When Dwayne Johnson Was Cast in DC’s Leading Role Black Adam, he saw it as an opportunity to get into the most advanced shape of his career, using more muscle than ever before to embody the physicality of a larger-than-life superhero. He has described the process as one of the hardest things he’s ever done — and now his strength and conditioning coach Dave Rienzi offers some insight into the challenging training program that helped Johnson achieve those epic successes, starting with his “3D superhero arms.” “. .”
“The goal for the build-up phase was to just build muscle mass,” explains Rienzi in a new Instagram video. “We weren’t bulking, we weren’t packing tons of pounds. So that meant taking the intensity to another level, and these were some of the toughest workouts DJ has ever done.”
Rienzi starts the session by targeting the triceps with rope pushdowns. “You’ll really want to squeeze the bottom of the rep, resting 30 seconds between sets,” he says. This is followed by dumbbell skull crushers, where he advises extending the arms further back to keep that tension on the triceps. He divides the sets of 12 here into 4 reps with 3-second negatives, 4 with alternating static grips, and 4 normal reps.
Then it’s double cable pushdowns, where Rienzi alternates between an underhand and overhand grip, and dumbbell kickbacks with 2-second grips.
After 90 seconds of rest, Rienzi moves to the biceps and begins barbell curls. “Focus on pausing at the beginning of each rep,” he says. “If you start out of the gate, you get a crazy pump.” Next up are dumbbell concentration curls, where he performs 4 reps with 3-second negatives, 4 3-second reps, and 4 traditional poses.
Rienzi finishes the workout with a tri-set of incline dumbbell curls, incline hammer curls, EZ bar spider curls: he calls this his favorite part of the session, finishing strong hitting both the biceps and triceps.
Here’s the full Black Adam arm workout:
- Rope Pushdowns (4 x 20)
- Dumbbell skull crushers (4 x 12)
- Double cable pushdowns (4 x 10)
- Dumbbell Curls (4 x 20)
- Dumbbell Concentration Curls (4 x 12)
- Tri-set: incline dumbbell curls, incline hammer curls, EZ bar spider curls (4 x 8 of each)
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom who covers pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.