Sylvester Stallone is one of modern cinema’s great action heroes. He first shot to fame in Rocky in 1976, and then continued his success through the Rocky franchise as well as the Rambo series, which started with the drawing of First Blood in 1982.
Stallone’s physical appearance altered significantly between his first and second Rambo films, from 1982 to 1985. How come? Sly Stallone actually only started working out for Rambo: First Blood Part II, six weeks before filming started.
Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu Helps Sly Bulk Up
Stallone hired Franco Columbu, an Olympic weight lifter who won the title Mr. Olympia several times from 1974 to 1981, to help him bulk up and develop his muscular body that he became most famous for in Rambo: First Blood Part II and the later Rocky films.
Sylvester Stallone’s weight training routines were intensive, and therefore split over the week. He also trained twice a day, training different body parts each time. To undertake such a training program strict adherence to diet, rest, sleep and good form in training is essential to avoid over-training and injury.
Sylvester Stallone’s Weight Training Schedule
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays he splits his training into two sessions per day as follows:
Stallone’s Morning Training:
Chest, back and abs workouts, including bench presses, lateral pull downs and crunches.
Stallone’s Afternoon Training:
Shoulders, arms and more abs, including military presses, lateral raises, bicep curls and tricep extensions, and more crunches and leg raises.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays Stallone also trained morning and afternoon:
Stallone’s Morning Training:
Calves and thighs, including calf raises and squats.
Rear deltoids, traps and more abs, including rear deltoid / bent-over rows, shoulder presses, upright rows and more crunches.
Stallone’s routine was a very intensive six days per week with a double split, which is the style of weight training that professional bodybuilders use when competing – not surprising, seeing that he employed a professional bodybuilder to guide him.
Sly followed a standard 8-12 repetition with 3-4 sets pattern. He did 3 to 4 exercises per body part. Each day he varied the exercises using instinctive training, to keep the muscles form falling into a routine, and ensuring a plateau was not reached too soon. He also exercised his abs furiously, with abdominal routines daily.
Sylvester Stallone’s Ab Training
Sly Stallone’s abdominal workout consisted of a total of 1000 repetitions, by training four different areas with combinations of sit-ups, leg raises, side leg raises and side bends. Often 50 reps of each exercise would be done for each 5 sets, i.e. 5 sets of 200 exercises. This was old school circuit training done to the extreme, which any military training instructor / drill sergeant would be proud of.
Sylvester Stallone Training Mentality
Sylvester Stallone learned how to train like a professional with the help of Franco Columbu, and he built on these training routines throughout his career to build himself up into one of Hollywood’s greatest action heroes. Sylvester Stallone is certainly one of the 20th Century’s great action heroes, and by following his workouts and nutrition advice, you too can sculpt the body of an action hero.