Marlon Brando’s Workout Routine

Marlon Brandon was undoubtedly one of the best American actors of the 20th century. Throughout his career which lasted about 6 decades, he received many awards including Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, British Academy Awards, and so on. And although he’s most known for playing Vito Corleone in the movie The Godfather which is considered the highest-grossing film ever made, Marlon gained his initial fame portraying Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, during which he went through an impressive body transformation to sculpt one of the best physiques of the 20th century. With that being said, what was Marlon Brando’s workout routine during that time?

Marlon Brando’s workout routine consisted of classical bodybuilding exercises such as barbell presses, chest flys, tricep extensions, and deadlifts, combined with intense bodyweight movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and jump rope for cardio. In addition to that, Marlon used to be consistent with his workout and he did them daily.

In this article, we’ll talk about Marlon Brando’s stats, impressive physique, and the workout routine that help him achieve it.

Marlon Brando’s Peak Stats

Before getting into his workout routine, we first need to establish some of his basic stats during his peak physical performance (while training for the role of Stanley Kowalski in A streetcar Named Desire and Ken in the movie The Men)

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 144 lbs
  • BMI: 21.3
  • Body fat percentage: 12% to 15%

As you may have noticed, Marlon Brando was pretty tall (5”9”) which allowed him to appear buff, especially with his weight. In addition to that, he had a body fat percentage that was low enough to make him appear lean and pop out his muscles during his peak physical conditions.

Marlon Brando’s Workout Routine

Marlon Brando's workout routine

Although Hollywood celebrities were a little bit private when it came to their workout routines back in the day, we’ll try to figure out what Marlon Brando’s workout routine consisted of based on some of his old pictures.

Working out in the 1950s

Before talking about workout routines, there’s one important thing that you need to know. Back in the 1950s, the majority of guys looked like fitness models without putting in too much effort.

The main reason behind that is the fact that they didn’t grow up in diets consisting of processed foods and a bunch of junk burgers. Everything was either home-cooked or extremely healthy.

All you had to do is work hard, lift a bit of weight, run a little bit, and maybe get out for drinks once or twice per week, and you’d still have a body like Marlon Bradon.

However, in the present day, things aren’t as easy as they used to be and you need to put in a lot more effort in order to look like a fraction of what Marlon used to look like during his peak physical conditions. 

What Marlon Brando’s Workout Routine Consisted of

Let’s take a look at some of his old pictures to figure out what Marlon did exactly to reach his impressive physique in A streetcar Named Desire and The Men

Please note that some of these pictures were taken from his workout montages in the movie The Men, but it’s very likely that these are the same exercises that he used during his actual training.

marlon brandon jump roping

From this picture, we can assume that Marlon used jump rope as a way to stay in shape and to train his aerobic fitness (cardio). 

Jump roping is one of the best exercises that you can implement to simultaneously burn fat and increase muscle (especially in the lower body) at the same time.

This means that his workout routine included jump roping.

marlon brando doing chest flys

And in this picture which was taken from the movie The Men, we can see Marlon doing chest flys using dumbbells which was a pretty common exercise back in the 1950s.

This means that he implemented dumbbell exercises in his workout routine.

You should also note that the majority of his exercises will consist of dumbbells, barbells, and a bunch of other classical bodybuilding equipment. That’s because, at their time, they didn’t really have any modern machines or advanced equipment like the one used in today’s gyms. 

Marlon brando doing gymnastics

In this picture that was also taken from the movie The Men, we can see Marlon doing a really impressive gymnastic movement.

It’s true that was taken from a movie montage, but still, you can’t really do this kind of exercise unless you’ve trained hard for it before and that’s exactly what Marlon did.

This means that Marlon included a bunch of bodyweight exercises in his workout routine. 

Additionally, in order to prepare for his role as Stanley Kowalski in the movie A Streetcar Named Desire, it is said that Marlon Brando began a daily workout routine at a local gym, where he exercised with weights.

This means that he was consistent in workouts and did them daily. 

Workout Example

Based on the pictures above, we can deduce what his workout potentially looked like.

Day 1:

  1. Bench Press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Incline Press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Flat Dumbbell Flyes – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Pull-overs – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Barbell Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. Barbell Shoulder Presses – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  7. Dips – 4 sets of 10 reps
  8. Push-Ups – 4 sets until failure

Day 2:

  1. Tricep Pushdowns – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  2. Lying Triceps Extensions – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Seated One-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extensions – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  4. Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  5. Barbell Curls – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  6. One-Arm Concentration Curls – 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Reverse Barbell Curls – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  8. Hammer Curls – 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  9. Pull-Ups – 4 sets until failure
  10. Chin-Ups – 4 sets until failure

Day 3:

  1. Barbell Squats – 5 sets of 6-10 reps
  2. Vertical Leg Press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Leg Curls – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  5. Standing Calf Raises – 4 sets of 6-12 reps
  6. Sit-ups – 4 sets of 100 reps each set
  7. Lying Leg Raises – 4 sets of 50 reps each set

Day 4:

45-minute jump rope session for cardio

Day 5: Repeat


If you look up to Marlon Brando or want to achieve his “A Streetcar Named Desire” physique, it’s gonna require a lot of hard work, here’s what you need to do:

  • Stay consistent and do daily workouts
  • Implement bodyweight exercises into your routine
  • Follow a classical bodybuilding routine (like the one mentioned above)
  • Focus on heavy lifts with short repetitions

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