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When Stallone first came to Franco to begin training, he was 170 pounds and very well defined. But he didn’t feel he was big enough and wanted to put on 10 pounds of muscle in six weeks. Franco knew how hard Stallone was capable of training, so he decided that was a feasible goal.


“Sylvester gained just about 10 pounds in six and a half weeks,” Franco says. “He has great structure, with a waist only about 29 inches. When we started, he had a 44-inch chest. At the end, his chest was almost 50 inches. And his arms went from 16 ½ inches to 18 inches. He was bigger, harder and much more muscular. Wait until you see him in the movie. He’s going to shock a lot of people by how good he looks.”


Rocky and Franco

Franco Columbu and Sylvester Stallone


Franco worked out a program for Stallone based on a two day double split:



Morning: Chest, back, abs

Afternoon: Shoulders, arms, abs



Morning: Calves, thighs

Afternoon: Rear delts, traps, abs


“Each day we would train, I would change the exercises. I had Sly do extra sets of exercises that were working, and I dropped the ones that weren’t working. And the more results he saw, the harder he trained. I’d say, let’s do three more sets, and he would immediately agree. The workouts got to be really fun, very exciting.”


Franco had Stallone training abs three times every two days, doing 500 reps every ab workout. “We trained four different ab and torso exercises: sit-ups, leg raises, side leg raises, and side bends. We did 50 reps of each, one exercise right after another, and five sets of this cycle. And wait until you see the results. Sly has great abs, intercostals, serratus, everything.”


Stallone training for Rambo