Sylvester Stallone’s Workout & Diet (Rocky, Rambo & More!)

Who hasn't heard of Sylvester Stallone? Blockbuster franchises like Rocky and Rambo have made Sly one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood history.

Stallone not only starred in Rocky, but he wrote it as well! That's pretty impressive.

However, what is equally impressive is his amazing physique. Stallone's figure is among the most recognizable to have ever graced Hollywood.

He's in the same class as other actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, and The Rock.

We’ll learn more about the Sylvester Stallone workout routines and diet plans in the article below to see if that Rocky 4 physique is possible.

How did he get there? How did the Rocky Balboa actor build and maintain all that muscle mass? Was it just the luck of the draw with genetics?

Not even close. Sly Stallone got his god-like physique through sheer hard work and dedication.

Sly stuck to a workout routine and diet plan that any of us can also stick to. Yes, even you can do the Sylvester Stallone Rocky workout program.

Chest, Back, and Abs – (Monday, Wednesday, & Friday Mornings)

  • Incline Bench Press (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Flys (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Close-grip Bench Press (5 sets, 6-8 reps)
  • Wide-grip Chin Ups (6 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Bent-over One-arm Lateral Raises (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Close-grip Seated Rows (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Raised Leg Crunches (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Seated Extension (3 sets, 8-10 reps)

Shoulders, Arms, and Abs (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Afternoon)

  • Military Press (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Side Lateral Raises (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Bent-over Dumbbell-Flys (5 sets, 6-8 reps)
  • Barbell Curls (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Seated Incline-dumbbell-curls (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Concentration Curls (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Lying Dumbbell-raises (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Bent-over One-arm Lateral Raises (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Cable Pull Downs (3 sets, 10 reps)
  • Alternate Leg Raise (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Decline Bench Sit-ups (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Oblique Crunches (3 sets, 6-8 reps)

Calves and Thighs (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Morning)

  • Seated Calf-raises (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Standing Calf-raises (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Standing Barbell Alternate Calf-raises (5 sets, 8-12 reps)
  • Incline Leg-press (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Squats (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Seated Leg-extensions (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Leg Curls (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Leg Extensions (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift (4 sets, 10-12 reps)

Rear Deltoids, Traps, and Abs (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Afternoon)

  • Bent-over Dumbbell Rear-Delt Raise (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Cable Crossovers (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  • Reverse Pec-deck Flyes (5 sets, 8-12 reps)
  • Barbell Shrugs-front (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Barbell Upright-rows (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Flat-bench Cable-rows to Neck (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Ab Crunch (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Oblique Crunches (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Cable Crunch (4 sets, 10-12 reps)

Sunday: Rest

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and Rambo

Who Is Sylvester Stallone? (Rocky, Rambo, Creed & More!)

Since he portrayed the lead in his own screenplay for Rocky, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1976, Sylvester Enzio Stallone has gained notoriety on a global scale as an actor, screenwriter, and director.

Since that landmark film, the Rocky franchise has expanded to five additional installments.

In 2006, Sylvester Stallone wrapped up the series with Rocky Balboa, a critical and commercial success that firmly established Stallone and Rocky as famous cultural icons.

A monument of Rocky Balboa was even unveiled at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum's now-famous steps at a dedication ceremony presided over by the mayor to honor a character that has become as real as any to moviegoers across the world.

In addition to the Rocky movie, Sylvester is also known for the Rambo movies.

Twenty-five years after the release of First Blood, Stallone wrote, directed, and acted in Rambo, which continued the infamous story of Vietnam veteran John Rambo.

He also created, directed, and starred in The Expendables, one of his most ambitious films. Sly is known for his role as Barney Ross in the Expendables movies.

The expendables included an all-star cast of Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lungren, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The films Rocky II and Paradise Alley are two of Stallone's acting, writing, and directing credits.

In addition to starring in Nighthawks, Victory, Tango & Cash, and Lock Up, he co-wrote, directed, and produced the film Staying Alive.

Stallone starred in and wrote the 1990 film Rocky V, which John Avildsen also directed.

Demolition Man, which he also starred in, broke box office records when it was released in the fall of 1993.

2015’s Creed was shot on location in Philadelphia and featured Stallone reprising his role as Rocky Balboa opposite actor Michael B. Jordan.

The role earned Stallone an Academy Award nomination in 2016.

See Related - Chris Pratt's Workout & Diet

Current Body Stats






185 lbs




17 inches


39 inches


44 inches

Younger Sylvester Stallone shirtless

Sylvester Stallone's Workout and Training Principles

When getting ready to play Rocky Balboa or in preparation for any film, Sylvester Stallone wanted to train full out, just as if he were preparing for the Mr. Olympia contest.

That meant two workouts a day, six days a week. He focused on every major muscle group, including the forearms, traps, shoulders, triceps core, and quads.

Sly’s intense training regimen has a “full-body” approach with strenuous exercises, including deadlifts and squats, and minimal rests between the sets.

While training, Sly follows the maximum effort method. This means he does as many reps as possible until he can’t do anymore.

He trains to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass simultaneously. Thanks to his relentless will and a focused fitness schedule, Stallone has maintained his impressive body, even into his 70s.

Also Check Out - Joe Rogan's Workout & Diet Plan

Sylvester Stallone working out with weights

Accomplishments, Awards & Nominations

In addition to winning notoriety for his physique, Sylvester Stallone has been nominated for various awards, including Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and People's Choice Awards.

Academy Awards



Nominated work



Best Actor



Best Original Screenplay



Best Supporting Actor



BAFTA Awards



Nominated work



Best Actor in a Leading Role



Best Screenplay


Golden Globe Awards



Nominated work



Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama



Best Screenplay



Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture



Critics' Choice Movie Awards



Nominated work



Best Supporting Actor



People's Choice Awards



Nominated work



Favorite Movie Actor




F.I.S.T. and Paradise Alley



Rocky II



Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV


Sylvester Stallone received an award

Sylvester Stallone Diet Plan (Eat Like Rocky)

So, how similar is Sylvester Stallone's diet compared to Rocky's? Is he really chugging raw eggs every day?

You don't need to pair a crazy diet with the Sylvester Stallone workout to get in shape, do you?

Fortunately, you don’t. However, Stallone says the Rocky franchise can easily be compared to his personal life.

Throughout the series, the title character can be seen working out and dieting, and his body undergoes massive transformations.

He needed a diet to help him push through the complicated fight choreography.

However, in Rocky III, Stallone revealed that his very high protein diet wasn’t healthy and was too restrictive.

The diet was great for building lean body mass and shredding body fat, but it wasn’t healthy otherwise.

He mentioned that the diet for that movie didn’t provide him with enough energy, and he had to do handstands in between the rounds to get blood in his head.

Sly has admitted how dangerous this was and does not advocate for such a diet that can cause malnutrition and other health complications.

Fortunately, Stallone changed his food plan to something healthier and more sustainable.

Let’s look at Sylvester Stallone's diet plan when he filmed Rambo 4, Rocky Balboa, and the first Expendables.


To start the day, Sylvester Stallone would have a glass of liquid BCAAs or amino acids.


For breakfast, Sly could have Irish oatmeal, three egg whites, half yoke, toasted pumpernickel bread, fresh papaya, and a few figs.


Following breakfast, Stallone could have broiled skinless chicken, salad, roasted summer squash, and figs or berries.


Finally, for dinner, Sly could have high-fiber toasted bread, broiled fish, salad, and veal on occasion.

This diet is much more sustainable, and it's a diet most people can follow. It is a practical, healthy, and well-balanced food plan great for muscle growth.

It's a far cry from his diet of nothing but tuna fish and brown rice cookies, which can be a very dangerous thing.

Stallone has also written a nutrition book called ‘Sly Moves.’ In it, you can get a first-hand look at Sly’s journey with food.

The book discusses the importance of drinking water and having cheat days when on a diet.

Sylvester Stallone Eating a Meal with Arnold Schwarzenegger

What Supplements Does Sylvester Stallone Take?

The central part of Sly’s supplement stack is protein.[1] Our muscles and body need protein to rebuild and add mass after an intense workout.

You should get most of your protein through natural food sources because they’re complete proteins with all the needed amino acids.

However, taking it in a supplemental form gives your body the extra protein it needs.

Additional whey protein and BCAAs can give your body the extra building blocks it needs. The smaller parts of those proteins make your whole body system work.

Sylvester Stallone is on the record as an advocate of testosterone therapy and its positive effects on his mindset and physical ability, particularly as he’s aged.

Stallone likely uses other supplements like creatine, L-carnitine, chromium, or collagen as part of his supplement stack.

Sly is pretty tight-lipped about what he takes to stay in shape, so this is our best guess.

This Hollywood star’s stack may also include multivitamins or high-fiber supplements when trying to cut weight.

Throughout his career, Stallone has modified his workout routine to alternate between building mass and cutting weight, so his existing muscles pop out more.

Since he shows off the results of his workouts on camera, he likely uses cardio and fat burner supplements to shed extra body fat and give his muscles that extra pop.

Human growth hormone(HGH) is created naturally in the human body by the pituitary gland and causes growth in children and teenagers.[2]

Doctors prescribe a synthetic HGH called Jintropin for children and adults with growth hormone imbalances.

During a promotional trip to Australia in 2007, Stallone had 48 vials of Jintropin HGH. He told customs at the time that HGH boosts your body and makes you feel and look good.

So even though Rocky himself is taking HGH, you should never do it without first consulting a doctor.

It’s important for anyone trying to emulate Sly in their fitness routine to understand that he has far more time and resources to put into his own exercise and health routine.

He also has higher stakes if he’s not in shape. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t look like Rambo right away (or ever).

Common Questions About Sylvester Stallone

How old was Sylvester Stallone when he started lifting weights?

Sylvester Stallone trained with Franco Columbo during his movies, but he has been working out practically his entire life. Even in his mid-70s, Sylvester Stallone is still powering through compound exercises and cardio routines.

How did Sylvester Stallone get so ripped for Rocky?

Sylvester Stallone had resources available to him that most of us don’t that got him into shape for the Rocky movies. For example, for the Rocky II Sylvester Stallone workout, he utilized two-time Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu to develop his workout plan to help him get buff.

When was Sylvester Stallone in the best shape?

Most people think Sly was in the best shape of his life when he had his incredible physique during Rocky III. However, this is when the Hollywood actor was on an unsafe diet draining his mental energy and battering his body.

Did Sylvester Stallone take steroids?

While we don’t know for sure if Sly takes or took steroids, there are signs to suggest that he did, at least for Rocky IV. There are pictures from the era of Sly with a red, flushed look to his skin. Looking flushed is a common symptom when taking steroids. Also, his trainer Franco came from the same era as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, bodybuilders known to take steroids.[3]

How much cardio did Sylvester Stallone do?

Although weight lifting is the crux of his workouts, the Sylvester Stallone Rocky workout routines also include cardio. Along with weightlifting, cardio is essential to weight loss.

Does Sylvester Stallone still work out now?

Although he doesn't work out as he did during the first Rocky movie to get his body fat percentage way down, Stallone still works out. However, after years of pumping iron in the gym, he no longer lifts weights due to his age. Instead, he's found a different way of keeping himself fit. Now Sly uses resistance bands, and his new workouts are something people can do from the comfort of their homes.


If looking like Rocky sounds incredible, know that it is possible, but you should temper your expectations.

While you could do the Rambo diet or the Rambo workout routine, they aren’t something most people need to do or can fit into their schedules.

You don’t need to be the same weight or do the same abs routine as Rocky.

Even still, if you follow the Sylvester Stallone workout routine we highlighted above, you might find yourself running around town with a crowd following in your footsteps.



Last Updated on January 17, 2023