ONE OF THE ROCK’S many credos is that he’s always going to be the “Hardest Worker in the Room,” a nod to the extreme dedication for accomplishing his goals. Just take a peek at Dwayne Johnson’s social media and you’ll see plenty of evidence of his whirlwind press tours to promote his movies, photos of business plans and meetings, and of course, midnight training sessions after all of the other work is done. But he’s far from the only person who can claim that title—there are lots of rooms in the world, after all. So when Johnson shared a video of his visit to the LA Rams training facility ahead of the start of the new NFL season, he was met by one of the few who might be able to take the crown: All-Pro and Super Bowl champion defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
The two giants immediately hit it off after finding common ground in their weight room origins. Donald recalled how he was first inspired to lift weights by his father, who would train in the family’s basement early in the morning while his son looked on from the steps, waiting for the day that he would be allowed to join. Johnson remembered a similar introduction to workouts with his own father, pro wrestler Rocky Johnson. “He had me get up in the morning, like even when I was five, six, seven years old,” he said. “But then he made me sit there and watch him. I couldn’t even train until I got to 12.”
“We’re cut from the same intense cloth with our passion for training, family and LEGACY,” Johnson wrote in the caption to the video’s Instagram post. “But what really moved me about Aaron, is realizing how we were both raised by very similar fathers who taught us at the exact same age – there is no substitute for hard work, through discipline and tough fatherly love. Little boys. Cold steel. Life lessons. Thank you Archie Thank you Soulman (RIP)”
After Donald broke out his Super Bowl hardware for Johnson to admire, the pair got down to work in the gym. They took on an intense workout session, training grip and forearm strength with plate pinches and dumbbell holds, the back with dumbbell rows and TRX inverted row holds, and core with ab wheel rollouts.
To cap the session, Donald and Johnson did a signed jersey swap (with Johnson’s Black Adam gear serving as his uniform), then came together for an epic flex photo. The workout spot was ostensibly to promote the September 8th NFL opener, when Donald’s defending champion Rams will take on the ascendent Buffalo Bills and will feature a new Black Adam debut trailer during the broadcast, but given Donald and Johnson’s shared muscle origins, the training session took on even more meaning for these two extremely hard workers.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.