Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

Want to look like All Might from My Hero Academia? Seven-time “Mr. Japan” bodybuilding champion Masashi Suzuki tell us how to do it.

All Might is the number one hero in My Hero Academia. He wields the power of “One For All” which grants him immense physical strength in his “Muscle Form.” But, after a being severely injured five years before the events of the series, All Might can only keep his Muscle Form for three hours before turning back into his “True Form.”

All Might’s Muscle Form is a beauty to look at in terms of muscle definition and physique. It’s also something we can work to create, provided we have a little help along the way. I had to opportunity to speak with the seven-time “Mr. Japan” bodybuilding champion Masashi Suzuki about what it would take to become a real life All Might.

[Note: Training your muscles to realistically mimic All Might takes months, even years of conditioning. As such, results will vary from person to person. This article is also a small a guide to help you create the physique of All Might. If you need help refining your weight training menu or diet, please speak with a licensed weight trainer or dietitian.]

Upon looking at an image of All Might, Mr. Suzuki instantly noted the shoulders and the back muscles standout on All Might. Now, you might think this means, doing lots of back and shoulder exercises right? Not necessarily, because it’s not always a matter of the exercise you do, but your form during weight training—and of course your diet.

Masashi started by breaking down how you can widen your back muscles to create the All Might back. “Our back muscle are connected from our neck to our butt […] so you need to support our back workouts with our butt.” is what Masashi suggested. In this case, he was speaking about your foot placement, grip, and the form of the pulling motion when working out.

Image source: TOHO animation チャンネル on YouTube

The four back workouts Masashi demonstrated were the machine-based cable row, the machine-based lat pulldown and front pulldown, and the dumbbell-based one-handed row.

Masashi began by showing the standard feet position and grip when doing each exercise. With the machine exercises, you normally keep your feet shoulder width apart and the one-handed row you place the knee opposite your pulling arm on a flat bench. Your grip also changes based on the exercise as well. With each exercise, the grip should be comfortable, but you grip the handlebar with your palms facing away from us during lat pulldowns; grip the handlebar with your palms facing us during front pulldowns; grip the V-shaped bar with the palms face each other during cable rows; and grip the handhold of the dumbbell with your palms facing your body during one-handed rows.

But position and form are two of the hardest aspects of working out because it affects how the muscles are activated. Speaking with Masashi, he showed me that having a wider stance during a back workout activates the sides of your back muscles. A very narrow stance, on the other hand, works the center back. Thus, to get the broad back of All Might, you should use a wide stance when you exercise your back.

But, then you also have to take into account how you grip the bar of a machine or free weight as well. “When you grip [with the middle to pinky finger], the motion will engage your back muscles. Change [your grip] to [your index finger and thumb]. It’ll engage your shoulders.” He even continued by showing that you should curl your wrist slightly when you grip the bar or free weight to engage your back properly during a back workout. It’s amazing to think small changes in grip and stance can affect the muscles you work out.

With the advice on feet position and grip out of the way, Masashi showed off the form you should use for the cable row, lat pulldown, one-handed front pulldown, and one-handed row to achieve All Might’s back. The same basic form applies to all four exercises but with slight variations. With the cable and lat pulldowns, you want to start with your back stretched. As you pull, you want to stick out your chest. When done properly you can feel all your back muscles, especially the outer back muscles, becoming engaged. But, with the one-handed front pulldown and one-handed row, as you pull, you not only stick your chest out but also lean to the side you’re pulling with. This is key to creating the wide back of All Might because you want to engage those outer back muscles.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

Masashi then gave a quick demonstration on how you can create round shoulders to achieve the All Might look. “With the sides of your shoulders, like side raises—you want to do a lot of those,” Masashi said. The side raise is a dumbbell exercise where you lift your arms straight out to your side. There are many variations on the side raise you can do with machines or lying on inclined benched. However, Masashi’s demonstration was with dumbbells.

But, it’s not just a matter of just doing a lot of side raises. Masashi continued by saying because shoulders recover quickly, you want to do high repetition sets of side raises with a short break between each set. In other words, in one set of side raises you want to do more than fifteen side raises with a break shorter than a minute.

But, what about other shoulder exercises like the barbell shoulder press, barbell front press, or dumbbell rear deltoid raise? Masashi suggested those are important exercises, but to create round and highly defined shoulders like All Might, you should concentrate on different types of side raises. These would include machine side raises, one-arm incline side raises, one-arm side raises, dumbbell side raises, and cable side raises.

Masashi spoke a lot about the back and shoulder muscles for developing a body like All Might, but didn’t mention much about the other muscle groups. When asked about chest, leg, arm, and abdominal exercises, he gave a surprisingly simple answer: basic workouts. When pressed on the subject he suggested the barbell bench press, barbell squats, dumbbell bicep curls, machine triceps pushdowns, and abdominal crunch.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

Working out your muscles is important in creating a real-life All Might body, but there are dietary factors you also have to consider as well. Protein is important in growing muscles and Masashi said you should eat lean meats to gain muscle mass. However, he also said, “Eating is important. You want a diet centered on carbohydrates (bread and rice) and you want to eat before and after working out.” In other words, take in more calories than you expend during exercise. And you want to eat carbohydrates with lean meats. This gives you control over the calories you take in by eating more when you put on muscle and then cut the carbohydrates when you want to shed any excess fat—and you’ll need to eat a lot to get those large All Might muscles.

Simply weight training won’t get you an All Might body. You need to understand which muscle groups you need to target and how to work them out. But just as important, you need to keep a close eye on your diet. If you do this, perhaps even you can get yourself the physique of a superhero.

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on FUNimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.

Editor’s Update 6/15: Originally the headline of this article (chosen by me, Managing Editor Richard Eisenbeis) was “Professional Body Builder Talks about How to Look Like My Hero Academia‘s All Might.” However, as Masashi is still technically a amateur, that headline is factually incorrect. This mistake has been corrected. We apologize for any confusion.

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