Tom Holland shares the unusual secret behind his Spider-Man transformation

The Marvel star revealed his Spider-Man workout routine on a recent episode of The Graham Norton Show

Tom Holland promoting the release of Spider-Man: Far Away From Home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Comic book superheroes are known for their impressive planet-saving physiques, and the stars who play them on the big screen often have to undertake grueling training regimes to get that out-of-this-world look.

But for Spider-Man star Tom Holland, it wasn't just a case of performing the best workouts for abs or chest workouts with resistance bands. It turns out he also resorted to an unlikely technique to help him get in fighting shape: electric shocks.

The star, who plays Spidey in Marvel's latest iteration of the webbed hero 'Spider-Man: No Way Home', revealed the news on the UK's Graham Norton Show.

Sitting alongside actors Mark Wahlberg and Sienna Miller, Holland said: "Have you ever heard of EMS training? You wear this black suit, and they put these pads on you, and you basically do a yoga class while they electrocute you." 

Electronic Muscle Stimulation, or EMS, uses short pulses of electricity to activate your muscle. During EMS, pads are placed directly on your skin across the muscle you want to work on and attached to a generating device. The pulses cause muscle contraction in a similar way to exercising. 

If you think that sounds unpleasant, you'd be right as Holland went on to note that "it's awful... it works, but it really is the worst thing I've ever done."

Then again, the current Peter Parker also said that it was 'a lot of fun', but who are we to judge one of the youngest members of the Avengers?

When asked by Mark Wahlberg whether EMS was muscle stimulation, he responded, "Yeah, it's muscle stimulation, but you work out while you use it."

The Marvel star seemed to suggest that he 'cheated' his way to a well-defined body, although we think this undersells his transformation. Back in March, Holland posted a photo of himself with his trainer Duffy Gaver to his Instagram Story. 

This showed off his toned upper body at the end of filming following 72 Spidey-focused workouts. Gaver later reposted the image, writing, "No magic. Will, desire & discipline. Get up before work, crush your workouts, eat well, be consistent. Get results." 

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Back on The Graham Norton Show, Wahlberg noted that he'd seen an advertisement featuring world-famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo wearing a muscle stimulating ab machine. "Ronaldo, who is probably one of the most visible specimens on the planet... standing there in his underwear... just shaking with his eyes closed. I don't think that's how he got in shape."

He may have a point. Tom Holland may have got superhero-ready using EMS, but that's alongside a strict workout regime, a team of trainers and nutritionists, and a lot of dedication and hard work.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.