Home > Beauty & Grooming > Wellness > Want a lean and muscular frame like Cillian Murphy? Here’s what his workout routine looks like
Want a lean and muscular frame like Cillian Murphy? Here’s what his workout routine looks like

We’re glad to be living in a time when trailblazers like Cillian Murphy dominate the entertainment scene! Whether it’s his riveting act in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer or his stoic and daring persona in Peaky Blinders – Murphy’s big Hollywood outings are par excellence. Truly dedicated towards his craft, Murphy is hailed for going all in for his projects, deeply immersing himself into the character he’s playing. This all-encompassing approach not only involves intense mental preparation but undergoing a drastic physical change and Murphy has an exceptional ability to morph his physique. Having to constantly meet his characters’ needs, Cillian Murphy has to change up his workout routine and diet plans every now and then. Fitness is never easy, folks!

If you’ve been following the actor, you know that he usually opts to stay lean and slim. However, he took things a notch higher and started bulking up to transform into Peaky Blinders’ Thomas Shelby. From indulging in strength training to upping his protein intake, the actor spruced things up to prepare for the role. On the other hand, his quest to look like physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer took him on a polar opposite journey, where he didn’t think much about food and was borderline emaciated. Dwindling between extreme physicalities is no easy feat, but Murphy still aced it all.

If you’re curious to know Cillian Murphy’s workout routine as he prepped for both of the iconic characters, keep reading.

Cillian Murphy’s workout plan to maintain a toned physique

In a conversation with The Radio Times in 2022, Murphy spoke about his workout routine for Peaky Blinders. “I’m not a very physically imposing person. So, I have to eat a lot of protein and lift a lot of weights and do all that stuff. So that takes a while, which I hate,” he mentioned.

What workouts did he exactly undertake? According to Jacked Gorilla, Murphy did a semi-basic routine that included core exercises, callisthenics as well as weight training. The actor worked out five days a week and had two days of complete rest. To fancify his training, the actor would also go for hikes. Let’s break down his workout routine for you.

cillian murphy peaky blinders
Image credit: peakyblindersofficial/ Instagram

Monday: Chest and Triceps

Chest and triceps are two of the most important muscle groups in your upper body, which when worked together, are very effective for building muscle mass. Doing compound movements that hit both these muscle groups together can optimise your results and make your workout sessions more time efficient. Working the chest and triceps together helps build functional upper body strength and improves posture as well as cardiovascular health. The intense workout also has mood-boosting effects that lead to reduced stress levels.

Here’s what Cillian Murphy’s Monday workout looked like:

Bench Press (3 sets, 12 reps)

Push Ups (4 sets, 25 reps)

Lying Tricep Extension with Dumbbells (3 sets, 10 reps)

Dips (4 sets, 10 reps)

Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets 12 reps)


Sit Ups (3 sets, 20 reps)

Lying Leg Raises (3 sets, 20 reps)

Tuesday: Legs and calves

Many of us HATE leg day and maybe Cillian Murphy does too! But sadly, there’s no escaping this very important workout if you want to build those gorgeous calves. While you might dread the soreness in your legs post-exercise, let’s familiarise you with some solid benefits of working this muscle that might imbue you with some motivation.

Staying consistent with your leg workouts will enhance the body’s strength, speed, and stability. Strong leg muscles give your body the much-needed balance which isn’t possible with upper body workouts.

Since your legs have bigger muscles, you can place more load on them. More load translates to more strength and more calories being used up. This leads to improved metabolism, which fosters the fat-burning process. Furthermore, leg exercises like squats and deadlifts strengthen your hips, make your body more athletic and less prone to injuries.

Functional exercises like lunges and squats are also great for your joints, promoting knee stability. According to the American Council on Exercise (via Medicine Net) leg workouts are the best way to prevent ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear (a common type of knee ligament tear). It’s time to let the calf raises begin!

Check out Cillian Murphy’s Tuesday workout:

Leg Press (3 sets, 12 reps)

Calf Raises on Leg Press (4 sets, 25 reps)

Glute Ham Raise (3 sets, 10 reps)

Weighted Lunges (4 sets, 10 reps)

Squat Variation (3 sets, 12 reps)


Cable Crunches (3 sets, 20 reps)

Hanging Leg Raises (3 sets, 20 reps)

Wednesday: Rest

On Wednesday, the actor took his well-deserved rest and so can you!

Thursday: Shoulders and traps

Many people train the traps and shoulders together as the upper portion of the traps is heavily involved in most shoulder exercises. Therefore, training the traps after the shoulders makes your workout efficient, as the former muscle is already warmed up and ready to go. For those unversed, trap workouts target the trapezius muscle – the broad, flat back muscle that looks like a trapezoid.

Building both these muscles not only gives you those dreamy broad shoulders but makes all your upper body movements easier. Strong shoulders and trapezius muscles offer support in weight-bearing activities, reduce the pains and stiffness in arms as well as help recuperate from any upper body injury faster. Especially for people who’re always in front of a screen and leading a sedentary lifestyle, shoulder and trap exercises will help avoid chronic pain in the back, neck, or shoulders.

This is the blueprint of Cillian Murphy’s Thursday workout:

Seated Military Press (3 sets, 12 reps)

Cable Front Raises (4 sets, 25 reps)

Hang Cleans (3 sets, 10 reps)

Barbell Shrugs (4 sets, 10 reps)

Bent Over Shoulder DB Flys (3 sets, 12 reps)


Sit Ups with Twist (3 sets, 20 reps)

Hanging Knee Raises with Twist (3 sets, 20 reps)

Friday: Back and biceps

Back and bicep workouts are often paired together because training the back involves a lot of bicep movement, which warms up this muscle without additional work. Working both the pulling muscles simultaneously allows for maximum recovery between sessions, giving you maximised results with minimum motion.

When you combine the two, you actually get your biceps to work more because of their involvement in back exercises. Since biceps are considered a hard muscle group to build because they’re very small, this workout is the best way to foster their growth. Moreover, as there aren’t many variations in bicep exercises, combining it with back diversifies your session, making it more interesting.

Let’s look at Cillian Murphy’s Friday workout checklist:

Hex Bar Deadlift (3 sets, 12 reps)

Wide Push Ups (4 sets, 25 reps)

Cable Rows (3 sets, 10 reps)

Chin Ups (4 sets, 10 reps)

Wide Lat Pulldowns (3 sets, 12 reps)


Bicycle Crunches (3 sets, 20 reps)

Russian Twists (3 sets, 20 reps)

Saturday: Hiking

Getting an adrenaline boost in the great outdoors is the perfect way to improve your mental as well as physical health. Hiking is a great whole-body workout that targets everything from your head to toe. From lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing anxiety and depression to building bone density and improving balance – hiking is one of the best ways to exercise, no matter what type of trail you’re on! So, it’s time to tighten your hiking boots, grab a water bottle, sunscreen, and venture outdoors!

Sunday: Rest

Congratulations, you’ve successfully completed Cillian Murphy’s workout routine. It’s time for some rest.

Cillian Murphy was on a calorie-deficit diet for ‘Oppenheimer’

cillian murphy oppenheimer
Image credit: IMDb

For Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy built an extremely slim frame to look like the eponymous creator of the atomic bomb. He was on an extreme calorie- deficit diet and lost weight so drastically that even his co-stars were in shock. In a conversation with Extra, Oppenheimer actor Emily Blunt revealed that Murphy “could only eat, like, an almond every day,” adding that he was very emaciated.

Cillian, who’s known for going to extremes to get into the skin of the character, also spoke about how he physically morphed into the character. Talking to The New York Times, he said,” I love acting with my body, and Oppenheimer had a very distinct physicality and silhouette, which I wanted to get right.”

Owing to the scientist’s thin physicality, the actor said he had to lose quite a bit of weight. Did you know that Oppenheimer passed away in 1967 owing to his unhealthy lifestyle?

While Cillian might’ve dared to tread on the scientist’s dietary habits, you better not!

Hero image: Courtesy peakyblindersofficial/ Instagram; Feature image: Courtesy oppenheimermovie/ Instagram)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is Cillian Murphy's workout routine?

Answer: While Cillian Murphy mostly has a slim and lean physique, he had to bulk up for his role in 'Peaky Blinders'. His workout included chest and triceps exercises, shoulders and traps exercises, hiking and more.

Question: Is Cillian Murphy a vegetarian?

Answer: While Cillian Murphy was a vegetarian for over 15 years, he had to change his diet and eat meat to bulk up for 'Peaky Blinders'.

Want a lean and muscular frame like Cillian Murphy? Here’s what his workout routine looks like

Kriti is a stay-at-home dog mama, whose knack for telling interesting stories keeps her erstwhile monotonous life sane. A literature & journalism degree holder, you'll find her binging on Agatha Christie novels while critiquing the everyday state of affairs. On Kriti's seldom social outings, she's seen devouring coffee sangria with appetizing bread on the side.

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.