Chris Hemsworth is pushing the boundaries of what his body can do in his new six-episode Disney+ original series from National Geographic, and PEOPLE has an exclusive First Look!
In Limitless with Chris Hemsworth, the 39-year-old Thor actor meets with world-class experts to learn about revolutionary new research and long-held traditions that can help people live healthier, smarter and longer lives.
Hemsworth undergoes a series of extraordinary challenges designed by experts in an effort to understand the limits of the human body — trials like "drownproofing," a Special Forces resilience training technique in which one's hands and feet are bound while they're tasked with completing a series of underwater tasks like doing flips, swimming laps and floating.
"The aim is to kick off the bottom 20 times, giving me just a split second to give me enough air," Hemsworth explains in an exclusive clip from the episode, which premieres Nov. 16.
"There's all sorts of stupid stuff going through my head," he says in the clip. "Now I'm starting to think, what if I actually drown?"
If it sounds terrifying, that's because it is. In fact, its entire purpose is to increase Hemsworth's stress-levels so he can practice positive self-talk, a psychological technique to help him reframe his mindset.
That's easier said than done, even for Hemsworth. "I think I find myself being stressed in situations I haven't been able to prepare for," Hemsworth says in the clip.
"Of course I know I've got enough oxygen, I know these guys aren't going to let me drown, but I can feel my heartbeat racing ... the stress rising ... I can feel my lungs starting to burn ..." he adds. "It's brutal, and it's getting harder and harder. I can't even get my head up enough to catch a breath. That's when the panic begins."
Hemsworth winds up failing his first attempt at the test, though viewers will have to watch the full episode to see if he improves. Social psychologist Dr. Modupe Akinola guides Hemsworth in his Stress-Proof trial.
"Modupe has a way of smiling at you and making you feel like she's being nice while she's asking you to do something excruciatingly horrible!" says Hemsworth.
As a stress and resilience expert from Columbia Business School, Modupe "has researched extensively why some people thrive under stress whilst others buckle under it," the release reads. "Her research shows that changing our understanding of stress, recognizing our power to master it, and even harnessing its performance-enhancing benefits rather than trying to dodge it, means we can reduce the risk of the stress-induced illnesses that affect so many of us, especially as we age."
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Limitless with Chris Hemsworth is created by Darren Aronofsky and produced by Protozoa and Jane Root's Nutopia.
In addition to the physical challenges, the series promises to show Hemsworth's emotional side, which "reveals a deeper, vulnerable, and honest side when confronted with some of life's most difficult realities."
All episodes of Limitless with Chris Hemsworth hit Disney+ on Nov. 16.