July 15, 2022
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest personalities this world has ever seen. We say this metaphorically and literally as he stands around 6'3" to 6'5" (different sources) and 260 to 270 pounds. Regardless of his size, The Rock is one of the busiest men you would ever meet both in the business world and in the gym.
Known for his incredible physique that he seems to hold onto, even at the age of 50, he is the epitome of physiques for most men. Luckily for us, Dwayne Johnson is very active on social media giving us an inside glimpse of the real Rock workout plan. In this article we're going to discuss:
Let's find out what the Rock's been training!
Dwayne Johnson was born in 1972 and started his journey to fame as a professional wrestler in the WWF and WWE. He quickly became a crowd favorite due to his personality and ability to connect with the crowd.
Taking advantage of this notoriety, he was able to find himself opening for SNL in 2000. From here, his career took off. The Rock began working in movies and working his way up the proverbial staircase, climbing his way to the top.
Today, he has become a household name and blockbuster movie star appearing in some of the biggest movies in the modern era. During this time, the public really began to pick up on his impressive physique which has taken off on a life of its own. Today, The Rock has earned a prominent place in the fitness industry.
Before we get into The Rock's workout plan, we want to also touch on other factors which have led to his success. The first is genetics.
Everyone knows The Rock is an unusually large man. What many people don't know is he was a very unusually large teen. In his biography, The Rock states that he weight 225lbs and stood 6'0". That's massive. From this, we know he has awesome genetics that can't be bought. Our guess? He's a mesomorph body type.
In another part of his biography, The Rock states that he first started weight training at the age of 13. That means he has been training for 37 years, which is longer than some of our readers have even been alive! His physique did not appear overnight.
You don't need a very watchful eye to realize the work ethic Johnson has. Not only is he ALWAYS doing something, but he also does it with a great attitude. Sure he's getting millions of dollars but we might just be telling ourselves that to make us feel better.
In addition to all of his other exploits, Dwayne Johnson was also a professional Football player. When taking all of this into account, Johnson has learned what it takes to succeed and dedication.
Earning a body like this does not happen by accident. Even with great genetics, you must adhere to training with intensity with dedication.
Just like any other person, The Rock doesn't have just one workout routine. Instead, he'll use a mix of best workout splits, rep schemes, and exercise selection for optimal training. Still, there are defining characteristics you can find in the way he trains.
One of the defining characteristics of The Rock's training style is his dedication. Johnson trains up to 6 days a week with his notorious cheat day on the seventh day. Even with his hectic lifestyle, Johnson's workouts are rarely missed.
Granted, The Rock has a traveling gym, known as Iron Paradise, that comes with him on the road to make this easier. And we mean a literal gym, not some Bow-Flex and a couple of pairs of dumbbells. His Iron Paradise consists of over 40,000 pounds of weight so he can push and pull real iron.
He begins his training with 30 to 60 minutes of cardio. Next, he makes sure to eat a big breakfast to fuel up. This meal is very important as he needs the energy to then proceed to weight lift for 1.5 hours. And his training is always done at maximum intensity.
As mentioned above, The Rock does 30 to 60 minutes of cardio every day. Before we go any further, can we now agree that cardio will not kill your gains!
Regardless, we don't know if he loves it, but The Rock workout plan would not be what it is without it. It should be noted that he likes to perform fasted cardio (on an empty stomach) to speed up his metabolism.
Sure we love his insane leg press workouts or massive barbell rows, but we actually love the fact he does so much cardio. The fitness industry is over-saturated with influencers who have turned the word "cardio' into a negative thing. It's not.
Johnson's primary goal for his training seems to be muscle hypertrophy. Of course, this doesn't mean The Rock is weak, but the main purpose of his training is to prepare for roles.
He obviously loves training for the grind and pump, but Johnson routinely talks about he manipulates his training to prepare for different roles. This means he attempts to alter his size which is done with building muscle mass.
We have discussed this many times before that the main driver of muscle hypertrophy is volume. You can see this in his programs.
You will routinely see exercises prescribed a rep scheme of 4 sets x 15 reps, 4 sets x 20 reps, or even 4 sets x 25 reps. Johnson also routinely utilizes "giant sets" which are 3 or 4 exercises performed in succession.
If you view his Instagram for any length of time, you will quickly see that The Rock works various angles to optimally hit a muscle, target different muscle groups, and get that detailed muscle appearance. For example, during his chest workout, he may perform one of his giant sets as so:
In addition, The Rock tends to use quite a bit of variety with his program. He mentioned before how he switches up his program more than his diet.
To be clear, this doesn't mean he's promoting the "muscle confusion" nonsense. The Rock simply understands the value of variability in his training program.
The Rock will use a variety of rep schemes as he's constantly fine-tuning his training. One of his favorite methods it's what's known as a pyramid routine.
A pyramid routine is just a form of periodization in which you alter the load and rep scheme across multiple sets. The Rock will begin with a lighter weight and perform more reps. He will then add some weight and perform fewer reps. For example, a pyramid routine for leg press might look like this:
In addition, he will utilize a slight variation of this every week as well. Instead of altering the load on each set, he will use the same load. Then the next week, he will use a heavier load. For example:
Notice that after 4 weeks, he jumps back to doing 8 reps but has increased the weight. This is a basic form of periodization training, and we love it. Altering the load and rep scheme is vital to hit all training variables and provide a workout based on real science.
It's hard to say what is the Rock's favorite exercise is as again, he does a lot. That said he does seem to gravitate towards traditional weight lifting and uses a lot of free weights.
And so on. One interesting point is that the Rock doesn't seem to perform barbell squats or deadlifts. Most of the posts he has concerning squats have him performing squats with a safety squat bar (SSB).
We love SSB squats and are a fantastic addition to your leg workout. Just know that if you want to train like The Rock, you won't be doing barbell squats.
Deadlifts also seem to be absent from his training. While he does do the Romanian deadlift, traditional deadlifts seem to be absent. He has mentioned that he doesn't perform back squats or deadlifts for safety concerns.
Instead, his leg workout routine will contain a variety of other exercises such as:
The one exercise that one exercises The Rock does perform that we want to specifically mention is pit squats or belt squats. These are fantastic movements to train the legs while taking the stress of the lower back. This makes it the perfect exercise to add volume while mitigating the risk of injury.
Most of us don't have the time to fit 3 to 4 workouts, 6 days a week into our schedule. Work, kids, and obligations can make half-day-long gym sessions challenging.
And if you are new to the workout game, your muscles are going to need time to rebuild and repair. The amount of volume The Rock performs doesn't allow for a lot of rest time, likely resulting in burnout and insane muscle soreness.
So we've taken his workout strategies, favorite exercises, and principles and created a 6-day split that will get you great results without requiring hours on end in the gym. We can learn a lot from The Rock's workout techniques, and this program takes those and condenses them into one great routine. Let's get into it!
The Rock is notorious for following a 6 day workout split. By combining different variables of The Rock's Workout, we've put together this 6-day training routine for you.
We still want you to train each muscle group 2 times a week, which is what you'll do, excluding the shoulders, arms, and abs. This is because you already train these muscle groups when you perform any compound lift.
As mentioned above, there are two common training methods seen in The Rock's training program:
We will use both of these in one program to alter the stimulus. Prepare to work like The Rock!
Belt Squat (Finisher): 3 x 15-25 reps (complete sets to failure)
After your first week, you are going to alter the rep schemes for most of the stand-alone exercises. Notice the rep schemes that have parenthesis next to them. Those represent the reps for weeks 2, 3, and 4.
On the 5th week, you will drop some weight and go back to 12 reps. Be sure to track your weight so you can increase the weight the next cycle.
To fuel this regime, The Rock consumes a lot of calories. Depending on his role, The Rock admits to eating anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 calories daily. Luckily it's not all at once as he will divide this up into 5 or 7 meals throughout the day.
Of course, Johnson enjoys a plethora of food items but if you want to eat like him, your "Rock diet plan" should include some of these basic bodybuilder foods:
In addition, The Rock eats casein protein and whey on the regular as well to get more protein. When you're hitting protein goals, investing in one of the best protein powders and consuming protein shakes are a strategy daily.
Perhaps more famous than his actual training are The Rock's epic cheat meals on his rest days in which he eats a shed load. He routinely posts these on his Instagram and claims a cheat day should be as extreme as possible as "they're earned".
Some of his favorite foods to eat at this time are:
These insane meals can range from 4,000 to 7,000 calories a piece! Together, it's not uncommon for him to eat more than 10,000 calories on his cheat days.
This type of eating can be challenging for new lifters. To begin with, you need to have great discipline so that one cheat day doesn't become two cheat days or three.
If you are just learning healthy eating habits, a cheat day can steer you in the opposite direction if you're not ready for it.
Also, consider that most people don't have as much room to play with concerning calories. Remember that The Rock is a massive individual who takes time to train 4 hours a day. This means he burns a ton of calories which is evident by his not gaining weight.
This implies that his daily caloric intake of 5,000 to 7,000 calories is probably actually putting him in a deficit. Therefore, after 6 days of being in a deficit, he can eat a crazy amount on his cheat day.
In comparison, unless you're training for 4 hours a day, you'll likely gain weight. And we're not talking about the good kind of muscle weight you gain from body recomposition. We're talking just straight up, packing on the pounds, weight gain. For example, if you're eating 3,000 calories for maintenance, and then eat 10,000 calories on Sunday, you're going to be in a caloric surplus of 7,000 calories which means you just gained two pounds of fat.
Just keep this in mind before you dig into 4,000 calories worth of pancakes. Can you have a cheat meal or cheat day? Absolutely. Just make sure you're not blowing all of your hard work for one day. Moderation is key.
The Rock’s extreme dedication is the number 1 reason he is so successful in and out of the gym. We have said this before, the one who never misses a session will be the better man 9 times out of 10.
You need to get in the gym and put in hard work week in and week out just like The Rock. If you do this, we can promise you will achieve the goals you’re striving for. You might not look just like The Rock, but you'll look pretty awesome.
Figueiredo, V.C., de Salles, B.F. & Trajano, G.S. Volume for Muscle Hypertrophy and Health Outcomes: The Most Effective Variable in Resistance Training. Sports Med 48, 499–505 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0793-0
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