You know how the old saying goes: no rest for The Rock.
Dwayne Johnson just posted a video to Instagram of himself “clangin’ and bangin'” his way through a late night workout in Beijing. He’s in China doing press for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and judging from that “team no sleep” hashtag, he’s coping with the jet lag by doing what he does best—hitting the gym.
The video offers a real up-close-and-personal look at Johnson’s pullup technique. The actor has said before that he favors “slow, steady precision” when doing pullups, an approach which he calls a “microcosm for life.” He can be seen practicing exactly that here.
“He’s working within his own personal shoulder mobility instead of chasing an arbitrary height,” says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “He has a massive, massive chest, so for him to chase, say, chest-to-bar, it’s simply not as natural as it might be for, say, a gymnast to do a chest-to-bar pullup. He doesn’t quite have that flexibility. But he’s pulling as high as is natural for him, and squeezing his back at the top of each rep. He’s got a nice controlled lower, as opposed to rocking or swinging on the way down.”
Mastering the pullup isn’t as straightforward as it might seem at first. Plenty of people struggle with their shoulder mobility, then there’s the simple fact that lifting such a large percentage of your body weight is hard. And as Samuel points out, your pullup technique will depend on your specific body shape and fitness goals.
Whether you’re interested in learning about kipping or the dead-hang, check out our comprehensive guide to the pullup here. You might not build up an upper body like The Rock, but you’ll be on your way to finding your own style of strength.