For most of us, the thought of getting up at 4am is an excruciating one, reserved only for when a flight to better climes demands it. For Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, however, it’s an everyday reality. One YouTuber has taken on his gruelling morning routine to see if it’s really worth the hassle…
Dwayne Johnson is one of the world’s highest-paid movie stars, the proud owner of an enviable watch collection, and the even prouder owner of one of the meanest sets of shoulders in the industry. But how exactly did he get here? In large part, he puts his down to his brutal morning routine…
Now Will Tennyson, one of YouTube’s most-loved and most successful fitness creators, has taken The Rock’s routine for a spin so that you don’t have to, weighing up the pros and cons before deciding if it’s really worth all the extra effort just to build some powerful morning habits.
WATCH: The man himself shares his workout philosophy.
The day starts at 4am, when the rock springs out of bed and heads straight into the kitchen to pour out a much-needed cup of coffee that, we can only imagine, must be large enough to compensate for the lack of sleep and caffeinate his towering 6’5 frame.
As Tennyson sits sipping his coffee, he begins to wax lyrical on the conflicting feelings that such an early start inspires…
“Getting up at this time really makes you feel like you’ve got your life figured out… To be clear, I don’t, but it feels that way.”Will Tennyson
Right after that, the hard work starts: at 4:30am, The Rock does between 30 and 50 minutes of cardio, either by jogging outdoors or on an elliptical machine, weather dependent. Tennyson goes for a run in the pitch-black Canadian morning and claims that he was “waiting for the runners high the entire time… but it didn’t dhow up”. That, I definitely believe.
Directly after the run comes a short meditation, the biggest challenge of which – besides trying to clear the many whirring thoughts from one’s head – must be trying not to fall back asleep, given that most people are still a good hour or so from stirring at this point…
Then comes the highlight of any morning, no matter the hour: breakfast. Clearly not a fan of much-hyped intermittent fasting, The Rock eats well: three whole eggs, at least three egg whites, some fruit, some oatmeal (or toast, if oatmeal is unavailable), and — the pièce de résistance — an enormous steak, which he lovingly insists on referring to as “dead cow”.
Next up is the day’s workout. While many regular blokes might struggle with the most important aspect of working out — consistency, day in, day out — Johnson has spent his millions wisely and massively reduced this risk by buying a 45,000lb mobile gym called “The Iron Paradise”. With a permanent team of staff, the gym comes with him everywhere via three 18-wheeler trucks.
The Rock’s workouts are based around exercises in 4-set, 12-rep formations, placing a greater emphasis on volume. In his video, Tennyson takes on one of Johnson’s favoured back workouts which – other than making deadlifts the fifth exercise of the workout in a needlessly cruel move – is surprisingly standard-issue for someone with such an enviable physique.
The one aspect of his workout that Tennyson doesn’t feature, however, is the Rock’s secret bicep-burning superset. More on that below…
Now that the day’s exercise is done, it’s time for a post-workout shake to really encourage those gains. The ingredients are as follows: 1 apple, a handful of ice, 5-10g of creatine, 50g of whey protein, electrolyte powder, a large scoop of carbohydrate powder — why you’d ever chose to consume carbs in this form is absolutely beyond me — and a large blender for mixing it all together.
What are you left with? A bright white shake that…
“Smells suspicious and looks even more suspicious…”Will Tennyson
Apparently having an “intense” flavour that stays with you long after the shake is gone, The Rock allows his tastebuds to return to normalcy while catching up on any breaking news that’s popped up overnight. Once he’s barraged himself with all the delights that the modern news cycle has to offer, he heads to the bathroom for a thoroughly grounding cold shower… one of three he takes throughout the day.
And that’s it; the morning routine is over. Johnson then heads out to make his millions, feeling good and looking even better. But is this brutal start to the day actually beneficial? Tennyson definitely thinks so, claiming to have done his usual day’s workload —and even started the following day’s — all before 1pm.
“The productivity I experienced… was overwhelming”.Will Tennyson.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to have a crack at The Rock’s punishing morning routine, then consider adding this bicep-burning superset to the end of your workout, which recently featured on The Rock’s Instagram.
Comprised of Zottman curls that transition straight into hammer curls, be sure to pick lighter weights than you normally would when training biceps, given the extra tension these moves place on your wrists and forearms.
Start with a classic bicep curl, pumping those guns as you lift the dumbbell. Just as you reach the peak of the movement, gracefully twist your wrists to rotate the weights forward. Lower them down slowly, aiming for a two-count to really feel that eccentric contraction deep in your muscles.
For the hammer curls, engage your entire body, not just those impressive arms. Get a tight grip on the dumbbells, channelling all your focus into each rep. When you reach the top of each repetition, be sure to give those biceps a good squeeze.
All in all, it sounds absolutely brutalising. But if that’s what it takes to get to the top of your game… then you should definitely get after it. Wake me up when you’re all caught up on the headlines.