In Netflix Mess walkingTom Holland plays a young colonizer who is orphaned on an alien planet. His discovery of an astronaut, played by war of stars Actress Daisy Ridley unleashes a series of events that leave the couple fighting for their lives.
Doing a project for Marvel in between Spider-Man appearances meant Holland had to stay strong but experiment with his usual superhero routine. So he hired British trainer Yousif Mahdi Kampoori to develop a unique program suitable for a dystopian survivor.
“There’s no question that if Tom wasn’t in Hollywood, he’d be a real athlete,” says Kampoori, who was connected to the actor through stunt double Bobby Holland Hanton. The two started working together every now and then, doing intermittent sessions during the production of Spider-Man: Homecoming. “He was built to play that role.”
In Chaos Walking, the couple focused on functional training and strength training with a martial arts flair. Since they didn’t build a superhero body, they were able to move away from the heavier weights, which meant the naturally slender actor looked even more ripped than usual. Kampoori tagged their Superset sessions with shadowboxing and HIIT to give it the look of a striped survivor fighting for every resource.
“I remember watching him doing a tricep extension during one of our sets and it all popped,” he says Kampoori proud. “The child has great arms.”
After a month-long boot camp in London, the trainer sent Holland to the Chaos Walking Set in Canada with written programs and continued training from afar. “Tom is a machine” Kampoori says. “He’s really worked and I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
The Superset training that Tom Holland shredded for “Chaos Walking”
Kampoori designed a superset program to develop the naturally lean actor’s functional strength. Since Holland already had a strong foundation by the time it was filming Spider-Man: Homecoming, they were able to deviate from the norm and add a nuance to the calisthenics moves they had already mastered.
The training was also complemented by Holland’s active gymnastics practice. “Tom has a huge gym mat in his back yard that he would practice various stunts on,” he says Kampoori. “He would go out there and do things that I would have trouble with myself.” It was this passion for explosive movements that led the trainer to add HIIT finishers and shadowboxing warm-ups to the regime. The following workout is an example of a training day.
Equipment needed: Kettlebells and dumbbells
Directions: Finish the warm-up and start exercising. The eight exercises are grouped into four supersets. Do all the repetitions for one exercise, then immediately move on to the second. Rest 45 seconds between sets for a total of three sets. Once that’s done, move on to the next block.
Warm up: Shadowboxing x 3 minutes: Keep your legs moving as you throw a combination of push / cross / left slip / right slip / hook / cross throw.
1A. Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press x 5 reps per side
Choose a kettlebell that is challenging but manageable in weight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and firmly hold the kettlebell by the handle in a bottom-up position with the bell pointing towards the ceiling. Bring your elbow close to your body with the kettlebell in front of your face. Activate your core so your ribs don’t flare up and push the kettlebell up in a straight line until your elbow hits the latch. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat all repetitions on one side, then switch arms.
1B. Banded Glute Bridge x 10 reps
Place a mini resistance band (heavy) just above your knees and lie on the floor. Keeping your arms down at your sides, bend your knees, and place your feet near the glutes (your fingertips should only be able to brush your heels). Go through your heels to bridge your hips and form a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Maintain tension in the band; Don’t let your knees buckle. Return to the starting position and immediately go up again. Do not rest on the floor to extend the time under tension.
2A. Trap bar Deadlifts x 8 reps
Position yourself in the middle of an air-termination rod (also known as a hexagonal rod) with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees and fold at the hips to lower yourself and grab the handles. Dig your heels into the ground, dig into your core, and maintain a flat back and proud chest as you ride the air-termination rod up. The movement should be powerful and explosive. Activate your glutes at the top of the movement and bring the bar back to the floor in a slow, controlled motion.
Position yourself under a pull-up bar. Grasp it with an underhand grip and hold your hands a little narrower than shoulder width apart. Begin the exercise by hanging with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Keeping your core engaged and your back straight, pull your weight up until your chin is level with the bar and focus your eyes on it. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position. Keep your arms slightly bent to maintain tension.
3A. Kettlebell Box Squat x 8 reps
Position yourself with a box (or bench) behind you and feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the horns of a heavy kettlebell against your chest. Hang on your hips and bend your knees to lower yourself toward the box. Keep your back as straight as possible as you crouch, then pivot your torso slightly forward before sitting down for a controlled, even landing. Reverse the movement and push up with your legs and buttocks to return to the starting position.
3B. StupidBell bottom press x 10 repetitions
Choose a pair of dumbbells that are challenging but manageable in weight. Sit on the floor with dumbbells on either side, then lie on your back. Bend your knees to a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor. For a press, stand up like a weight bench, triceps against the floor, elbows bent 90 degrees. Push your arms toward the ceiling until your arms reach the latch and support your core with the movement. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position.
4A. Alternate lunges x 10 repetitions per side
Stand with your feet close together, medium to heavy dumbbells in both hands. Lunge your right foot behind you and land with the foot pad on the floor, heel raised, as you bend both legs 90 degrees. Hold for a moment, then forcefully return to standing and travel through the heel of your front leg. Switch sides with each repetition.
4B. Dip to Knee Tuck x 10 reps
Position yourself on a diving machine or between two diving poles. Grab the bars and raise your weight until your arms are fully extended and your body is aligned. Bend your knees and cross your ankles. Keep your back straight as you bend at your elbows to dive down and hold them tightly by your sides (not flared). Continue the movement until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Take a short break, then return to the starting position. From here, attack your core as you lift your knees towards your chest. Hold for a moment and bring your knees back to the starting position.
Find out where to see Chaos Walking on this website
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