Randy Couture Workout: Lean & Mean


The Randy Couture workout mixes strength and circuit training for the ultimate workout. Whether he’s bulking up for The Expendables or a fight in the Octagon, Randy Couture prepares himself with mixed, vigorous workout circuits. With his training in place, Randy Couture shapes himself into the lean, mean, muscle building machine we see in the ring or as “Toll Road” in The Expendables 3.


Randy Couture Workout: 18 Exercise Circuit

For the original Expendables, Randy Couture used his go-to fighting preparation routine. It is a 45 minute circuit workout with 18 different exercises. This workout is what he uses about 12 weeks out from a fight, or shooting The Expendables. He, and his trainer Jake Bonacci, add more cardio as Couture gets closer to the event he is training for.

ExerciseReps / TimeRest
Jogging5 min30 secs
Agility Ladder5 min30 secs
Alternating Leg-Up Crunch12 (each leg)0
Windmills1 set of 8 0
V-Crunch1 set of 120
Supermans1 set of 80
Hip Crossovers1 set of 60
Ab Roller1 set of 1545 secs
Deadlift to Shrug1 set of 530 secs
Hang Clean4 sets of 330 secs
Front Squat4 sets of 330 secs
Knee Tuck Jump1 set of 5
Stability Ball Press1 set of 7 (each arm)0 (Superset #1)
Medicine Ball Chest Pass1 set of 430-45 secs, then repeat circuit 2 more times
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row1 set of 8 0
Overhead Slams1 set of 5 30-45 secs, then repeat circuit 2 more times
Seated DB Curl1 set of 8 0
Alternating Lunges1 set of 10 (5 per leg)30-45 secs, then repeat circuit 2 more times

The Randy Couture workout for the original Expendables movie was featured at Bodybuilding.com.


Randy Couture Arms & Back Routine

Randy Couture also shared his Arms & Back routine. This workout uses supersets that allow you to work on both body parts at once. It’s a mix of strength training and circuit cardio. As such, you’re meant to do this workout with little rest.

Starting out focus on form, but get faster as the weeks go by. Notice this workout starts with a compound shoulder movement. It’s okay to use your legs if you have to, but focus on the shoulders. Couture goes up in weight and down in reps each set.

Find a weight that challenges you enough for the first set. Then, increase weight as you can, each set. Take a 15-second break after each exercise, and a 60-second break between superset. Get started with the arms & back routine, by performing:

1. Barbell Push Press (8 reps the first set, 6 the second, and 4 for the third)

2. Superset 1 (perform all sets of these two exercises back-to-back before moving on to Superset 2)

  1. Wide Grip Pullups with Weight Vest
  2. Kettlebell Split Squats

3. Superset 2

  1. Dumbbell incline press (10-8-6)
  2. Lat pull-downs (10-8-6)

4. Alternating Kettlebell Swings, 5 each arm

5. Superset 3

(2 sets of 4 Exercises. Perform 10 reps for first set, 8 reps for the second set.

  1. Dumbbell Upright Row
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Lunge
  3. Dumbbell Curl
  4. Triceps Pushdowns


The arms & back routine, in table format:

Exercise SetsRepsNotes
Barbell Push Press38/6/4Before Supersets
Wide Grip Pullups38/6/4Superset 1
Kettlebell Split Squats36/5/4Superset 1
Dumbbell Incline press 310/8/6Superset 2
Lat Pulldowns310/8/6Superset 2
Kettlebell Swings35/each armBetween Superset 2/3
Dumbbell Upright Row210/8Superset 3
Dumbbell Lateral Lunge210/8Superset 3
Dumbbell Curl210/8Superset 3
Triceps Pushdowns210/8Superset 3

Supersets mean you perform all exercise in that superset (#1-#3, one right after the next0. Then, you do that superset 2 more times. You may notice that there are also leg and chest exercises in this workout. Couture is used to doing total-body workouts. He may be focusing on specific body parts, but he works his entire body in circuit format.

Randy Couture Total Body Workouts

Randy Couture uses total body workouts to complement how he fights in the ring. This is because when you’re fighting someone, you never know what muscle group you’re going to have to call on. Using multiple muscle groups at once is much more difficult than a workout where you focus on a particular muscle.

When you focus on a muscle, all our blood can stay there to help you recover. But, when you’re activating all sorts of muscle groups, your blood has to flow frequently to different parts of the body. With your blood cycling through your body at a  fast rate, this creates a toll on your heart.


Your heart has to pump blood to many regions quickly. This is one of the reasons why MMA fighting is so difficult. Someone constantly throwing punches and kicks at you without notice is another factor. Randy Couture uses total body workouts to mimic this type of environment.

Couture plans his strength training in ways that always include multiple body parts. By making sure his workout is comprised of this type of circuit training, his heart is used to quickly pumping blood through his body. The mitochondria (powerhouse of his muscle cells) are now used to this kind of metabolic activity.

Here’s one of the total body workouts Muscle & Fitness Magazine shared for The Expendables 3:

Weighted Pull Ups310/8/6
Medicine Ball Slam35
Kettlebell Deadlift38/6/4
Mountain Climbers310 secs
Kettlebell Press310/8/6
Medicine Ball Chest Press35
Bent-over Lateral Raises210/8
Alternating Kettlebell Swings210/8
Band Triceps Pressdown2AMAP*

randy couture total body workouts

[For the Randy Couture Total-body workout, AMAP = As Many As Possible.]

Randy Couture Diet

The Randy Couture diet has become an increasingly important part of his training. As he gets older, he gets smarter about eating the right kinds of foods. Randy Couture talks about what he has realized:

The biggest thing I learned is that […] I was continually overtraining. I wasn’t allowing my body to kind of taper along my body time to recover.  I eat when I’m hungry. I try to eat a lot.

Randy Couture tries to eat more greens in his diet:

I try to eat greens a lot. Because they’re very alkaline. They counter the acidity that we build up from training, from stress, and everything else in our bodies.


Timing your diet is important, too. Randy Couture says:

Carbs earlier in the day. The oatmeals, the pastas, the rice everything like that. Later in the day, the proteins, to help recover after a workout.

Randy Couture Workout Advice

Randy Couture’s Workout Advice includes:

  1. Finding a partner who shares your goals
  2. Changing your lifestyle to fit your diet.


Finding A Partner

Finding a partner is the key to preventing yourself from “finding excuses to not workout.”  By finding someone who shares you’re goals, you’re less likely to create excuses to not workout. Randy Couture’s workout advice for this is that:

Finding a partner is important. It’s easy when it’s just you, ‘I hate it’ or ‘I’m tired.’ You’re a lot less likely to let him down. It’s easy to come up with a reason to let yourself down, but it’s harder when you have to let them down. It’s about finding those partners that you don’t want to let down.

Changing Your Lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle includes finding the right diet. Randy Couture says:

Changing your lifestyle is about finding the right diet. The right diet isn’t even a diet. It’s a lifestyle change that isn’t about restriction, but loving to eat greens and other healthy things.


According to Randy Couture, changing your lifestyle means eating greens right out of the bag, rather than on a plate with a fork and dressing. Randy Couture’s diet/lifestyle advice:

Keep it simple. The harder, more cumbersome, it is, the more you’re going to let yourself down. It has to be a lifestyle. Forget the diet. Change your eating habits. At first it’s hard, but after a couple weeks you’ll be eating greens out of the bag and forgoing the plate, the dressings, and other stuff.

Randy admits that lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight. Not entirely, at least. They happen time, where you will have setbacks. The key is to learn from them and keep moving forward. Randy says:

Occasionally, you’ll fall off the wagon. And that’s okay. You’ll have the ice cream and have those cookies.  You’ll probably feel hungover the next day, but you get right back up and keep going. And that’s okay because you keep [sticking to your new lifestyle].

Randy Couture In The Expendables 3

Randy Couture in The Expendables 3 plays the character “Toll Road.” He was known as the tough guy, though Jason Statham and others may take issue. Sylvester Stallone talks about Randy Couture in The Expendables 3:



Randy’s the hulk – he’s the toughest guy – no question about that. But we’ve got some surprises for you for sure. I think it’s the best one so far.

Talking about his character in The Expendables 3, Randy Couture says:

I liked Toll Road. It captures who I am. A combatant in little different sense of the word. But, a guy with a college degree that fights for a living.

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