The Critical Body logo

Learn why Sylvester Stallone’s forearms are so eye-catching

Discover how Sylvester Stallone built some of the best forearms in Hollywood.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 4th March 2021
Man flexing his arm

If you’ve ever watched a Sylvester Stallone movie, then you’ve undoubtedly seen his large forearm bones and muscles. And while I don’t have access to his specific routine, I’ve analyzed his muscularity so that you can learn how to build lower arms of a comparable size and of similar definition.

Ready to learn some forearm building secrets?

Related post: Bruce Lee’s forearms

Why does Sylvester Stallone have such great forearms?

Dedication, consistency, and genetics are the most likely reasons for Sly’s impressive forearm development. But some sources believe that he also took a more measured approach to his training by performing 3 workouts a week for his lower arms. [1]

If this information came directly from one of his people, then it makes perfect sense. Someone with that level of forearm development probably isn’t doing a half-assed workout every other week.

Some sources claim that Sly smashed his forearms 3x per week to get those impressive gains.

Plus, at 3 sessions per week, you still give your forearms plenty of time to recover, which doesn’t take all that long for a small muscle group as long as you don’t do too much per session volume.

So if Sly did, in fact, train his forearms 3 x per week, then it was a very wise move because when you split your training volume (basically your sets) over more days in the week, you can actually lift more weight in total because you’re fresher for each workout.

So, rather than doing 9 sets in one go, you’d split your weekly training volume into 3 sessions of 3 sets. While 3 sets doesn’t seem like much, a few hard sets are usually all that you need for a small muscle group.

What was Sylvester Stallone's forearm routine like?

Based on the sources quoted above, he would perform a traditional weight training workout 3x per week and then do some pump-up work on set that involved curls and hand grippers.

This practice is actually very common among actors because the forearms really are a major symbol of overall muscularity and strength. And so, even if they aren’t filming with their shirt off, they can still look jacked just by having their forearms visible.

As for his specific routine, we can only speculate. But it’s clear from the many photos that he did plenty of work for his flexors (the underside of the forearm), so I’d say that he did wrist curls and grip work of some kind.

Read more: Phil Heath forearm training

Can natural lifters get forearms like Sylvester Stallone?

A bodybuilder's massive forearm

This depends on your genetics. Getting those coveted Sylvester Stallone forearms isn’t going to happen overnight. As any actor or person with an impressive physique will tell you, achieving success and building a great body takes time and dedication.

Unfortunately, you can’t skip the waiting by annihilating your forearms for a week and then doing nothing. You’ll achieve far better results by doing fewer quality sets but doing the work consistently.

You can't get someone else's muscle shape by lifting weights. But resistance training will add mass to your whole body—the forearms included.

So to answer the question, if you have decent genetics and are willing to put in the work, then you can likely get forearms of a similar size to those of Sly. Just note that muscle shape is mostly genetic.

So while it’s possible to build muscles that are large if you lift regularly, you might not have the same eye-catching physique as someone like Sylvester Stallone because he simply has different genetics to you.

Also, note how his arms are very vascular. Resistance training can certainly improve your vascularity by increasing blood flow to the working muscles, but getting those veins is primarily down to having a low body fat percentage.

See also: Arnold Schwarzenegger forearm training

Conclusion

Sylvester Stallone clearly worked hard to build his impressive forearms. As such, they’ve earned him a well-deserved reputation for having strength and muscularity. I’m sure that he has his own regime, and maybe one day we’ll learn exactly what he does.

But I’d say that if you want to build those Sylvester Stallone forearms for yourself, then consistency and direct training are your best bets. Word has it that sly doesn’t just rely on compound lifts to build his forearms. He performs direct training, and the results of his efforts speak for themselves.

And while you may never be able to get lower arms of the exact same shape (that’s down to genetics), you might, over the years, be able to build a physique of similar muscularity.

References

  1. Romaniello, J. (n.d.). FACT: Massive Forearms Unlock the Mysteries of the Universe. Roman Fitness Systems. https://romanfitnesssystems.com/articles/massive-forearms/
  2. Sylvester Stallone. (n.d.). IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000230/
  3. Sylvester Stallone | Welcome to the official Sylvester Stallone website. (n.d.). Sylvester Stallone. https://sylvesterstallone.com/
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram