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Build Muscle like the Rock

Build Muscle like the Rock

Duane “The Rock” Johnson is one of those guys who’s great at everything they do, this should make them incredibly annoying to be around. But as is so often the case people like The Rock tend to be humble and funny and they force people to like them through their magnetic personality. It’s hard not to sound bitter while writing this!

The Rock was born in California in 1972 making him 44 at this time of writing, at this age most men are halfway through the decline that starts during their mid-thirties and ends with old age.

But the rock looks in as good shape now (if not better) than he has ever looked.

He started out as an American Football player, before deciding to follow in his father’s (and grandfather’s) footsteps and become a wrestler.

He entered the world of professional wrestling in 1996 and became a headline act by 1998. He stayed with wrestling for the next ten years, before acting in his first Hollywood film.

After that he juggled the two before ultimately switching to full time acting.

Since leaving wrestling (he still drops by for the occasional match) he has if anything gotten bigger, being able to dedicate more time to the weights and less time to choreography.

The Rocks Diet

The Rocks Diet

One thing that appears to stay constant throughout his life is his diet, he says that he eats six or seven times per day and has carbs with every meal.

There’s a lot of lean protein in his meals and a lot of vegetables too. He supplements his diet with a multi vitamin, BCAAs, Glucosamine, Glutamine, and a protein shake.

He tends to get up very early for a run and then has breakfast (eggs, beef, oatmeal) before working out. He has casein protein and egg whites before bed to help improve sleep and recovery.

His main carb sources appear to be potatoes, rice, and oats, he also drinks a lot of fruit juice which also boosts carbs.

The Rocks Training

The Rocks Training

As with diet, Duane tries to train the same way each day.

Getting up at 4am for stretching and warming up before either going for a run or jumping on a cross trainer (depending on where he is). He then eats breakfast and goes to the gym.

His training routine follows a muscle split, so he trains legs one day, arms another, shoulders, chest, and back, all separately.

He often follows the same rep range of 4 sets of 12 reps and limits his rest to 60-90s maximum. This is a decent time for fat burning, but he could potentially lift more if he increased his rest period to 3 minutes.

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But considering almost every film role he does involves him running, jumping, and generally being fit, he probably would prefer the fat loss.

He says that he uses dumbbells, barbells, cables, and resistance machines and likes to mix this up.

When you watch his videos you tend to see a lot of resistance machines and free weight exercises, all performed with a smile and the phrase “focus” yelled into the camera.

If his YouTube videos are anything to go by then his favourite exercise appears to be the cable cross over, which features in more videos than any other exercise (could just be coincidence though).

There are also a lot of rowing movements (bent over row, single arm row, T-bar row, seated cable row) and a lot of shrug variations – which probably explains why he has massive traps!

The Rocks Changing Programs

The Rock Building Muscle

To the untrained eye, the Rock looks the same in all his movies – massive but mobile.

But if you actually pay attention you can see that he does vary his physique for different roles. Maybe not to the same degree as Christian Bale, or Tom Hardy, but there is clearly different physiques in Hercules and in San Andreas.

For San Andreas the Rock was going to be playing a fire fighter, which meant that he couldn’t be too muscle bound, so for that role he increased the amount of core exercises that he did (sit ups, crunches, planks etc) and focused more on bodyweight exercises rather than free weights.

This led to a more lean and mobile physique (though still massive compared to regular people).

But because he constantly has different roles to train for, his program is constantly changing whether he wants it to or not.

This makes his transformations all the more impressive but also keeps things fresh and exciting.

He clearly enjoys training, which is why he’s able to follow a 6 day training program for decades without getting bored or giving up.

If you want to train like the rock you will really need to emulate his philosophy. Because motivation won’t last you long enough for his level of success, you’ve got to want it so much that you don’t need motivation. Then you’ll have a Rock mentality.



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