The Rock’s Baywatch Workout

David Hasselhoff has had a major upgrade. Filling the Hoff’s trunks in the upcoming Baywatch movie is none other than the Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson. Despite already having a Herculean physique, the Rock trained as hard for his role as life-guard Mitch Buchannon as he has for any of his previous roles.

The Rock

Dwayne is a perfectionist. He knows that what appears on celluloid is permanent. It will create a lasting legacy. In order to make that legacy as great as possible, he is willing to go through any sacrifice. When working out a training program for an upcoming movie, the Rock will minutely analyze the script, looking at every shot and how his physique needs to represent itself.

For his Baywatch role, Johnson wanted to develop both mass and definition. Most of the movie sees him wearing nothing but a pair of skimpy shorts, so he knew he had some work ahead of him to get shredded for the part.

Rock Solid Training


Dwayne Johnson is man of discipline. Despite his hectic schedule, which can include 16-hour shooting days, he prioritizes his workouts. That’s why you’ll find him pounding the pavement at 4am every morning. From his 13,700-foot mansion he’ll run for 45 minutes, burning calories and priming his cardiovascular system for the day ahead.

The Rock’s early run is no light jog. After warming for a few minutes, he’ll introduce interval sprints, where he blasts ahead at full speed for 30 seconds, then reverts to a slow jog for another thirty, before repeating. By the time he returns home, he is absolutely drenched.

Most stars wouldn’t dream of putting in the early morning effort which is a habitual part of the Rock’s routine. In an interview with, he explained his motivation . . .

“I love putting in that hard work as early as possible to get my day started off on the right foot, mentally and physically,” he says. “Depending on the role I’m training for or playing at the time, I usually smash out about 30-50 minutes on the elliptical cross trainer first thing in the morning, whether I’m at home or at a hotel, after drinking a cup of coffee. But when I’m at home, I like to hit the road as well. And after cardio, I eat breakfast.”

Morning cardio is just the first step in the Rock’s training mix. After breakfast, it’s time to step into the weight room, the Rock’s second home. Slapping on his headphones, he will completely lose himself in his training for an hour. His mind-muscle connection allows him to visualize the working muscle getting bigger and leaner with every rep.

For his Baywatch role, Dwayne wanted to retain his size, while bringing out more muscular definition. He knew that 70% of that goal would be realized in the kitchen. Getting the 30% right in the gym was going to be crucial.

Deciding on a program built around giant sets allowed the Rock to put maximum stress on the target muscle, working it from all angles with medium to high reps. This would maximally engage both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers, while also burning maximum calories in order to get shredded.

Dwayne trained on a 3-day split, which was repeated in the week to provide two workouts for each body-part. The second workout would involve lighter weight and higher reps to bring out the definition in the working muscle group.

The training split was as follows:

Monday / Thursday = Chest, triceps

Tuesday / Friday = Back, biceps

Wednesday / Saturday = Legs


Let’s take a look at the specifics of the Rock’s Baywatch workouts by analyzing his Chest and Triceps routine:

Chest / Triceps


4 Giant Sets

Dumbbell Bench Press  4 x 8-12

Dips  4 x failure

Incline Cable Flyes  4 x 15

Push Ups 4 x failure

 Notes: Dwayne prefers dumbbells over the barbell bench press because it allows him to get a greater stretch in the bottom position and it works each pec individually. For dips, he would go to failure on every set, usually hitting between 8 and 15 reps. Push ups would also be done to failure. The 4 exercises are done with no rest between them. After a two minute rest, he’d do it all again.


Close Grip Bench Press 4 x 12-15

Dips 4 x failure

Cable Pushdowns 4 x 12-15

 Notes: Even though Dwayne is performing dips for both chest and triceps, he performs them differently to target the working muscles. On triceps dips, he leans into the movement, arching his body to put emphasis on the triceps. When he is emphasizing the chest, he keeps his body in a more upright position. Again these exercises are done with no rest between reps, for a total of 3 giant sets.

The Diet

the rock - big cheesy smile 

It’s no surprise that the discipline and precision that Dwayne shows in the gym is transferred to his eating habits. After decades of eating for performance, the Rock knows exactly how his body reacts and just what he needs to do to achieve a certain look. . .

“Diet-wise, I generally eat five meals a day. I’m very prepared and organized, and everything is planned out in advance. It’s all measured depending on what I’m training to achieve. Usually I start off my day with some dead cow and oatmeal for breakfast. The other staples in my diet include chicken, steak fillets, egg whites, oatmeal, broccoli, halibut, rice, asparagus, baked potato, leafy salads, peppers, mushrooms, and onions, and then also some casein protein.”

 What Dwayne was trying to achieve for his Baywatch role was the shredded, lean look which is so popular on the beaches today. To achieve it he decided to follow a low carb plan designed to push him into the state of ketosis. This would force his body to use stored body fat as the primary fuel source to get him through his day.

In order to ensure that his body didn’t turn to muscle tissue as an energy source, the Rock upped his protein intake while reducing his carbs. Saturday and Sunday were carb loading days. For Dwayne, though, there were no cheat meals. He as absolutely zeroed in on his role as Mitch Buchannon and nothing, not even his cream donut cravings, were going to interfere with that.

Here is what a typical day of eating on the Baywatch diet looked like for the Rock:


2 Pounds steak, 3-egg omelet, herbal tea

Pre-Workout – Whey Protein shake

Post-Workout – Whey Protein with BCAAs and Creatine


Large piece salmon, baked potato, fresh garden salad, coconut oil dressing

Mid Afternoon Snack

Casein Protein Shake


Half a chicken, mushrooms, asparagus, leafy green salad, kumara

The Result


Dwayne Johnson’s transformation from Hercules to Mitch Buchannon is a testament to the abilities of a man at the top of his game to exert total power and control over his body. Having spent decades building the mass, he is now able to sculpt and refine that mass to suit any purpose. We look forward with eager anticipation to seeing how he has crafted his body to present the new and improved Mitch Buchannon to the world in 2017’s Baywatch.