Dolph Lundgren is best known for his performance as Ivan Drago, Soviet Union Boxer, in Rocky IV. However, Lundgren’s career expands far past this role.

In addition to appearing in over forty films, he is also an established Swedish filmmaker and decorated martial artist. Lundgren holds the rank of 4th black belt in Kyokushin Karate, won European Champion in 1980 and 1981, and was chosen to represent the US as team leader of the US Olympic Pentahalon team in 1996.

How Dolph Lundgren Trained for Rocky IV

Rocky IV

Normally, Lundgren works out six days a week, for an hour each day. In preparation for this role, Lundgren trained with Selvester Stallone for five months. The pair completed a two-hour bodybuilders’ weight lifting routine in the morning and took to the boxing ring in the afternoon for some cardio and practice.

His typical routine focuses on speed and flexibility for karate. This involves a lot of leg work without wanting to get too big. When cast, Lundgren needed to bulk up to transform into Ivan Drago. Here is where he added bodybuilding to his daily routine. 

The Workout

This workout out follows six different exercises through three sets of 15 reps each. This split is modeled after old-school strongman routines.

  1. Sandbag Carry – Heavy (30 sets, 20 yards)
  2. Bosu Sandbag Chest Press (3 sets, 15 reps)
  3. Sandbag Power Clean -Light (3 sets, 15 reps)
  4. Sandbag Over the Shoulder Carry – Light (3 sets, 20 yards)
  5. Over the Shoulder Sandbag Toss (3 sets, 16 reps)
  6. Plank with Leg Curl (3 sets, 15 reps)

Recovery Workout

The recovery consists of 5 different exercises performed only once. They are all focused on stability and balance.

  1. Bear Crawl into Side Plank (1 set, 8 reps)
  2. Bosu Banded Fly (1 set, 10 reps)
  3. Medicine Ball Squat Press (1 set, 10 reps)
  4. Bosu Banded Fly (1 set, 10 reps)
  5. Bosu Clean and Press (1 set, 12 reps)

Lundgren’s Diet for Ivan Drago in Film Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren still practices a healthy lifestyle staying tur to Ivan Drago

Even when not preparing for a role, Dolph Lundgren sticks to a healthy diet, eating healthy fats, lean protein, and complex carbs. He also takes vitamin Cglucosamine, and whey protein supplements to help strengthen and prevent injuries. 

Note: A trick Lundgren uses when he needs to slim down is to eat little meals frequently throughout the day. Although there is no evidence to support Lundgren’s metabolism diet tip, Lundgren’s fast metabolism may be attributed to something else. 

By practicing an active lifestyle and engaging in periods of high intensity, you can boost your metabolism and keep it working longer. Another way to increase metabolic activity is to consume foods that have a high thermic effect. The thermic effect is a process that occurs when you eat foods that can be digested and stored as energy.

For example, due to the longer amount of time protein takes to digest it has a higher thermic effect than carbs and fats because the body absorbs it slower. Therefore if you eat more lean mats and fewer fats and carbs, you can increase your metabolism. This does not discourage the consumption of fats and carbs, as you need fast-burning energy to fuel your body and workouts.

The Diet

Dolph Lundgren's Ivan Drago Workout Routine for Rocky IV


  • Fruit and Lean Protein

Protein Shake


  • Carbs and Lean Protein

Dinner – keep light

  • Carbs and Lean Protein and Vegetables


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