Working alongside his personal trainer Rob MacIntyre, the 10-time WWE champion John Cena has shifted his focus on pure strength gains during the last years, and became the strongest he’s ever been, while also maintaining an astonishing level of aesthetic muscularity. He trains four days a week, and all of his full-body workouts are designed by MacIntyre. Typically, he emphasizes Olympic lifts on two days per week while the other two days he trains powerlifting moves. And every six weeks he tries to hit a new max on his main lifts, thereby reaping constant progress in terms of both strength and size.
The following workout program is John Cena’s upper-body workout routine from his powerlifting days which helped him build a substantial portion of his current power muscle mass. Follow the program to break plateaus and make gains like a pro.
John Cena’s sleeve-busting workout routine:
#1. Barbell bench press
TARGETED MUSCLES: chest, shoulders, triceps
HOW TO: Regardless of your amount of experience with this exercise, it’s most advisable that you use a spotter to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent injury. To perform it, lie back on a flat bench. Using a medium width grip, unrack the bar with straight arms and hold it straight over you. As you inhale, lower the bar to your mid chest (having it touch your chest is optional). Pause briefly and as you exhale, press it back up until you’ve locked your elbows. Squeeze your chest in the contracted position at the top of the movement, hold for a second then start slowly lowering the bar again. Keep your butt on the bench all throughout the movement. For best results, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it, and you should be in full control of the barbell at all times.
PRESCRIPTION: Using around 70% of your estimated max, perform 3 sets x 5 reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
#2. Warrior incline dumbbell bench press
TARGETED MUSCLES: chest, deltoids, triceps
HOW TO: Set an adjustable bench to an incline of 30-45 degrees. Holding a pair of dumbbells, lie on your back on the bench and lift both dumbbells directly above your shoulders with fully extended arms and pull your shoulder blades together. Stick out your chest a bit and slowly lower both dumbbells to the sides of your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pause for a second, then explosively press the dumbbells to full extension. Try to maintain a neutral back and tucked elbows all throughout the movement.
PRESCRIPTION: Perform 3 sets x 6 reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
#3. Skull crusher
TARGETED MUSCLES: triceps and forearms
HOW TO: You can perform skull crushers with dumbbells, barbell or EZ bar, and use a variety of angled benches. If you increase the angle of the bench, more work goes to your triceps long head, while using a more declined bench will place the emphasis on the lateral triceps head. Lie on a bench and lift an EZ bar, using a close grip. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, which means that they won’t be perpendicular to your body if you’re using an incline or decline bench. Without moving your arms, inhale and lower the bar under control by flexing your elbows. When the bar is directly above your forehead, pause for a second, then exhale and power it back up by extending the elbows. Stop just before you reach full extension in order to maintain the same level of muscle tension throughout the whole range of motion, then lower it down on the same way again. Keep in mind that you should avoid allowing your upper arms to move from their position as you raise and lower the weight, because that will transfer a big portion of the load on your shoulders. Also, avoid flaring the elbows to ensure that the triceps are doing most of the work.
PRESCRIPTION: Perform 3 sets x 5 reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
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