Robert Downey Jr Workout For Iron Man: Lean Muscle Gains


Robert Downey Jr Workout

The Robert Downey Jr Workout for Iron Man has changed for each move. The Evolution of Tony Stark started with a traditional workout for Iron Man (2008). Robert Downey Jr and his trainer Brad Bose changed it up drastically, and in a non-traditional way, for Iron Man 2 (2010). In Iron Man 3 (2013), the Robert Downey Jr workout was a more functional “lean and mean” routine. In each workout the goal was the same: making lean muscle gains.


The Robert Downey Jr. workout was designed to add a muscular look to Tony Stark’s character. The Robert Downey Iron Man workout was vastly different for each movie. But, the result was nearly the same: making lean muscle gains. Robert Downey Jr. was able to gain 20 pounds for each movie. The Robert Downey Jr.’s normal weight is 150 (68 kg), but he plays Iron Man at 170 pounds (77 kg).


Robert Downey Jr. Workout for Iron Man

For all three films, Robert Downey Jr. worked out with personal trainer Brad Bose. Brad Bose says about the Iron Man’s body:

The character of Iron Man was a playboy millionaire, a misunderstood scientist, a techno-geek. It didn’t fit him to be a big, overly muscular guy.

The Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man was about giving Robert Downey Jr. strength without too much size. Brad Bose did that by mixing in proper amounts of weights and cardio. The result was making lean muscle gains for Robert Downey Jr.

The trick to the The Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man is to get him just enough muscle, while also keeping Downey Jr. slim. This way, he looks how Tony Stark is supposed to look. He has both brains and brawn. To do this, Robert Downey Jr. reached out to his trainer, Brad Bose of Bose Management, to put together a traditional cardio and weightlifting program.


The workout routine was a traditional split that looked like:

  1. Monday-Back
  2. Tuesday-Chest
  3. Wednesday-Legs
  4. Thursday-Shoulders
  5. Friday-Arms

Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t fond of traditional cardio machines, so his trainer introduced him to 3 new types of cardio. The first one is called Jacob’s Ladder. You use this machine to work your entire body, especially your core, all at the same time. Brad Bose, Robert Downey Jr.’s trainer, aimed for a target heart rate of 65%.

To calculate your (MaxHR) maximum heart rate: (220-your age). So, multiply your MaxHR by .65 to get your target heart rate (TargetHR). Many cardio machines will give you an accurate heart rate reading, and there are many gadgets to use, as well:

  1. Age 20: MaxHR: 200 TargetHR: 130
  2. Age 30: MaxHR: 190 TargetHR: 124
  3. Age 40: MaxHR: 180 TargetHR: 117
  4. Age 50: MaxHR: 170 TargetHR: 111
  5. Age 60: MaxHR: 160 TargetHR: 104

For fat burning, you want to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio, while staying at your target heart rate (TargetHR).

The second machine Brad Bose incorporated into the Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man is called the Pineapple. Finally, Brad Bose told ABC 7 about a machine they used called the Vortex. Bose says this workout machine was used to work Robert Downey’s arms, legs and core from different angles.

Robert Downey Jr. took creatine in order to get in shape fast. Creatine is clinically proven to help athletes lift more and gain lean muscle mass.


The Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man 2

The Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man 2 started after Robert Downey Jr. had just finished filming Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr. had lost 20 pounds, to film Sherlock Holmes. He desperately needed to get the weight back. So, he again tapped his trainer, Brad Bose of Bose Management, for help in gaining 20 pounds of muscle. Here is the Robert Downey Jr. workout for Iron Man 2.

Robert-Downey-Jr-Workout-Iron-Man-2The workout that Brad Bose constructed for Robert Downey Jr included:

  1. Indian Clubs
  2. Meels
  3. Wheelbarrows
  4. Fire Hoses
  5. Sled
  6. Truck Tires with Sledgehammer
  7. SUV Tires
  8. Bamboo Bars
  9. Bands

Why such an exotic workout? Because Robert Downey Jr. admitted that he was tired of traditional workouts. Robert Downey Jr. told his trainer that:

If I have to get underneath a bench press or a squat, I’m going to shoot myself. I just don’t have the motivation.


So, Brad Bose had the challenge of helping Robert Downey Jr. gain weight, but not through traditional means. Brad Bose rose to the occasion by adding in a bunch of old-school, re-thought out workout. Brad Bose says:

We had to do some pretty drastic stuff to get him up near the 170 plus pounds of Iron Man. As mentally strong as he was, the body was tired. The role was much different than the typical superhero, who tends to be an overbuilt, buff kind of guy. Not the guy who’s big and muscular and strapping and almost looks like a bodybuilder.

Brad Bose, Robert Downey Jr.’s trainer, called the workout he devised for Iron Man 2: “Rocky IV meets modern technology.”For Iron Man 2, the Robert Downey Jr. diet was in the range of 2500-3000 calories.


Get The Best Male Workouts Here!

Now, lets take a deeper look at each of the exercises from the Iron Man 2 workout:


  1. This is some great workout info. I would love to workout with the different things that RDJ has used. Flipping tires and swinging clubs sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. Hello. WouLd u prefer order me best pre work supplements? Which i buy – animal pump. N.o exlode. C4. ?

    • For Supplements, I suggest the most important to be:
      Hydrolyzed whey protein-Optimum Nutrition is a good brand
      Pre-workout: You can try Animal Pump, but yes I prefer Cellucor C4 Extreme
      Multivitamins- I love Animal Pack

      Less important:
      ZMA-This is something that Hugh Jackman’s trainer has his clients take. It helps you sleep like a baby.
      Fish oil-Most fish oils are bad, because they burn the fish at such a high temperature, the omega-3?s denature. This renders the fish oil worthless. I get my omega-3s by eating chia and flax seeds.

      BCAA’s-This gives you energy during your workout. If your energy levels are great, then you don’t need it. If you’re doing cardio/weight training back-to-back, without eating, then BCAA’s might be a good idea. If you have time to eat in between your cardio and when you weight train, then just eat protein/carbs instead.

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