You only need a pair of adjustable dumbbells to do Dwayne Johnson’s shoulder workout at home

He says it's great for progress, gains and stamina.

Dwayne Johnson
(Image credit: Getty)

If there’s a person who’s the definition of ‘boulder shoulders’, it’s Dwyane Johnson.  But if you think he does a load of complicated exercises to get his physique, think again. The 51-year-old regularly shares snippets of his workouts, which consist of simple exercises using a mixture of bodyweight movements, dumbbells and barbells. Now, he’s shared a shoulder workout you can do straight from home and all you need is a pair of adjustable dumbbells.

Our shoulders can often get pushed to the back of the priority list within the midst of trying to get a wider chest and bigger arms, but if The Rock is making time for them, then so should we. Also, as well as muscular shoulders being aesthetically pleasing, training them also helps with our overall body stability.

Dwayne says this workout is a “phenomenal shocker to your muscles and system for progress, gains and stamina”. The exercise he’s performing is a lateral raise, which targets the medial deltoid (the top bit of your shoulder that gives it that nice ‘rounded’ appearance), but there's a twist.

Instead of just doing a set of normal reps, he does what’s called ‘running the rack’ (also one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favourite lifting techniques). It’s where you start with your set of dumbbells and do as many reps of your exercise as possible, then you move onto the next dumbbells that are five kilograms lighter. You then repeat the same process, doing as many reps as possible on that weight then, again, move to next lightest dumbbells. You repeat this process until you get to the last dumbbells left on the rack. 

It is a killer, but promises a great pump. To do it at home you'll need to get your hands on a pair of adjustable dumbbells so that you can reduce the weight accordingly. Here's what Dwayne does: 

  • 10 reps with 50lbs
  • 8 reps with 45lbs
  • 8 reps with 40lbs
  • 8 reps with 35lbs
  • 8 reps with 30lbs
  • Proceed to go all the way down until you reach the last dumbbell

Start with a heavy weight that you can at least achieve eight reps on, then drop down by five kilograms for each set. Don’t worry if your reps are higher or lower than Dwayne’s as has been weight training for years. Also, it doesn't matter whether you use light or heavy weights, as the shock this gives your muscles will guarantee a great pump either way. If you also want to compliment your shoulders with big arms, then we've shared The Rock's favourite bicep exercise too.

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.