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From Rocky to Rambo to The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone has made a career playing heavily muscled alpha males, guys with names like John Spartan and Lt. Raymond Tango. It’s easy to forget that he wasn’t always this way—even Sly didn’t emerge from the womb fully jacked; he had to work for it.
The official Sylvester Stallone Instagram account shared a reminder of that recently. Titled, “The Rambo Workout” (and apparently from around the release of 1982’s First Blood), the clip begins with a martial drumbeat and a moody close-up of Stallone’s toned and glistening shoulder. It then cuts to co-star Brian Dennehy testifying, “That guy re-molded his entire body. I’ve never seen anybody do that.” (Another version of the clip has Dennehy adding that Stallone weighed 185 pounds when they first met.)
Over scenes of John Rambo flexing and fighting, Stallone’s co-stars laud his dedication to training. He was up at 5 AM to hit the gym, then putting in a full day of work, then back to the gym. Stallone himself appears in his iconic Rambo headband and expansive 80’s hair, saying, “It was about eight months of training, four hours a day, to toughen myself up.” He describes taking SWAT combat, archery courses, and survivalist courses, and looking to technical advisors to keep him and the Rambo story honest.
With Stallone returning to the role in next month’s Rambo: Last Blood, it’ll be interesting to see how the now 73-year-old actor’s body holds up, stepping back into a character he made a household name almost 40 years ago.
Watch the video here: