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How Kenny Johnson Prepares For Roles

Kenny Johnson is much more than an actor. He is also the former World Champion in Arm Wrestling, explaining why he so naturally appears on Chicago Fire, The Shield, and S.W.A.T. Find out the routine Johnson follows to prepare for these tough-guy roles.

Inside Kenny Johnson’s Workout

Sharing some of his workouts on Instagram with costar Shemar Franklin Moore, it is clear they are no joke. He describes his workout as fast and furious, power through and gets it done. 6 rotations of 12-15 reps of everything. Admitting to having OCD, Kenny talks about how that impacts his everyday life and workouts. Everything has to be perfect and he rarely misses a day.

Kenny Johnson with S.W.A.T. costars

Johnson’s Favorite Back Bicep and Chest Exercises

This exercise is great for building upper body strength and muscle mass. Start with light weight and increase each set.

Good form for a bicep curl
  • Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is beneficial for multiple reasons. In addition to working your upper back, this exercise stabilizes your core and balances out chest exercises like the bench press. Balancing out opposing muscle groups can help physical performance, reduce the risk of injury, and improves posture dramatically.

Build up your back with the reverse fly.

Much like the reverse fly, the bench press builds the chest while restoring balance to the body. Some tips for a better bench press are: keep your chest puffed up, tighten your grip, and keep your elbows in. This will improve your form, protect your lower back, and keep you safe.

How Kenny Johnson Prepares For Roles

The dumbbell row is an upper body back exercise that can increase the overall strength and muscle mass of the back muscles, increase arm strength and hypertrophy, and improve pulling performance. Make sure to keep your core tight and elbow in for the best results.

How Kenny Johnson Prepares For Roles

Secrets To Kenny Johnson’s Workout

Johnson mentions in his Instagram workout videos that he rips through workouts. This means he rarely takes breaks in between reps and sets. Not only does this cut down on time spent in the gym, but it further builds your muscular endurance and adds cardio to lifting days.

Something to watch out for when speeding through a workout is losing focus and letting your form get sloppy. Form is the most important thing while lifting weights. Reaching full motion during each exercise while protecting your joints and muscles from injury.

Maintain balance in your routine

Muscle groups work in relation to Newton’s third law of physics: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Each muscle group has an opposing muscle group that works to counteract any motion, and as one contracts the other relaxes and lengthens.

Major Muscle Pairings:

  1. Bicep and Tricep
  2. Quadriceps and hamstrings 
  3. Chest and Back

When creating your lifting routine, be sure to pair these groups on the same day to avoid any muscle imbalances. If one muscle group is much stronger than the opposing group, this can disrupt the natural range of motion of the joint and lead to injury. A tight, overdeveloped chest muscle and neglected back muscles can not only limit shoulder range of motion but also negatively impact your posture, resulting in a rounding of the shoulders. Tight hip flexors inhibit the opposing buttock (gluteal) muscles, which can result in a destabilization of the lower back. If your lower-back muscles are much weaker than your abdominal muscles, or vice versa, you’re likely to have bad posture and possibly back pain.

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