Why Dwayne Johnson Had To Work Out Differently To Play Hercules

Dwayne Johnson is easily one of the most famous and successful people in the world. He's charted a long, winding course throughout his career: bodybuilder, football player, professional wrestler, actor — you name it, he's done it. For nearly all that time, "The Rock" has been an exceptionally large and muscular man, standing at almost six-and-a-half-feet tall and weighing in at over 250 pounds. His size and strength are essential to his image; just check any of his social media profiles and you'll likely see him at the gym.

Johnson's physique and physicality often come to bear in the roles he plays, but it's not something he simply takes for granted. It's a well-documented fact that actors who are less physically active to begin with usually take on training regimens for action-heavy films — take Daisy Ridley in Star Wars or Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, for instance. "Not so for Johnson," you might think. "Why would he work out for a movie when he's already that big?"

As it turns out, he not only works out for every movie he's in, but changes how he does so depending on what kind of character he's playing (via Health Digest). 2014's Hercules was no exception for Johnson in this respect, resulting in one of his most unique workout routines to date.

Becoming worthy of the gods

As the demigod son of a mortal woman and Zeus, ruler of Olympus and god of thunder, Hercules is one of the strongest mythological figures in the entire Greek pantheon. Between the legendary Twelve Labors — which involve many feats of strength — and his many other adventures, Hercules is about as far from a pushover as it gets. In order to get this image across, Johnson trained every part of his body. His goal: to make Hercules seem as "big and mean" as possible (via bodybuilding.com).

Six months before production commenced, Johnson began approaching his workouts more intensely than ever. He worked out for approximately an hour and a half each day, taking only one day off per week to rest. He would kick things off with cardio, then wrap up by choosing to exercise only specific muscles or body parts. Johnson also changed the way he ate, balancing out carbs and protein and ensuring he got all the right vitamins.

The end result is what you see in Hercules: not just a bulky hulk, but an enormous warrior of old with the physique to back up the title. One look at his intimidating form is enough to tell anyone that he's unmatched on the battlefield. Even Johnson's biggest fans have to admit that it's not really Johnson anymore: He embodies the myth, becoming the definitive on-screen version of the powerful demigod.

Much like Hercules, Johnson has established quite a legend for himself. Part of it has to do with his charisma on and off screen, but his dedication and unabashed commitment to everything he does certainly helps. The admiration of his fans is well deserved.