The leg exercise Dwayne Johnson and Jason Momoa do for knee strength

Can you guess what it is?

Dwayne Johnson Jason Momoa
(Image credit: Getty)

Knee pain is something Dwayne Johnson is all too familiar with after he tore the top of his quad off of his pelvis, back during his WWE days, resulting in not one, but four knee surgeries. But, recently, the 51-year-old shared with his Instagram followers the bodyweight exercise he’s re-added back into his leg day routine to help strengthen his knees again, and it’s one Jason Momoa approves of too.

The exercise Dwayne’s started doing is the (dreaded) Bulgarian split squat. It’s renowned for being one of the best leg workout exercises — it targets your quads, hamstrings, calves — as well as your core and glutes (depending on your foot positioning). But, it’s also a good alternative exercise to do if you suffer from knee pain, as opposed to doing your regular squats. This is because the exercise puts less pressure on your knee joints, but still develops the muscle around this area. 

It’s not just Dwayne who loves this exercise too, as Jason Momoa was quick to comment on the video to give his seal of approval: “my favourite good for the knees uso” he said. Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot, however, was not too impressed expressing that she hates them (we’re not surprised though, they genuinely are one of those exercises that are so good for you, but you dread doing).

If these aren’t already part of your leg day session, then now’s the time to add them in. You’ll just need a chair or if you’re at a gym then use a weight bench.

How to do a Bulgarian split squat

  • Stand a couple of feet in front of a chair or weight bench that’s knee height, with your back facing it.
  • Place your right foot behind you on the chair or weight bench — this is to help you stay balanced.
  • Engage your core and lower your left leg to the floor, like you were lunging. If you can’t hover your right knee above the floor, just go to wherever is comfortable.
  • Hold here for a second, then drive through your left foot to stand back up to starting position.

Don't worry if you can't do loads of reps, even Dwayne says he's still trying to find his groove and balance with them. Start by aiming for eight reps on each side, then once you feel confident, progress to 10. If you want to spice things up and challenge yourself, hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand whilst you do it. Don't have a pair? We've got you covered with our best dumbbell guide.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.