In an unlikely sequence of events, the worlds of anime and weightlifting have seen a massive overlap over the past few years. Many weightlifters not only watch anime but also draw inspiration from specific anime characters to build their ultimate physiques.
But what would the ultimate anime workout routine actually look like? In this guide, I as both a certified personal trainer and anime fan will walk you through what an actual anime workout routine would look like.
Why Would You Want An Anime Workout Routine?
So if you go anywhere on Tiktok or YouTube you will often see people describe that they want an “anime physique”. While this sounds cool, what does that actually means in terms of exercise selection, volume, etc?
Well, first of all, we can start off by identifying the key things that define the physique of a typical anime character. For the purposes of this example, we will be using Baki since he has one of the more popular physiques in the anime world.
Key Features Of An Anime Physique:
Very Large Forearms
3-D Pop To Muscles
Low Body Fat
If you know anything about weightlifting or bodybuilding, you will also know that these terms also usually describe an aesthetic physique as well. So clearly when someone refers to an anime physique, they are also referring to an overall aesthetically pleasing body as well. Therefore, it is no wonder that so many lifters use the physiques of their favorite anime characters as inspiration.
Anime Workout Routine: The Key Principles
Now that we the main things that make up the body of a typical anime character, we can now better define the principles that we will use to build our final routine:
Clearly, if you look at any anime characters they all are more heavily muscled in their upper body. No, this will not mean that you can skip leg day, but it will mean that most of our leg training will be functional rather than just pushing heavy weights. We want to look jacked in the upper body while still having toned, muscular legs.
Also, since anime characters seem to have especially large arms, shoulders, and forearms it makes sense to have most of our isolation exercises target these areas.
Aside from that, we will still want to focus on compound movement to get the most bang for our buck.
If you look at the muscles in most animes, they have a clear pop and 3-D effect on them. This can be a hard look to replicate in real life, but clearly, we are going to want to design our anime workout routine to be more hypertrophy focused.
So we are gonna stick to the 8-15 rep range and be in the gym most days.
Another way we can emulate this 3-D look shared by anime characters is by doing calisthenics. Not only do many anime characters actually do calisthenics, but there is actually some scientific reasoning for why they may be your best bet for getting anime-like muscles.
If you look for examples in real life. the closest thing you get to seeing anime physiques in real life is with male gymnasts. They have all the features we described earlier: huge arms, bulging muscles, and great shoulders.
One of the key reasons for this is that many of the exercises involve lots of time under tension. Time under tension is one of the keys to muscle hypertrophy. Also, to actually do the movement you have to stay in pretty good shape as any amount of excess weight will make the exercises that much harder.
Anime Workout Routine: Day By Day Routine
With all of these principles, here’s a workout routine that is designed to help you achieve an anime character-like physique, with a focus on upper body development and toned, lean legs.
This routine incorporates both calisthenics and weightlifting exercises and recommends performing each workout 3 times a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for optimal results. While the routine is only 3 days a week, keep in mind that it targets your whole body. Meaning that all your muscles will be getting worked three times per week.
The goal should be to increase your PRs week on week.
Warm-up (5-10 minutes)
Jumping jacks: 3 sets of 30 seconds
Arm circles: 3 sets of 10 reps forward and backward
High knees: 3 sets of 30 seconds
Pull-ups: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Push-ups (wide grip for more focus on shoulders and chest): 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Dumbbell lateral raises: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Dumbbell bicep curls: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Dumbell wrist curls: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Diamond push-ups (for triceps emphasis): 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Bent-over dumbbell rows: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Plank: 3 sets of 45-60 seconds
Leg raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Russian twists: 3 sets of 20 reps (10 each side)
Superman hold: 3 sets of 30 seconds
Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Dumbbell Lunges: 4 sets of 12 reps each leg
Calf raises: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
Glute bridges: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Box jumps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Cooldown (5-10 minutes)
Full body stretching, focusing on major muscle groups
Without being too detailed here, anime characters have lots of muscle. To build this muscle you are going to need to be in a calorie surplus.
Generally, try to aim for whole foods and ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet to support your muscle growth.
I suppose that if you just want to look like an anime character then you will not need to do any actual combat training. However, if you want real experience consider taking up some type of combat training.
Not only will you actually learn new skills, but you will also get a great cardio workout. In turn, the cardio will help you stay leaner.
Here are some combat sports you can choose from:
While most people few an anime physique as something that is out of reach for most people, you can actually optimize your training so that you can better achieve this goal. You will of course have to work with genetic limitations but there is no doubt that if you follow the steps laid out here, you can get closer to your dream physique.