The Marvel Cinematic Universe is undoubtedly one of the biggest film franchises ever. It’s full of action, compelling storylines, lovable characters, great character development, and—let’s face it—a ton of physical eye candy.
But we’re not here to talk about the God of Thunder or the supersoldier. We’re here to talk about someone a little closer to home—your friendly neighborhood Spider-man.
One of the main highlights of the Captain America: Civil War movie was the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-man, a hero who has been redone and recasted more than any other in the Marvel Cinematic universe in recent years.
In this article, we’ll be talking about Tom Holland’s workout routine to know exactly how he prepared himself for the role of Spider-man.
While an excellent physique is definitely something anyone can have, please keep in mind that actors get paid to look their best in movies. Actors like Tom Holland have a plethora of options available for them to choose from in order to achieve this.
Some of those options may include artificial enhancers or steroids. That being said, we aren’t claiming that Tom Holland jacked himself up for his role as Spider-man. In fact, his physique is very attainable and he’s also had a similar level of acrobatic and fitness before he landed his role as the web-slinging hero.
Regardless, it’s always good to take these “actor transformation” articles with a pinch of salt.
What is Tom Holland?
As of this writing, Tom Holland is 24 years old and stands at a height of 5 feet and 8 inches, which is a fairly average height for a man from England. He typically weighs in at around 65kg, but was rumored to have gained 7kg of lean muscle mass specifically for his role as Spider-man.
He began filming when he was only 18 – 19 years old, which means he was younger than both his counterparts, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, who were in their mid- to late-20s.
At that age, Tom did not yet have the fully developed muscles of an adult, but that of a teenager still growing into his own skin.
Tom Holland: His Genetics
Perhaps we can attribute it to his age, but Tom looked visibly younger compared to both Garfield and Maguire. This made him perfect for the role of Peter Parker since the character is only a high school student.
Underneath his handsome baby face, Tom has great genetics all around his body. A quick look at him shirtless will easily bring you to the fact that despite the muscles, Tom is pretty lean. His nice round head sits atop narrow shoulders and a narrow waist, but his chest, abs, and full solid arms speak more for fitness than my grocery list.
Thanks to the types of workouts he does, Tom’s muscles are also geared more towards him looking lean rather than bulky.
In short, although Tom is genetically gifted in some areas (particularly his chest), his physique is nothing extraordinary and can be easily attainable as a natural.
Tom Holland Workout Routine
It’s time to break down the workout routine that transformed Tom Holland from just another teenager into our favorite web-slinging superhero.
Take note that Tom’s exercises were designed to help him build muscle mass and increase his strength while still allowing him to remain agile enough to perform whatever stunts were necessary for the iconic role. Bulkier muscles tend to restrict movement, and Spider-man needs the opposite.
This means circuit training and lots of cardio. In Tom’s case, he employed both types of exercises on alternating days, that is: circuit training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You may choose to follow his routine to the tee, or you may switch it up depending on your preference.
There are no right or wrong answers here, only the right and wrong forms!
Monday — Warm Up and 2-Round Circuits
Begin your Mondays with a warm up, followed by the prescribed circuit training workouts.
For those of you who don’t know, “round circuit” or “circuit training” is a set of exercises done in rapid succession, with decreasing amounts of rest time in between. This is because each exercise targets a different set of muscles, which makes resting quite unnecessary and makes it ideal for athletes or physically taxing superhero roles like Spider-man.
The whole routine can last anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes, depending on how fast you can go.
Pace your workout. Don’t pressure yourself into finishing everything quickly. Remember to set realistic expectations.
Before beginning his circuit training, Tom warms up his body using these exercises:
- Pull-Ups — 3 sets of 5 reps
- Bench Dips — 3 sets of 10 reps
- Push Ups — 3 sets of 15-25 reps
A pull-up is a great way to work on the muscles of your back, as well as your arms.
Start by positioning yourself in front of the pull-up bar. Be mindful of where you place your hands as a grip that’s too wide may cause injuries to your shoulder, while a grip that’s too narrow won’t target your back muscles. It is therefore best to grip the bar at a shoulder-and-a-half’s width apart.
Once ready, pull your shoulder blades back towards each other and lock them in place as you pull yourself up by your arms until your elbows are in line with your waist. Slowly lower yourself back down to complete one rep.
Do 3 sets of this with 5 reps each.
The bench dip targets your triceps and stretches your chest muscles.
Find a suitable work bench to sit on. Grip the bench with your hands facing forward or palms facing back. For beginners, position your feet slightly forward and bend your knees so that your feet now extend beyond your knees. This position will lessen the weight that your triceps will have to bear and will make the exercise easier for you to do. The harder way would be to stretch out your legs completely in front of you, with one leg crossing over the other for better balance.
Next, while keeping your back as close to the bench as possible, slowly lift yourself up off the bench and dip towards the ground as low as you can go, making sure that only your elbows are bending. Return to starting position to complete one rep.
Do 3 sets of this with 10 reps each.
A push-up is a well-known, classic exercise that simultaneously targets a lot of muscles throughout your body. Positioning here is very important, so take note of the following points:
First off, position your hands comfortably beneath you. Push-ups can be done with a narrow grip, a wide grip, or a grip that’s shoulder-width. A wider grip will put the focus on your chest, while a narrow grip will put the focus on your triceps. What’s more important is the position of your hands in relation to your shoulder. Make sure your fingers are facing the front and your hands are perpendicular to your shoulder so that your arms form a nearly vertical line from the ground at full extension.
Extend your arms all the way up and bend your elbows all the way down to complete one rep. Do 3 sets with 15 to 25 reps each.
2-round circuits means that you have to do the entire routine two times. The same rule applies to 3-round circuits, which are three times and so on.
Remember: the effectiveness of round circuit training banks on them being done one after the other as quickly as possible, but don’t overdo it if you’re new to the exercises. It’s better to start slow and consistently grow overtime than to burn yourself out with unrealistic expectations from the get-go.
- Sprint for 100m
- Box Jumps — 25 reps
- Sledgehammer Swings — 25 reps
- Sit Ups — 25 reps
- Burpees — 25 reps
- Sit Ups — 25 reps
- Sledgehammer Swings — 25 reps
- Box Jumps — 25 reps
- Sprint for 100m
To sprint means to run at full speed over a short distance. This burst of energy will get your heart pumping, making it a good exercise for cardiovascular health. It also increases your metabolism and ensures that you keep burning fat even after you’ve finished exercising.
When you sprint, make sure to start with your dominant leg forward. Generally, your dominant leg will follow your dominant hand, so if you are right-handed, chances are your right leg will also be the dominant one. Having your dominant leg forward will ensure a nice, strong start to help boost your speed.
Begin by lowering yourself onto the ground, with your dominant leg bent forward beneath you and your other leg fully stretched behind. Place your fingers on the ground in front of you for balance. Kick off using your dominant leg and sprint as fast as you can to your goal. Ease up as tension in your muscles will only slow you down. Move your arms in sync with your legs as you run.
This exercise’s sprint is set for 100 meters.
Box jumps may sound and look simple, but they can be quite tricky to perform if you’re new to them as they require good balance and some lower-body strength.
For starters, find a box that’s high enough for you to jump on. Normally, it should be as high as your knees, but you may opt for a lower box for safety reasons.
Stand before your box with a hip-wide stance. Better weight distribution ensures better balance. Jump off the ground with both feet in order to land with both feet on the box. When jumping, keep your knees in line with your toes and try not to bend them too much before you make your jump.
Jump down or step off the box to begin another rep. Do this 25 times.
Ever tried chopping wood? Even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve seen it being done. You’ll be imitating that action for this exercise, except with a sledgehammer instead of an axe, and a large tire instead of firewood.
Before you begin, find a suitable place with a wide area so as to avoid any accidents.
Stand with your feet apart at hip-width and grip the sledgehammer’s handle tightly—you don’t want it flying out of your hands during this exercise!—with one hand in front of the other at the bottom of the handle. Whichever hand is forward will determine the direction the sledgehammer will take as you lift it over your shoulder. Applying as much force as you can, bring the sledgehammer down towards the tire. Be ready to catch it with your other hand as it bounces back up, off the tire. Use the sledgehammer’s momentum to guide it back to your starting position.
Do this 25 times. For the next set, switch forward hands.
Ah, sit ups. I remember having to do a lot of these during Physical Education classes while I was growing up. They’re pretty standard as far as exercises go but work exceptionally well for your core.
To do a sit up, begin by lying down on the floor. Bend your knees so your feet are positioned halfway towards your butt, and keep your fingers behind your ear.
Engage your core as you lift your torso into an upright position. It’s a common mistake for people to try and “pull” their heads with their hands and use this momentum to sit up, but putting your fingers behind your ear instead of your head will eliminate that temptation.
Once you’re sitting up, slowly lower yourself back down to your starting position. Another common mistake that people do here is they “drop” back down to the floor. Capitalize on the eccentric motion, where our muscles are strongest, and slowly bring yourself down instead.
Do 25 sit ups for the first set.
Burpees look fun to do, but like many others, they’re a lot harder than they look. It’s a full-body exercise that’ll see you going all the way down and all the way up in rapid succession.
If it’s your first time to do a burpee, take it slow by simply dropping down with your hands at approximately shoulder-width on the floor beneath you. Next, kick your legs out until they are fully stretched behind you. By now, you should be in a push-up position. Do a single push-up (if you can manage it!) before bringing your legs forward again to your starting position and straightening up completely with your arms raised above your head. Try to incorporate a jump as you do this last step.
The movement will take some getting used to, so practice doing this slowly a couple of times first until you really get the hang of it.
Repeat 25 times to conclude your first circuit for the day, but don’t stop there. Remember: you have to do 2-round circuits!
Tuesday and Thursday — Cardio
A cardio exercise is any exercise that’ll get your heart rate up to optimal speed to help you burn the most fat and calories. Because of the nature of cardio exercises, your lungs will likewise be working overtime to distribute air throughout your body. This is why cardio exercises are also known as aerobic exercises.
One great way to do cardio is through High Intensity Interval Training—or “HIIT” for short. If you’re not yet familiar with the term, HIIT is a type of training that involves short periods of repeated, intense workouts alternated by slightly longer rests, making them great for your cardiovascular health as it trains your body to adapt accordingly between two very different states. It’s also great for building muscles and endurance—again, things that Spider-man sorely needs! HIIT sessions last for just a few minutes, so they’re perfect if you’re running short on time.
To give you an example of what a HIIT exercise using a bike looks like, simply switch between 1 minute of slow, leisurely pedalling to 30 seconds of intense pedalling, and back again for a total of at least 15 minutes (more if you’re able!). The same concept and time intervals apply to the treadmill and elliptical machine, too.
However, if you’ve time to spare and would rather forego HIIT in favor of more traditional cardio exercises, that’s fine too. You may engage instead in your favorite sport like soccer, boxing, swimming, or running. Do these for an hour or two.
The goal is to remain physically active for a long period of time. Anything to get your heart pumping!
Wednesday — Warm Up and 3-Round Circuits
Day three of Tom’s workout sees your round circuit going up a notch, with you doing 3-round circuits instead of just the two on Monday. But don’t worry—there are only five exercises to do today, significantly less than the ones you had to do last Monday!
As always, begin with a warm up:
- Wide Grip Pull Ups — 3 sets of 5 reps
- Dips — 3 sets of 10 reps
- Push Ups — 3 sets of 15 to 25 reps
Wide Grip Pull Ups
What is a wide grip pull up, and how does it differ from the regular pull up? Well, as the name suggests, it’s simply a pull up where your hands grip the bar farther apart from each other than shoulder-width (but not too far. Remember: a grip that’s too wide could strain and injure your shoulders), in order to target your upper back muscles.
Do 5 reps of these for 3 sets. For instructions on how to do dips and push ups, please refer to the Monday warm up routine.
Once you’ve sufficiently warmed up, begin your round circuit exercises. Repeat the whole set 3 times.
- Run 400m
- Sit Ups — 25 reps
- Clean and Press — 15 reps
- Bench Press — 12 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Snatch — 10 reps
Some people might think that running is synonymous to sprinting, but while both are similar, they are not the same. The difference lies in the speed and duration of each as sprinting requires you to go faster for shorter lengths, while running requires that you maintain a certain speed for longer distances.
For this round circuit, you’ll need to run 400 meters. Keep your back straight, your chest out and your shoulders down for proper form, and bend your arms at a loose 90-degree angle by your waist so they can swing in a natural, relaxed manner as you run.
Clean and Press
A clean and press is another great exercise that engages multiple muscles by incorporating different kinds of exercises into one full-body workout. The only thing you’ll be needing is a barbell fitted with your desired weight and you’re good to go.
The movement is quite simple, but tricky to perform if you’re new, so be careful.
To start, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Then, bend your knees just enough so that you can reach the barbell handle while still keeping your back straight. Brace your core and dig your feet into the floor as you lift the barbell up to chest-height. Bend your knees as this happens. Your elbows should be facing forward, your palms gripping the handle now facing upward. From this position, push the barbell up until your arms and knees are straight, so that the barbell is now directly above your head. Reverse the movement until you’re back to starting position.
Do 15 of these.
The bench press is a strength exercise that targets your upper body muscles, specifically your pecs, shoulders and arms. You’ll be needing a barbell and a flat bench for this.
Position your barbell with your desired weight on the rack at a height that’s comfortable for you. Lay down on the flat bench, making sure your feet are flat on the floor. Gripping the bar with your hands slightly farther apart than shoulder-width, slowly lift it off the rack. After that, bend your elbows as you lower the bar to your chest, but not too low that it’s resting on you. Slowly return to your starting position to conclude one rep.
Do 12 of these.
One Arm Dumbbell Snatch
The focus of this next exercise is more on the speed and force with which it is done rather than on how heavy the weight is, so it’s alright to use a lighter load for this one.
Begin by standing with a dumbbell straddled between your feet, which should be about shoulder-width apart. With your back straight, bend your knees as you reach down for the dumbbell with one hand, gripping it tightly in a prone position. Then, in one smooth movement, pull or “snatch” the dumbbell upward until your elbow is straight with your arm fully extended above your head. This is a triple extension involving your hips, knees, and ankles—meaning all three should extend at the same time. Reverse the movement to return to your starting position.
Do this 10 times, then repeat all the exercises for two more circuits, and you’re done! Time to treat yourself to a well-deserved break. All you have for tomorrow is another day of cardio.
Friday — Warm Up and 5-Round Circuit
And just like that, it’s Friday! Though today marks the end of your exercise week, don’t be too complacent because the workload promises to be just as challenging as the previous ones, with not just three circuit rounds to do, but five.
If in the middle of exercising, you’re finding it hard to complete all 5-round circuits, remember that you can dial it down to a level that’s comfortable for you. Slow and steady wins the race.
As always, begin with a warm up.
- Chin Ups — 3 sets of 5 reps
- Dips — 3 sets of 10 reps
- Push Ups — 3 sets of 15 to 25 reps
All three warm up exercises have been mentioned before, so simply scroll up if you want to refer to them again. Once you’re done warming up, proceed to your exercises for the day:
- Bench Press — 10 reps
- Floor Wipers — 10 reps
- Burpees — 10 reps
- Deadlifts — 10 reps
- Hanging Knee/Leg Raises — 10 reps
There are two ways to do the floor wiper exercise—weighted or unweighted. The method will be the same regardless of which you decide to do, so start by lying in a supine position on the floor and be sure to keep your feet together throughout this whole exercise.
Slowly raise your leg to the left, lower it back down to the middle, then raise it again but to your right this time. Lower it back down to the middle to complete one rep. You’ll need to do this 10 times for the first set.
If you opt for the unweighted version, simply spread your arms so that they are splayed in either direction beside you and your whole body looks like a letter T. Otherwise, choose a barbell or dumbbell of your preferred weight and hold them above you while you do the exercise, your elbows locked and your arms straight.
A deadlift is a strength exercise that can significantly help improve your posture, as it mainly targets muscles that keep your hips, spine and shoulders aligned. Being a strength exercise therefore, try to use a weight that’s not too heavy that you’ll end up hurting yourself, but also not too light that it’s no longer challenging.
To start, stand with a hip-width stance in front of the barbell. Bend down and grasp the handle tightly with both hands, placing them just a bit farther apart on the handle than your feet. Keep your back straight as you do this. Try not to bend too forward that you’re in danger of falling over, while keeping the barbell as close to your body as you can.
Gripping tight, lift the barbell by simply straightening up—shoulders and hips rising at the same time as your knees. Then gently lower the barbell back down to complete one rep. Remember to keep your back straight. This helps avoid injury that could be dangerous with a heavy weighted exercise like deadlifts.
Do 10 of these before moving on to the next one.
Hanging Knee/Leg Raises
We’ve finally reached our final exercise for the week! The hanging knee/leg raise is a great exercise if six-pack abs are your goal.
You’ll need a pull-up bar, or anything you can dangle on if you don’t have a pull-up bar available.
Begin by gripping the bar tightly with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Steadily and slowly bring your knees up as high as you can get them—all the way to your chest if you are able. The higher you can raise your knees, the more engaged your abs will be. Once done, slowly lower your legs back down in a controlled descent so that they don’t simply drop or start swinging.
Do this for a total of 10 times. Once done, repeat everything for round circuit 2.
Tom Holland: Natty or Not?
To keep it short, Tom is most likely a natty. His physique is attainable and he was already fit before he got casted as Spider-man.
Tom Holland: Realistic or Not?
Tom Holland’s physique is realistic and can be easily maintained throughout the year. He isn’t too lean where he’s starving nor too big that he’d need steroids to maintain his physique.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tom Holland Workout
How do I exercise like Tom Holland?
Tom focuses on a more HIIT and circuit-type workout, which does build muscle but focuses more on athleticism than anything. His role is physically demanding, which makes his mix of cardio and circuit training the idea program for his body.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
Tom Holland’s workout routine is ideal for the physical activity he’s trying to fill. If you’re interested in gaining muscle and not so much being an athlete 24/7, you might want to try a program that’s more focused on building muscles.
P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also enjoy these other detailed celebrity workout routine breakdowns:
- Tom Ellis’ Workout for Lucifer
- Zac Efron’s Neighbours Workout
- Brad Pitt’s Fight Club Workout
- Henry Cavill’s Witcher Workout