Sylvester Stallone: Steroids or Natural?

sylvester stallone

The time has come for Sylvester Stallone to fall under the spotlight.

The online ‘steroid police’ have been after Stallone for a while now, with accusations of HGH and other steroid rumours being thrown around. In this article we’re going to look at the real evidence to see if such claims have any substance to them or not.

Sly looked epic in the Rocky and Rambo films, proving that you don’t have to be huge to have people ‘mirin.

Sylvester Stallone’s stats:

  • Height: 5 ft 10
  • Weight: 163-180lbs
  • Body fat percentage: 4-8%

Measurements (taken when filming Rambo II):

  • Chest – 50″
  • Waist – 30″
  • Arms – 17″

Sly’s actual muscle size in his prime is perfectly attainable for a natty with hard work and decent genetics. However, that doesn’t mean he IS natural. One thing we know for certain is that Sly’s no stranger to getting shredded, which takes hard work and a disciplined diet – regardless of any supplementation/steroid-use.

However, cutting steroids do have the power to speed up the fat-burning process and protect your hard-earned muscle. So are Sly’s gains of the natty kind, or has he juiced his way to Shredzville?

legal steroids

Gains Timeline

The most effective way to find out if someone’s juicing or not is to look at their own personalized ‘gains timeline’. This will tell us how much muscle they’ve built or fat they’ve burnt over a significant period of time. Then we can see if their gains correlate with someone who typically takes steroids or not. A natural bodybuilder will usually only make small and gradual gains, whereas guys who juice are likely to blow up all of a sudden out of nowhere.

1975 – Farewell My Lovely

sylvester stallone in farewell my lovely

From this photo on the set of Farewell my Lovely, you can see Sly’s already built a good foundation and has a decent level of muscle mass.

1976 – Rocky

rocky balboa

In Sylvester Stallone’s big debut – Rocky, his body didn’t look too much different to the previous year (in Farewell my Lovely). So there’s no obvious steroid-usage going on at this point, as he’s not lost any weight and hasn’t gained huge amounts of size.

He goes on to look very similar in Rocky II, maintaining the big and bulky look.

1983 Rocky III

sylvester stallone in rocky 3

6 years later in Rocky III, Stallone looked leaner, going from approximately 10% body fat to 8%. As a result he appears more veiny and his muscle definition’s increased (especially in the abdominal region). Although his body composition has improved there’s nothing unnatural or freaky about these gains.

1985 – Rocky IV

sylvester stallone steroids

3 years on in Rocky IV, Sly gets absolutely shredded to the bone weighing just 163lbs. IMO this is Sly in the best shape of his life…and what a movie to do it for – avenging Apollo’s death by punching Ivan Drago’s lights out.

He looks to have reduced his body fat from 8% in Rocky III, down to 4%. This may seem like only a 4% reduction in body fat, but when you’re getting into these low single digits, it makes a huge difference in how aesthetic you look.

Sly is literally so ripped, he could walk on a bodybuilding stage half way through filming Rocky IV and do well. That just puts into perspective how lean Stallone was for this film.

It’s perfectly realistic to drop your body fat down to 4% naturally, whilst keeping your muscle mass. It’s a challenge but it’s easily done with a lot of hard work in and out of the gym. Many natty bodybuilders get down to 4% body fat or lower when prepping for a show.

Despite this, there IS some evidence to suggest that Sylvester Stallone did use cutting agents whilst getting ripped to shreds for Rocky IV. You can see images of Sly becoming increasingly sweaty and possessing a red, flushed look to his skin (below).

sylvester stallone steroids

What does this mean?

These are signs of an elevated body temperature. Look flushed is a common symptom when taking illegal cutting agents such as ephedra or/and clenbuterol. These compounds stimulate thermogenesis, increasing sweating and your blood pressure. This red-look to Sly’s skin is a sign of hotter blood which is being pushed to the surface of his skin – so his internal organs don’t overheat.

sly stallone clenbuterol look
Another incidence of Sly’s ‘flushed skin’

Sly hired 2 time Mr Olympia champion Franco Colombu when prepping for Rocky IV. Franco was in the same era as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno in the 70’s, a cluster of bodybuilders who were known to be taking steroids.

So, if Sylvester told Franco that he wanted to get as shredded as possible for Rocky IV, it’d make sense for Franco to tell him about the best fat-burning steroids (that he may have used in the past) – such as clenbuterol.

Here’s Franco with an equally flushed look to his skin (below):

franco columbo

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1988 – Rambo 3

If we fast forward to 1988, we can see that Sly still has this red-skin look going on; even more so than in Rocky IV. Thus he’s still likely to be taking illegal stimulants/fat burners at this point.

sylvester stallone rambo 3

Not bad shape for a 42 year old though, eh?

1993 – Demolition Man

Next stop is demolition man where Stallone starred alongside Wesley Snipes. This is the first film where Sly really looks ‘BIG’. Usually he looks pretty muscular with his top off, but in this film he even looks like a beast with his t-shirt on.

sly stallone demolition man

Evidently he’s packed on some muscle mass since Rambo 3, which rings alarm bells, as natty guys who are jacked fail to make noticeable improvements in size after their newbie gains.

Newbie gains – the muscle growth period when a person first starts lifting weights.

However, he doesn’t look like he’s put on enough mass to warrant taking bulking steroids, so my guess is that Stallone’s taken some form of HGH; which could be the reason why he’s gained a decent amount of lean muscle tissue. Bulking steroids on the other-hand like dianabol or anadrol would’ve got Sly huge.

After Demolition man, Sly appeared in blockbuster films such as Rocky Balboa, Rambo (2008) and the Expendables movies. He’s maintained his muscle size and looks equally as ripped in these films, despite being in his mid 60’s at the time of shooting them. The only thing that’s changed in terms of his body composition, is his waist has become thicker and more bloated. This is common in HGH-users as it causes your internal organs to grow, including your intestines which creates a more bloated/protruding look to your stomach. Hence it’s ugly nickname – HGH gut.

The structure of Stallone’s face has also changed over the years (see below).

sylvester stallone steroids face

HGH not only causes your internal organs to grow, but also your skull and nose. As you can see in this comparison, Sly’s head has got considerably bigger over the years and now has a more square appearance, including a wider jaw. These are all common signs of HGH-use.

In 2007, Sylvester Stallone was charged with having 48 vials of HGH, when trying to enter Australia (validating my theory).

Is Sylvester Stallone on Steroids?

So, technically Sly may not have taken ‘steroids’, as clenbuterol and HGH aren’t officially classed as anabolic steroids. However, it’s almost certain he’s used illegal substances like these to help him burn fat and build muscle, as he was busted for smuggling HGH in 2007.

Regardless of if he’s taken drugs or not, Stallone deserves a huge amount of respect for being in incredible shape well into his 60’s. After all, HGH and clenbuterol CAN help you get more ripped; but millions of people take these compounds every single day, yet only a tiny percentage look like Sly.

…Just trying to get my head around the fact he’s now classed as an ‘OAP’.

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Ernst Peibst

Ernst Peibst | Writer

Ernst Peibst is an expert in anabolic steroids and PEDs with over 3,000 hours of research. He's been educating people for 7 years through his articles, written after studying science papers, expert books and consulting top doctors in the field. He is a former bodybuilder and creator of multiple fitness websites.

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Peter Lami
Peter Lami
1 year ago

As is apparent , in the long run …. Stallone’s appearance, has suffered Devastating Consequences! And what about underlying Health factors?

9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lami


11 months ago

Stallone take steroids no doubt All his life

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