Have you ever wondered where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finds time to work out in spite of his extremely gruelling, busy schedule? The man is in absolutely incredible shape, and never seems to be off his game, yet he is also one of the busiest and most hardworking people in Hollywood. With a few blockbuster movies out every year, plus a hit show called Ballers on HBO, it’s hard to believe that the man still finds the energy, motivation, and time to put in some serious hours at the gym in order to keep that signature physique in top-notch, peak condition. However, he has his own unique way of getting around that problem.
One way to get a workout wherever you go is to have a gym right next door… all the time, no matter where you are in the world. And that’s exactly what Dwayne Johnson did when he set up his “traveling gym,” also known as the Iron Paradise. It sounds insane, but hey, if you can’t go to the gym, make the gym come to you, right? Here are 15 crazy things you didn’t know about the Iron Paradise – a gym that The Rock says is full of “twisted steel, appeal, and heartache.”
It may be a “portable” gym, but the Iron Paradise is anything but lightweight! In total, Dwayne Johnson’s personal traveling gym houses about 40,000 pounds – 45,000 pounds of pure, no-nonsense steel, all of which are installed to do one thing: keep The Rock looking the way he does. During his last day of filming the upcoming action flick, Skyscaper, in Vancouver, The Rock sent out a tweet thanking his crew for helping him set up the Iron Paradise on location, which allowed him to get his 5:00 a.m workouts in everyday, without having to travel very far.
He wrote, “My final day in Vancouver... sending a huge thank you to the crew responsible for always setting up my #IronParadise, a.k.a. my traveling carnival in every location I film at. 40,000 pounds of steal and iron. I can maintain and build upon an insane work schedule, but only due to having my anchor ready to go every morning at 5am. Grateful to the bone. Thank you guys.”
The Iron Paradise wasn’t always meant to be a traveling gym. Because of the way he trains and furthermore, because of the way he looks, Dwayne Johnson’s training regimen needs to be intricately customized to always fit his personal needs. In other words, ordinary gyms weren’t going to cut it!
Dwayne built the Iron Paradise over the course of a few months, and he first started it as a personalized “garage gym” that housed all the equipment he needed to stay in peak shape.
Although, don’t be fooled when we say “garage gym,” because this garage is in no way small or limited in any shape or form. The original Iron Paradise was the size of any regular gym, and it still comfortably houses enough equipment for several people, at least.
It was only later that The Rock realized he needed a way to hit the gym on time, every time, and decided to take the Iron Paradise on the road with him.
While it may have started as a garage gym at one of Dwayne Johnson’s homes – most probably his place in Florida – the Iron Paradise soon made its way to his other mansions as well.
Hence, there is more than one Iron Paradise, and certainly more than a few gyms that serve as The Rock’s permanently-installed private workout centers under the “Iron Paradise” banner, located in all of the star's homes.
During his interview on The Late Late Show With James Corden, The Rock specifically mentioned gyms that he owns in Los Angeles and Florida, and then over on social media, he has mentioned the “West Coast Iron Paradise” in a few tweets – which may or may not be the same one as the gyms mentioned earlier.
It just goes to show that when The Rock says “no excuses,” he means it! There’s always an Iron Paradise literally waiting for him outside his door.
Transporting a gym of this size this isn’t easy… and it definitely isn’t cheap! In fact, the logistics of moving a whole gym, plus its housing structure, from location to location is similar to that of a circus or a small concert – if the concert had to be done with the band’s custom stage design and equipment. Think Iron Maiden, and then scale it down by about ten times. During an interview on The Late Late Show With James Corden, while promoting Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle alongside Jack Black, Dwayne was asked by guest host Bryan Cranston about his famous traveling gym, and Dwayne responded by saying that it takes “multiple eighteen-wheelers” to get the setup from one location to another!
It makes sense, considering training equipment isn’t light (hence the earlier mention of 40,000 pounds of pure steel), but it also shows the sheer dedication The Rock has to his profession and his fitness.
While transporting Dwayne Johnson’s personal gym may be the job of several giant vehicles, putting the Iron Paradise together is no small feat, either.
Once the parts of the gym – the structural walls, beams, and most importantly, the equipment – are transported by the aforementioned eighteen-wheelers, it takes not ten, not twenty, but hundreds of crew members to tirelessly put the gym together, piece by heavy piece, until it becomes the “sanctuary of sweat” that is the Iron Paradise.
The Rock has gone on record several times to thank his crew for working hard to set up what he calls his “anchor.” According to The Rock, his 5:00 a.m. workouts are extremely essential and give him the energy he needs to perform throughout the day, in typical Rock fashion. Once filming on a movie is done, hundreds of crew members gather again to take it all down, until the Iron Paradise is summoned somewhere else to do it all again.
Originally, the Iron Paradise was never meant to be a traveling gym. Dwayne Johnson needed a private gym for himself and had some installed in his homes in Los Angeles and Florida, but he soon found out that he may need to set up private gyms on location as well so that he never has to worry about getting a proper workout in.
During his recent press tour promoting Jumanji, The Rock went on record to say that working out in public gyms was just too chaotic and wasn’t feasible anymore.
“Training in a public gym became too much of a crazy zoo,” he explained, while also adding, “Me and 24 Hour Fitness, it just turned into this circus!”
It’s safe to say that the portable version of the Iron Paradise was created more out of necessity than luxury, and The Rock is all the better for it.
Every single celebrity who goes to the gym has their routine, and Dwayne Johnson is no different. The Iron Paradise may look like a typical, functional gym to the uninitiated, but the equipment used is hand-picked and the way the gym is arranged and installed is based on The Rock’s customized fitness regimen, set by his long-time strength coach, Dave Rienzi. If there’s one person to credit for The Rock’s current physique, apart from Dwayne Johnson himself, it’s Dave Rienzi.
You may recognize him as the husband of The Rock’s ex-wife and Seven Bucks business partner, Danny Garcia, but Rienzi is more widely known among some of Hollywood’s elite for his fitness center called Rienzi Strength and Conditioning, located in Sunrise, Florida. Apart from being a fitness coach and personal trainer, Rienzi also actively participates in bodybuilding competitions and showcases – most recently the IFBB North American Championships.
Dwayne Johnson has many labels for his Iron Paradise. He has referred to it as “old friend” on Instagram more than once. He also calls it his “anchor” because of how important his early morning workout routine is to the quality of the rest of his day. The Rock also calls his traveling gym “therapy.”
In an Instagram video, The Rock said, "This is my therapy. I encourage everybody out there to find their therapy. Plus, this [stuff] is cheaper than a shrink!”
And he’s not kidding. Exercising by letting off some steam and sweat has a way of releasing endorphins that are lying dormant in the brain. These endorphins – natural chemicals like dopamine and serotonin – are linked to the happiness centers of the brain, which is why no matter how gruelling it is, some people make it a habit to hit the gym without fail every single day!
At the heart of every gym is its workout equipment, obviously, and for someone with The Rock’s physique, the most popular types of equipment are the dumbbells and plates. At the Iron Paradise, these are made by a company called Iron Grip – an extremely popular and highly acclaimed developer of professional workout gear. These training aides aren’t cheap, but they sure as heck get the job done.
What’s interesting is that the Iron Grip plates that The Rock has chosen are of the 12-sided variety, a design that’s notably not the best choice for deadlifts, but is perfect for the kind of strength and conditioning that the Rampage star is after. And just to illustrate how seriously The Rock takes his training and physique, the dumbbells at the Iron Paradise go up to 150 pounds! Why is that weird, you ask? Because most gyms only have dumbbells that go up to 100 pounds, at most.
The Iron Paradise is notably gritty and old-school, and it’s where function takes precedence over form. Hence, there’s no time for vanity in the Iron Paradise! Unlike most commercial gyms, Dwayne Johnson’s private setup doesn’t have frills and fancy accessories because to him, it’s all about working, sweating, and pumping iron.
In one of his daily Instagram updates, The Rock explained that there are no mirrors in the Iron Paradise. There also aren’t any TVs, fancy spa towels, or even chilled lemon water like most commercial gyms have on tap.
All these things are nothing but distractions and according to The Rock, being in the gym isn’t about looking good or wasting time and it most certainly isn’t a luxury. So forget about finding any bells and whistles here. What you will find, though, might surprise you...
Yes, The Rock makes sure there is a full-fledged kitchen at the back of the gym! Anyone who has ever been on a strict workout regimen knows that food is essential when it comes to strength and fitness conditioning, and there’s a certain, specific window in between workouts and meals that needs to be followed in order to make the most gains out of your efforts in the gym.
As such, The Rock has a proper kitchen at the back of his gyms so that anything from protein shakes to post-workout meals can be prepared and consumed without ever having to leave the Iron Paradise before the session is complete. It’s also pretty handy when it comes to getting water for rehydration, which is essential in any workout routine. It’s no surprise that The Rock would have a kitchen in the Iron Paradise, since he once joked that he doesn’t even leave the gym to use the washroom.
Most of the workout gear in the Iron Paradise – including the machines and training equipment – is made by a company called StarTrac. It might have a cringe-worthy, pun-tastic name, but StarTrac has been in the health and fitness industry for a pretty long time and still produces some of the most critically acclaimed spin bikes, leg extensions, and commercial gym equipment on the market.
That’s probably why the centerpiece of The Rock’s original Iron Paradise in Florida is a massive functional trainer from StarTrac as well. Functional trainers almost always need to be customized for the person who’s training due to differences in height and weight, so for someone of The Rock’s stature, the machine was equipped with heavy duty cables, large stacks, and welds, just to name a few. StarTrac equipment isn’t cheap, but hey, if you’re going to have a private gym, it’s better to go all out.
Speaking about going all-out, the heaviest equipment in the Iron Paradise are developed by a company called Hammer Strength. The name says it all. Hammer Strength makes machines that redefine the phrase “heavy duty.” The Iron Paradise has a couple of Hammer Strength machines, most notably the company’s incredibly popular Lat Pulldown rack, and surprisingly, their obscure GHD equipment as well.
These machines are pretty costly and aren’t easy to transport, but their bulkiest yet most popular product is none other than their line of plate-loaded pieces of equipment. Hammer Strength is known to be extremely durable – in fact, you can load their machines up with the maximum number of plates allowed, and it still won’t buckle.
For someone like The Rock, that kind of quality is not only important to his workout, but also serves as assurance that the machines won’t break down mid-routine.
Dwayne Johnson has very specific directions on to how the Iron Paradise should be installed, and it has nothing to do with interior design. Back when he wrapped up filming on Skyscraper in Vancouver, The Rock sent out a video on Instagram thanking his crew for setting up the gym and for all their hard work. In it he says, “This is a lot of [stuff] to move around and set up, plus I’m a pain in the [behind]. Because I’m like, the energy has got to flow this way, you can’t keep your head that way.”
This flow of energy goes by many names and is significant in many cultures around the world, but in The Rock’s case it’s called “mana” – the positive energy of life that binds all things. Because of this, the Iron Paradise needs to be built in a way that instinctively feels good to The Rock to heighten and amplify the experience of his workouts.
One thing you won’t see in the Iron Paradise is a hype man. For those who aren’t aware, hype men are the people who cheer, encourage, and sometimes even berate someone who’s training to go that extra mile when working out. Anyone can be a hype man, but in most cases it’s either the personal trainer or workout buddy.
However, hype men aren’t really needed in the Iron Paradise because Dwayne Johnson doesn’t need one. It’s obvious that he’s more than focused and is able to push himself beyond the limits… and the last thing he needs is someone yelling at him during his workout.
When asked by a fan on Instagram if he needed a hype man, The Rock politely responded by saying, “I don’t use hype men anymore while I train. It was cool, but then I was like, will you shut up, stop yelling and let me concentrate on my set!”
Let the man work out in peace!