Sylvester Stallone has been an icon of the movie screens for decades.
The Rocky and Rambo movie series set Sly firmly on a pedestal of having the ultimate male physique that millions of guys worldwide would then strive to attain in the gym.
The more you learn about Stallone the more you simply have to admire him. The dedication, the discipline, the hard work and sacrifice to transform his body in such a dramatic fashion.
For myself and I’m sure many others would say what makes Sly stand out is his transformation is forever tied to the evolution of his on screen characters.
From the first Rocky and Rambo movies you can see his body evolve as the character evolves.
In Rambo and Rocky both released at around the same time late 70’s early 80’s with Sly aged 31 you could tell he worked out.
But then by the time Rambo 2 and Rocky 2 rolled around his physique had dramatically changed!
From then on you had a sense that Sly had built his career on how he looked and presenting the “Ripped” physique on screen was not only what we the audience expected but also the standard he had set for himself.
So how did he first of all transform?
How did he do it so quickly?
What was his workout routine?
What did he eat?
Well the answers to the above questions may surprise you!
The sheer amount of work and immense discipline with diet to the extreme of which he took it.
Today Sly even reflects that it was way too much and more of a body dysmorphic obsession.
Still I would argue there are worse things you could be obsessed with!
But I do agree that the volume of training is too high and would not be considered an optimal workout these days, but you have to admire the work ethic.
Nowadays, he has a more balanced and scientific approach to training and nutrition. So here is an example of both:
“The Rocky and Rambo era”
Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Day 1, 3 and 5)
AM 2-3 Miles Jogging & 10 Rounds Sparring
Incline Bench Press 4 X (8-10 reps)
Dumbbell Flys 4 X (10-12reps)
Close Grip Bench Press 5 X (6-8 reps)
Wide Grip Chin Ups 6 X (8-10 reps)
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows 4 X (8-10 reps)
Close Grip Seated Rows 4 X (10-12 reps)
Ab Crunch Legs Raised 3 X (8-10 reps)
Hanging Leg Raises 3 x (8-10 reps)
Military Shoulder Press 4 X (8-10 reps)
Side Lateral Raises 4 X (10-12 reps)
Bent Over Dumbbell Flys 5 X (6-8 reps)
Barbell Curls 3 X (8-10 reps)
Incline Seated Dumbbell Curls 3 X (8-10 reps)
Concentration Curls 4 X (10-12 reps)
Tricep Dips (Whole Body Weight) 4 X (10-12 reps)
Single Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extensions 3 X (10-12 reps)
Cable Crunches With Rope 3 X (10 reps)
Hanging Leg Raises 3 X (8-10 reps)
Decline Bench Sit Ups 3 X (8-10 reps)
Oblique Crunches 3 X 6-8 reps
Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday ( Day 2, 4 and 6 )
Seated Calf Raises 4 X (8-10 reps)
Standing Calf Raises 4 X (10-12 reps)
Barbell Standing Calf Alternating Raises 5 X (8-12 reps)
Incline Leg Press 4 X (8-10 reps)
Squats 4 X (8-10 reps)
Seated Leg Extensions 4 X (8-10 reps)
Ham String Curls 4 X (10-12 reps)
Single Leg Extensions 4 X (10-12 reps)
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 X (10-12 reps)
Bent Over Dumbbell Raise 4 X (8-10 reps)
Cable Lateral Raises 4 X (10-12reps)
Reverse Pec Deck 4 X (8-12 reps of each side)
Barbell Shrugs Front 4 X (8-10 reps)
Barbell Upright Rows 4 X (8-10 reps)
Flat Bench Cable Rows To Neck 4 X (8-10 reps)
Ab Crunch 4 X (8 reps)
Oblique Crunches 4 X (10 reps)
Cable Crunch 4 X (10-12 reps)
These routines are brutal, pushing the body to its absolute limits, taking around 2 hours in the morning and then another 2 in the afternoon/evening. Training before movies in this way was a full time job for sly for around 4-6 month before a role.
Sly’s approach to nutrition in the early years was extreme to say the least often dieting for a film role he would consume around 200 kcals per day of only protein foods! He would then drink huge amounts of black coffee to fuel energy levels.
White Fish/Green Beans/Coffee
Pm: Amino Acid Formula/Coffee
Nowadays Sly is in his 60’s but still is in better shape than most 20 year olds.
Over the years Sly has learnt to feed his body and also to train in a more optimal way.
Allowing more rest and recovery in between training sessions and a more balanced diet consuming more nutrient packed foods but still with a high focus on protein to maintain muscle/metabolism and keeping carbs very low to keep his body fat level less than 10% to keep the ripped look.
Sly’s Training Now:
Warm Up Cardio 5 Mins (Any Machine)
Hanging leg Raises 2 x 15
Twisting Crunches 2 x 15
Incline Bench Flys 3 x 12
Push Ups 3 x 12
Lat Pulldowns 3 x 12
Dumbbell Rows 3 x 12
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 x 12
Smith Machine Squats 3 x 12
Leg Press 2 x 15
Leg Extensions 3 x 12
Cardio Finale: 20 Mins Steady Pace
Cardio Warm Up 5 Mins
Smith Machine Shoulder Press 2 x 15
Front Shoulder Raises 3 x 12
Upright rows 3 x 12
Chin ups 3 x 12
Barbell Curls 3 x 12
Tricep Push down 3 x 12
Over Head Rope Extensions 2 x 15
Tricep Dips 3 x 12
Cardio Finale 20 Mins Steady Pace
This kind of workout routine would be considered tough still by most peoples standards, but for Sly it has given him a way to balance his training and work life in such a way that has given him longevity and consistency in his body health wise and also physique.
Sly’s Nutrition Now:
Sly eats 6 meals each day mainly consisting of Protein based food and high fibre greens.
80% of his calories come from Proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish, steak and whey protein powders.
Sly has one treat meal each week normally a small bowl of Ice Cream during the game.
To maintain a lean physique like Stallone a Typical day would look something like this….
730am: 4 Egg Whites, 1 Piece Rye Bread
1030am Whey Protein Shake
130pm Chicken Spinach Salad
430pm Whey Protein
730pm Steak And Green Vegetables
Here is a link to an inspiration video with one of the most famous quotes from the Rocky movie, if this doesnt get you fired up to train and get in shape, nothing will 😉