Dwayne Johnson has consistently lived up to his “Rock” moniker by appearing to be chiseled out of stone. And part of the success that he’s had with his phenomenal physique is owed to an inquisitive approach to bodybuilding. Johnson is always searching for new ways to put his home Iron Paradise gym to great use, and in a recent video posted to Instagram, the “People’s Champion” demonstrates how he adds a simple twist to a dumbbell row variation in order to make it “super effective.”

DJ is currently shooting the The Smashing Machine, a movie based on the life and exploits of mixed-martial arts legend, Mark Kerr, and has been training hard to replicate Kerr’s solid physique. To that end, The Rock has been working long hours in the weight room, and one exercise that he says is one of his favorites is a dumbbell variation, as follows:

The Rock demonstrates chest supported dumbbell row with 2 second hold

In this double-arm dumbbell row variation, The Rock leans forward onto an incline bench. The bench will provide support and place the body at an angle to reduce the load on his hamstrings and glutes, instead allowing the upper body to do the work. This exercise will hit the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids, making it awesome for back strength and posture.

“2 sec peak hold, with deep stretch at the bottom,” explains Johnson. For each rep, the former WWE champion can be seen holding his position with the dumbbells for 2 seconds at the top of each row. Studies have shown that prolonged time under tension can bring about greater protein synthesis during the muscle’s recovery process. A 2012 study said: “…greater muscle time under tension increased the acute amplitude of mitochondrial and sarcoplasmic protein synthesis and also resulted in a robust, but delayed stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis 24–30 h after resistance exercise.

“These are a b*tch and kicks my ass but super effective and one of my fav DB rowing exercises,” commented The Rock, who also utilized a deep stretch at the bottom of each rep. By stretching, you’ll activate your muscles and help them to grow. Try the Rock dumbbell row variation for yourself. The Smashing Machine is expected to hit screens in 2025, but in the meantime, The Rock continues to smash his workouts.

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