The transcript below is from the video “How Strong was Sylvester Stallone?” by Viking Samurai.

Viking Samurai:

So, how strong was Sylvester Stallone? Now Stallone has not competed in powerlifting, he’s not competitively been in a weightlifting competition. Believe it or not, he’s not even a boxer.

Sylvester Stallone:

“I want to talk about that 10 title defenses.”

Viking Samurai:

If you ever get in a weightlifting at some point, someone’s going to ask you how much you can bench-press. Maybe even how much you can squat or deadlift or maybe even curl. People want to know it’s a way for them to kind of judge their own progress against one of their peers. The competitive part of it is actually fun, even if you never intend to compete in powerlifting or weightlifting it’s fun to kind of see where your numbers are compared to your friend or the other people in the gym. So, I’m actually kind of surprised and a little disappointed that I couldn’t find a YouTube video covering this topic.

So, let’s talk about and ask the question, how strong was Sylvester Stallone?

Viking Samurai:

I’m going to say, pretty damn strong. He did just beat that guy in arm-wrestling who outweighs him by like a hundred pounds. Speaking of size, whenever we talk about strength, that’s certainly something we have to keep in mind. There are reasons why we have weight classes when it comes to things like powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting competitions. In general, the bigger guy if properly trained is usually going to be the stronger. But a lot of it has to do with certain mechanical advantages on how someone has built the nervous system and just how someone trains.

Viking Samurai:

There’s a reason why a bodybuilder who carries around a lot more muscle is not necessarily the strongest guy compared to power lifters at not nearly as muscular. As far as Sylvester Stallone goes, he’s what I would consider an average-sized guy. He sounds about 5 foot 9 inches and I’d say he’s probably been in the 180s for most of his career which isn’t a very achievable size for a lot of guys getting into weightlifting. So, I could see why it might be more realistic for a lot of us to compare our lifts against his as opposed to someone who seemingly more genetically gifted like Arnold Schwarzenegger, even Dolph Lundgren.

Viking Samurai:

Sylvester Stallone certainly seems like the competitive type who would push himself, sometimes too far. In fact, in his book Sly Moves, he shares an amusing story about trying to get in a Bench Press competition with former Mr. Olympia and strongman competitor Franco Columbo during preparation for ‘Rocky 2’. Needless to say, the competition didn’t exactly go Stallone’s way, and not only did he lose, he actually completely blew out his pic. The massive tear caused him to get 160 stitches and an attachment cable through his shoulder bone. With that said, Stallone claims to have been able to bench press between 385 and 400 pounds.

Viking Samurai:

Now a lot of you may say wait, you can either bench-press 385 or he can bench-press 400 and I’m with you. But I’m assuming he put up 385 by himself. It probably didn’t go up too bad, though I’m sure he struggled. And he’s speculating that maybe he could have probably done up to 15 more pounds. So, that’s probably how he came up with that number. So, by comparison my best bench-presses ever which I conserve my bench press one of my better lifts, 365 triple, but I wasn’t at this weight. I’m in the 180s right now. This was what during my whole fat buff phase when I wanted to be a professional bodybuilder. This goes way back. I was actually 245 pounds. I look more like the Michelin Man than a professional bodybuilder but there’s one tip to get a big bench-press and basically this is what I had to do. I essentially had to hit the switch to turn my hat around like that.

Sylvester Stallone:

“What I do was I, I just tried to take my hat and I turn it around and it’s like a switch that goes on. And when the switch goes on, I feel like another person. I feel. I feel like, a truck. Like a machine.”

Viking Samurai:

As far as legs go, Stallone claims to have squatted 500 pounds in his prime. Which is a pretty crazy amount of weight, but he seems like the kind of guy that could just grind out a rep like that. I’d guess this would probably be in the ‘Rocky 4’ and ‘Rambo 3’ time period. In fact, if we look at his quads in ‘Rambo 3’, he has pretty good size and development as seen in this picture here. What’s interesting to note though is that during ‘Rambo 3’ Franco Columbu said Stallone didn’t really like training his legs especially since he was so busy. So, he had shorter more intense workouts. This is in stark contrast to the amount of volume he did in the 2000s while training for ‘Rocky Balboa’, ‘Rambo 4’ and ‘The Expendables’. For example, here’s a leg routine he did Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Go ahead and pause the video if you want to read through it.

Viking Samurai:

Now everyone has a body part that on average is stronger than the rest, and Sylvester Stallone says his was his back. During the filming of ‘Rambo 3’, he said he would do pull-downs with 275 pounds of weight at a time when he only weighted 180. That they would literally have to strap him to the bench so he wouldn’t snap in two! What’s even more impressive though, is what he can still do today, in his 70’s. The L-sit he’s doing here while pushing his body away from the bar, very hard move to perform. And look at this, he’s doing a pull-up with a 100-pound dumbbell strapped to his waist. Well, what I’m most impressed by is his actual grip hand placement. He’s literally grabbing vertical bars.

Viking Samurai:

Speaking of grip strength, he’s got very large hands which certainly helps. I was at ‘Planet Hollywood’ a long time ago and I remember they had a hand imprint of Stallone and Arnold there, where I could compare my hand size to theirs. Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is a larger man standing around 6 foot 2 and well over 220 pounds, Sylvester Stallone would be considered average size around 5 foot 9. What I found interesting, that his hands are huge. By comparison mine were the same size of Arnold’s. So, Stallone certainly has a vice-like grip but unfortunately not quite strong enough to save his friends girlfriend’s life.

Viking Samurai:

Now I couldn’t really find any information about his deadlift, and maybe it’s a lift he’s really never gotten into. But since his back and forearms are so strong, you can probably imagine he’d be able to pull quite a bit. Speaking of pulling, Franco said Stallone was curling 70-pound dumbbells when they were training in ‘Rocky 2’.

As far as shoulder pressing goes, there’s a photo of him training with Dolph Lundgren with a 45 and 25-pound plate on each side of the bar. Now the bar is shorter than a standard Olympic bar, so it probably only weights 25 or 35 pounds. So, he’s probably repping out with between 165 and 175 pounds here which is probably what he weighed in this picture. It’s hard to say what his max would have been then. We could get a good idea of how strong his shoulders are now though even in his 70s as he posted a photo of himself holding up a one-arm 100-pound dumbbell shoulder press. That’s really impressive, the amount of core stability it takes just to stand there and hold it up after pressing.

Viking Samurai:

Speaking of core strength, Stallone showcase that in film. I’m sure you all remember the dragonfly’s he was doing in ‘Rocky 4’ for example. Some other impressive feats of strength he shown in film can even be seen as far back as ‘Rocky 1’ when he was completely owning those one-arm push-ups and going straight no explosive clap push-ups without any rest. And let’s not forget ‘Rocky 3’ when he literally body slammed Hulk Hogan.

So, those are the lifts guys, 385 to 400 on the bench press, 500 on the squat, 275 on the lap cool-down, pull-ups with a 100-pound dumbbell and that’s with the vertical grip. He would definitely be able to do more with the standard grip. 70-pound dumbbell curls.




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