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On top of Dwayne Johnson's electrifying charisma, a big part of what has made the wrestler-cum-actor the biggest action star in the world is his impressive physique. The Rock maintains a figure so ripped that it would make even the most chiseled action figures blush. There’s a lot that goes into getting that buff, but Johnson’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Rienzi has shared one of the core philosophies that governs his training approach for his client. He said,
One thing I always preach is intensity. A lot of people either aren't lifting the right weight or with the right intensity. And the rest periods between sets are very important—you're going to get much more of a benefit out of the muscle, no matter what your goals are, if you keep your rest periods shorter.
If you’ve ever listened to Dwayne Johnson talk about his workouts, or seen his massively followed Instagram account, you know that he brings the intensity. That is something emphasized by his trainer, who believes that is one element that is lacking from a lot of people’s workout routines. When Johnson lifts, he isn’t just going through the motions in a perfunctory way, he is putting real effort and intensity into it.
In his conversation with Men’s Health, Dave Rienzi also mentions the importance of rest periods between sets. A rest period is not supposed to be five minutes for you to chat with the other people at the gym, watch a video on your phone, or take pictures for the gram. Your rest period should be just long enough for you to be ready to do another set.
Naturally, this will be slightly different for everyone, but what Dave Rienzi is recommending is that a general rule of thumb is that shorter is better. Another thing he mentions is that people aren’t lifting the right amount of weight and while that may be true, the ‘right amount’ will be different for different people, and many may not know what that amount is without the help of a professional trainer.
My interpretation of Dave Rienzi’s advice is that when you workout, you need to workout; you need to workout hard and fatigue your muscles, of course always doing so in a safe manner with proper technique. This advice makes total sense given what we’ve seen of The Rock’s workouts. Dwayne Johnson is a busy guy; he doesn’t have time to dilly-dally. He is working out hard and for results.
Obviously there is a lot more than this that goes into getting as ripped as Dwayne Johnson. Proper nutrition and professional training play a huge role in how he achieves his physique and those resources aren't available to everyone. Even if you were able to mimic his workouts to a T (which you probably shouldn’t do right away if you’re just starting out), you would still be bound by your own genetics and what your body is capable of.
Still, The Rock and his trainer get results; results that have to be perfect every time he steps in front of the camera. So if you’re going to try to get as ripped as The Rock, following his trainer’s methodologies isn’t a bad idea.