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Why Dwayne Johnson Is Getting Even More Ripped

At the beginning of 2020, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced via a series of vein-popping Instagram posts that he was hitting the gym to turn his already-muscle-bound body into an even greater spectacle of brute strength. Although the Fast and the Furious franchise actor is always in pretty amazing shape, it's clear that he's getting ready for something big. That something is his first starring role in a DC Extended Universe film as the titular anti-hero in 2021's Black Adam.

Johnson has been lined up to play Black Adam since as early as 2014, when the character was set to appear as an antagonist in Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi as the eponymous hero. But, according to Polygon, when that film encountered production delays, the project no longer fit in Johnson's schedule. In 2019, the actor announced that he would be starring in his own Black Adam movie, set to film this summer in time for a December 22, 2021 release. On March 13, 2020, Johnson even reassured fans in an Instagram post that Black Adam is still planning to begin shooting in the summer despite the coronavirus pandemic that has caused other film and TV productions to suffer delays. It looks like not even COVID-19 is going to stand between Johnson and his DC Universe debut, as the actor is serious about getting even more ripped to be ready for filming on Black Adam.

Who is Black Adam?

Black Adam first appeared in comic form all the way back in 1945. In his initial origin story, he was presented as an Egyptian pharaoh named Teth-Adam who became the first mortal to be imbued with the power of the wizard Shazam. After becoming corrupted by a demonic force, he used his powers for destruction and was subsequently exiled from earth to outer space. 

Of course, as with many other DC Comics characters, Black Adam has seen some changes to his backstory over the years. Later comics introduced a modern character named Theo Adam, who harnesses the destructive power of Teth-Adam and discovers that he is, in fact, a direct descendant of the malicious pharaoh. In some story lines, the character's origins have even changed from ancient Egypt to a fictional country called Kahndaq, which Black Adam will go to any lengths to protect. 

Throughout his many iterations, Black Adam's characterization shifted from outright super-villain to complicated antihero who at one point even joins the Justice Society of America. This trend toward a more complex character is set to continue in the upcoming Black Adam film. Producer Hiram Garcia told ComicBook.com that the film version of Black Adam will be someone "who's going through a journey." He added, "He's not just justice for all. And he's not just a villain. This is a guy who's complex, who's had many things happen to him and that all shows in his actions."

Casting Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

Similar to his frequent foil, Shazam (a.k.a. the original Captain Marvel), Black Adam possesses an incredible set of attributes. His powers include extreme durability, super strength, the ability to fly, and even the power to cast lightning magic. This is due to the fact that Black Adam was chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam to be his mortal champion, bestowing him with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. When Black Adam decides to use his powers for evil instead of good, Shazam banishes him to a far-off world, though he knows he cannot revoke the abilities he gave to Black Adam.

Given that this character is such an imposing force who possesses the abilities of the pantheon of Greek Gods, it's no wonder Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the character for so long. Johnson's nearly all muscle and is a powerful presence on screen. He demands and commands attention. Although Black Adam will be his superhero film debut, Johnson has utilized his astonishing physique to embody inhumanly strong characters in films like Hercules and The Scorpion King. And that's not even to mention his long career as a pro-wrestler. Now that we're getting a glimpse into his pre-filming training routine, it looks like he's set to deliver another bravura physical showcase.

Bringing Black Adam's muscles to life

Johnson is no stranger to sharing the intense training he undergoes for his roles. The actor has previously copped to working out six days a week (including pre-dawn cardio), maintaining a strict diet, and doing enough barbell reps to make the average person feel lightheaded. When he took to Instagram in March 2020 to share his preparation for Black Adam, it was clear that he was up to his old habits.

The pics mostly highlighted the actor's two most well-known assets: his Thanksgiving-turkey-sized arms. According to Men's Health fitness editor Brett Williams, when it comes to maximizing his bicep bulge, Johnson works smart in addition to hard. Instead of loading up his barbells to the max, he keeps his weight relatively low and instead focuses on flawless technique and precision movements to hit each muscle group. This prevents muscle strain while still allowing him to pop his biceps and triceps to the mind-boggling degree his stans love him for.

Ebenezer Samuel, the fitness director at Men's Health, further explained Johnson's muscle-building training methods: "The dude never curls more than a 30-pound dumbbell... But his upper arms are never not perpendicular to the ground. And he's curling up only as far as he can get while keeping them perpendicular, so total focus on the biceps here."

DC fans who will be looking for the film version of Black Adam to live up to his supernaturally strong origins have little need to worry. The character is in steady hands — and ripped arms.