At 40, Chris Hemsworth has a new longevity workout routine — adding booty bands and going easy on weight machines

  • "Thor" actor Chris Hemsworth has started working out more for longevity since turning 40.

  • Functional exercises like farmer carries and sled pushes help build stability, not just muscle.

  • Hemsworth likes to warm up with "booty bands" for glute activation and meditates after a workout.

Chris Hemsworth rose to fame playing larger-than-life heroes with even bigger muscles. But these days, you're more likely to find him training with booty bands than Thor's hammer, his personal trainer told Business Insider.

The actor, who turned 40 in August, is spending less of his gym time on building superhuman strength and putting more focus on healthy aging, according to Luke Zocchi, Hemsworth's longtime friend and fellow Australian who has trained him for the past 12 years.

"It's definitely changed from when we started to where we're at now," he said. "Back in the day, it was a bit more about going as hard as we could. We're a little older now, so it takes us a little longer to warm up, and there's more focus on really trying to recover."

Zocchi is one of the fitness pros behind Centr, a health and fitness app founded by Hemsworth, which offers programs with a variety of aspects from Hemsworth's training, from resistance bands to meditation.

Zocchi shared how Hemsworth routine has changed over the years, and why he loves a good glute warmup and meditation session to stay in peak shape.

A warmup helps to active the muscles and save time in a workout

Despite his demigod role and extraordinary physique, Hemsworth is just as concerned about preventing aches and pains as the rest of us mere mortals.

Zocchi said their sessions always include a warm-up since taking some time to activate the right muscles can lead to better results and lower risk.

Recently, Hemsworth has become a fan of so-called "booty bands," elastic resistance bands placed around the ankles or thighs to help fire up the glutes.

Zocchi said the warmup helps Hemsworth protect his lower back on leg day — and is surprisingly spicy.

"Your bum is on fire by the end of it," Zocchi said.

Resistance band training can also be a great, low-impact way to exercise smarter instead of harder, he added.

"It's slowing things down a bit and really trying to focus on that muscle-mind connection as well," Zocchi said.

Breath work speeds muscle recovery and boosts longevity

With an intensive training schedule, Hemsworth has always prioritized recovery, even jumping into an ice bath after a workout. But he's also focusing more on slowing things down after a workout with guided meditation from the Centr app.

The two of them lie down on their backs in the gym after a workout for a moment of zen, Zocchi said.

"We'll do a guided downregulating meditation on Centr for five or 10 minutes just to calm everything down," he said. "That's signaling to the body that fight or flight mode is over now."

Zocchi said the cooldown helps tap into the calming process of the nervous system to relieve stress and prompt faster recovery and muscle repair. Meditation is also a simple, doctor-approved way to boost longevity and well-being.

Swap machines for sleds, farmer carries, and walking lunges

Functional strength is better for longevity than Marvel-movie muscle, Zocchi explained.

He said Hemsworth's training varies depending on the role he's preparing to play, but packing on muscle to play a superhero doesn't necessarily translate to real-life strength.

Too much focus on muscle size with movements like bench presses and machine exercise actually made it harder for Hemsworth to stay agile and to keep up with hobbies like surfing.

"For those the Marvel films, Chris is obviously trying to put on as much size as he can and look as big, almost like a bodybuilder for that kind of look," Zocchi said. "When he used to get so big, he said he'd feel like he was turning into a robot and couldn't move functionally."

Now, their workouts prioritize functional strength exercises like sled pushes and pulls, farmer carries, and walking lunges that directly relate to moving well and feeling good in everyday life.

Research suggests having better stability, mobility, and balance are key factors in longevity.

"In the early days, we did a lot more machine work, which don't get me wrong, is great if you're trying to put on a lot of muscle, but it's isolating the muscle, where now we're focused more on full body, stability and strength at the same time," Zocchi said.

Read the original article on Business Insider