If you have an Instagram account and fitness (or movies or anything else), you're probably one of the 136 million people who follow Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. In other words, you've seen footage of his legendary training program, giving fans an insight into the training used to maintain the supermuscous frame of the most deserving actor in Hollywood.
We have already stopped Johnson's training, but we have never had the opportunity to hear from a coach designing the killer programs that The Rock uses to embrace his "Hardest Worker in the Room" mantra to go to new heights. Johnson's strength and conditioning coach Dave Rienzi has never spoken publicly about the star's training protocols. Rienzi spoke exclusively with MensHealth.com about one of her leg exercises on the heel of the latest Under Armor Project rock-drop, the Bend Boundaries collection.
Rienzi is ultimately tasked with helping Johnson grow and develop, even after more than 20 years in sports and entertainment. "Many people his age are trying to get physically," he says. "We're trying to develop the body, it's very unique."
Rienzi says he changes Johnson's program about every two to three weeks to guess his muscles, so this is not the only routine he uses to build his lower body. You can, however, use Rienzi's tips to train like The Rock if you want to try to make boundaries in your own training.
The Rocks Bend Boundaries
Johnson's lower body routines usually begin with an exercise that activates his glutes (not shown in the above video). This means a hip joint with a training band just above the knees. "I'm sure you saw the videos from his hip that squeezed 450 pounds," says Rienzi. (Yes, we certainly have.) "We are getting really great activation from the maxima and gluteal muscle."
Rienzi says they make sure that the glutes are ready for the rest of Johnson's body to do the hard work. "He had a football career and then a wrestling career that resulted in multiple back and knee injuries," he says. "Ensuring that the buttocks muscles are firing properly is really the key for him to work out painless, especially when we're practicing the legs."
- 4 sets of 8 to 1
- 8 to 12 repetitions with both legs
- Last repetition 5 seconds static holding
After the glutes are prepared and ready for use, Rienzi moves with heavy compound movements. Depending on how he feels, this starts with a few warm-up exercises on the leg extension – but the focus is on the leg press. Johnson performs the exercise with a unilateral machine in the video that allows him to squeeze a leg either individually or together.
"I'm a big fan of one-sided work, so I use that a lot," says Rienzi. "I really like doing that because it balances muscle imbalances that you might not notice."
In the footage, Rienzi points out that you can see Johnson holding one leg static while the other pumps out repetitions. Then he switches to the other side to make up for the work before he finishes the sentence by pressing both feet simultaneously. At the last repetition, Johnson holds a static position for 5 seconds to really crush his lower body.
Squats are tough – especially if you weigh in at 365 pounds Johnson – but you should not use your fatigue as an excuse to suck in air. Rienzi says calm needs to be as concentrated as your working hours for the best results.
"We like to keep [rest periods] upright," he says. For the legs he may see a minute to one and a half minutes break between sets. This is another technique that allows me to tire my muscles and not stress or strain my nervous system and adrenal glands. "
This combination of repetitions and rest periods is designed to pump blood to promote hypertrophy cellular process behind muscle growth." There is a method that is behind the madness: "I have found that the legs in this higher Rienzi says, "It really is a matter of blood volume getting as much blood into the legs as possible to widen the fascia and make the muscle grow.
3 rounds of 30 repetitions as drop sets
- 10 steps with 2 chains
- 10 steps with 1 chain
- 10 steps without chain
Johnson closes the Session with weighted strides and uses the chains of squats as resistance This is typical of Rienzii's programming – he gives either a lunge or a Bulgarian split in squats to end the routine with one-sided movement.
Johnson begins the lunges with both chains around his chest, he drops one set of links after 10 steps, and after another 10 steps he drops the other and ends up with no weight – but the number of repetitions makes even unloaded lunges a challenge.
"We're striving for muscular fatigue here," says Rienzi, "I'm not trying to load where he's incredibly heavy and he's doing it 12 steps. We're going the other way. "