Tobey Maguire’s Coach Explains How His Training Has Changed Since 2002’s Spider-Man

When Tobey Maguire bursts into the cinema in Sam Raimi Spider Man in 2002, he set the world of superhero movies in motion with a blockbuster that is still considered one of the best in the genre. Of course it was Iron Man which launched the MCU proper in 2008, but Maguire’s impact remains undeniable. So much so, in fact, that (Spoiler alert) he reprized the role last year. Spider Man: No Coming Homeagain donning lycra two decades after debuting in the role.

Now 46, there was only one person Maguire could call on when it came to getting back to fitness and agility or a 26-year-old. This Man Is Navy Seal Turned Celebrity PT Duffy Gaver. Not only has Gaver appeared on camera in the likes of Se7fr and The rockover the years, he’s also helped some of Hollywood’s biggest names perfect their physique, including Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson.

“Tobey was the first movie star I trained. It was a big deal,” Gaver recalled. “It was cool working with him on the last Spider-Man to see him again and practice again. with him. Many things had changed in our lives in 20 years.

This first time, Gaver and Maguire had six months to train. It’s a decent time in anyone’s book, but Gaver remembers Maguire’s vegetarianism as a hurdle that had to be overcome. “It was a lot of extra protein, protein shakes,” he says. “A woman called Jackie Keller owns a business called NutriFit and we used her for this, she went out of her way to help us improve his nutrition, including daily food deliveries for him.”

“Details are not important as single reps and just put the work in”

Gaver recalls Maguire being “very disciplined to show up and do the practices five or six days a week”. The effects on his physique were obvious to see on screen, but the real benefit, Gaver says, was how Maguire came to behave.

“I think it had a good effect on him personally,” he says. “He hung out with a pretty strong group of young actors, including Leo. And he became the guy in his peer group who had a fantastic physique, and I thought that was a good experience for him. I think that a lot of young men don’t feel good about themselves that way. There’s something great about feeling healthy and strong.

The Spider Plan

Feeling healthy and strong was always the goal, despite the enormous amount of time that had passed between spider flicks. Fortunately, as a supporting actor, the demands placed on Maguire’s performance and physique weren’t as extensive as they were when filming the first in 2001.

“We’re talking about a 21-year body difference,” sighs Gaver. “It wasn’t the same problem as before, though; on the first film, we had the shirtless scene on the first day, so we were working towards that.”

This time around, there was no shirtless scene. Without needing to be absolutely chiseled to the core, Gaver explains that the focus on food was less important. Instead, they could focus on building an overall sense of physical well-being, taking back some of that confidence from Maguire’s youth.

“This time it was just about getting a little fitter and feeling a little more capable,” says Gaver. “It was a very different goal. This time it was about building physical integrity. His role this time around was very different, it was about being confident so he could focus on the actor play.

web of time

If Maguire’s body had changed, you could be forgiven for thinking that training methods and approaches have also changed in 20 years. Gaver says otherwise. “The training then and the training now are the same training,” he says. “People who want to sell you stuff want to pretend the fitness industry is totally different now, but it’s not. If you want a big back, you get it the same way. If you want putting size on your shoulders and arms, it happens the same way.

One thing that was different was the resources Maguire had on set. “This time the good thing was that myself and some friends have a business called BMF mobile gymnasiums“says Gaver. “It was nice to have our trailer on set, with the right tools. Then we could fit workouts into their schedule; whether Tobey, Andrew or Tom had a 20-minute window or a 90 minutes, we could adapt it to that.


How are you actually going to build a Spider-Man ready body, then? Turns out it’s pretty simple.

“Training was the same kind of stuff as the first time around,” says Gaver. “Core strength, circuit stuff. I like to do back and chest. My favorites are pull-ups, push-ups, goblet squats, pull-ups, more push-ups, barbell rows, sit-ups, some group work, flexibility stuff.

And it really is as simple as that.

As anyone who’s worked with Gaver knows, his no-nonsense approach to fitness has no time for excuses or gimmicks. In other words, it’s just about getting the job done.

“A lot of people look at these articles and think there’s a key missing,” says Gaver. “Well, there isn’t. But two things are important. First, how you approach training makes a difference. If you think of it as something you have to do, like eating your fucking vegetables, that’s a shitty way to look at it. Look at it as something you’re lucky to have been able to do. The other thing to know is that these are just simple workouts. The minutiae are not important as simple reps and just putting the work in place.

With that in mind, this no-frills 20-minute workout should help you rock your spider-sense in the best possible way. Inspired by Maguire’s recent efforts with Gaver, it starts with an assault bike warm-up before focusing on solid, reliable moves that require minimal equipment.

Work out, leave your excuses at home, and you, too, can build reliable, lifelong muscle. Here’s how:

Assault Bike, 15 Minute Warm Up



Representatives: 12, 10, 8, 8

Sets: 4

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: Take a bar overhead, your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Push off the floor as you contract your shoulder blades, squeezing them together as you pull your chin up on the bar. Hold the position for a second then relax the lats to slowly lower back to the starting position. Control is the key here.

arm, leg, human leg, human body, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hand, joint, knee,


Representatives: 20, 20, 18, 16

Sets: 4

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: Get on the floor, toes slightly wider than body width, palms facing the floor at shoulder width. Engage your core to keep your body stable as you push through your hands, extending your arms for one. Lock those elbows then slowly lower back to the starting position for one. Bouncing – going up and down quickly without fully extending those arms – is of course cheating.

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Goblet Squats

Representatives: 20 lbs for 20 reps, 25 lbs for 20, 30 lbs for 15, 35 lbs for 15

Sets: 4

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: Grab the required dumbbell and hold it vertically at chest height. Move your feet slightly wider than your hips, keeping your toes pointed forward. Sit on an imaginary chair, keeping your back straight, your head held high, and the dumbbell straight in front of you. Push down through your heels to come back up for one rep.

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Representatives: 80lbs for 15 repetitions, 90lbs for 12, 100lbs for 12, 110lbs for 10

Sets: 4

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: Take a hanging bar. Lean back slightly in your seat, keeping your back straight. Contract your lats as you pull the bar up into your upper chest. Hold for one then slowly reverse the motion to bring the bar back to the start.


Representatives: 12

Sets: 5

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: See above. Don’t bounce!

leg, human body, human leg, shoulder, elbow, standing, joint, chest, fitness, trunk,

Incline rows with dumbbells

Representatives: 35 lbs for 20 reps, 40 lbs for 15, 40 lbs for 15, 40 lbs for 12

Sets: 5

Rest: 30 seconds

How? ‘Or’ What: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly and hinge your hip so that your upper body is nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest. Lower and repeat.

Discover GaverThe Hero Maker Book: 12 Weeks to Superhero Fit here.

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Richard V. Johnson