Revealing the Crazy Things Zac Efron Did to Stay Ripped on the Baywatch set

Efron says his abs of steel were mostly motivated by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

 

“Everybody knows all the secrets, the tricks of the trade,” he told Scoles. “For this part, it was just commitment. It was as much of the character as it was the acting. I had to keep up with The Rock. If he’s The Rock, I wanted to be Bruce Lee.”

IT’S A PRETTY safe bet that Baywatch will be next summer’s movie blockbuster. But what isn’t so clear is who the audience will be ogling most—the buxom, bikini-clad beach bunnies or the pumped-up, hard-bodied musclemen in the cast.

Dwayne Johnson’s “Rock” physique already has legions of fans, but the transformation of co-star Zac Efron (who shot to fame in the teen-film hit High School Musical) has shocked the world. According to Efron’s trainer, Patrick Murphy, the actor reached 5% body fat after just 12 weeks of training. How’d you like to do something similar? Read on and you can.

If you want to see Zac Efron with his shirt off,

you needn’t look further than his slate of recent and upcoming films: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, out last month, in which he’s often shirtless; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, slated for August, which has him basically shirtless on the movie poster; and next year’s big-screen adaptation of ’90s TV series Baywatch, in which he’s routinely running on the beach—no surprise here—shirtless. A Google Images search for Efron yields hundreds of photographs that will make you feel terrible about your own fitness, as will looking him up on Instagram, where he’s lately contributed plenty of beefcake photos from the Baywatch set, where he and co-star DwayneJohnson spend their off-hours engaged in bare-chested truck-tire-flipping contests.

So how does the reinvented superstar, he of the ripped abs and refreshingly disarming self-deprecation, even find the time to breathe—let alone redefine his stature in the moviegoing imagination? We caught up with him in Los Angeles, in one of his mercilessly short breathers between filming Baywatch and Neighbors 2, to talk about the “Efronaissance,” how he got so damn jacked (hint: it’s not easy), and that time he almost snapped his spine while parachuting from a helicopter with Bear Grylls.

He’s at His Physical Peak

“Right now I’m probably the physically strongest I’ve ever felt,” he says. “Not in terms of bench press or how much I can squat, but in how quickly I could get out of this room and destroy everything in my path. If the zombie apocalypse happened right now, I’d definitely be able to defend myself.”

Zac Efron Knows You Think He’s a Meanie…

“I step back and look at myself and I still want to kick that guy’s ass sometimes,” Efron says of his former self. “Like, forget that guy. He’s done some kind of cool things with some cool people—he did that one thing [Neighbors] that was funny—but, I mean, he’s still just that young kid from [High School Musical].”

… But That Doesn’t Mean It’s True

Neighbors co-star Seth Rogen: “For sure, I assumed he’d be a guy I wouldn’t like very much. But he was very self-effacing and self-deprecating, and I remember really liking him. He won me over.”

“What’s surprising about him is how sympathetic and vulnerable he seems,” Rogen says, “probably because people view him a certain way and he’s been shit on. He’s someone you sympathize with, and that’s really hard to do when you look the way he does.”

 

Zac Efron Earned His Baywatch Body

Efron’s fitness goal, especially for Baywatch, is to be “fast and light.” His physical archetype is Bruce Lee. “I want to be lean,” he says. “When I put on a T-shirt, I don’t want people to go, ‘Oh, that guy’s a bodybuilder.’”

On his diet: “After a while your body stops craving junk food and you look forward to these meals,” he says. “There’s this trigger that happens after two or three weeks of dieting and eating healthy food, where your body switches its primary energy source from burning mainly carbohydrates to burning fat,” he explains. “And when it switches over, all your cravings change. You go, ‘Holy cow, I want kale and vinaigrette shredded with beets and a little bit of sweet potato!’”

The Rock Is Pretty Much the Best Gym Partner Ever

Dwayne Johnson, Efron says, is exactly what any of us imagine him to be: a superhero in corporeal form, “like the genes just clicked and made this dude.” Efron wakes up at 5 a.m. to train—but the Rock rises by 4. “He’s getting less sleep than I am and he already did a post on Instagram at 5:30, doing the most ridiculous leg day you’ve ever seen,” Efron says. “He’s reached nirvana—muscle nirvana.”

The admiration, it turns out, is mutual. “Athletes know how hard it is to prep, train, and diet for a competition,” Johnson says. “It’s months of focused sacrifice all leading up to one particular event that takes place in one night. In the case of Baywatch, Zac’s had to apply the diet and training strategy of an elite athlete, but he’s also had the ‘added bonus’ of needing to maintain that look for months while we’re shooting. Zac committed to be the best version of himself possible and did it. He came in looking like an animal.”

How it works

Efron’s training was constantly evolving, but for us, Murphy condensed the best of it into a three-day split, working back and biceps one day, legs another, and shoulders, chest, and arms the third day (abs are in there, too, a little bit every day).

The main feature of the workouts is supersetting—doing two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. Not only does this approach save time, it also doubles as cardio, burning more calories and enhancing the “pump” that drives more nutrition-filled blood into the muscles for fast growth.

Since it was important that Efron not just look like a lifeguard but be able to perform like one too, some exercises are explosive to build speed and agility along with muscle mass. See you on the beach.

Directions – The workouts

‘Baywatch’ Training Split

Day Body Parts Trained
Mon/Thu Chest/Back/Shoulders, Traps, Calves/Tibialis
Tue/Fri Legs/Abs, Biceps/ Triceps, Forearms
Wed/Sat/Sun Rest

WEEK 1

WORKOUT 1: CHEST/BACK/SHOULDERS, TRAPS, CALVES/TIBIALIS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
BarBell Bentover Row 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Bench press 4 12-15 1 Min
Lat Pulldown 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 12-15 1 Min
Incline Dumbbell Flye 2 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Incline Rear-Delt Raise 2 12-15 1 Min
Cable Crossover 2 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Cable lateral raise 2 12-15 1 Min
Dumbbell Shrug 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Dip Shrug 4 12-15 1 Min
Standing Calf Raise 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Standing Toe Raise 4 12-15 1 Min

WORKOUT 2: LEGS/ABS, BICEPS/ TRICEPS, FOREARMS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Squat 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Hanging Knee Raise 4 12-15 1 Min
Romanian Deadlift 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Crunch 4 12-15 1 Min
Leg Extension 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Leg Curl 4 12-15 1 Min
Side Plank Reach-Through 3 To Failure 0 Min
Triceps Pressdown 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Barbell Curl 4 12-15 0 Min
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 12-15 1 Min
-superset with- Cable Overhead Curl 3 12-15 0 Min
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl 3 12-15 1 Min
-superset with- Barbell Wrist Curl 3 12-15 1 Min

WORKOUT 3: CHEST/BACK/SHOULDERS/TRAPS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Reverse-Grip Bench Press 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Reverse-Grip BarBell Row 4 12-15 1 Min
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 2 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Decline Dumbbell Flye 2 12-15 1 Min
Dumbbell Upright Row 2 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Dip 2 12-15 1 Min
Arnold Press 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Reverse-Grip Pulldown 4 12-15 0 Min
Behind-the-Back Smith Machine Shrug 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Behind-the-Back Smith Machine Straight-Arm Dip 4 12-15 1 Min
Seated Dumbbell Toe Raise 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Seated Calf Raise 4 12-15 1 Min

WORKOUT 4: LEGS/ABS, BICEPS/ TRICEPS, FOREARMS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
BarBell Rollout 4 To Failure 0 Min
-superset with- Deadlift 4 12-15 1 Min
Roman Chair Crunch 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Back Extension 4 12-15 1 Min
Leg Curl 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Leg Extension 4 12-15 1 Min
Oblique Crunch 3 To Failure 0 Min
Cable Lying Concentration Curl 4 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Cable Lying Triceps Extension 4 12-15 1 Min
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Bench Dip 3 12-15 1 Min
Behind-the-Back Barbell Wrist Curl 3 12-15 0 Min
-superset with- Behind-the-BacK BarBell Reverse Wrist Curl 3 12-15 1 Min

WEEK 2

WORKOUT 1: CHEST/BACK/SHOULDERS, TRAPS, CALVES/TIBIALIS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Bench Press 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Barbell Bentover Row 4 8-10 1 Min
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Lat Pulldown 4 8-10 1 Min
Incline Rear-Delt Raise 2 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Incline Dumbbell Flye 2 8-10 1 Min
Cable Lateral Raise 2 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Cable Crossover 2 8-10 1 Min
Straight-Arm Dip 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Dumbbell Shrug 4 8-10 1 Min
Standing Toe Raise 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Standing Calf Raise 4 8-10 1 Min

WORKOUT 2: LEGS/ABS, BICEPS/ TRICEPS, FOREARMS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Squat 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Hanging Knee Raise 4 4-6 1 Min
Romanian Deadlift 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Crunch 4 4-6 1 Min
Leg Extension 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Leg Curl 4 4-6 1 Min
Side Plank Reach-Through 3 To Failure 0 Min
Triceps Pressdown 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Barbell Curl 4 4-6 0 Min
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 4-6 1 Min
-superset with- Cable Overhead Curl 3 4-6 0 Min
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl 3 4-6 1 Min
-superset with- Barbell Wrist Curl 3 4-6 1 Min

CALVES

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise 3 20, 15, 10
Standing Calf Raise 3 20, 15, 10

ABS

Exercise Sets Reps
One-Arm Cable Crunch 3/Side 15-20
Ab Wheel 2 TO FAILURE

WEEK 3

WORKOUT 1: CHEST/BACK/SHOULDERS, TRAPS, CALVES/TIBIALIS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Bench Press 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Barbell Bentover Row 4 8-10 1 Min
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Lat Pulldown 4 8-10 1 Min
Incline Rear-Delt Raise 2 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Incline Dumbbell Flye 2 8-10 1 Min
Cable Lateral Raise 2 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Cable Crossover 2 8-10 1 Min
Straight-Arm Dip 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Dumbbell Shrug 4 8-10 1 Min
Standing Toe Raise 4 8-10 0 Min
-superset with- Standing Calf Raise 4 8-10 1 Min

WORKOUT 2: LEGS/ABS, BICEPS/ TRICEPS, FOREARMS

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Squat 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Hanging Knee Raise 4 4-6 1 Min
Romanian Deadlift 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Crunch 4 4-6 1 Min
Leg Extension 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Leg Curl 4 4-6 1 Min
Side Plank Reach-Through 3 To Failure 0 Min
Triceps Pressdown 4 4-6 0 Min
-superset with- Barbell Curl 4 4-6 0 Min
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 4-6 1 Min
-superset with- Cable Overhead Curl 3 4-6 0 Min
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl 3 4-6 1 Min
-superset with- Barbell Wrist Curl 3 4-6 1 Min

CALVES

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise 3 20, 15, 10
Standing Calf Raise 3 20, 15, 10

ABS

Exercise Sets Reps
One-Arm Cable Crunch 3/Side 15-20
Ab Wheel 2 TO FAILURE

WEEK 5

SHOULDER-FOCUSED

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Lateral Raise 4 20, 16, 12, 8
-superset with- Flat-Bench Flye 3 15
Bentover Lateral Raise 4 16, 14, 12, 10
-superset with- Pushup 3 15
Wide-Grip Upright Row 3 14, 12, 10
-superset with- Barbell Curl 2 15
Seated Press 3 14, 12, 10
Shrug 2 15

CALVES

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise 3 20, 15, 10
Standing Calf Raise** 3 20, 15, 10

This Zac Efron “Baywatch” Workout will help you Add Size, Gain Strength, & Burn Tons of Fat in the next five weeks. Are you ready to take this 2017 “Baywatch” Challenge?

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