Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Workout Regime Was Brutal

pay-rockyUnited Artists

We all know the training montages from Rocky. Getting Stronger blaring, Sly Stone hitting everything possible and sprinting through the early morning streets of Philly.

Speed bags, heavy bags, meat bags, one handed press ups, sit ups, pull ups, all before the infamous roar of ADRIANNN!

But in reality – just how did Sylvester Stallone get into that impeccable physical state? Well we know, and it’s certainly not for the faint hearted, according to UPROXX.

Stallone endured six days of working out twice a day alongside former Mr Olympia Franco Columbu, who is as you can probably tell, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best friends.

Speaking about his workout, Stallone said:

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.

rocky3Orion Pictures

But just how intense are we talking? Well judging from Sly’s regime for Rocky III – it’s one of the most gruelling workouts known to man, one which even Sylvester himself admitted was just stupid.

For that movie Sly was doing the following:

  • 20 rounds of sparring in the ring
  • 2 hours of weight lifting
  • 2 miles of jogging
  • lots of jump roping

And he was doing it six days a week – minimum… Hence why he looked like this.

rocky-threeUnited International Pictures

Now at a glance it may seem pretty simple. But in practice I’m pretty sure that would pale even the meatiest of meat heads.

Speaking about the workout Columbu had worked on with Sly, the former Mr. Olympia said:

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. 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 lb dumbbells.


His diet was rather interesting too – focusing more on specification rather than quantity:

  • Pre-breakfast: A glass of liquid aminos
  • Breakfast: 3 egg whites, half yoke, Irish oatmeal, toasted pumpernickel bread, fresh papaya, few figs
  • Lunch: Roasted summer squash, broiled skinless chicken, salad, figs or berries
  • Dinner: Salad, broiled fish, high-fibre toasted bread; occasionally eats veal

Now despite being one helluva gym and diet sesh, the actor’s workout seems to fall short of the real thing with Iron Mike’s being quite honestly one of the most terrifying workouts I’ve ever laid eyes on.


In his prime and under the watchful eye of Cus D’amato, Tyson completed the following numerous days a week:

  • 4:00 am: 45 minute run.
  • Morning: 10 to 20 rounds in the ring.
  • Afternoon: 2000 squats, 500 pushups, 500 triceps extensions, 500 neck crunches and 15 minutes of other neck exercises.
  • After dinner: Cardio (Bike, rope…)
  • Evening: 45 minutes of technical training.

He also ate a lot of steak.


Interestingly, Tyson’s workout was somewhat inspired by his idol and hero Jack Dempsey, also known as the Manassa Mauler.

Dempsey was renowned for his crippling punching power and his sheer ruthlessness in the ring as you can see from this clip against Jess Willard.

Going into the fight Dempsey was the massive underdog and Willard was a fan favourite but Dempsey dropped him to the canvas countless times and broke almost every bone in his body.

How? Passion, drive, and bestial, bestial strength – no doubt brought on by his training regime.


Dempsey was one of the first fighters to focus more on sprinting, strength, and diet rather than simply long distance running, sparring, and heavy drinking.

The Manassa Mauler without doubt revolutionised boxing as we know it today…