John Cena workout routine and diet

How John Cena Built His Legendary WWE Body

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 – in the gym.

Not just any gym, either.

Cena owns one of the world’s most hardcore 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 how would you like a comprehensive guide detailing 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?

Good! Because that’s precisely what you’re gonna get.

If you’ve ever watched a WWE pay-per-view and wondered how John Cena manages to look that awesome ALL THE DAMN TIME you’re about to find out, as I’ll show you the full John Cena workout routine and we’ll also cover his approach to nutrition along the way.

Cue the entrance music.



How John Cena Built His WWE Body

John Cena workout routine

John Cena is a very strong individual.

Like, scary strong.

Heck, I’d place a bet right now this man can gargle peanut butter.

This is well-documented in his wrestling career, where he’s been loading 500lb monsters onto his shoulders for 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 in place to this day.

Which is why it might be surprising to learn that Cena moved away from strength training for much of his WWE heyday. In the early years, he fell into a trap many WWE guys succumb to; training like a bodybuilder.

He did eventually revert back to what he does best (I’ll show you this later), but the physique you see on screen in his many battles against the likes of Triple H, Randy Orton and CM Punk was actually achieved via a bodybuilding routine 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.

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

He leans towards higher rep ranges, rarely going below the 10 rep mark 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 – albeit Cena was able to perform 15-20 rep sets with weights most people wouldn’t even use for a 5 rep max!



John Cena’s Full WWE Workout Routine: 2000-2013

John_Cena_workout_routine

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)



What Does John Cena’s Diet Look Like?

John Cena diet

After reading through the training plan above, John Cena’s diet looks exactly like you’d expect it to.

He went “all in” on the bodybuilding style of training for many years, and the bulk of his foods could’ve come straight out 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 work schedule.

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

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 entirely, and you’re no longer doing anything at all.”



John Cena’s Supplement Stack

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.



How Does John Cena Train Nowadays?

John Cena workout routine and diet

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. I recently showed you how The Undertaker has moved away from bodybuilding-style workouts and replaced them with, well, training like a wrestler. Cena made the same move back in 2013. In doing so, both superstars prolonged their in-ring careers as the years of 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 all those years ago.

Heavy compound movements… Big Olympic lifts… These were his bread and butter!

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

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 lift a new PB of 683lbs. Check this out:

John Cena workout routine

So what does a full John Cena workout routine look like in 2020?

As you’ll see below, he works in 6 week blocks and very low rep ranges designed to build 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.

Finally, he now places additional focus 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’s Workout Routine: 2020 & Beyond

John Cena workout routine 2020

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive breakdown of exactly how WWE Superstar John Cena built his body, and the changes he’s made to his program to allow him to lengthen his career in the squared circle and eventually follow Dwayne Johnson to Hollywood.

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.

You might also enjoy my breakdown of how Sylvester Stallone trained for his biggest movie roles. Go read that next.

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