The Strategy for Designing Workouts You Should Steal From the Rock

Photo: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez and Staff
Whenever I need to reignite my commitment to going to the gym, my Netflix/Hulu/HBO streaming queues aren't exactly my first stop for inspiration. Watching The Haunting of Hill House and The Handmaid's Tale made me want to burrow beneath covers forever. And the weekend I watched Big Little Lies in its entirety, I don't believe I moved off the couch. After watching Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's The Titan Games (which is now streaming on Hulu), however, my opinion on the power of television has forever been changed.

If you haven't yet caught an episode, allow me to IMDb-debrief you. During each episode, the strongest of the strong compete against one another in a course designed straight from Johnson's imagination. There's smashing, pushing and pulling, and other tests of brawn that would make Zeus himself break into a sweat. Even better, the people who come on the The Titan Games aren't professional athletes. They're average badasses who schedule fitness into their free-time (you know, just like you and me). After facing off against one another, the winner makes it to a final round where they compete to become the titan.

There's smashing, pushing and pulling, and other tests of brawn that would make Zeus himself break into a sweat.

With his ebullient charisma and (yes) enviable muscle mass, Johnson has convinced me that setting up my time in the gym as an obstacle course will stoke my naturally-competitive nature while—hopefully—unlocking my untapped potential of becoming a Greek goddess (she said with a straight face). The show is the visual equivalent of Johnson meeting you at you in the weight room to cheer you on, and I just can't get enough.

After watching more episodes of the show than I care to admit, I lace up my favorite HIIT sneakers, put on a battle-worthy leggings and sports bra combo, and head to my neighborhood gym. In a rare stroke of luck, the yoga room on the premises is completely vacant and I begin dutifully designing my course. All the while I can hear The Rock in my head whispering the motto of The Titan Games: "Titans aren't born. They're made." Titans aren't born. They're made, Kells. 

I locate a mat and a collection of other gym paraphernalia including fluorescent-oranges cones, a plyo box, a pair of dumbbells, and a superband. Then, I try to recreate moves from the show. In a cheap rendition of the so-called "Atlas Smash," in which contestants break down a cement ball with a hammer, I grab a steel mace and begin beating a gym mat. Some of the other moves (like the "Cyclone" pictured in the video above) weren't so easily copied. Instead, I decide to just keep the spirit of extreme physical strain as I hop over cones, push through a few round of rows, and even throw in some one-armed burpees.

By the end, I'm sweaty enough to believe that I've truly climbed to the summit of Mount Olympus. And I mean, hey—I kind of have. The Rock's ethos is that we should all continuously challenge what we think we're capable of doing. We're basically "making" ourselves every day by undertaking goals we previously  considered impossible. Consider me re-inspired—all because I dared to watch the gripping drama that is The Titan Games.

Upping your weights by just five pounds can boost your time in the weight room, seriously. 

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