.

It's easy to imagine that celebrities—with access to large fitness centers, nutritionists, and personal trainers—don't train the same way as the rest of us. But a comment on Hemsworth's Instagram post says otherwise.

Fellow Marvel superhero Chris Pratt (opens in new tab) appeared in the comments to say, "Just did it. Great quick workout. Didn't have dumbbells, so I used big rocks I found on the beach. God's honest truth."

You might not like the sound of using big rocks from the coastline instead of dumbbells, but as Pratt showed, it's okay to make adjustments so that the workout suits your body and circumstances.

If you don't have access to weights or are new to strength training, you can pick up soup cans or other household items instead. So long as it feels safe, you just need to add some resistance to the muscles to start building strength.

As you progress, you can also incorporate the best resistance bands into your exercise. These bands are a more affordable alternative to weights and allow you to build muscle in your upper body by using the best chest workouts with resistance bands.

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.