Bodybuilding Legend Lou Ferrigno Workouts and Diet

lou ferrigno's hulk workout plan

This is how the Hulk works out before turning into a green raging machine. 

Bodybuilding legend Lou Ferrigno became worldwide famous after playing a challenger to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the documentary Pumping Iron. He also won two Mr. Universe titles and the IFBB Mr. America at age 22. Lou Ferrigno is considered the most successful bodybuilder to get an acting career after the “Austrian Oak.” This article will look at Lou Ferrigno, aka the “Incredible Hulk’s”, full workout routine. 

Ferrigno’s story begins when he builds his body at age 13 to resemble his comic book hero, the Hulk. Before this, he excelled in sports despite losing 80% of his hearing to an ear infection as a child and getting bullied. He’s an inspiration because seven years after training, he entered and won his first competition, going home with gold from the 1971 WBBG Pro Mr. America.

Things came full circle for Ferrigno at the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition. Even though he came third in his category, the producers of The Incredible Hulk noticed and cast him in the series, the show became a hit, and Lou Ferrigno received the moniker “Incredible Hulk.” Ferrigno says:

“I had to work damn hard on my diet and exercise for the Hulk. I wasn’t going to let anyone down, especially myself. The Hulk was my hero as a kid as well.“

Lou Ferrigno is a celebrity trainer who has worked with Michael Jackson and Chuck Norris. Standing a height of 6’5”, he’s one of the tallest successful bodybuilders and has always kept in shape. His fighting spirit and tenacity are what have helped him build this legacy. In this post, we’ll look at the Lou Ferrigno workout routine and how he uses it to develop his incredible physique.

Full Name: Lou Ferrigno
Weight Height Date of Birth
285 -295 lbs 6’5” 11/9/1951
Profession Era Nationality
Bodybuilder, Actor, Celebrity Trainer 1970s – 1990s American

Lou Ferrigno Workout Regimen

Ferrigno believes in doing compound exercises that target multiple muscles at once. He follows a split training routine and hits each muscle group twice weekly. Some of the workouts he does include leg presses, rows, and squats.

Lou Ferrigno believes that when exercising, you should avoid going too heavy so you don’t get injuries. He also believes in switching up your routines to prevent monotony and avoid a plateau. This study postulates that athletes should vary their techniques and exercises to break through plateaus (1).

Ferrigno doesn’t think you should attend the gym without a plan. Before arriving at the gym, he recommends deciding what exercises you’ll do, how many sets, the number of reps, and what kind of sets to do. 

Research shows that adopting super and drop sets is excellent for inducing muscle hypertrophy and increasing strength (2). Lou Ferrigno puts in constant work. 

“Whenever I don’t feel like doing another workout or eating another chicken breast, I only have to remind myself of the benefits of this lifestyle. I owe everything to bodybuilding.”

Lastly, he believes in taking adequate rest. Doing too many exercises too hard can be problematic and lead to exhaustion, affecting your recovery. Rest is vital to maximize hypertrophy and gain solid muscle mass (3)

Below is a weekly summary of Lou Ferrigno’s workout routine. It’s essential to note that Lou Ferrigno is 70 plus now and may not follow this exact regimen. However, he also switches things occasionally, so this is a general guide. 

Monday: Chest and Back

Monday is chest day for the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk workout plans pair the chest with the back, including dips and pull-ups.

Tuesday: Shoulders and Arms

On Tuesday, Ferrigno targets his biceps, triceps, and shoulders with movements like the overhead press.

Wednesday: Legs

Lou Ferrigno doesn’t believe in skipping leg days and pushes his leg muscles to the max with curls, extensions, and squats. 

  • Leg Curls: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Leg Press: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Squats: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Hack Squats: 5 sets X 10 reps

Thursday: Chest and Back

On Thursday, it’s back to the chest and the back for Ferrigno. 

  • Chest Flyes: 5 sets X 8 reps
  • T-Bar Rows: 5 sets X 8 reps
  • Dips: 5 sets X 8 reps
  • Deadlifts: 5 sets X 8 reps
  • Chin Ups: 5 sets X 8 reps
  • Pull Ups: 5 sets X 8 reps

Friday: Shoulder and Arms

The shoulders, biceps, and triceps get attention from Ferrigno again on Friday. In addition, he uses presses, curls, and functional exercises like pulldowns and pushdowns. 

  • Barbell Curls: 4 sets X 10 reps
  • Scott Press: 4 sets X 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets X 10 reps
  • Cable Pulldowns: 4 sets X 8 reps
  • Cable Pushdowns: 4 sets X 8 reps
  • Standing French Press: 4 sets X 10 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets X 10 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 4 sets X 10 reps

Saturday: Legs

Saturday is the last day of exercising for the week, and Lou Ferrigno works on his legs for the second time. 

  • Leg Curls: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Leg Press: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Squats: 5 sets X 10 reps
  • Hack Squats: 5 sets X 10 reps

Sunday: Rest

After a long week, the Incredible Hulk rests on Sunday to prepare his muscles for the brutal week ahead. 

Lou Ferrigno’s Diet

Maintaining his massive physique required a strict and substantial diet. Ferrigno consumed seven meals daily, totaling around 3,500 calories:

  • Meal 1: 6 whole eggs, 4 pieces of toast, fruit
  • Meal 2: 8 ounces of steak, salad
  • Meal 3: 1 can of tuna, 1 cup of oatmeal, unsweetened applesauce
  • Meal 4: 8 ounces of grilled chicken, baked potato
  • Meal 5: 1 can of tuna, 1 cup of oatmeal, unsweetened applesauce
  • Meal 6: 8 ounces of ground beef, baked potato
  • Meal 7: 6 whole eggs, 2 cups of cottage cheese

Bodybuilding Champion vs Hulk Superstar

Generation Iron had the pleasure to interview Lou Ferrigno back in 2018, discussing a wide range of topics reflecting back on his entire career in bodybuilding, Hollywood, and beyond. One key question asked was whether or not Ferrigno regrets never earning a Mr. Olympia title.

Was becoming the Hulk and entering Hollywood a better trade-off than sticking through for the Sandow trophy? You can see his answer and our full interview below:

Wrap Up

Overall, Lou Ferrigno is quite the interesting bodybuilder, sporting a gigantic physique, playing one of the largest characters in comic book history without any CGI. That being said, do you think you can handle the Lou Ferrigno workout and diet?

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  1. Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(24), 4897. 
  2. Iversen, V. M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Fimland, M. S. (2021). No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 51(10), 2079–2095. 
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., Pope, Z. K., Benik, F. M., Hester, G. M., Sellers, J., Nooner, J. L., Schnaiter, J. A., Bond-Williams, K. E., Carter, A. S., Ross, C. L., Just, B. L., Henselmans, M., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(7), 1805–1812. 


Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.