ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

Between the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes, it's no secret that superhero movies are something of a boys club. But, that doesn't mean that the superwomen haven't been playing a pivotal role in their respective movies while also putting in the hours to be in the best possible shape.

We've already covered the men who have transformed their bodies for their superhero roles, and now it's time to turn our attention to the ladies. In typical Hollywood fashion, many of these actresses were already in impeccable shape when getting cast, but these roles required some specific demands that led to unreal routines.

1. Cobie Smulders - Maria Hill


Agent Maria Hill may not have otherworldly powers or goddess-level strength, but that certainly doesn't mean Cobie Smulders didn't have her work cut out for her when it came to transforming herself for the role. According to Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers, Cobie went through days of physical training (specifically, shoulder rolling over and over) to achieve her own stunts.

She really does all her jumpin’ and flippin’. [She's] extraordinarily physically adept.

In addition to the fitness training, Cobie focused on the mental fortitude of Maria Hill by training in arms. She employed a Los Angeles SWAT team trainer to teach her how to properly break down a gun, reload it, and fire it accurately.

I just practiced in my back yard over and over. I really wanted to do this and I wanted it to look fluid. The stunt girl was there and I was like, ‘No, no, I’m doing it.

2. Scarlett Johansson


As the only female Avenger—and one who doesn't rely on a magical hammer or CGI effects—Scarlett Johansson had her work cut out for her when it came to getting Black Widow-ready. She never shied away from giving the boys a run for their money, as she admits she insisted on doing the same workout as her gargantuan trainer.

I do the same fitness routine as my big muscle-man trainer. A lot of it is endurance, stability, and strength training. I like to work up a sweat. I’ve tried Pilates and yoga and all that, and I like to dabble in different things, but I always come back to a good old-fashioned athletic, full-body workout.

3. Margot Robbie - Harley Quinn

DC/Warner Bros.
DC/Warner Bros.

Margot Robbie insisted on doing as many of her own stunts as possible for Suicide Squad, and considering Harley Quinn is one of the most acrobatic villains in Gotham, she's certainly got her work cut out for her. Judging by her moves in the trailer and the shots of her on set mastering a motorcycle, she's clearly up for the challenge.

Though she hasn't done too much promotion for Suicide Squad yet, she told some interviewers during promotion of Focus that strength training played a major role in her routine to allow her to stay authentic. You've got to admit, it's pretty cool seeing her onset as the only actor in a scene full of stunt doubles. Sounds like the strength training paid off.

4. Zoe Saldana - Gamora

Zoe Saldana has been something of a sci-fi queen the past few years with roles in Avatar and Star Trek, so she's been in great shape for a while. But when she landed the role of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, she knew that there was a lot at stake playing a ruthlessly lethal assassin. According to her trainer Chloe Bruce, Zoe trained for three months straight to become the galactic badass we saw on screen.

Zoe already has an amazing figure so we just wanted to add more muscle definition. We did a lot of training related to the active nature of the role – jumps and martial arts, kick pads and stuff. Also, the style Zoe wanted to go for was very ‘matador’, so we worked on character positions.

5. Anne Hathaway - Catwoman

For Christopher Nolan's take on Catwoman, he wanted Selina Kyle to be a smooth thief with a skin-tight catsuit to match. Once Anne Hathaway was cast in the role, she had only one month to get herself ready for her most physically demanding role ever. She worked out every weekday with extreme exercise, stunt training, and an hour and a half of dance.

I've always thought that skinny was the goal, but with this job I also have to be strong.

All that toning paid off, and Anne had the figure and the panache to put all the naysayers to bed.

6. Jaimie Alexander - Lady Sif


To prepare for the long, grueling hours spent battling in Asgard, Jaimie Alexander tweaked her diet and health plan to ensure the best possible workout. For Thor, she gained a full 20 lbs. of firm muscle to portray the warrior Lady Sif. For [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462), she needed increased flexibility, so she highlighted hot yoga in place of her tried and true heavy lifting.

Along with her own work ethic and passion for fitness, she got some advice from some well-known pros.

Arnold [Schwarzenegger] and Chris [Hemsworth] both have taught me some really great tricks in the gym, some really great diet tips that will help me get enough protein, especially when I am filming something as physically demanding as 'Thor.

7. Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman

There's nothing like a good workout in the morning.. Love it! You?

Posted by ‎Gal Gadot - גל גדות‎ on Monday, February 17, 2014

When it was first announced that newcomer Gal Gadot was tapped to play the most iconic female character in the DC universe, critics all centered their complaints around one thing: her body. As pointed as that was, Gal quickly hit the gym to build muscle on her slim frame to capture an image of Wonder Woman so many of us know and love.

Let's not forget that as an Israeli citizen, Gal was in the Israel Defense forces. Between her military training and her upbringing, it's pretty clear why she was selected to embody Diana:

My mom is a gymnastics teacher. So growing up I was never sitting watching TV in the afternoons...[In the IDF] I was a gym trainer on one of the bases in Israel. So my boot camp was longer than other boot camps. It was four months and all about sports, waking up at 6:30 a.m. and going for a run, doing push-ups…

Soon enough, she'll be taking the fight to the screen, and we'll be seeing this training pay off in [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870).

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