1. THERE’S MORE THAN ONE.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has two permanent home gyms, a.k.a. Iron Paradises, the first at his Miami mansion and the newest at his Virginia farm. The latter, built in a barn, he calls his “Country Iron Paradise.”
2. ONE TRAVELS WITH HIM.
There’s always an Iron Paradise. When The Rock does extended film and TV shoots, some 50,000 pounds of gym equipment is trucked or shipped to the location, and a huge crew assembles the new workout space to the superstar’s specifications.
3. IT HAS TO BE CONSTRUCTED A SPECIFIC WAY EVERYTIME.
The traveling Iron Paradise is always set up the same way. When he wrapped shooting Skyscraper in Vancouver, Johnson publicly thanked his gym construction crew and said, “This is a lot of shit to move around and set up. Plus, I’m a pain in the ass, because I’m like, ‘The energy has got to flow this way. You can’t keep your head that way.’”
4. SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE.
There’s always a black “Iron Paradise” banner. There’s always a bull head. (“The Brahma Bull” was one of his wrestling nicknames, and he considers the muscular bovine something of a spirit guide. “We all have mana. Our strength. You just have to find it,” he wrote on Instagram of the symbol.) There’s always an American flag. There’s always loud music, sometimes rap, sometimes rock, sometimes country. And as for the temperature, he prefers it, as he says, “hot as Satan’s balls.”
5. COMMERCIAL GYMS WERE IMPRACTICAL.
Fifteen or so years ago, The Rock trained daily in Gold’s Gym in Venice, California. He might still grab workouts there, where he’ll seldom be bothered. But, as his movie career exploded, it became impractical if not impossible to find a commercial gym on his lengthy travels where he could both train balls-to-the-wall and not be pestered by selfie-happy fans. This is compounded by the fact that his days are so busy with now that he typically trains at 5:00 AM, sometimes earlier. To be assured of working out when and how he wants to, he needed his own gym—even if it has to move with him.
6. THEY’RE LOADED.
His home gyms likely have more unique equipment than your commercial gym. There’s a Pit Shark for belt squats. There’s a shock-absorbed bench just for hip thrusts (on the left in the photo below). There’s a unilateral leg press. There’s a GHD (glute-ham developer). There’s even a tibia dorsi flexion machine to pump up his shins (photo: lower right). And we’ve only talked leg day. It has everything you’d need for a hardcore routine. More importantly, it has everything The Rock wants.
7. HE NEVER HAS TO WORK IN.
Most of the time, he sweats alone. No trainers. No partners. Typically, the only encouragements are his thoughts (and maybe the lyrics of the very loud music). “I don’t use hype men anymore while I train,” Johnson said. “It was cool, but then I was like, ‘Will you shut up? Stop yelling and let me concentrate on my set!”
8. THERE ARE NO MIRRORS.
One could argue that monitoring a set of, say, dumbbell laterals in a mirror helps with form. The Rock would argue reflections are distractions. His gyms are mirror-free-zones, so he can focus entirely on how his muscles feel and not what they look like.
9. THERE’S A KITCHEN.
Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Maybe you can if you’re in one of his permanent Iron Paradises. They have kitchens, so he can eat just before or after his workouts.
10. THE GYM IS HIS ANCHOR.
He posted this on Facebook, regarding Iron Paradise, wherever it is:
(Opening image: Under Armour)