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How Does Robert Downey Jnr. Works Out For His Avengers Iron Man Role

robert downey jr iron man

When Avengers End Game hit the cinemas we wanted to find out how Robert Downey Jnr. trained to get in shape to fill such a physically demanding role.

And despite his lack of statistics when sizing up against his co-stars like Thor, Captain America, and Thanos, Downey Jr does bring a balanced and aesthetic physique when portraying Tony Stark.

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.

So how does the 54 year old get into such great shape? Well it’s with a little assistance from personal trainer  Brad Bose.

Bose a personal trainer with a PhD in physiology, who owns his own gym in Los Angeles is no stranger to working with Hollywood A-listers, Olympic athletes and the odd Marvel superhero here and there, so safe to say when it comes to fitness and diet, Brad is up there with the elite.

Brad designed a series of one-of-a-kind workouts that honour Bose’s mantra of “functional performance” – training that accomplishes specific physical goals and keeps the body working at peak performance.

Downey reportedly ate a high-protein diet of 2,500 to 3,200 calories a day. In addition to Yoga something in which he swears by and his favourite fitness routine Wing Chun Kung Fu, he worked with Bose three or four days a week for about 90 minutes each.

Bose explained: “We didn’t want him to get ripped to shreds or look like a bodybuilder because his character is a playboy millionaire.”

“He needed muscles that looked full and functional. I wanted him to be constantly challenged: it’s the only way to stay interested and motivated and ready to push yourself that bit harder.”

Not wanting him to get huge, but sill needing to be fit enough to do his own stunts they achieved this by using a machine called the Vortex Perfect Storm, a free-standing multi-gym that has loads of attachments for cables and resistance.

“We’d do intervals on the Perfect Storm, hitting his major muscle groups from loads of different angles, then finish up with a climb on a Jacob’s Ladder – an inclined climbing treadmill to improve cardio,” says Bose.

The pair decided on using equipment such as kettlebells and Indian clubs that require a good deal of skill, you have to give 100 per cent to ensure that you are progressing especially with the Indian clubs.

A major focus Downey Jnr. was to craft his solid shoulders. “We wanted to give him a strong, square frame, so Indian clubs were a great choice,” says Bose.

“He’d use a 2.5kg club and do figure-of-eights around his head and body 50 or 60 times. The weight isn’t heavy but the sheer number of reps really burns out the muscles.”

Robert trains four times a week, alternating between an upper and lower body workout. “While there’s nothing against full-body workouts, what we’re looking for is a little more focus on the individual body parts.

With the upper body, we’re looking for symmetry, function and aesthetics. With the lower body we’re looking for power, stability, and a little bit of speed.

The beauty of these workouts is that they are as hard as you make them. If you’re a beginner, you can pare down the number of sets and repetitions. As you advance, you can also add different little functions, and angles and take fewer rests between sets.”

It is important to note that this isn’t Robert Downey Jnr.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.

Training Volume:

3-5 days per week


We’re using the programming from Robert Downey Jr.’s trainer mixed in with yoga, meditation and other styled training for you.

Day One: Lower Body


Air Squats      4          8-12

Bench Press   4          8-12

Lateral Pull Downs    4           8-12

Arnold Presses           3          10-12

Calf Raises      3           15

Straight Leg Deadlift 3          8 -10

Pull Ups          3           8 -10

Ab Circuit       3 rounds         25 Crunches

25 Leg Lifts

25 Flutter Kicks

Day Two: Yoga and Meditation

Unleash your inner Iron Fist and Daredevil-styled Zen and Meditation.

Day Three: Full Body

Lower Body

Day Four: Yoga and Meditation

Unleash your inner Iron Fist and Daredevil styled Zen and Meditation

Day Five: Upper Body


Weighted Pullup       3          8 – 12

Weighted Dip            3          8 – 12

Swiss Ball Bench Press  3           8 – 12

Low Row         3           8 – 12

Continuous Tension DB Shoulder Press***            3           8 – 12

Bosu Ball Pushup      3           15-20

Suspension Trainer Pushup*          3          Failure

Suspension Trainer Row*     3           Failure

Lateral/Front Shoulder Raise          3           8 – 12

Kettlebell Swing        3           40

Sand Bag Power Throw        3          12-15

Ab Circuit        3 rounds        25 Crunches

25 Leg Lifts

25 Flutter Kicks.

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