Robert Downey Jr Inspired Workout Program: Train Like Iron Man

Work out like Iron Man with this Robert Downey Jr inspired workout program! This upper/lower split is full of compound movements & bodyweight exercises!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
12 weeks
4
45-70 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Kettle Bells, Medicine Ball, Other
Male
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Workout Description

With less than a week left until Avenger: Infinity War hits theaters, I think it’s time to wrap up our Avengers: Infinity War inspired workout series.

And what better way to close it out than with the "Godfather of the Marvel Universe" and the man in the iron suit?

Over the years, I don’t think Marvel fans could’ve asked for a better Iron Man than Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Tony Stark.

And, of course, he’s back and leading the charge against Thanos as Thanos makes his way across the universe in search of the Infinity Stones.

And while he may not have the most muscle size and might not be the strongest Avenger, Iron Man has a lot of heart – despite his lack of a physical one.

Of course, despite the lack of measurables when sizing up against guys like Thor, Captain America, Drax, and even Thanos himself, Robert Downey Jr does bring a balanced and aesthetic physique when portraying Tony Stark.

Introduction to the Robert Downey Jr Inspired Workout

Robert Downey Jr packed on a significant amount of mass prior to entering the Marvel universe as Iron Man.

Obviously, he is older than the vast majority of his co-stars, which puts him at a significant disadvantage when it comes to building as much muscle as possible and increasing strength.

However, Downey realizes that and it doesn’t keep him from hitting the weight room to maximize his body’s lean muscle mass. He simply had to take a different approach than his younger co-stars and in doing so, he transformed his physique to look the part of many of y’all’s favorite super hero.

So, how did he do it?

By establishing a workout regimen where exercise selection was a bit more functional by nature and the split incorporated the appropriate amount of volume and frequency to maximize his ability to recover.

So, knowing everything we know about Robert Downey Jr, as well as digging around on the internet and social media, we designed a program inspired by his workout tendencies to help you look like Iron Man himself.

To start things off, let’s break down some of the principles of Mr. Stark’s workouts.

Robert Downey Jr is in Tune with His Body

Even before RDJ began weight training extensively for his role as Iron Man, he had established some pretty healthy habits in his life (also a critical key for maintaining substance abuse recovery).

One of those habits was practicing a form of martial arts known as Wing Chun. Wing Chun, made popular by Bruce Lee, has been a part of Robert Downey Jr’s daily routine since 2003.

And one of the key principles of Wing Chun is performing the techniques in a relaxed manner. To do so, you have to have complete control of your body, including the muscles to remove unnecessary tension when needed.

You probably see where I’m going here.

Downey had established that often sought after mind muscle connection before he ever started weight training. Imagine how beneficial that ability was when he began training for the first Iron Man.

Iron Man Workout

Robert Downey Jr. Bought into His Role

Want to be a Super Hero? Act like one.

All kidding aside, Downey knew how important his role as Iron Man would be to the Marvel universe and he completely bought in. If you’ve ever seen any of the Marvel movies he is in, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s almost as though he was born to play the role.

But aside from establishing Tony Stark’s characteristics and mannerisms, Robert Downey Jr bought into the fact that he needed to look like he could be a super hero and kick some alien/supervillain ass.

And that kind of mindset will take you far in the gym.

Robert Downey Jr Focuses on Sustainability

Robert Downey Jr is an older guy with a lot riding on his role as Tony Stark. He doesn’t want to jeopardize his status because of an unnecessary injury in the gym.

Thus, he focuses on maintaining sustainable exercise and diet habits.

In regards to his workouts, he focuses on maximizing his time in the gym with compound movements and limits isolation work. This gives him the best bang for his buck.

Outside of the gym, he values recovery. Whether that’s via his days off during an upper/lower style split or by performing active recovery methods such as yoga (which RDJ swears by), Downey is always focused on recovering properly from his workouts.

Lastly, Downey wouldn’t be in the position he is today if he didn’t maintain proper dietary habits. I’d imagine he lives on the boarder of maintenance level calories, while going into a slight surplus or deficit depending on what needs to be accomplished short term.

Robert Downey Jr Iron Man Workout

Robert Downey Jr Works with a Professional

Robert Downey Jr didn’t do this alone. Like most super hero actors, he had help in the form of a personal trainer.

Downey’s go-to man was Brad Bose.

If you’re new to weight training (like Downey somewhat was) or just need someone to help motivate you, personal trainers are an excellent resource to have in your corner.

Sure, you can always go it alone. But if your goal is to pack on as much size as possible, why wouldn’t you seek out help?

Not only that, personal trainers will see things you can’t see. Faulty movement patterns, slight form miscues, poor exercise selection, and much more will never escape the vision of an experienced personal trainer.

Robert Downey Jr Iron Man Inspired Workout

Below is a 12 week program inspired by Robert Downey Jr’s physique and is aimed to help you build lean muscle mass to look like Iron Man himself.

It is important to note that this isn’t Robert Downey Jr’s actual workout program.

However, it was designed with careful attention to detail based on information available on how Downey trains and how his trainer, Brad Bose, trains his clients.

The program itself is an upper/lower split focused primarily on bodyweight exercises, basic compound lifts, and mastering the form and mechanics of important movement patterns.

This program can be a great starting point for lifters new to the gym who want to build muscle.

Rest periods should be limited between 60-90 seconds after each lift and in between exercises.

There isn’t any direct isolation work to target the arms. As a beginner, it’s not exactly necessary. The compound lifts will give you the best bang for your buck to maximize muscle growth as a beginner.

On your off days prioritize recovery by remaining lightly active (whatever that means to you). There is no prescribed cardio for this program, however recovery walks are an excellent cardio option on your active recovery days to boost cardiovascular health.

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 1: Upper Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Pull Up 3 8-12*
2. Push Up 3 8-12
3. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Military Press 3 8-12
6a. TRX Suspension Push Up 3 8-12
6b.. TRX Suspension Inverted Row 3 8-12
7. Lateral Raise 3 8-12
8. Bent Over Lateral Raise 3 12-15

*Use assistance or weight if needed.

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 2: Lower Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Barbell Squat 3 8-12
2. Leg Press 3 8-12
3. Hamstring Curl 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-12
5a. TRX Suspension Split Squat 3 12-15*
5b. TRX Suspension Supported Pistol Squat 3 12-15 Each*
6. Ab Crunch 3 20
7. Hanging Leg Raise 3 12
8. Plank 3 30 Secs

*Feel free to perform this one exercise at a time if you struggle with the superset.

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 3: Rest & Active Recovery

On your recovery days, try to do something to remain active. Just be sure it is an activity that is not too intense. The purpose here is to help promote recovery.

Downey is a fan of meditating and yoga on his days off. Some other beneficial ways you could spend your rest days are by performing smr/foam rolling drills, mobility flows, or active recovery walks.

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 4: Upper Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Inverted Row 3 8-12
2. Dips 3 8-12*
3. Seated Arnold Press 3 8-12
4. Lat Pull Down 3 8-12
5. Incline Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
6. Dumbbell Front Raise 3 8-12
7. Cable Row 3 8-12
8. Kettlebell Swing 3 30
9. Farmers Carry 3 Distance**

*Use assistance or weight if needed.
**Walk for a predetermined distance based on your capabilities.

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 5: Lower Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Goblet Squat 3 8-12
2. Hack Squat 3 8-12
3. Seated Hamstring Curl 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-12
5. Med Ball Squat 3 12-15
6. Reverse Lunge 3 12-15
7. Ab Crunch 3 20
8. Hanging Leg Raise 3 12
9. Plank 3 30 Secs

Robert Downey Jr Workout Day 6 & 7: Rest & Active Recovery

On your recovery days, try to do something to remain active. Just be sure it is an activity that is not too intense. The purpose here is to help promote recovery.

Downey is a fan of meditating and yoga on his days off. Some other beneficial ways you could spend your rest days are by performing smr/foam rolling drills, mobility flows, or active recovery walks.

Final Notes on the Robert Downey Jr Iron Man Inspired Workout

The 12 week workout program listed above was inspired by Robert Downey Jr’s workout and training habits.

If you have a goal to look like the svelte and leanly muscular Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), it is a solid workout option to help you reach your goals.

I understand not everyone will have the equipment listed in the program above. If you need to make a substitution to any of the exercises, feel free to do so – just be sure the exercise works the same movement pattern.

When performing the workout program it is important that you have your nutrition locked in as well. Start off by finding your calorie needs using our bmr calculator.

Then, if your goal is to bulk up, add 250-500 calories on top of that number. If your goal is more fat loss oriented, subtract 250-500 calories from that number. Aim to consistently consume that number of calories to help you reach your goals and eat your calories from whole food sources: Lean meats, healthy fats, whole grains and oats, fruits and veggies, and low fat dairy products.

Lastly, sleep is a critical part to the muscle building and fat loss equation. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night while working out to promote recovery and get the best results.

Be sure to check out Robert Downey Jr lead the Avengers into war against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War in theaters on April 27th.

And if you have any questions regarding the Robert Downey Jr inspired workout program, please feel free to leave us a comment below!

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6 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 07/04/2018 - 12:09
thomas

yes. im just wondering how much should i eat? for this routine

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/05/2018 - 08:49
JoshEngland
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Posted Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:43
JUlio

"Robert Downey Jr packed on a significant amount of mass prior to entering the Marvel universe as Iron Man."

Where?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/26/2018 - 09:02
JoshEngland
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Posted Sun, 05/06/2018 - 08:49
Dayton Middlebrook

Are you doing a workout routine for Sebastian Stan: Winter Soldier

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:56
JoshEngland

Hi Dayton,

Thanks for the suggestion! I can certainly add it to our list of ones to create :)