Rising British film star Tom Hardy had to get into the shape of his life for the forthcoming mixed martial arts film Warrior, released late 2010. Follow his muscle maxims and you too can pack on lean muscle worthy of the Octagon

Hardy’s trainer, Pnut, has a simple but unorthodox method for bulking fast. “I call my philosophy ‘signalling’,” he says. “Throughout the day you need to send constant signals to your body, so that it adapts in the direction you point it in. It’s better to do 10 press-ups every hour than 100 in a single burst. If you do things often enough, your body adapts for the task you set it, and you evolve.”

Pnut recommends performing these exercises four times a day – when you wake up, at lunchtime, when you get home from work and before bed. It should only take about 20 minutes, but don’t rush. Use light weights and move slowly through the exercises, concentrating on perfect form. Start by doing it in the morning and evening, and then gradually add the other sessions in. If you want to pile on muscle as soon as possible, you’re going to have to get used to working out little but often. “Remember,” says Pnut, “there are no shortcuts.”

The circuit

Perform these 3 exercises back-to-back, in sets of 10 reps, then 7 reps, then 5 reps, then 3 reps, each with no recovery time between each movement.

Press-ups

Perform the first set with your hands shoulder-width apart. For the next set, do it with your forefingers and thumbs forming a ‘diamond’ shape below your chest. For the third set, have your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. And for the final set, ball your fists and rest on your knuckles.

Shoulder flies

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an 8kg kettlebell (or dumb bell) in each hand, palms forward. Raise your arms through 180 degrees, maintaining your palm position, until your fists meet above your head. Lower to the start position. To increase difficulty, up the weight or stand on one leg.

The Bridge

Gain back flexibility, a powerful neck and massive core strength. Only move on to the next level when you are confident of your strength, or you risk a neck injury.

Lie on a mat, with your feet on the ground, knees bent. Lift your hips off the mat. As you do this bring your hands to your ears, palms on the floor, fingers pointing to your feet. Do 10 reps, then 7 reps (counting 1 at the top), then 5 reps (counting to 3 at the top), then 3 reps (counting to 5 at the top)

Abdominal workout

This develops core strength and the size and power of your abs from the top to the bottom. Again, start with stage one and increase the difficulty as you get stronger.

Lie on a mat, with your legs together, hands clasped behind your head. Lift your head and shoulders and hold. Then, tighten your abs and lift your legs. Lower to the start position. Do sets of 10 reps, then 7, then 5, then 3.

source: Men’s health