Tom Hardy’s Bane Bulk: Ice Cream, Pizza, and Thousands Of Push Ups

A dirty bulking masterclass.

Tom Hardy’s Bane Bulk: Ice Cream, Pizza, and Thousands Of Push Ups

Image: Warner Brothers

The “dirty bulk” is a much-maligned shortcut to getting big quick amongst the most committed or – dependent on your point of view – unhinged gym rats out there. Though it gets a lot of flack from orthodox bodybuilders, here’s how it worked out pretty well for one Hollywood hunk…

We love a good celebrity workout here at DMARGE: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s secret superset for boulder shoulders and Zac Efron’s immensely impressive 1000-rep Baywatch workout have both caught our eye recently.

But in a world where the super-cut demi-gods of Hollywood Boulevard and the bodybuilding world are hailed above all others, we thought it was high-time to turn back the clock a little bit and show some love to one of the industry’s greatest bulkers: Tom Hardy.

This isn’t just any bulk though, it’s a card-carrying “dirty bulk”, and not only that, it’s a highly-successful dirty bulk and workout regime that was carried out in large part from the comfort of Hardy’s own home. In the post-COVID era where home training became the norm, we’re keener than ever to give this one a go…

WATCH: No idea what we’re talking about, watch this explainer below…

For the uninitiated: What is a dirty bulk? A dirty bulk is a term used in the fitness world to describe a strategy of gaining weight rapidly by consuming a large number of calories, often from unhealthy or high-fat foods, without regard for the nutritional value of those foods. The goal of a dirty bulk is to consume more calories than the body burns, resulting in a calorie surplus that promotes muscle growth.

However, this approach can lead to excessive fat gain and may negatively impact overall health if indulged for too long. In contrast, a “clean” bulk involves consuming a high number of calories from healthy and nutrient-dense foods to support muscle growth while minimising fat gain…but where’s the fun in that?

So if you’re looking for inspiration on how to achieve an A-list physique at home without sacrificing your favourite treats, look no further. Hardy has nailed the art of home-based bodyweight training and used it to build a pumped-up physique for 2008’s Bronson and 2012’s Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

Hardy as the eccentric, anabolic Bronson. Image Vertigo Films

For his role as Bronson – a notorious bare-knuckle boxer from London’s East End who savaged scores of prison guards during his stay at Her Majesty’sPleasure – Hardy used a devilishly high-calorie diet in combination with bodyweight exercises that mirrored those that Bronson performed in his jail cell.

Speaking to AskMen, Hardy said the following:

“To ‘become’ Charlie Bronson… I’d have a pizza, Häagen-Dazs and Coca-Cola: So not good stuff, but I had to put weight on. I needed to put a layer of fat on my body because Bronson when he was younger was a big guy, a brawler. My diet was lenient as we weren’t going for the Bruce Lee look and we weren’t looking for the cut.” 

Tom Hardy

For his stint as the Batman villain Bane, Hardy followed a similar pattern. He used a four-round push-up workout, going from 10 reps in the first round down to 7, then 5, then 3. Any rest between rounds? Of course not – no pain, no gain people. You know how it goes… Details below:

  • Standard Push-Up: 10, 7, 5, 3
  • Wide Arm Push-Up: 10, 7, 5, 3
  • Eagle Push-Ups (Palms rotated outwards; really hard work): 10, 7, 5, 3
  • Closed-Fist “Knuckle” Push-Ups: 10, 7, 5, 3
  • Diamond or “Close Grip” Push-Ups: 10, 7, 5, 3

There are a lot of haters of the dirty bulk out there, and they have a point: technically speaking, it’s not the best plan to load your body with high-calorie, nutrient-lacking foods as well as lots of sat-fats and sugars… but it is a lot more fun than chocking down plain chicken and rice six times a day.

So if its good enough for one of Hollywood’s most handsome men, its probably good enough for you. And rest assured, I won’t be judging from my Ben & Jerry’s-stained armchair…