Exercise Scientist Critiques Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Leg Training

Pro wrestler-turned-actor-turned-tequila-entrepeneur Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has one of the most imposing physiques in Hollywood. He frequently posts glimpses of his grueling workouts on social media, inspiring people to embrace the fitness lifestyle, too.

In a video published on May 3, 2024, exercise scientist Dr. Mike Israetel critiqued Johnson’s exercise selection, form, and overall approach to leg training, offering a detailed analysis and suggesting potential improvements.

Dwayne Johnson’s Leg Workout

Here is a summary of the training session:

Alternating Leg Press

Vertical Leg Press


Belt Squats

Check out the video below, courtesy of Renaissance Periodization’s YouTube channel:

[Related: Is Working Out a Form of Therapy?]

Alternating Leg Press & Vertical Leg Press

Johnson opens with alternating leg presses on an iso-lateral leg press machine. Israetel believes it might be better to press with both legs simultaneously to support a better mind-muscle connection.

Johnson positions his feet high on the platform with his toes hanging off. Israetel suggests that by placing the feet lower on the platform, Johnson could achieve more knee flexion, resulting in greater quad stimulation. 

With minimum rest time between sets, Johnson transitions to the vertical leg press machine. Israetel notes short rest periods can make the workouts more time efficient but can limit hypertrophy potential by reducing strength output per set. Additionally, Israetel does not like the vertical leg press, citing its tendency to round the back and minimize knee flexion.


Johnson uses a limited range of motion (ROM) when performing dumbbell lunges, reversing the movement before the front thigh is parallel and the rear knee touches the floor. Israetel expresses that full ROM is key for maximum results.

Try to touch your knee to the ground every time gently; you will achieve categorically better results.

[Related: The Anatomy of Your Leg Muscles, Explained (and How To Train Them)]

Belt Squats

Johnson concluded the workout with belt squats to bias the glutes and quads. He used a wider-than-shoulder-width stance and leaned over slightly during eccentrics. 

Israetel opined that Johnson could optimize his belt squat results by narrowing his stance, turning his toes out slightly, maintaining an upright torso for a deeper descent, and pausing briefly when his glutes touch his calves.

Israetel acknowledges that Johnson’s exercise choices and form may be influenced by past injuries. This analysis highlights the importance of a personalized training program and proper form to maximize gains, reduce injury risk, and promote longevity.

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Featured image: @therock on Instagram

The post Exercise Scientist Critiques Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Leg Training appeared first on BarBend.


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