How Tom Ellis Gained 20 Pounds of Lean Muscle for ‘Lucifer’

Two years ago, when Fox canceled their comic book-based series Lucifer, lead actor Tom Ellis made a pact with trainer Paolo Mascitti that if the show came back he would take the physical preparation for the character to the next level. The show was snagged by Netflix shortly after, and Ellis made good on his promise. Before filming began on each season, Mascitti put Ellis through an intense boot camp. In case you’re not familiar, Ellis plays the devil, who hightails it to Los Angeles to open a nightclub (as one does).

“I don’t need to work hard to motivate Tom when it comes to the gym,” says Mascitti. “He enjoys being challenged, and listens to any instruction I give him.” The training continues over FaceTime when Ellis arrives on set or is traveling, allowing Mascitti to keep the actor on track and making gains remotely.

Ellis has seen the return on his commitment, through the course of their sessions together; the star put on around 20 pounds of lean mass going into the season. The results have been utilized onscreen, with a number of scenes featuring his shredded physique.

The Nutrition and Recovery Principles That Helped Tom Ellis Gain 20 Pounds for Lucifer

Getting the diet in check was the hardest part of the training for Ellis, according to Mascitti. “Tom likes to indulge himself from time to time and his food habits weren’t the best,” he says. “He also enjoys the occasional beer, but to accomplish what we wanted he had to give that up.” In order to gain mass, they put him on a caloric surplus with a few starches in the mix; but when they got close to filming they took all the starches away.

Breakfast commonly consisted of five egg whites with one yolk and avocado, accompanied by a bowl of oatmeal with berries. Lunch would be a lean protein with sweet potato and quinoa. Dinner would be another serving of lean protein, like a piece of fish, along with some sautéed vegetables. The aim was to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Between each meal, Ellis would have a shake with fruit and a few scoops of protein powder like Ora. Mascitti also had him take BCAAs and Omega-3s.

Getting enough sleep was challenging given Ellis’ intense schedule, but Mascitti made sure he put a huge prioritization on getting the proper amount, since that’s when your body releases the most human growth hormone, he says. They also scheduled massages for Ellis at least once a week to recover from the punishment Mascitti was doling out. In addition, there were regular visits to Tarek Adra, a chiropractor at Kinetix365, to make sure his alignment was just right.

The Workouts That Transform Tom Ellis Into Lucifer

Before the season begins, they work out six days a week. Four days are dedicated to a whole-body split, and two are high-intensity interval training. Given that Ellis is naturally lean, they make sure to keep their cardio moderate. The split routine features a lot of fundamental compound movements and multi-joint exercises, with a focus on using his bodyweight when possible.

“Tom didn’t really do pullups as part of his sessions before we started working together,” says Mascitti. “Now he loves them, and likes to push himself as far as how many more he can do every time. That’s just an example of the ways he’s really taken to the challenge.”

The latest season of Lucifer may have just dropped on Netflix, but Ellis’ eyes are already on the next, and the boot camp with Mascitti is already underway.

Here’s a look at one of their upper-body training days, designed to hit the shoulders, triceps, and abdominals.

The Upper Body Workout That Helped Tom Ellis Gain 20 Pounds of Lean Muscle for ‘Lucifer’

Standing military press with barbell
Standing military press with barbell James Michelfelder & Therese Sommerseth

Standing Military Press: 4 sets x 8 reps

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Clean a barbell to shoulder height with your forearms perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Keeping your core braced, press the bar overhead. Push your head forward as the bar clears your face.
  3. Once your arms are fully extended, hold for a beat, then lower the bar to your shoulders. That’s 1 rep. Repeat.
Seated dumbbell overhead press
Seated dumbbell overhead press James Michelfelder

Seated Overhead Press: 4 sets x 8 reps

  1. Raise the back of an adjustable bench to vertical and sit back against it with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bring the dumbbells to shoulder height, rotating your palms so they face forward. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Press the dumbbells straight overhead until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a beat, then lower the weights to your shoulders. That’s 1 rep. Repeat.
Dumbbell lateral raise
Dumbbell lateral raise James Michelfelder

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 4 sets x 12 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms at your sides.
  2. Brace your core and raise your arms out 90 degrees, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Palms should face down at the top of the movement.
  3. Pause for a beat, then lower the dumbbells with control to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Repeat.
Bentover Reverse Flye
Bentover Reverse Flye Beth Bischoff

Dumbbell Bentover Reverse Fly: 4 sets x 10 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms at your sides, palms facing one another. Hinge over by bending at your hips until your torso is parallel to the ground.
  2. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you raise the weights 90 degrees out to your sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Pause for a beat, then lower the dumbbells with control to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Repeat.

The fifth season of Lucifer is currently streaming on Netflix


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