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Sylvester Stallone dominated the box office from the late 70s as the premier action star.

From his humble beginnings in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, he rose to fame with his iconic story of Rocky Balboa in 1977.

The movie’s powerful underdog story and training montages skyrocketed the film to global success.

Stallone became an instant star and with that, a fitness icon.

This success launched a career spanning nearly 40 years and $4 billion at the box office.

To this day, he remains in phenomenal shape for his roles.

But how does he do it?

Today, I’m going to share a Sylvester Stallone workout routine and diet plan. 

You’ll learn about what he’s done to get in shape for past roles. From there, I’ll give you workout and diet examples to try on your own. 

Let’s jump in.

Sylvester Stallone Current Bio And Stats

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Sylvester Stallone body

Sylvester Stallone is an actor, producer, and screenwriter famous for his roles in Rocky, The Expendables, and Rambo.

With the meteoric rise to fame off the back of his screenplay and portrayal of Rocky Balboa, Stallone earned himself an Oscar nomination.

The picture went on to win Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing at the 1977 Oscars.

Since then, Stallone has become a box office juggernaut, inspiring millions to push the limits both in fitness and life.

  • Age: 76
  • Height: 177cm (5’8)
  • Weight: 185lbs – 195lb (83.9kg – 88.5kg)
  • Birthday: July 6, 1946
  • Occupation: Actor, Producer, Screenwriter, Businessman
  • Retired/Active: Active

Sylvester Stallone Workout Fundamentals

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Stallone began training with 1976 Mr. Olympia Champion, Franco Columbu, when filming Rocky 2.

Stallone was a chiropractic client of Columbu’s and requested his assistance getting in shape for Rambo 2 as well.

Columbu had Stallone perform a body-building routine where he would train twice a day, focusing on one to two muscle groups in the morning and evening. 

Stallone stuck to this routine six days a week, with Sundays for rest. 

During Rocky 3, Sly lost 30lbs in 10 months, dropping his body fat from 14% to 2.9%.

To achieve this, he would undergo a training routine that he himself has noted to be “very dangerous.”

His diet at the time consisted of oatmeal cookies made with brown rice, along with a couple of scoops of tuna.

His eating is based on consuming easily digestible proteins and avoiding foods that his stomach will find difficult to handle, such as red meat.

To keep his energy up during filming, he drank over 20 cups of coffee with honey per day. A serving of honey contains up to 64 calories.

Even if he went out in the evenings, he would drive home to train no matter what time it was.

He wanted to go a sleek and more cut look, increasing his conditioning for Rocky 3.

Daily Schedule

TimeExercise
Morning3-mile run, 15 Rounds of Sparring, 2 Hours Resistance Training, 1000 Rep Ab Circuit, and Skipping
MiddayEat, Nap
AfternoonRun, Resistance Training, Long Swim

His competitiveness and addiction to exercise spurred him to train regardless of his busy filming schedule.

During this time, Sylvester Stallone undoubtedly pushed himself to his limit.

He admitted to being light-headed and that the routine was dangerous.

To combat this, Sly would perform handstands while filming Rocky 3 to help the blood go back to his head.

Sylvester Stallone Workout Routine  

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During his time training for Rocky 3, Stallone took a more condition-based routine. 

His resistance training consisted of the following schedule and routine below.

DayMorningAfternoon
MondayChest/Back/AbsShoulders/Arms/ Abs
TuesdayCalves/ThighsDeltoids/Traps/Abs
WednesdayChest/Back/AbsShoulders/Arms/Abs
ThursdayCalves/ThighsDeltoids/Traps/Abs
FridayChest/Back/AbsShoulders/Arms/Abs
SaturdayCalves/ThighsDeltoids/Traps/Abs
SundayRestRest

1,000 Rep Circuit

This has been described as a “1,000 rep circuit” without guidelines. 

Below is a list of sets and reps recommended should you wish to take the challenge.

We recommended performing them in a superset, one exercise after the other with a brief rest after each round.

ExercisesSets and RepsRest
Lying Leg Raises5 x 50
Ab Crunches5 x 50
Side Leg Raises5 x 50
Dumbbell Side Bends5 x 5090 – 120 sec after each round

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Mornings: Chest, Back, and Abs

ExerciseSets and RepsRest
Incline Bench Press4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Dumbbell Flys4 x 8-1230 – 45 sec
Close-Grip Bench Press5 x 6-830 – 45 sec
Wide-Grip Chin-Ups6 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Bent-Over One-Arm Lateral Raise4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Close-Grip Seated Row4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec
Raised Leg Crunches3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Seated Extensions3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Afternoon: Shoulders, Arms, and Abs

ExerciseSets and RepsRest
Military Press4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Lateral Raise4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec
Bent-over Dumbbell Flys5 x 6-830 – 45 sec
Barbell Curls3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Concentration Curls4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec
Lying Dumbbell-Raises3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Bent-Over One-Arm Lateral Raises3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Cable Pulldowns3 x 1030 – 45 sec
Alternate Leg Raises3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Decline Bench Sit-ups3 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Oblique Crunches3 x 6-830 – 45 sec

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Morning: Calves and Thighs

ExerciseSets and RepsRest
Seated Calf Raises4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Standing Calf Raises4 10-1230 – 45 sec
Standing Barbell Alternate Calf Raises5 x 8-1230 – 45 sec
Incline Leg Press4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Squats4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Seat Leg Extensions4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Leg Curls4 x 8-1230 – 45 sec
Leg Extensions4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec
Stiff Leg Deadlift4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Afternoon: Rear Deltoids, Traps, and Abs

ExerciseSets and RepsRest
Bent-Over Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Cable Crossovers4 10-1230 – 45 sec
Reverse Pec Deck Flys5 x 8-1230 – 45 sec
Barbell Shrugs (Front)4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Barbell Upright Rows4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Flat Bench Cable Rows to Neck4 x 8-1030 – 45 sec
Ab Crunches4 x 830 – 45 sec
Oblique Crunches4 x 1030 – 45 sec
Cable Crunches4 x 10-1230 – 45 sec

Sylvester Stallone Dieting and Food Preferences

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While Sylvester Stallone adopted some hellish training routines in his earlier films (Rocky 3, 4, and Rambo 2), he would go on to have a more balanced approach later in his career.

In an interview in 1994, he stated that he has used calorie restrictions to not only improve his physique but to alter his mood. It was easier to act angry in a scene if he was hungry.

He dropped to 1,100 calories over three days to achieve this.

Conversely, he says that for his action scenes, he would load up on starchy food such as pancakes, French toast, pasta, and oatmeal. He claims this made him feel powerful.

While many of his earlier films pushed him to the limit, this is not recommended.

However, we can take similar nutrition principles and apply healthy boundaries.

Below is a breakdown of recommended nutrition for healthy weight loss and muscle to achieve that Sylvester Stallone body.  

Sylvester Stallone Macronutrients 

Here is a list of recommended macros, which will help you cut the additional fat while healthily gaining and maintaining muscle mass.

MacronutrientPercentage
Protein40%
Carbohydrates40%
Fats15-20%

Recommended Calories 

Sylvester Stallone’s calorie intake over the course of his career has been less than ideal.

So here are some recommended calories targets to ensure your body has enough fuel, should you choose to undertake this workout.

The recommended intake for men is listed at 2,500 calories and 2,000 for women. 

Research illustrates that an additional 15% is required for muscle hypertrophy. 

That equates to 2,875 calories for men and 2,300 for women.

These figures are based on training four to six days per week.

That said, I’m not encouraging you to undertake the full twice-per-day Sylvester Stallone workout routine, as it can be extremely dangerous. 

MealFood
Pre-BreakfastA Glass of Liquid Aminos 
Breakfast3 Egg Whites, Half a Yolk, Toasted Pumpernickel Bread, Fresh Papaya, and Figs 
LunchBroiled Chicken Skin Off, Roasted Squash, Salad, Figs, Berries
DinnerBroiled Fish, Salad, High Fiber Toasted Bread, Veal on occasion

Need some help increasing your calorie intake? Check out A Healthy 3000 Calorie Meal Plan with PDF 

Sylvester Stallone Diet Plan

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Sylvester Stallone diet plan

Being extremely competitive and a lover of physical fitness, Stallone is in great shape between roles. 

As such, his diet consists mainly of high protein and carbohydrates with moderate to low fat intake.

This helps him to build and maintain muscle mass while fueling his body.

The meal below is a representation of the Sylvester Stallone diet plan.

Meal 1

  • 3 egg white, half a yolk, toasted pumpernickel bread
  • Bread, fresh papaya, and figs

Meal 2

  • Broiled chicken (no skin), roasted squash, salad, figs, berries

Snack

  • Glass of liquid aminos

Meal 3

  • Broiled fish, salad, high fiber toast, veal on occasion

Sylvester Stallone Supplement Preferences

Sylvester Stallone supplements

Little is known about Sylvester Stallone’s supplements during the earlier stages of his career.

However, with his many acting roles in the past decade, which see him training into his 70s, he has since disclosed some of the supplements he uses to maintain building muscle.

  • Whey protein
  • BCAAs
  • Mass gainer
  • Fat burner

Stallone also explained his use of human growth hormone (HGH) during his training for Rambo in 2008.

As stated in an interview with Time magazine, “Anyone who calls it a steroid is grossly misinformed.”

“Testosterone to me is so important for a sense of well-being when you get older.”

“Everyone over 40 years old would be wise to investigate it because it increases the quality of your life. Mark my words. In 10 years it will be over the counter.”

While I don’t recommend the use of a controlled substance, It’s important to illustrate what Sly was taking to give you the full picture of how he looks so good in his 70s. 

Do you need to increase your protein intake? Check out 25 Protein Boosters To Increase Your Protein

Final Thoughts

Sylvester Stallone’s career from the very beginning has been nothing short of inspirational.

His dedication to both his acting career and his physical transformation is almost unmatched to this day.

And while Sly’s pursuit to get leaner and stronger was extremely dangerous, there is no doubt that he is one of the most dedicated lifters we have ever seen.

So, are you thinking of trying Stallone’s workout routine and diet plan?

If so, I recommend reducing the workload. Increase your calorie and protein intake, and get enough sleep and recovery.

If you’re thinking about or are undertaking the Sylvester Stallone workout, let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with any Stallone fans you know. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Stallone get ripped?

Stallone gets ripped for his role with intense conditioning routines.

For Rocky 3 and Rambo 2, he set his calories dangerously low, consuming oatmeal cookies containing brown rice and tuna, and 25 cups of coffee with honey.

He ran three miles in the morning, resistance-trained in the mornings and evening, with an additional run and swim in the afternoon. 

What was Sylvester Stallone’s workout routine for Rambo?

How did Stallone get ripped?
Stallone gets ripped for his role with intense conditioning routines.

For Rocky 3 and Rambo 2, he set his calories dangerously low, consuming oatmeal cookies containing brown rice and tuna, and 25 cups of coffee with honey.

He ran three miles in the morning, resistance-trained in the mornings and evening, with an additional run and swim in the afternoon. 

Does Sylvester Stallone do cardio?

Sylvester Stallone has long been using high-intensity training techniques for his conditioning.

To this day, he still boxes and makes cardio a part of his training routine. 

How did Sylvester Stallone train for Rocky?

Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky workouts varied each movie, with each installment pushing him to new limits. 

Stallone has always been seen as a dedicated lifter.
However, his training conditioning for Rocky 3 and Rocky 4 reached a dangerous level, with low-calorie intakes and an intense training schedule.

He even damaged his heart in Rocky 4 during the montage scene.   

Who trained Sylvester Stallone?

Franco Columbu began training Stallone in 1977. Stallone was a chiropractic patient on Columbu’s before asking him to train for his upcoming roles in the Rocky and Rambo sequels.

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