John Cena workout plan and diet

HOW JOHN CENA BUILT HIS LEGENDARY WWE BODY IN THE GYM

John Cena is ALWAYS in amazing shape.

And if you could see him now (pun intended), you’d see that he’s spending his 42nd birthday much like any other day – lifting iron!

Cena co-owns Hard Nock’s South, one of the world’s top strength and conditioning facilities (I’ll show you later), and he’s welcoming another year the only way he knows – with the next phase of his intense training program.

So today, you’re in for a treat, because I’m bringing you this comprehensive guide revealing EXACTLY how the 16x WWE champion has adapted his training over the last 20 years to rise to the top of the sports entertainment game, before following The Rock into the movie world.

Along the way, we will discuss the full John Cena workout routine (both then & now), as well as his simple approach to nutrition, and even supplements. Hit the entrance music!



John Cena workout routine

HOW JOHN CENA BUILT HIS CLASSIC WWE BODY

John Cena is a very strong individual.

Like, scary strong.

This is well-documented in his wrestling career, where he’s been loading 500lb monsters onto his shoulders for 20 years, but most people are completely unaware that he also has an impressive strength training background. You can still see his name scrawled on the wall at the original Hard Knocks Gym, Massachusetts, where many of his records from the late 1990’s remain intact.

Heck, I’d place a bet right now that he can gargle peanut butter.

So it may come as a surprise to learn that Cena did not follow classic strength training programming for much of his WWE heyday. Instead, he fell into a trap many WWE guys succumb to; he trained like a bodybuilder.

Eventually he reverted back to what he does best (we’ll cover that further down the page), but the vintage Cena physique you saw in his many battles against the likes of Triple H, Randy Orton and CM Punk was actually achieved via a bodybuilding routine which he followed religiously for nearly 15 years (from his early 20’s through to his mid-30’s!).

You’ll see the full workout routine below.

With this routine, John followed a traditional “bro split” which involved training 5 days per week, hitting each muscle group once. This is a lot of volume, given that it doesn’t include his in-ring work and was done alongside one of the most chaotic travel schedules I’ve ever seen.

He leant towards higher rep ranges for the most part, rarely going below 10 reps even on compound lifts, which is a good way to perform such a high volume routine as it allows for muscle growth via metabolic stress and greatly reduces the risk of injury.

(Note: When I say “high reps” I do not mean “light weights”. Cena performs 15-20 rep sets with weights most people wouldn’t even use for a 5 reps!)



John_Cena_workout_routine

JOHN CENA’S WWE WORKOUT ROUTINE: 2000-2012

DAY 1: CALVES, LEGS & ABS

SEATED CALF RAISE x10-20
(10 sets)

BODYWEIGHT CALF RAISE x10
(4 sets)

STANDING SINGLE LEG CURL x20-25
(4 sets)

LEG PRESS x20
(5 sets)

LEG EXTENSION x15
(4 sets)

BARBELL SQUAT x10
(4 sets)

HACK SQUAT x15 – SUPERSET – SINGLE LEG EXTENSION x10
(3 sets)

CRUNCHES x60
(1 set)

DAY 2: CHEST & ABS

INCLINE CHEST PRESS MACHINE x20
(4 sets)

INCLINE BENCH PRESS x20
(4 sets)

PEC DECK x15
(4 sets)

CABLE CROSSOVER x15
(4 sets)

BARBELL BENCH PRESS x10
(3 sets)

CRUNCHES x60
(1 set)

DAY 3: BICEPS, TRICEPS & ABS

PREACHER CURL x12
(5 sets)

STANDING BARBELL CURL x10-12
(3 sets)

SEATED DUMBBELL CURL x10-12
(3 sets)

CABLE CURL x10-12
(3 sets)

ROPE PUSHDOWN x20 – SUPERSET – SINGLE-ARM CABLE PUSHDOWN x10
(3 sets)

EZ-BAR SKULLCRUSHER x15-20
(6 sets)

OVERHEAD EZ-BAR EXTENSION x20
(3 sets)

SEATED OVERHEAD DUMBBELL EXTENSION x20
(3 sets)

TRICEPS DIPS x10-20
(4 sets)

CRUNCHES x60
(1 set)

DAY 4: SHOULDERS & ABS

REAR DELT FLYE MACHINE x20
(5 sets)

SHOULDER PRESS MACHINE x20
(5 sets)

LATERAL RAISE MACHINE x20
(5 sets)

SEATED DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS x10
(5 sets)

DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE x12
(3 sets)

BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS x10
(3 sets)

CRUNCHES x60
(1 set)

DAY 5: BACK & ABS

WIDE-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN x20
(5 sets)

BENT-OVER BARBELL ROW x12-20
(5 sets)

ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW x12-20
(5 sets)

BARBELL DEADLIFT x8-15
(4 sets)

HIGH PULL x20
(4 sets)

PULL UPS x15-20
(4 sets)

BARBELL SHRUGS x20
(5 sets)

CRUNCHES x60
(1 set)



John Cena diet

WHAT IS JOHN CENA’S DIET?

After reading the bodybuilding-style workout program shown above, John Cena’s diet probably looks like you’d expect it to.

Cena went “all in” on this lifestyle while wrestling, and the bulk of his food could’ve been pulled straight from the pages of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

Here’s a typical day of eating from his WWE run in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s.

BREAKFAST

OATMEAL WITH APPLESAUCE AND RAISINS
2 WHOLE EGGS WITH 6 EGG WHITES

MORNING SNACK

PROTEIN BAR

LUNCH

2 CHICKEN BREASTS
BROWN RICE
VEGETABLES

AFTERNOON SNACK

1 CAN TUNA
WHOLEWHEAT PITA BREAD

POST-WORKOUT SNACK

BANANA
WHEY PROTEIN SHAKE

EVENING MEAL

CHICKEN OR FISH
PASTA OR BROWN RICE
VEGETABLES
SALAD

EVENING SNACK

CASEIN PROTEIN SHAKE
LOW FAT COTTAGE CHEESE

JOHN CENA

Of course, the numbers are what really matters when it comes to nutrition plans and John Cena was regularly putting away over 4000 calories per day to support his hectic training program and busy wrestling schedule.

While many people struggle with rigid diets, they often appeal to elite athletes because of their no-nonsense nature. Many of his WWE pals, including Triple H and Dwayne Johnson, have enjoyed great success with similar nutrition plans.

Sometimes, the old way is the best way!

However, one old bodybuilding approach he’s not a fan of is the ever-popular “cheat day”.

“I like pizza and donuts as much as the next person, but you can’t have them all the time.

I’ve always hated the term “cheat day” because I believe it’s the start of a slippery slope which can lead to someone not training altogether. You start taking these unscheduled cheat days, or even whole weeks, whenever you don’t feel in the mood to go hard. And then you stop going hard entirely, and you’re no longer doing anything at all.”



which supplements does John Cena use

WHICH SUPPLEMENTS DOES JOHN CENA USE?

Let’s get something straight…

Taking these supplements will NOT make you look like John Cena.

I’m tired of seeing supplement companies claim to be “the missing link”, often in place of hard work and consistency, and in the case of John Cena that rings very true Here’s a guy who has dedicated his life to being in shape, and is well-known for being one of the strongest competitors in the history of sports entertainment.

So don’t be expecting miracles just because you drink the same protein as him, got it?

But I will show you John Cena’s supplement stack…

PERFORMIX ION PRE-WORKOUT

John Cena pre workout

Here’s a direct link to this.

PERFORMIX RECOVERY INTRA-WORKOUT

Performix

Here’s a direct link to this.

PERFORMIX ioWHEY PROTEIN

which whey protein does John Cena use

Here’s a direct link to this.

BODYBUILDING.COM SIGNATURE PROTEIN CRUNCH BAR

John Cena supplements

Here’s a direct link to this.

BODYBUILDING.COM SIGNATURE CASEIN

John Cena WWE workout plan

Here’s a direct link to this.



John Cena workout routine and diet

HOW DOES JOHN CENA TRAIN NOWADAYS?

John Cena’s new training program looks nothing like his old one – and that’s a good thing.

I’m a big fan of bodybuilding training, but it’s not sports specific. In another article I showed you how The Undertaker has ditched bodybuilding training and replaced it with, well, training like a wrestler. Cena made this same move in 2013. By doing this, both superstars were able to prolong their in-ring careers for a few more years when injuries began to take their toll.

But aside from the practical reasons for doing so, the fun part for John Cena is that he got to revert back to the things he was so great at – Heavy compound movements! Big Olympic lifts! These are his bread and butter!

With a reduced WWE schedule, he didn’t need to attack his muscles in a bid to stay lean all year round. Instead, he could now work within the confines of a periodized strength training plan which was designed to hit a peak at a set point in the future.

(i.e. Wrestlemania!)

That doesn’t mean he took it easy, of course!

Take a quick look at him preparing to face The Undertaker at WresleMania in 2018:

This is an impressive clip for a number of reasons.

First, that’s 5 easy reps with 485lbs. Second, Cena got into this kind of shape for a match he was scripted to lose badly in just 7 minutes. And third, he went on to set a new PB of 650lbs. Check this out:

John Cena workout routine

So what does a full John Cena workout routine look like in 2021?

As you’ll see below, he now works in 6 week blocks and stays within low rep ranges, focusing on building sheer strength and power. There are only four sessions per week (allowing for full recovery between each workout), and Cena states that, given his focus on strength and the longer rest needed between each set, his modern day workouts might look “boring AF” to anyone who isn’t a fan.

Also, he now places extra emphasis on developing hamstring strength, something he’s considered a weakness over the years.

“Focus on strengthening your weaknesses.

If you have disproportionate hamstring strength, like me, don’t ignore it. Face it and prioritize them by making it a focal point of your training plan. It’s not hard to do.”



John Cena workout routine 2020

JOHN CENA’S WORKOUT ROUTINE: 2013 & BEYOND

DAY 1:

BARBELL SQUAT
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 3 sets of 8 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 6 reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Week 4: 4 sets of 3 reps
Week 5: 4 sets of 2 reps
Week 6: Test your max

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 3 sets of 8 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 6 reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Week 4: 4 sets of 3 reps
Week 5: 4 sets of 2 reps
Week 6: Test your max

LYING LEG CURL
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
3 sets of 6 reps

DAY 2:

BARBELL BENCH PRESS
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 3 sets of 8 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 6 reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Week 4: 4 sets of 3 reps
Week 5: 4 sets of 2 reps
Week 6: Test your max

PAUSE BENCH PRESS
Week 1: 8 single reps, with a 2 second pause at the bottom, using your max weight from the previous exercise
Week 2: 6 single reps
Week 3: 5 single reps
Week 4: 3 single reps
Week 5: 3 single reps
Week 6: 3 single reps

ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW – SUPERSET – INCLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
Weeks 1-3: 4 supersets of 8 reps on each exercise
Weeks 4-6: 4 supersets of 5 reps on each exercise

PULL UPS – SUPERSET – DUMBBELL PULLOVER
Weeks 1-3: 3 supersets of 10 reps on each exercise
Weeks 4-6: 3 supersets of 5 reps on the first exercise (weighted) and 10 reps on the second exercise

DAY 3:

BARBELL SNATCH
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 4 sets of 3 reps at 75%
Week 2: 4 sets of 3 reps at 80%
Week 3: 4 sets of 2 reps at 83%
Week 4: 4 sets of 2 reps at 85%
Week 5: 2 sets of 2 reps at 90%, followed by 3 sets of 1 rep at 95%
Week 6: Test your max

BARBELL POWER CLEAN
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 4 sets of 3 reps at 75%
Week 2: 4 sets of 3 reps at 80%
Week 3: 4 sets of 2 reps at 83%
Week 4: 4 sets of 2 reps at 85%
Week 5: 2 sets of 2 reps at 90%, followed by 3 sets of 1 rep at 95%
Week 6: Test your max

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Week 1: 3 sets of 8 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 6 reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Week 4: 4 sets of 3 reps
Week 5: 4 sets of 2 reps
Week 6: Test your max

DAY 4:

BARBELL PUSH PRESS
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Weeks 1-3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Weeks 4-6: 3 sets of 3 reps

CLOSE-GRIP BARBELL BENCH PRESS
(Perform as many warm-up sets as necessary then hit the following working sets)
Weeks 1-3: 3 sets of 5 reps
Weeks 4-6: 3 sets of 3 reps

DUMBBELL SKULLCRUSHERS >> CABLE BACKHAND >> SEATED DUMBBELL CURL
3 tri-sets of 6 reps on the first exercise, 10 reps on the second, and 8 reps on the third.

BRADFORD PRESS >> BARBELL REVERSE CURL >> BARBELL SHRUGS
3 tri-sets of 8 reps on the first exercise, 8 reps on the second exercise, and switch between 6 reps and 12 reps on the third exercise every week.

John_Cena_workout_routine_2020

Take a look at his awesome gym in the video above.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive breakdown of WWE Superstar John Cena;s workout program, and the adjustments he’s made to prolong his career in the squared circle, then eventually follow The Rock to Hollywood.

I can’t speak highly enough of this man’s work ethic.

To train this hard, and this consistently, while managing one of the most insane schedules of any celebrity I’ve ever seen, John Cena is a true legend of the gym.

Enjoyed reading this? Then you might also like my breakdown on how Sylvester Stallone trained for all of his biggest movie roles. Go read that next, and jump on my email list for more training tips by entering your best email address below.


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