From his days hitting the mat as a pro wrestler in the WWE, to doing superhero stunts in his movies, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has sustained his fair share of injuries over the course of his three-decade career. He has spoken before—in pretty gnarly detail—about some of the surgeries he’s needed to undergo after tearing a muscle, and the rehab experience has taught him some valuable lessons about focusing on longevity and stability.
In a recent Instagram video, the actor demonstrates how he has adapted one of his lower-body workouts to enable greater mobility work, while remaining safe and injury-free. Johnson performs two sets of Bulgarian split squats, an exercise that’s great for building balance while simultaneously hitting the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
After previously admitting that he has struggled to find his “groove and balance” with this challenging unilateral leg grower, Johnson has clearly made some progress: you’ll see that this time around he’s executing the move with a front foot deficit, allowing him to travel through a deeper range of motion on each repetition.
“Working on ankle & knee mobility with this raised Bulgarian split squat movement,” he wrote. “Years of battling injuries (torn Achilles, multiple knee surgeries, torn quad off my pelvis etc) forced me to train just as intense, but smarter & wiser… Mind muscle connection is real. Always trying to improve, work in progress.”
You can do the Bulgarian split squat anywhere: in lieu of a weight bench, you can use your couch, a stool, or any stable surface. You can do a bodyweight version of the exercise like Johnson is here, which is advisable if you’re trying it for the first time. Then, once you’re able to perform sets of five to eight reps with good form, you can add weight to the workout to maximize your strength and muscle gains.
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.