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Sylvester Stallone's Training: The Mind and Body of Stallone
By Adam Sinicki
Sylvester Stallone is an inspiration in many ways. Bodybuilder, writer, actor, painter, entrepreneur and more; and against insurmountable odds. He encapsulates the spirit of never giving up on your goals in every way. As he says: 'It ain't how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward!'.
So it's not a recommended training regime, but you're curious to know what he was doing all the same right? Well apparently an average day for Sly at the time would involve the following:
Rocky 3 Regime:
Jogging (2 miles),
18 rounds of sparring,
Weights (2 hours)
That's a hell of a lot of CV and as much weight lifting as a professional bodybuilder. More muscle work if you consider that the muscles are involved in both boxing and swimming too.
I know from experience - having trained with my 5-day a week full body 2 hour 'Time Division' sessions for most of my life - that this is the kind of training that will lead to ripped, lean muscle. And while any good bodybuilding book or site will emphasise the importance of rest days and breaks, for a body like Stallone's this is definitely the quickest way to achieve these results. It's just not healthy is all...
And to make things more extreme his diet at the time was just 10 egg whites, a burned piece of toast and a piece of fruit every third day. This obviously provides no-where near enough energy, vitaimes, minerals, or even protein, and Sly reports feeling 'dizzy' as a result. Having purposefully dropped his weight to 155lbs however, he then used just this diet and the above routine to gradually build up to 175lb.
The good news however is that Sly now trains like an ordinary human and is still looking great. In his book 'Sly Moves' he advocates a healthy balance between lifestyle and training, and acknowledges that you can look almost as good as he did in the Rocky films with no-where near as much dedication and sacrifice if only you understand the science behind the training.
Mondays & Fridays:
Incline bench press,
Wide-Arm push ups,
Smith machine shoulder press,
Seated lateral raises,
Incline dumbbell flys,
Incline dumbbell curls,
Reverse wrist curls,
Lat 'Rambo' pull downs,
One arm dumbbell rows,
Another one of his favourite exercises is the 'broomstick twist' - which involves suspending yourself halfway through a sit-up on an incline bench with a broom behind your head then twisting left and right. He's used this since Rambo 3 and explains those awesome abs and obliques. Give it a go.
Currently Sly's diet is healthy and balanced and heavily oreinted toward Italian food (understandable given his sirname). On top of this he uses supplements by Instone (or he ought to... it's his company), and Human Growth Hormone (which is illegal in the UK and parts of the US but not a steroid). While he may no longer be one of the most ripped or most powerful contenders, he is possibly number one among the over 60s, and I imagine he'll continue to stay in great shape for the rest of his days. He described working out as 'the backbone of his life'.
'If you make exercise your hobby instead of your enemy it becomes your friend; it's the one thing that will never let you down. It will always be there for you and it will always make you better than you were before. Remember: every time you go to the gym, every time you put the right supplement in your mouth, you're better than you were ten minutes ago. [...] The irony is most people know what to do, they just don't do what they know.'
'In the warrior's code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries: never!' - Survivor, Rocky 4