How Uli Latukefu Trained to Transform Into Dwayne Johnson for 'Young Rock'

Brett Williams, NASM
·2-min read

From Men's Health

For actors, training to take on the role of a real-life figure can be challenging – but there's some space for interpretation in the way they embody their subject. Maybe the famous figure they're portraying lived in a different era, or they weren't notable for their physique as much as their skills and talent.

Then, there are roles where the living legend being portrayed is not just active and inspiring coverage of their every workout from men's fitness magazines – they're also the co-creator and executive producer of the show and very much involved. That's the challenge Australian actor Uli Latukefu is taking on with his role as Dwayne Johnson, the young man who would become The Rock, in the NBC series Young Rock.

Latukefu plays Johnson from the ages of 18 to 20 years old, a stage in life during which the real-life Johnson was an aspiring pro football star at the University of Miami. For that, Latukefu needed to focus his training more on athletic performance than Johnson's current bodybuilding splits, which primarily aim to pack on muscle.

The actor and his brother and trainer, Maile Latukefu, walked the MH crew through a workout at their gym in Australia. "My goal really coming into this really was matching Dwayne's physicality, his athleticism, and his aesthetic," Latukefu says.

Uli Latukefu's Young Rock Workout

  • Lateral Raise

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

  • Shoulder Press

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

  • T-Bar Landmine Row

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

4 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Ladder Drills

  • Two-Foot Run

4 sets (rest for 30 seconds)

  • Lateral In-In, Out-Out

4 sets (rest for 30 seconds)

  • Ickey Shuffle

4 sets (rest for 30 seconds)

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