In honor of Dwayne Johnson’s involvement in the 2016 Mr. Olympia Weekend, we’re putting The Rock center stage as we evaluate his legendary and ever-evolving physique.
NOT SINCE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER has an actor owned the action or consistently wielded as much muscle from film to film as Dwayne "The Rock” son. Yet, before Johnson possessed the size to play D-1 football at the university of Miami, the strength and stamina to dominate WWE’s squared circle, or the acting chops to carry a feature film, he was a devout bodybuilder who spent his youth loading plates, hoisting iron, and pushing his body past its limits.
With few emotions, his filmography is absent the dramatic additions of weight or crash diets that some movie stars have undergone, but his lifelong obsession with bodybuilding provided the 44-year-old with the knowledge and ability to produce exactly the look that each role calls for. (This obsession continues, which is why Johnson will appear at this year’s Mr. Olympia Weekend—go to mrolympia.com for more info event.) Here, M&F takes a look back at some of The Rock’s greatest and the unique body he brought to each one.
THE SCORPION KING (2002)
In his first major leading role, Dwayne Johnson rolled straight out of the ring and onto the set boasting the same trademark conditioning that he was known for in WWE: incredibly athletic and filled with purposeful muscle. In an interview with M&F, Johnson admits that his physique lacked the more refined look from more recent films.
“When I made Scorpion King, the body type was different, my conditioning was different, the muscle maturity was different. That was me at 29, compared with today.”
Luckily for Johnson, fans didn’t look as critically at his build as he did. The Scorpion King took in $36 million on opening weekend and grossed $165 million worldwide, signaling the birth of a box office star.
The Rundown (2003)
Fresh off of the success of The Scorpion King, Johnson took on the role of Beck in The Rundown, an action/comedy flick that co-starred Seann William Scott (Stifler from American Pie). Though his wardrobe wasn’t that flattering, it was clear from the film’s first action scene—a nightclub brawl— that Johnson’s physical ability was going to be the true star of the film. He had visibly tightened up and trimmed down from The Scorpion King in order to prepare for the WWE-caliber punishment that the role called for. To do so, Johnson performed four to five 30- to 45-minute workouts each week, all at 5 a.m., revolving around high-rep circuit training, supersets, and plyometrics. The Rundown featured some of the best fight scenes in Johnson’s body of work, warranting his physical dominance.
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