Best Shirtless Performance: A Christian Bale GIF Retrospective

We’ve spent all week being squeezed between the digital pecs of every MTV Movie Awards nominee for Best Shirtless Performance, and at this point, we’ve seen it all. Channing Tatum has graced this blog with his shirtless dance moves; Taylor Lautner stripped down in the rain; Ted mixed us a dirty martini; and Daniel Craig rose up out of the ocean like a beefcake submarine. Ayooooogah, ladies. But in this week-long retrospective of our five fine shirtless performers, we may have just saved the best for last. Up today? It’s Christian Bale, whose shirtless convalescence from a broken vertebrae in “The Dark Knight Rises” was an extraordinary show of strength in the face of adversity—and, more importantly, an extraordinary show of naked torso in the face of everyone. Unf.

But long before Bane broke Batman’s magnificently-defined back, Christian was taking his top off all over Hollywood—showing us the goods that would one day net him this much-coveted nomination for Best Shirtlessness. And if you take a peek at our GIF retrospective of his shirtless oeuvre, you’ll see that he’s clearly spent his entire career planning for this moment.

Christian Bale: A Shirtless GIF Retrospective

It begins with a little light stretching.

And then, pushups…

…followed by crunches…

…followed by more pushups.

Then, cardio!

And of course, Christian knows the importance of dieting.

…Uh. Nevermind about the dieting.

There. That’s better. And after all this training, even Christian himself seems to know he’s a lead contender for the Best Shirtless Performance popcorn trophy.

Will Jennifer Lawrence get her silver lining in the form of a Golden Popcorn? Which beefcake will sizzle in our brand-new Best Shirtless Performance category? It’s up to you to decide the winners of the 2013 MTV Movie Awards! Vote now, and tune in Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET, as star Rebel Wilson takes the stage at the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City, California.

Which moment of shirtlessness from Christian Bale’s career is your fave?