Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

The Iron Man 2 Workout

How Robert Downey Jr. trained for Iron Man 2 and beat workout boredom

Indian Clubs

Bose likens these to weighted juggling pins. "Back in the early 1900s, they were quite popular," he says. "They were the center of a lot of Strongman shows, where guys would use these five- and 10-pound big wooden clubs and swing them around at [high] speeds and do unusual movements. It's really nice for shoulder and arm development, and actually pretty good on the joints, because it's rotational movement."


Bose says meels, which look like oversized Indian clubs, were used in ancient Persia to train horse riders who had to carry big, heavy swords. "I called a couple of experts and learned how to train with them. Some of it's crazy. But it's great for shoulder work," Bose says.


Bose rigged a wheelbarrow and welded it to hold up to 650 pounds. "Then I made an obstacle course with cones and had Robert wield it in figure eight formations through the cones," Bose says. The workout targets the chest, shoulders, and back. "It requires an immense amount of strength and skill," Bose says.

Fire Hoses

"I filled fire hoses with sand and water – one of each – and got [Downey] to whip them around. He would do almost squats while whipping the fire hoses up and down," Bose says.


Bose filled a sprinter's sled with 50-pound weights and tied it to the end of a heavy, 50-foot rope. "Robert would stand stationary and then pull it to him, drop it, then sprint 50 feet away again. He would pull, run, and pull again," Bose says. The full-body exercise especially targeted the glutes, lats, rhomboids, biceps and triceps, as well as the torso, abs, and core.

Truck Tires and Sledgehammer

Bose bought giant truck tires and had Downey beat the tires with sledgehammer "like you'd beat a drum. Then we'd swing them overhead and pound the tires. That builds shoulder stability," Bose says.

SUV Tires

Downey flipped and threw SUV tires like a discus. "Again, this is pretty advanced stuff," Bose says. "It's not like the average person should do this, because it puts a lot of torque on the spine... You get very powerful in your abs."

Bamboo Bars

"We put rubber bands on bamboo bars then attached kettle bells to the rubber bands on the bar," Bose says. "It's like having a snake in your hands that's trying to wiggle its way out of your hands while you're trying to move it up, down, and around."


Bose attached bands to a piece of stationary equipment called the Perfect Storm. Using the bands, Downey did swimming motions -- like breast stroke and back stroke. "It gives the muscles a polished look," Bose says.

Downey also used kettlebells and a War Machine, which is a portable, patented pulley training system that uses body weight as resistance (no relation to the Iron Man 2 character of the same name). "If there was one thing you could have in your brief case, it would be probably a War Machine," Bose says.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
Taylor Lautner