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Dwayne Johnson may be forever known as “The Rock”, but he works hard to earn the nickname every day. This weekend, the “Black Adam” star hit up his private gym (known as the “Iron Paradise”) for a Saturday training session, and the workout is enough to turn anyone’s arms to Jell-O.
He shared the routine, which he dubbed a “chest back super pump,” on Instagram with a video of him performing two different exercises: a dumbbell bench press and a seated horizontal row using a cable machine. Together, these exercises target opposite muscle groups — called an antagonist superset — which is a super-effective way to strength train. The bench press works “push” muscles, namely your chest, while the rows work to “pull” muscles, namely your back.
Johnson didn’t share the rest of the moves in his workout (he did a total of eight exercises, all organized into supersets), but he did provide a general outline in the caption. He wrote that he does each exercise for four sets of 20 reps per set, and — in case that isn’t enough — he also does a five-second hold on the final rep. While Johnson wrote “I keep the weight moderate, not heavy” in the caption, the 75-pound dumbbells he was bench pressing beg to differ.
Though Johnson didn’t share all eight moves, I’ve got you covered. As a certified personal trainer (and someone who’s tried Johnson’s workouts before), I’ve compiled a full chest and back strength workout using his outline while keeping his usual bodybuilding training style in mind. This is an intermediate-to-advanced workout, and I’ve got to warn you: there’s a good chance it’ll leave you sore as heck.
If you’re down to see what it takes to work out like The Rock, cue up Johnson’s Iron Paradise workout playlist and give it a shot — just don’t blame me if you can’t move your arms tomorrow.
Chest and Back “Super Pump” Workout, Inspired by The Rock
Equipment needed: light- to medium-weight dumbbells, and a cable machine with a seated row setup (though there are ways to DIY with resistance bands)
Directions: Warm up your upper body first. Start with Superset 1. Do the first move for 20 reps. Rest for one minute, then do the second move for 20 reps, and rest for one minute. Repeat four times total, then move on to the next superset. When you’re done with all the supersets, do a cooldown stretch. (To make this workout a bit more beginner-friendly, do 10-12 reps for two sets.)
Superset 1: Dumbbell Bench Press + Seated Horizontal Row (with a cable machine or resistance band)
Superset 2: Dumbbell Chest Fly + Bent-Over Reverse Fly
Superset 3: Push-Up + Bent-Over Row
Superset 4: Dumbbell Pullover + YTW
Image Source: Getty / Sam Hodde