Pain & Gain: Dwayne Johnson And Mark Wahlberg Workout

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg are big and badass in the bodybuilding comedy Pain & Gain. Learn how they train and eat for gains.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines

Workout Description

Pain and Gain moviePain & Gain is the soon to be hit bodybuilding-centric movie starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg.

Directed by Michael Bay, Pain & Gain is an action comedy about two bumbling, drug-abusing bodybuilders who end up in an extortion ring.

Both Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg worked extremely hard to get (and stay) in top shape for the film. The Rock went through 150 days of clean dieting without a single cheat meal.

The reward for this supreme dedication? An epic 3 round cheat meal that looked like this:

  • Round One: 12 pancakes
  • Round Two: 4 double dough pepperoni pizzas
  • Round Three: 21 brownies with a huge mug of milk

So the obvious question did Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg prepare for the film? Let's take a look.

All Kinds of Gains!​

Before we dive into what the Rock is cooking, let's take a look at Mark Wahlberg's movie prep. For Pain & Gain Mark ate what Hollywood reporters were calling a "crazy 10 meal per day diet." He told E! News:

I was eating 10 meals a day and drinking mass gainers...It was a lot of work. A lot of getting up at 2 in the morning to eat another meal and I was still full from the meal at 10 o'clock.

This was the training split that Mark Wahlberg used:

Rumor has it that his workouts were brief but intense 30-40 minute sessions, relying heavily on the use of supersets. Where's the ab work, you ask? Mark only performed light ab work, as he is generally not a huge fan of direct abs training.

Mark Wahlberg also focused heavily on progression, or getting stronger. He is currently bench pressing around 335 pounds.

Mark ​Wahlberg Workout

Here are the nuts and bolts of his workout routine:

Day 1
Legs, Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 8-12
Leg Curl 4 8-12
Squat 4 8-12
Bent Over Row 4 8-12
Pull Up 4 8-12
Barbell Curl 4 8-12
Day 2
Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-12
Skullcrushers 4 8-12
Cable Tricep Extension 4 8-12
Seated Arnold Press 4 8-12
Cable Crossovers 4 8-12
Push Up 3 Failure

For day 3, repeat the day one workout without training your back.

Pain & Gain

The Rock Says, Know Your Role!

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson uses a more conventional bodybuilding-style split:

  • Monday - Shoulders
  • Tuesday - Back
  • Wednesday - Off
  • Thursday - Legs
  • Friday - Arms
  • Saturday - Chest
  • Sunday - Off

Dwayne Johnson Workout​

Exercise Sets Reps
Machine Press 3 21
Dumbbell Lateral Raise superset w/ Front Dumbbell Raise 3 8
Cable Bent Over Reverse Flye 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Hammer Strength Shrug 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
4-Way Neck Machine 4 12
Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Close Grip Lat Pull Down 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
One Arm Machine Row 4 12
Hyperextension 4 15, 15, 12, 12
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 4 25, 20, 18, 16
Smith Machine Lunge 4 8
Leg Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Standing Calf Raise 6 6
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Curl 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Machine Curl 6 12, 10, 8, 6, 21, 21
Cable Tricep Extension 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 20
Overhead Cable Tricep Extension 4 12, 10, 8, 20
One Arm Reverse Grip Cable Tricep Extension 2 15
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Dumbbell Bench Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Cable Crossover (super set with Push Ups) 4 12
Push Up 4 15

Note: 21 rep sets are "bicep 21's". Perform 7 upper half reps, 7 lower half reps, and 7 full reps.

About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

100 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 12/14/2012 - 15:18
Question:?? with dwayne's program here. I notest that in his back training eg. He goes down in reps. when he does that, do you also have to change the amount of weight ..?
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Posted Wed, 12/19/2012 - 10:07
Yeah that is probably the case, because I do not think you will be fatiqued that much with your 12max rep that you only can push out 4 more reps at your fifth set.
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Posted Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:20
michael callanan
Yes raise the weight so you add extra mass you potentioly could miss out on
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Posted Wed, 01/30/2013 - 10:57
no because each set it 12 rather than dropping reps/set
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Posted Fri, 02/01/2013 - 21:26
Im not 100% sure but when i go down in reps I always go heavier. the heavier the less reps its a good pump
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Posted Tue, 02/05/2013 - 21:29
Yeah man, any time you go down in reps it's good to go up in weight. Just practice it and get to know your strength in order to get the full benefits. Never forget a spotter either!
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Posted Fri, 02/15/2013 - 10:05
Bo Sondre
Yes, when you go down inn reps, you should go up in weight :-)
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Posted Fri, 02/22/2013 - 11:13
Mark and Dwayne used a workout similar to Stronglifts 5x5 and Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. They focused on strength training and then volume training. All the high rep stuff is bullcrap, they didn't do 20 bicep curls to get big. It's all about compound exercise.
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Posted Wed, 03/27/2013 - 10:47
Unless you're reading something different, those workouts posted above are nothing like Stronglift or Starting Strength. Additionally, Stronglift and Rippetoe program are not designed for people who want to "get big", neither are compound exercises. Your whole post is wrong.
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Posted Tue, 07/23/2013 - 20:36
Everything I have ever read the last ten years has said compound exercises are for getting big and are all that's really needed
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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 03:05
Compound movements aren't for getting big??? Are you fucking retarded??? Were you dropped on your head a few hundred times as a baby???
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Posted Sun, 03/02/2014 - 12:54
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Posted Wed, 08/07/2013 - 07:01
Well, firstly you are wrong. as long as you are fatiguing the muscle you are going to build muscle as your tearing the muscle fibres as anyone knows... They are doing compound movements which release testosterone and HGH in the body at the start which carry on throughout the workout. So bicep curls DO help to get big. If you look at the rest of the program they are doing compounds at the start.
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Posted Fri, 08/30/2013 - 09:37
It's not that ur post is wrong. But u can be sure that both of them dont need endogen hormones hahaha its obvious that both of them are juiced to the max. for that movie xD
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Posted Fri, 10/18/2013 - 07:48
Not sure why this comment has more red thumbs than green thumbs. He is 100% correct.
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Posted Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:12
High rep ranges are ideal for body-building. Rippetoe and starting strength is focused on strength gains. If you look at the rep-ranges for any professional body-builder, in general, they focus on high reps. High weight equates to strength, not aestetics.
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Posted Sun, 03/31/2013 - 20:01
yeah it would be a good idea to lower the reps and increase the weight. push it before u finish
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Posted Thu, 04/04/2013 - 03:05
When decreasing number of reps, always increase weight.
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Posted Sat, 05/04/2013 - 23:06
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Posted Sat, 05/25/2013 - 22:55
No.the weight stays.
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Posted Thu, 06/13/2013 - 18:11
I am an ex- Natural Bodybuilder / Trainer, I only do it now for the discipline, energy and personal results. When doing anything in "Body Building", called that because we are sculpting the body, not going for strength necessarily, if you want more definition, You go lighter with more reps, If it is mass you seek, You go heavier with less reps..Take a look at guys like Dorian Yates, Mike Matarazzo, Lee Haney, Ronnie Coleman ..those guys are'nt pumpin out massive reps, which gives their bodies that fullness and thickness, try it out. Go in the gym and pump out 3 sets of 5-8 reps on each body part going heavy in weight, take a look at those results= Mass, strength, density. Then go in and go light to moderate with weights and superset, try a rotating workout for a month, 2 weeks staying within the reps of 6, 8,10,12,15( being three reverse or negative reps..or as some say "pause n' holds"), then try 2 weeks of straight pyramid reps: 15, 12,10, 8, 6. You'll find the latter workout will get you more defined and sharp looking. Once you become someone wanting to workout with weights, you are a slave to your own fitness destiny!. Once you become big like Dwayne Johnson or Mark gets harder to maintain and keep the fat off, just remember that!. "Look Good..Feel Good!". Good luck!
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Posted Sat, 07/06/2013 - 14:57
Oliver, Dwayne is doing pyramid training. You start light and add weight every "set". I did pyramid training before.
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Posted Thu, 08/29/2013 - 01:29
yes you're working towards your one rep max (orm)
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Posted Mon, 12/17/2012 - 23:52
Oliver, if he's going down in reps it's generally because weight is being increased.
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Posted Thu, 12/20/2012 - 03:54
You can get very fatigued if the rest between sets is almost nothing, like 30 seconds, or less. Each set is almost like extending the previous set. Some people super-set different parts and don't rest at all between sets.
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Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 17:49
I read somewhere that after Mark finishes his workout routine he repeats it, doing a total of 8 sets of each. Is this true ?
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Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 10:45
if the rest period <60 or more likely <30, this is called a rest-pause set, mike. Not a superset. although they are super for gains.
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Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 12:20
The rock train every body part 2 in week this is not what he does in a week
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Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 15:27
Would love to see what weight they were using! Great info, just what I need to change things up a bit!!
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Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 15:38
I have shown Mark's workout to a few people at the gym and they think the back workout is too light at once every 5 days to have posted such big gains in mass that quickly. Other than the diet - which I am sure all of us would love to know - what is being left out of this "nuts and bolts" routine?
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Posted Sun, 06/16/2013 - 23:45
It's called testosterone........
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Posted Tue, 06/18/2013 - 04:41
I'd agree. Bent over row and Pull ups? There has to be more to it than that.
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:25
Has anyone seen Wahlberg's diet anywhere on the net?
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Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 15:54
No squats or deadlifts in the rocks routine, interesting.
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Posted Fri, 03/29/2013 - 20:24
carl swilling
Squats and deadlifts are for stupid people who want to show off in the gym!! They can kill your back and/or your knees, especially with wrong technique and too much weight! Needing these to get big/strong is a myth as we can see from the Rock's routine. I used to be one of those stupid people. Now my lower back is jacked up.
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Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 00:48
Tom hunnington
so because you were stupid your back is messed up, squats and deadlift are exceptional exercises for wanting to maintain and increase strength throughout your entire body especially your core, its not for showing off, that would be for egotistic and immature weight lifters, if your lifting for your self i gaurantee deadlift and squats need to be in your routine
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Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 - 16:10
Squats and deadlifts are not for people who want to show off in the gym...they build the most mass in the shortest amount of time...isolation movements are for shaping not mass...the only reason your low back is jacked up is cause you were doing those movements with crappy form..
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Posted Thu, 06/27/2013 - 15:11
LOL at "shaping not mass". Isolation exercises are for muscle isolation (useful if you have lagging muscle groups). But build mass. Less mass than compounds, but build mass. The shape is genetic.
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Posted Sat, 10/12/2013 - 15:00
He jacked up his knee in college so that's why he avoids those lifts.
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Posted Mon, 01/14/2013 - 16:47
It says thar Mark used supersets but it does not says which exercises he did supersets on.
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:06
don't believe this at all. its BS. its a BS workout someone made up and said its what they did. youre telling me wahlberg got that big by doing 8 sets a week for his back? why do people always waste others time with these fake programs and say its what the actor did?
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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:45
spot on... look at the rock.... you guys really think he got that big doing that whack routine and taking that artifical junk of a protein powder they got paid millions to have their names printed on them..??.. :p ha!! if you believe that.. stick to legs bums and tums lol
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Posted Thu, 12/19/2013 - 13:52
The way the plan is working for Mark he hits back twice a week. It is two days off and then back on it. I just started the Rock's routine and it is doing fine with me. As anything I believe as long as diet is in place the body will change move weights and breaking a sweat.
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Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 22:34
Of course he increases weight. What kind of question is that?
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Posted Wed, 11/13/2013 - 22:19
No need to be a dick
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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:39
man their routines are sh*t.. do the 5x5 workout routine for 6 weeks. i went up by 40% on everything. this consisted of main compounds, 5 sets x 5 reps (heavy-duty strength training) 3 x a week. On each workout day, increase the weight by 2.5kg in total, for each exercise... *SQUATS *BENCH PRESS *OVER-HEAD PRESS *SQUATS *DEADLIFT *BENT OVER ROWS and additional: *BICEP CURLS *CLOSE GRIP BENCH...... so stop being pussys and get lifting!
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Posted Sun, 02/17/2013 - 08:55
n00b gains
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Posted Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:59
Except this isn't their full routines. The Rock said himself that he stepped up his workout routine to 6 days a week for Pain and Gain. And Wahlberg actually did 5 days a week. They both hit their muscle groups at least twice a week even three times, Don't believe me? Look it up yourself it's plain and simple facts.
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Posted Mon, 02/25/2013 - 06:52
how often do you repeat the routine
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Posted Mon, 03/04/2013 - 20:39
From my knowledge in Exercise Physiology these splits are off for the results they are claiming. Mark Wahlberg workout 4 sets of everything with 8-12 repetitions. And short 30-40min workouts filled with supersets (two workouts back-to-back targeting the antagonist of the workout. ie. Biceps curl then Triceps Push downs). Unless the food has a HUGE factor in what he is doing (which it does) then his workouts are based around "Hypertrophy" and not "Power/Strength Gains." This means his workouts aren't technically allowing him to get stronger ("bigger" the "stronger" you get the larger your muscles become). To build muscle you need to do heavy set routines 4-7sets of 2-4reps with 3-5min breaks between each set. So for users that read this workout routine and believe they are going to get big and swole from it you will be disappointed. (there is a lot more to it, but this is in rough layman's terms) And as for the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson he already has a extremely built body. So his routine is based on a very advanced bodybuilding strategy. By focusing only on one muscle group per exercise you allow your body too much rest before you hit that muscle again. For a beginner this can be an issue, obviously not for him since he is The Rock and huge. So essentially all the "gains" you made on leg day (Thursday) will be for the most part gone by the time you hit them again the following Thursday. Don't get me wrong. They are decent splits, but without the diet you won't hit Mark's gains, and without the body you won't sustain you current gains like The Rock.