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Fitness & Exercise

The Iron Man 2 Workout

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

Back to Reality

Getting bored with exercise is common, even if you're not training for a movie.

Bose says he highly recommends functional training, to reach peak performance or simply "go to the next level." Otherwise, he says, your body quickly adapts to your workout – even after just one or two days.

Be sure to mix things up, Bose advises. His tips:

  • If you typically do a long cardiovascular session, followed by strength training, instead do 10 minutes of cardio between weight sets. 
  • When strength training, do different exercises in a different order each time.
  • Vary your cardio routine every time you work out, and from week to week.

"One of the weak points people make in their cardio training is limiting it to one piece of equipment, like a treadmill or an elliptical that they might have at their home," Bose says. 

"They never vary their cardiovascular training. And when you do that, you limit your ability to perform. The misconception is that because I'm on my treadmill, I'm improving my conditioning… You need to challenge your heart with different levels, and you want to switch to something different."

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Reviewed on May 06, 2010

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