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.
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…