John Cena isn’t as strong as he looks. He’s stronger. Working alongside longtime friend and trainer Rob MacIntyre, Cena has shifted away from the bodybuilding training he grew up with to focus more on pure strength gains—allowing him to keep aesthetic muscles while improving his athleticism and resistance to injury.
The workouts that follow are Cena’s actual routine, modified only slightly for those less experienced. The 10-time WWE champ and two-time World Heavyweight champ tries to hit a new max on his main lifts every six weeks. Follow the program, and you can break your old records in that same time and reap the muscle gains that come from lifting bigger weights.
Perform exercises marked with letters (“a, ” “b, ” and sometimes “c”) in circuit fashion—complete one set for each in order, resting as needed between sets. repeat until all sets for the circuit are complete. The remaining exercises are done as straight sets.
Each week, you’ll work up to a certain percentage of your max on the snatch and power clean. If these lifts are new to you, just make a conservative guess as to what your max might be. Warm up with low-rep sets and gradually add weight until you reach a challenging load you can handle with perfect form for the required reps. Do not go to failure—leave a rep or two “in the tank” until Week 6, when you will test your strength. Rest as long as you need between all sets.
The squat, front squat, and bench press will not require percentages. Simply work up to the heaviest load you can handle for the prescribed sets and reps. See the tables at the bottom of each day's workout.