Dwayne Johnson's leg workout looks brutal – and so do his injuries

The actor lists a number of injuries preventing him from "going heavy" on leg days in his latest Instagram post

Dwayne Johnson looking stern in his home gym wearing an Under Armour tank top
(Image credit: Under Armour / Dwayne Johnson)

Dwayne Johnson's Instagram account is a goldmine if you're interested in fitness. The Rock often talks about his workouts the meals he had and encourages people not to give up their fitness goals which is admirable, to say the least. However, in his latest post, the 6 "4' lean machine reminded us that the road to swole body success might not be as smooth as you'd think.

The main reason why The Rock is so famous is that he promotes a "work hard and you'll there eventually" approach; his actual catchphrase goes along the lines of "Be the hardest worker in the room to win the race." And he lives by this mantra: He's said to sleep only four hours a day and sometimes works out at 1 AM. Hardest worker indeed!

Considering how hard he pushes his body, it's no surprise Dwayne has been injured quite a few times already. In the post mentioned above, he lists a few of the injuries and operations he had in the last five decades that prevents him from pushing as much weight as some of the "big guys" in the gym:

"You'll see the weight I use is never an insanely heavy amount. Tons of guys are WAY stronger than I am, but because of all my injuries (5 knee surgeries, ruptured Achilles, torn quadricep off my pelvis, torn abdomen wall, complete shoulder reconstruction etc.), I've learned it's not how much weight we use, but rather the quality of the reps and mind/muscle connection that matters most."

Ouch!

Here is the post:

Dwayne Johnson leg workout: Not for the faint-hearted

Don't get me wrong, for someone who's nearly 50 years old, The Rock looks absolutely amazing. To maintain a physique like this, he must work out all the time. This photo, in particular, was taken after a leg day workout and even just reading the list of exercises he did makes me exhausted:

"Today's training sesh consisted of a 25-30min warm up - core work, foam roller, stretching and then quad, hams & glute activation - leg extensions, leg curls, glute abductions and single leg glute drives.

Then GIANT SETS begin.
*4-5 sets of 4-5 exercises per set.
Rep range 15-20.
No rest between exercises.

Slow, intense, controlled reps with multi-second negatives - increasing weight every set. Single leg reps to double leg and moving foot positions and stance to hit all angles and muscles effectively.

To close it out, I’ll finish with walking chain⛓ lunges (120lbs) to failure and superset with Romanian deadlifts.
Slow and super controlled on the deadlifts with a 1-second pause at the bottom."

No wonder fitness people find his stuff inspirational.

Smart training will get you further than hard training

I like this post not because The Rock's leg day photo looks on point but because of the way he reminds people that training hard doesn't always equate to quick gains.

He explains, "Over the years, I’ve actually learned to train HARDER. But, in order to train harder, I had to learn how to train SMARTER. That’s a key to fitness success. The hardest workers in the room, win the race. Smartest workers in the room, win the journey."

Leave the ego lifts to fitness influencers and train smart to see gains and avoid injuries. Sure, Dwayne Johnson's workout might sound brutal – it is brutal – but you have to keep in mind that he's been working out for decades, whereas you have been dabbling with weights for a couple of years tops. Put the smart work in for 30 years, and I guarantee you'll look as good as you possibly can.

Fancy giving the Dwayne Johnson full-body workout a try? It's not going to be easy! If that's too much for you, try this push-pull-leg workout routine or this full-body workout.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym reviews.