Form Beats Weight

The guy squatting enough weight to bend a barbell tends to catch the eye. But look again and you’ll see that his knees are barely bending. Which is why you should turn your attention instead to the chap lifting half the weight in twice the time, and sinking down until his glutes meet his heels.

Because as The Rock proves, slowing down your lifts and hitting a bigger range of motion – whether that’s with pull-ups, squats or lateral raises – means better results. Going slow and steady recruits more muscle fibres and ups their time under tension, whereas the guy pumping out pull-ups that don’t end in a dead hang is only training the upper stage of the movement.

Unstrap the weight belt and see how just putting the brakes on leaves you sweating. And straining your sleeves.

Compound Moves Beat Isolation

Step into any gym and you’ll see a queue for the cable machine as guys grunt out triceps pushdowns with a handful of weight plates. But the dip station is gathering dust. Why? Because isolation exercises give you a pump in your mirror muscles, and compound moves just plain hurt. But learn a lesson from the Rock; that pain means all-over gains.

To spike muscle growth, you need to flood your body with growth hormone. The more weight you shift, and the more joints you move, the bigger the the surge of HGH and testosterone, according to Swedish research.

But that’s not just good news for your gains; these hormones also speed up fat oxidation. Which translates as more muscle, and less jiggle. It’s time to swap cables for chains.

(Occasional) Cheat Days Are A Must

Diets are hard. But no matter how much you sweat in the gym, if you’re not disciplined in the kitchen, it’s wasted effort. You can’t build a temple from shoddy bricks.

Trying to #eatclean for weeks on end, though, isn’t only near impossible, it also undermines your performance under the weights. Yes, a daily calorie deficit burns fat, but eventually your body thinks you’re starving and takes steps to conserve energy. Which means you hit a plateau in your progress and can’t up your intensity, because you don’t have enough fuel to power you through those supersets.

So, take a lesson from the Rock and – occasionally – eat everything you can find. After a period of strict dieting (even if it’s pre-beach break, not four months filming) reward yourself with a guilt-free feast that will help reset your metabolism and stuff your muscles with energy, so there’s something in the tank the next time you hit the gym.

Train For Function, Not Just Form

Your curls might impress in the gym. But when was the last time you used that movement in the real world? Most actors get ripped just for shirts-off scenes. They look good, but would be flattened going up against an actual athlete. However, The Rock’s training stems from his days in the wrestling ring, where strength means nothing if you can’t deploy it to lift your opponent off his feet.

So while moving metal is good, make sure it applies in the real world. The deadlift? We’ve all needed to lift something heavy off the floor. Pull-ups? Handy in case you ever come across a wall you need to get over. The sled push? That’s your car’s flat battery sorted. But curls? They’re only handy for lifting doughnuts to your lips, bro.

Know How To Rock A Suit

When you’re like The Rock and can bench press more than most men deadlift, off-the-rack tailoring won’t cut it. A suit that can accommodate 21″ biceps will expect an equally huge waist. But if you’re fit, not fat, it’s going to hang off your body as though someone’s draped a sail round your shoulders.

Big guys need suits cut slim in the body and across the chest to accentuate that desirable V-shape. Otherwise no one can appreciate the end product of all those early mornings spent shifting tin.

The Rock’s fit here is bang on – the suit lies flat against his shoulders despite deltoids that could take flight – and there’s enough room in the legs that his thighs aren’t testing the seams. But the legs are tapered to the ankle, which avoids clown-like trousers that flutter in the breeze.

He’s also wisely chosen to eschew a tie or pocket square, opting instead for a lighter, V-necked tee that accentuates his physique’s shape. Not just its size.

Coolness is timeless… #SDjr

A photo posted by therock (@therock) on