Sylvester Stallone Workout Routine & Supplements (Revealed)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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It’s hard to believe that Sylvester Stallone is well into his 70s and still looks like he could star in another Rocky movie.

He still exercises as much as ever but at a slightly lower intensity. And he’s helped several other actors, including Michael B Jordan, with their workout routines for different roles.

While he might not be exercising at his former peak performance levels, we were still interested in finding out what a typical week looks like for him.

Reading Sylvester Stallone's exercises will motivate you to just give it a try.

Sylvester Stalone’s Bodybuilding Background

Rocky Balboa was not just Stalone’s Hollywood breakthrough as an actor, but he actually wrote the entire screenplay.

At the same time, he was preparing himself physically because the only way he was willing to sell the screenplay was if he would be cast in the lead role.

You have to give him credit for his confidence, both in his movie idea and ability to build up enough muscle mass to play a heavy-weight boxer.

After several successful Rocky movies, Stalone had to bulk up another bit more for his role in Rambo.

His career continued as an action hero with a physical build of a gladiator, and it seems like he simply cannot let go of his exercise routine.

What Are His Workout Principles?


Work, work, work, and more work.

There are many reports from fellow actors and directors that he would be the first person on the set during Rocky and Rambo productions.

At that stage, he would have already been to the gym.

And when the final cut of the day was called, he would often head out for a run or another trip to the gym.

Even today, he tends to still stick to a routine that brings him to the gym 6 days a week.

That would be some achievement for a 24-year-old, let alone a man in his 70s.

The Sylvester Stallone Workout Routine

workout routine

We got our team to spend many hours over a month to watch as many interviews as we could find.

And he has shared some information about his workout routine online and on social media.

We’ve collected all of it and come up with this routine that would resemble his twice a day approach in the 80s.

A lot of this is also based on training advice Sly received from former Mr. Olympia. Franco Columbu.

Here’s the high-level schedule:

  • Monday: chest and shoulders (AM), legs (PM)
  • Tuesday: arms (AM), back (PM)
  • Wednesday: legs (AM), chest and shoulders (PM)
  • Thursday: back (AM), arms (PM)
  • Friday: chest and shoulders (AM), back (PM)
  • Saturday: legs (AM), arms (PM)
  • Sunday: rest

Chest & Shoulders: (3 sets of 12 reps max)

  • Incline bench press
  • Wide-grip pull-ups
  • Dumbbell flys
  • Close-grip bench press
  • Shrugs
  • Front raises

Legs: (3 sets of 12 reps max)

  • Seated calf raises
  • Leg curls
  • Leg extensions
  • Squats
  • Standing calf raises
  • Deadlifts

Arms: (3 sets of 12 reps max)

  • Incline dumbbell curls
  • Barbell curls
  • Concentration curls
  • Military press
  • Triceps pull-downs

Back: (3 sets of 12 reps max)

  • Seated rows
  • Lateral raises
  • Lat pull-downs
  • One-arm lateral raises
  • Deadlifts
  • Bent over dumbbell rows

Now, each one of these sets might not look like they would cause too much pain. But the whole idea would be to get to failure on your last reps.

Sly has also commented before that he would use increasing weights for each set, so you would gradually feel more pain.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you’d need to add some time for ab crunches at least on 3 days.

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

- Sylvester Stalone 

Based on my first-hand experience, I can attest that replicating this routine demands immense dedication and discipline.


His Approach To Dieting


We’ve heard Sylvester Stalone talk about how much he disliked his bulking diet that he is glad that he doesn’t have to face as many chicken breasts anymore.

Even if you’re only planning to do half the above routine, you’ll need a lot of carbs and protein. So this is a meal plan you could use.

Meal 1:

  • Large protein shake to kickstart the day

Meal 2:

  • 6-egg omelet
  • Large bowl of oatmeal
  • Fresh fruit salad

Meal 3:

  • Large plate of roasted vegetables
  • 4 lean chicken breasts
  • Large bowl of fresh salad
  • 1 cup of berries

Meal 4:

  • Fresh salad
  • Broiled fish
  • high-fiber bread

As I said, this would need to be significantly increased if you went for the full training plan, and that would also increase reliance on supplements.

Sylvester Stalone’s Supplement Usage


Sly hasn’t shared much about his supplement needs, and back in the 80s, there was probably little more than protein shakes.

But given the bulking and cutting routines he’s talked about for the Rocky and Rambo movies, there are at least 4 supplements that would help.

1. Whey Protein 

According to a 2019 study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whey protein is one of the popular supplements that are claimed to increase muscle mass. When combined with resistance training, whey protein intake has shown an increase in muscle thickness of all muscles.

Its rich content of branched-chain amino acids, especially leucine, seems to favour muscle protein synthesis, especially when taken after exercise [1].

More7 Best Protein Powders

2. BCAAs 

These are an absolute must. And you’ll ideally take them both before and after your training session.

According to insights from Men's Health, they have been linked to both increased endurance and faster muscle recovery [2].

More8 Best BCAA's For Men

3. Mass Gainer 

Looking at piles and piles of food multiple times a day can be enough to sap all your motivation.

But there is an easier way to get more carbs and protein into your diet. There are tasty mass gainers that could deliver as much as 1,000 calories in one fully-packed shake.

More: 8 Best Mass Gainers For Men

4. Fat Burner 

Cutting phases usually mean a calorie deficit, which could result in some muscle wasting. But fat burners could help you reduce your BMI with less muscle mass wasting away.

More: 8 Best Fat Burners For Men

Could Keep Up With Sylvester Stallone's Workout Routine?

If you want to look like Rocky Balboa or John Rambo, then you’re going to have to put in a lot of effort. Our team has gone through the above training routine, and it’s not for the average amateur.

But even if you aimed for half the amount of training, your results could be very impressive.

Connect with us on social media if you’re planning to get started with this routine.

Other Powerful Physiques:


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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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