We millennials grew up with Troy Bolton, but suddenly he graduated high school and made a fraternity somewhere in California. Looks like his basketball and singing career has gone athletic and musical for the worse.
If you aren’t familiar with High School Musical, then we’re talking about none other than Zachary David Alexander Efron, who starred in the film as main character Troy Bolton. A good eight years later, Zac Efron has maintained his shape, and then some.
In this article, we’ll be going over Zac Efron’s workout for the movie “Neighbors” and talk about what he did, how he dieted, and how you can get his physique.
Celebrity body transformations undergo a lot of speculation from the media and general social media users. As such, topics about steroids, muscle enhancement, and so on are a part of the picture and included in this article.
Unless otherwise stated, our opinions on Zac Efron’s “Natty or not” status is completely speculation.
We don’t want to discredit Zac’s workout and physique, but at the end of the day, he is an actor and looking good is part of the job.
What is Zac Efron?
What? Zac Efron is an object? Not exactly.
To figure out how his workout affects his body, we’ll have to start assessing Zac’s overall objective physique. This includes factors like skeletal structure, muscle insertions, genetics, height, age, and so on.
All of these factors add up to Zac’s overall appearance, and in some cases, even affects his entire workout and dietary routine. For the women reading this, look away. Zac Efron stands a whopping 5 feet and 8 inches, towering over everything in his path.
Sarcasm aside, Zac’s height is pretty average. Having a shorter height means that every pound of muscle you pack on your body is more visible, than say if you were 6’3’’ with longer arms and legs.
During the time “Neighbors” was filming, Zac Efron was about 27 years-old, so it’s safe to say that his body is producing more than enough testosterone naturally. According to reports, Zac was hovering around 160 pounds (72 kg) or more during the “Neighbors” movie production.
To put that into perspective, the average weight for 5’8’’ individuals in America is around the same, at 160-166 pounds (72-75 kg).
Zac Efron: His Genetics
Taking a closer look at Zac Efron, it’s time to evaluate the man’s genetics and natural physique.
Up front, Zac’s shoulder to waist ratio is slightly above average. This ratio is a very important asset to have if you want to look massive and wide. Broad shoulders increase your v-taper by increasing your upper body profile, and a thin waist completes the dorito-shape.
His best assets are definitely his abs, which are perfectly symmetrical and have great insertions. Muscle insertions are the lines that define your muscles, just like if you were to lay down on a net and leave with marks on your body. It works practically the same way, except the insertions are underneath your skin and around your body.
Although some might argue he looks buff, Zac Efron does not look massive. Simply put, his shoulder muscles are underdeveloped, particularly the lateral deltoids, and his pectoral muscles are not the widest nor the largest.
But hey, he’s playing a college student here. For his role, he looks absolutely golden.
Zac Efron Workout Routine
So, what did our Hollywood star go through to look like this for his role in “Neighbors”? Well, we’ve done all the grunt work for you and gathered his entire workout routine. Not only that, we’ll also explain his exercise, what they do for you, and how many of them you should do at every set.
Zac’s workout spans across three days: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This gives him enough time to rest between each day, and the freedom to enjoy the weekends.
Reverse Pyramid Training
Before we get into the meaty details of the workout, let’s first go over a specific training technique that Zac Efron employs in his routine.
Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT) is a workout technique that focuses on making you stronger, more so than the conventional workout.
To differentiate this, let’s start by going over how typical workout sessions or sets go. A normal set would look something like 12 reps for 3 sets at the same weight. This means you lift the same weight a total of 36 times for that one exercise.
RPT workouts on the other hand, start you off with a much heavier weight while only expecting you to lift about 4-6 reps first. Ideally, you should no longer be able to do more than 6 reps, due to how heavy the weight is. So that you fatigue and stop at 6 reps, you’re forced to lift heavier weights—unlike if you did 12 reps of the same weight to achieve the same level of fatigue.
From there, your next set is between 6-8 reps with a lighter weight. And after that, the third set also starts off with a weight that’s lighter than the second set, with a rep range of 8-10. Although you’ll only be doing at most 18-24 reps, unlike the traditional method of 36 reps, you’ll be lifting heavier weight with RPT training.
Zac Efron does a lot of this, in fact, most of his workouts use the RPT technique. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets begin with the first day of the week.
Monday — Shoulders, Back & Arms
With the arms, shoulders, and back, Zac’s Monday routine has everything targeted out. Considering that Monday is generally seen as one of the most hated days of the week, starting off your weekly workout routine with exercise you enjoy doing is a smart idea.
The arms and shoulders are two muscle groups that rank among the top muscles that individuals like to train. For Zac Efron’s Monday routine, here’s what we’re looking at:
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Pull ups or Chin ups: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Skull Crushers: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Hammer Curls: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Cable Curls: 12-15 reps + 4 sets of 3-5 reps (Rest Pause)
Not too bad. Zac’s workout is relatively simple to follow, and in all honesty, there’s a lot of value to doing a simple workout. You don’t need to do complex or compound movements all the time. If you want to build muscle or look great, isolating your muscles with simple but effective exercises does a fantastic job.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
First, we got the seated dumbbell shoulder press. This exercise targets your triceps and lateral deltoids—your side shoulder muscle—all while utilizing basic dumbbells. Nothing too complicated here, but start off with a light weight if you’ve never done this type of training before.
Shoulder muscles can take a lot of stress, but the wrong movement with a heavy weight can cause injury which takes weeks to months to recover from. Take the extra 5 minutes to start off with a lighter weight, just so you can perfect the form.
Start by sitting on a bench while holding onto two dumbbells. Once you’re ready, position the dumbbells head-level with your shoulders stretched to the side and your elbows locked in a 90 degree angle. You should look like you’re surrendering to the cops, except you’re holding two dumbbells next to your head. After that, raise the dumbbell up into a full extension. Your elbows do not have to lock at the top. Be careful and take it slow on the way down to take advantage of the eccentric motion.
Repeat this exercise starting with your heaviest weight with 4 to 6 reps per exercise. After that, take a couple of kilos or pounds off the dumbbell and do 6 to 8 reps, then 8 to 10 for the final set.
Pull Ups or Chin Ups
Before we dive into this exercise, I’d like to take a moment and clarify something. Zac Efron’s workout states “Pull ups or Chin ups” but these two workouts target completely different muscle groups even though they look very similar.
With a chin up, you’re using a supinated grip, which engages the bicep and chest muscles. Supinated means your palm is basically facing up or toward your face. In former IFBB Pro Greg Doucette terms—supinate simply means you can hold a can of soup. To do a chin up, you start by grabbing the bar with your hands at shoulder-width apart from each other with your palms facing your face. Pull yourself up and you should feel the strain on your biceps and chest.
On the other hand, not quite literally, pull ups have your palms face away from you in a pronated grip. This engages your back muscles, targeting the lats and shoulders. Furthermore, pull ups generally have arms farther apart from each other unlike a chin up. To do a pull up, place your hands on the bar in the same orientation you would bench a barbell. Shoulder-width apart, plus a couple of 8 inches away on each hand. Pull yourself up slowly with the use of your back muscles. I recommend using a pull up machine for this, since those push you up to decrease your overall weight.
Zac Efron does either of these two exercises for 4 to 6 reps with the heaviest weight, 6 to 8 a plate down, and 8 to 10 for the last set.
Now, contrary to the name itself, you don’t actually want to crush your skull. Skullcrushers are a great tricep exercise that keeps your triceps at tension all throughout the motion.
Start by situating yourself over a bench with a pair of dumbbells on each hand. Lay down with your head at the edge of the bench and lift the dumbbells right in front of your face in a neutral hand position. The neutral position simply means the same way you would hold up an ice cream cone. From there, move the dumbbells slightly higher, directly above your beautiful face. After that, slowly bend your elbows and move your arm closer to your face together with the dumbbell, until the weight is right on top of your head (while you’re lying down of course).
Bring the dumbbell up slowly again back into the position before you bent your elbows. Repeat this for 4 to 6 reps with your heaviest weight, and do 6 to 8 reps with a weight lower, and then finally 8 to 10 reps to complete the circuit.
When talking about curls and biceps, the traditional bicep curl is often what comes to mind. While that iconic exercise is a great way to exercise and target your bicep, it doesn’t do that much for your forearm.
A bicep curl doesn’t not only rely on a bicep, but on your forearms to be strong enough to hold up the weight. Yes, your bicep lifts up the dumbbell, but your forearm is what’s keeping it in your hand.
Hammer curls are a great way to target your bicep and forearm at the same time, and thankfully it isn’t a complex movement. It’s basically a bicep curl with a neutral hand grip, so instead of holding the dumbbell with your palm facing up, hold your dumbbell the same way you would an ice cream cone. Repeat this exercise for 4 to 6 reps, then 6 to 8, and finally 8 to 10 or until failure to complete the RPT set.
Last but not the least, the cable curls are a very underrated bicep exercise that doesn’t get enough credit. A traditional bicep curl is you lifting the dumbbell against gravity. For cable curls, it’s you against gravity and the cable that’s pulling the weight away from you.
You can do this in two ways, so we’ll start with the barbell version. Go ahead and pick up a bar from the bottom of a cable machine. Stand about 3 to 4 feet away from the machine, and lift the bar just like a regular barbell curl. This type of cable curls adds the benefit of the weight being pulled from your hands even at the highest point of the bar, which is non-existent with regular barbells.
Alternatively, you can also simulate a dumbbell bicep curl with a cable machine. Depending on your machine, you can do both arms at the same time, but grab a handle bar from the top area of the cable machine. After that, pull and curl just like a regular dumbbell. If you need help imagining this motion, think of Captain America in Civil War when he pulls the helicopter.
This exercise is the only one in the Monday routine that does not follow the RPT cycle. So do this for 12 to 15 reps with 4 extra sets of 3 to 5 reps at a Rest Pause pace. If you’re unfamiliar with the Rest Pause technique, it basically means you rest for 5 to 10 seconds and do 3 to 5 reps. Rest again and rep out the exercise again. This extra push squeezes out every ounce of strength in your muscles.
After all of that, you can finally take a rest because the Monday routine is now over! Take a break, even a cold shower once you’re done and take Tuesday as recovery day as well.
Wednesday – Legs & Shoulders Isolation
Too bad articles have no sense of time. It’s Wednesday already! For Zac’s Wednesday session, this routine targets the legs and shoulders (again).
It’s a refreshing sight to write about a celebrity transformation that dedicates exercises for his legs. Quite surprisingly, we do see some more shoulder action for this Wednesday. Shoulders can take a lot of stress and exercises, but making sure you avoid injury is the number one priority.
Here’s Zac Efron’s Wednesday workout routine:
- Sumo Deadlift: 3-4 and 4-5 reps (RPT)
- Bulgarian Split Squat: 6-8 and 8-10 (RPT)
- Calf Raises: 12, 10, 8, and 6 (SP)
- Lateral Raises: 12-15 reps + 4 sets of 3-5 reps (Rest Pause)
- Bent Over Flyes: 12-15 reps + 4 sets of 3-5 reps (Rest Pause)
There’s a lot to go over here, especially with the sumo deadlift. Legs aren’t the world’ favorite muscle group to exercise, but there’s a lot of good movements here that should be fun to do.
The words sumo and deadlift don’t really sound like they belong together, but this exercise is a variation for the books.
Just like a regular deadlift, you’ll want to position yourself close to the bar. However, instead of putting your feet close to each other, spread them at least a meter apart from each other. Bend over while keeping your back straight but bending your knees almost like a squat. Grab the barbell and pull up the weight with your quads and hamstrings while simultaneously straightening your back. Once you’ve reached the peak, lower the weight back to the ground for the next rep.
Repeat this for only two sets at 3 to 4 reps with your heaviest weight and 4 to 5 reps with a lighter weight after that.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Another great quad exercise, the Bulgarian split squat targets your quads in a maneuver that combines a squat and a lunge.
First, look for an available bench in your gym or a nearby stool if you’re at home. Stand about three feet away from the side of the bench. Facing away from the bench, lift one leg up behind you and rest your foot sole-side up on the bench. If you need a visual here, think of how women in the old movies raised their legs when they were kissed—that’s pretty much how you should look like, except you’re kissing fitness! After that, with your leg that’s standing up straight and supporting your entire body, do a squat and lower your body with that one leg.
Repeat the squat for 6 to 8 reps per leg before taking a rest. After that, do this again for just 8 to 10 reps (RPT) and proceed to the next exercise.
While we’ve seen that guy in the gym with huge arms and shoulders with basically non-existent legs, we’re happy to report that Zac Efron is not that guy.
This exercise targets your calves, which is always a great muscle to look at for the people checking you out from behind. To do this, simply stand on your toes for a few seconds before going down. Yes. It’s an overglorified tiptoe. But hey, it works. Feel free to grab a weight that’s heavy enough for you to make this exercise feel challenging.
Repeat this for 12, 10, 8, and then 6 reps. This follows the standard pyramid training of working out with the same weight but decreasing the total rest time to utilize the fatigue.
We’ve gone over this exercise multiple times in many of our other actor workout breakdowns, but lateral raises are a great motion for isolating and building your lateral delts.
The lateral deltoids refer to the shoulder muscles at your side, which is responsible for broadening and increasing your frame. You can do this with a cable machine or a dumbbell—even a rubber band works. Simply start with the weight at rest next to your hips held with a neutral grip. After that, raise your arm sideways while keeping your elbows locked and straight.
Repeat this for 12 to 15 reps with 4 additional Rest Pause sets of 3 to 5 reps. That should get your shoulders burning in no time.
Bent Over Flyes
Moving on to the final exercise of the day, we’ve got the bent over flyers. This motion targets your posterior deltoid (your back shoulders) which is the most commonly underdeveloped shoulder muscle.
Start by leaning over with your knees a little bit buckled and your back straight. Position your two dumbbells at rest in front of your face with your arms completely facing downwards. Squeeze your posterior shoulder muscles before raising the weight up all the way to the side. Keep your arms straight during this entire movement and slowly bring the weight back down—remember to capitalize on the eccentric movements!
This workout continues for 12 to 5 reps, just like the previous one, with 4 extra sets at 3 to 5 reps each with the Rest Pause technique.
Friday – Chest & Arms
Last but not the least, we have the Friday workout that targets the chest and the arms. Considering that Zac is a party boy in the film, it’s only natural that his workout on a Friday is something that pumps his arms and chest.
A workout can pump your muscles up, especially after an intense routine, making you look bigger and more muscular. Here’s what Zac Efron has on his itinerary for Friday:
- Incline Bench Press: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Flat Bench Press: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Barbell Curls: 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 reps (RPT)
- Cable Rope Push Downs: 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps (SP)
- Cable Rope Curls: 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps (SP)
Nothing out of the ordinary here. We have the Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT) sets and some Standard Pyramid (SP) sets.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press targets your upper pectoral muscles, which adds to the definition of your chest to your shoulders.
To do this compound exercise, you’ll want to raise the bench up above 30 degrees from its normal flat height. From there, lean your back into the bench comfortably, hold the barbell with your hands shoulder-width plus several inches apart. You should look like you’re surrendering to the police. Lift up the barbell directly upward and bring it down slowly on top of your chest.
Lift the barbell until your arms are straight. That counts as one rep, do this for 4 to 6 reps with your heaviest weight, then 6 to 8 with a weight lower, and 8 to 10 for your final set (RPT).
Flat Bench Press
The traditional flat bench press exercise works just like the previous exercise, except without the incline.
The motion shouldn’t be too complicated, especially after you’ve done the incline bench press already. Just lay on a flat bench and hold the barbell the same way, shoulder-width plus several extra inches apart. Lift until your arms and straight and lower down the weight slowly to take advantage of the eccentric action.
This exercise also follows the Reverse Pyramid technique, so do 4 to 6 reps of your heaviest weight before lowering the plates and doing 6 to 8, then 8 to 10.
We’re only at the 3rd to the last exercise and we’ve only now gotten to the barbell curls. I guess some people just prefer saving the best for last.
Barbell curls are an excellent way to workout the biceps without having to deal with the muscle imbalance of dumbbells. Because you have one long bar to work with, lifting the entire thing requires equal strength. You can do this with a preacher bench, standing up, or even sitting down. Simply grab a barbell with your hands a shoulder width apart and tuck your elbows close to your sides before curling the weight up.
Do this for 4 to 6 reps with your heaviest weight following the RPT method. Then 6 to 8 reps, and 8 to 10 finals reps for the third and last set.
Cable Rope Push Downs
Cable ropes make great machines for bicep and tricep exercises. Push downs are to triceps what curls are to biceps.
To do a push down, grab a rope from the top of a cable machine. Your resting position will have your elbows tucked to your sides locked at a 90 degree angle. Push the rope down until your arms are fully extended and straight. Bring the rope back up slowly for the eccentric motion.
Repeat this for the standard reps of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps for the final set.
Cable Rope Curls
Down to the last exercise, we have another bicep workout that utilizes the cable machine.
You can do this exercise in two ways, either with a barbell bar or a dumbbell grip. For this movement, we’ll focus on the barbell version. To start, grab a bar from the bottom of the cable machine and stand about three to four feet away. Curl the bar like a normal bicep curl while leaning slightly backwards.
Do this for 12 reps, then 10 and 8, before finishing the fourth set with 6 reps. Since this follows the standard pyramid method, use the same weight throughout the whole exercise.
Frequently Asked Questions About Zac Efron Neighbor Workout
How do you get Zac Efron physique?
Working out a decent amount plus dieting down to a low body fat will get you a Zac Efron physique.
Does Zac Efron do cardio?
Although it isn’t on his official workout for Neighbors, we believe that Zac Efron does cardio sessions. Especially for his recent movies.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
Zac Efron looks amazing and has definitely glown up from his role in High School Musical. The actor has been known to keep a relatively fit physique on and off film. If you want to look like Zac Efron, your best bet is to make fitness into a lifestyle choice.