🏋️‍♀️ stallone’s physique transformation

Something tells us that you’ll be itching to star in your very own workout montage by the time you’re finished reading this newsletter.

Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • A look back at how Sylvester Stallone ignited Hollywood’s physique transformation craze.

  • The best workouts to improve your bench press.

  • Powerlifter Jen Thompson’s impressive 50th birthday bench press.

Celebrities

Rocky’s Road

Credit: @rockymovie and @legend_sylvesterstallone on Instagram

It’s almost a prerequisite nowadays for an actor to shed fat and pack on slabs of muscle in order to become everything from superheroes to Jedi to whatever flesh-and-blood action figure Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing this month. But these Hollywood physique transformations aren’t a recent phenomenon.

Some may credit Arnold Schwarzenegger for leading the charge in this regard, but he was already a bodybuilder when he first got into movies. No, if you want to pinpoint the man who truly popularized this trend, look no further than Schwarzenegger’s fellow Planet Hollywood batterymate, Sylvester Stallone.

From 1976, when the first Rocky movie premiered, through 1988, when the original Rambo series came to a close, Stallone was the poster child for physique transformations, thanks to some extreme dieting and a dedicated workout routine devised by a former Mr. Olympia winner. In the process, he helped redefine the Hollywood action hero and still serves as the model for the genre today.

Workouts

Build a Better Bench

GIF: @brooklynninenine on Giphy

The bench press is a universally beloved exercise. Maybe you’re a powerlifter that needs it for competition, a bodybuilder looking for some diversity in your exercise selection, or just an International Chest Day devotee. In any case, you probably spend a good bit of time on the bench.

Though the move itself is a fairly straightforward exercise, making consistent progress can get tricky. As you develop as a lifter, your skill, muscularity, or planning might need to improve to keep seeing gains. To avoid plateaus in your training, here are the best bench press workouts for your experience level.

Watch This

Thompson’s Half-Century Hoist

Image: @jenthompson132 on Instagram

Powerlifter Jen Thompson celebrated her 50th birthday on June 27. And to mark the occasion, the 11-time IPF World Champion posted a video on Instagram showcasing a bench press of 145.1 kilograms (320 pounds).

In the video, Thompson clarified that she weighed 65.3 kilograms (144 pounds), making the lift more than 2.2 times her body weight. (She probably followed the advice in the bench press article above.)

If you need a little motivation to kick your own routine into gear, check out the article below to watch Thompson’s stellar feat of strength.

Everything Else

The Horseshoe Express

Image: MDV Edwards via Shutterstock