Sylvester Stallone Workout: Rocky & Rambo

Sylvester Stallone Workout

The Sylvester Stallone Workout has changed over the years. For Rocky and Rambo, Stallone used heavy bodybuilding routines. Stallone uses fast-paced workouts, a high-protein diet and HGH/testosterone treatments to stay in great shape.


Rocky’s physique was born way back when Sylvester Stallone won the Oscar for “Best Picture” way back in 1976. Yet, Sylvester Stallone is still going strong.


Sylvester Stallone Rocky Workout

The Sylvester Stallone Rocky workout changed from movie to movie. When he looked leaner, like in Rocky 3, he used metabolic conditioning circuits. When he wanted to look bigger, like in Rocky Balboa, he used traditional 6 days-a-week bodybuilding workouts.

When asked about his workouts, and where he learned how to get a good body, Sylvester Stallone says:

I wanted to look like Tarzan – sleek, tight, almost catlike. I wanted to forget the bulk and go for well-developed muscles. I began a hardcore weight-lifting program, working out twice a day. When I made Rocky, I increased my exercise.


Sylvester Stallone Rocky II Workout

The Sylvester Stallone Rocky II workout utilized two-time Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu as his trainer. Sly knew that Columbu had helped train Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone would go on to use Columbu as his trainer throughout the Rambo and Rocky movies. Franco Columbu says:

I had to charge Sly a good amount for the training because he 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. I had to drop almost everything else in order to concentrate on getting him in the best shape of his life.

Franco Columbu got Sylvester Stallone in shape by forcing him to do the training that he did for Mr. Olympia. This meant that Sly had to do the same weight that Columbu was using. Stallone might not have been able to do as many reps, but the goal was to stay up the best he could.


Columbu describes the workout routine:

I worked out a program that was right for him and then I led the way, constantly increasing weights and reps. I knew for sure that this would motivate him to try and keep up with me. If I took a weight and did 12 reps, Sly would have to try and do at least seven. After all, I may be stronger than he is, but not that much stronger. Then, next set, I would do 15 reps, so he would have to increase his reps to at least 10. By the end of our training, he was doing curls with 70- pound dumbbells!

For Rocky II, Sylvester Stallone had to lift heavy weights to develop his physique. This was because he not only used Franco Columbu’s routine, but worked out with him. Here is the workout for Rocky II  (source: Franco Columbu workout routine) and beyond.

Rocky II Workout 14-Day Split Routine

The Sylvester Stallone workout for Rocky II used a 14-Day Split Routine:

Day MorningAfternoon
Day 1Chest / ShouldersArms/Abs
Day 2BackLegs
Day 3Chest / ShouldersAbs
Day 4ArmsAbs
Day 5LegsBack
Day 6Chest / ShouldersAbs
Day 7Rest
Day 8Arms/AbsLegs
Day 9BackAbs
Day 10Chest / ShouldersArms
Day 11Back/AbsLegs
Day 12Chest / ShouldersAbs
Day 13ArmsAbs
Day 14Rest

Rocky II Workout Chest Routine


Barbell Bench Press315/10/4Superset #1
Cable Crossovers320Superset #1
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flys320/15/6Superset #2
Cable Crossovers320Superset #2
Barbell Incline Press315Superset #3
Barbell Pullovers315Superset #3
Dips3AMAPSuperset #3
Cable Crossovers325Superset #3

For Superset #1 and #2, Stallone would pyramid up in weight and down in reps. This means add weight each set, but do less reps. Superset #3 is called a “dagger set,” as you do a superset of all 4 exercises, then repeat them 2 more times all the way through. This should put a strain on your muscles, hence the name “daggers.”

AMAP= As Many As Possible.

Rocky II Workout Shoulder Routine

The Rocky II Workout Shoulder Routine has no supersets. Just one exercise after another. You must use a smith machine or spotter for the Behind-the-Neck Press. It is dangerous to do alone. Also, make sure to watch the video (in the link) for details.

Arnold Press410
Standing Lateral Raise410
Bent-over Lat Raises610
Behind-the-Neck Presses410Use Spotter or Smith Machine
Alternating DB Front Raises38
Cable Lateral Raises310

Continue onto page 2 for: The Sylvester Stallone Rocky Workout Arms, Shoulders, & More.


  1. hello cris i’m raf from italy!! the last year I trained with workout -man of steel – AR7 Conan – Manganiello superset !! in the summer I had a body to envy !!!! thank you !!!
    this year I started with the workout Wolverine and now I am continuing with Sylvester Stallone Rocky and Rambo !!! fantastic and great results !!! I will continue to be more in the form of last year !!! sorry for my english!!! bye….:D

    • Hello Raf,

      Great to hear from you, again! Happy the workout routines are working out for you. I personally love the burn you can get with the Jason Momoa AR7 Conan workout. The Joe Manganiello supersets are killer, I need to get back to those!

      Let me now how the Stallone workout goes. If you have any celebrity workout requests you would like me to write about, let me know. Your English is great, it’s my Italian that’s bad.


    • Yes, they surely did more and switched things up. I only stick to the information about the workout that each actor/trainer provides to the public.

  2. Hi Chris Davis i want to ask you one question . For abs exercice the lateral extensions i must to do 50 per sides or 25 per side ? Thank you !

    • Hi, thanks for asking.

      The quick answer is reps 25 per side. For the abs routine, do 50 total for Double Crunches, Bicycle Crunches and Lateral Extensions (or 25 per side). For Bench Side Crunches, do 50 per side. You may need to work up to this rep number. Don't feel bad if it takes you awhile. Just get better, and maintain good form, each week.

  3. Not sure you got all this right. I read on several occasions that Sly only did 12-16 sets of each body part on a given day using the instinctive training method going hard and keeping his heart rate up throughout. It's hard to imagine someone doing 20-21 sets of chest for example three times a week (often doing supersets), even for a bodybuilder in competition mode. That is over 60 sets alone of chest which would be over training for anyone. As it is, doing 36-40 sets of a body part is bloody intense but more manageable for the body to substain.

  4. I always thought that Stallone would have deserved a role in Tarzan.Now i see that he wanted a physique like Tarzan,so i was right thinking like that.

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