Dolph Lundgren is the professional name of Hans Lundgren who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. Insecure as a child, he had an interest in music and art, but he chose to become an engineer like his father. At age 7, he started with judo, then switched to goju-ryu before settling on karate at age 10. His self-esteem improved with his physical abilities and by his 20s, Lundgren was a world-class karate competitor. Despite getting advanced degrees from top engineering schools in the US and elsewhere, he moved to NYC to pursue his dream of acting. He worked as a bouncer and model while studying at the Warren Robertson Theatre Workshop and landed a small part in A View to a Kill more or less by accident. His breakout came in 1985 with Rocky IV, and he went on to star in 45+ films since. Lundgren used to perform most of his own stunts, but has done fewer with age. He has a production company called Thor Pictures. Lundgren never let go of his martial arts. He has a 3rd degree black belt in karate and has been captain of the Swedish National Karate Team, and won the title of Champion of the Swedish, European and Australian Heavyweight divisions. He is a founding member of the NYC theater group called the ‘Group of Eight.’ He has two daughters with ex-wife Anette Qviberg. Lundgren has millions of followers on social media. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 250 lbs.
Dolph Lundgren’s Diet
To get into his role for Rocky IV, Lundgren ate like a bodybuilder, which meant high-protein, low-fat, and low-carb. To stoke his metabolism, he would eat every few hours, adding up to 5-6 meals per day. He also used supplements including amino acids and protein to increase muscle growth and aid with recovery. When he’s not filming, he’ll still eat clean and has lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats, along with the occasional cheat to not feel deprived.
- Low-Medium Carb 20% 20%
- Low-Medium Fat 25% 25%
- High Protein 70% 70%
Wake Up & Smell the Vinegar
Each day, Lundgren’s Rocky diet began with a mix of vitamin C, glucosamine and apple cider vinegar. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, glucosamine helps keep joints strong and apple cider vinegar boosts metabolism. The blend energizes him and curbs appetite.
Lundgren followed a strict diet that was low in calories despite his grueling exercise schedule. Breakfast was often a protein shake with a banana; lunch could be grilled fish with veggies and a few potatoes and dinner might be chicken soup with rice and fruit for dessert.
Lundgren not only enjoys a cheat meal every week, he likes to take a whole day where he has nothing planned and can lie around, rest and recharge.
Lundgren enjoys using his knowledge of chemistry to make mixed drinks.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Lundgren on his Rocky Diet
‘I was living the life of a bodybuilder, and I actually continued training and eating like this for about 5 years around that time.’
Lundgren on Nutrition in the 80s
‘We really didn’t have anything like a nutrition plan back then, but we did practice carb loading before every fight. We would eat more protein and no carbs for 3, 4, even 5 days to deplete the body, and then would carb-up with complex carbs the day before.’
Lundgren on the Importance of Rest for Overall Health
‘At least once a week, I try to have one day where I have nothing planned so I can get up and just go back to bed and lay around and recharge my batteries.’
Dolph Lundgren’s Fitness Routine
Lundgren usually works out 6 days a week. He’ll do a 1-hour session in the morning so that nothing gets in the way.
When the Student is Ready, the Master Will Appear
6 Day Split
Add Cardio, Cut Fat
A Dolph Lundgren Routine
1A. Heavy sandbag carry: 20 yds x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
1B. Bosu sandbag chest press: 15 reps x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
2A. Light sandbag clean & jerk 12 reps x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
2B. Light sandbag over-the-shoulder carry: 20 yds x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
3A. Sandbag toss over shoulder: 15 reps x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
3B. Plank with leg curl: 15 reps x 3 sets. 30-60 sec rest between sets.
Bear crawl to side plank: 10 reps/side. 30 sec rest between sides.
Boso ball flys: 10 reps/side. 30 sec rest between sides.
Medicine ball X’s 20 reps x 1 set
Bosu band flys: 10 reps/each direction
Bosu dumbbell clean & jerk: 12 reps
Lundgren on Aging & Training
‘When you’re 25, you just go to the gym and lift, or just go for a run and push through it. You can still do that when you’re older, but you’ll pay the price the next day.’
Lundgren on Exercise
‘It’s just one hour a day, and then you can enjoy the other 23 hours.’
Lundgren on Why he Likes Beach Walking
‘Your bare feet making contact with with the earth has a healing quality. Plus the view and the fresh air—you can’t beat it!’
Lundgren on Outdoor Training
‘Hard surfaces take a toll on your joints. The softer the surface and the thinner the shoes, the better.’
Lundgren on the Mind-body Connection of Martial Arts
‘I try to keep the martial arts up. It’s a good thing, not just physically, but also for your mind.’
Lundgren on Meditation
‘I do a little bit of yoga-stye meditation. Relaxing and breathing even just 1 minute a day makes a big difference.’
Lundgren on Performing his own Stunts
‘I usually pick up a scar a movie.’
Dolph Lundgren’s Supplements
Lundgren starts his day with a dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C contains powerful antioxidants which fight inflammation, boosts immunity, regulates blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Lundgren includes apple cider vinegar in his morning routine. It not only boosts metabolism and tames appetite which can help with weight loss, it is also chockfull of healthful substances like proteins, bacteria and enzymes. It can also lower blood sugar and help manage diabetes.
Another one of Lundgren’s daily staples is whey protein. Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids, promotes muscle growth, reduces recovery time and muscle wasting, and can also improve blood pressure and blood sugar.
Lundgren’s final ingredient in his a.m. cocktail is glucosamine. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body but production slows as we age and so many people choose to supplement because it helps keeps joint functioning smoothly. It can also help reduce inflammation.
Dolph Lundgren’s Lifestyle
Lundgren’s father was a temperamental man who would often take out his frustrations on his family. But he also encouraged young Ludgren to go to America telling him it was the land of opportunity.
Lundgren met Grace Jones in Australia and was her bodyguard, then they got romantically involved and lived together for 4 years. She suggested they move to New York so he could pursue his interest in acting.
Not Just a Pretty Face
Lundgren won several scholarships and studied in the US at Clemson University and Washington State University. He has a Masters Degree in chemical engineering from the University of Australia, and he also won a Fulbright scholarship to study at MIT, but turned it down to try acting instead.
In 2009, burglars broke into the Lundgren home and tied up his wife, but after seeing a family photo and realizing whose house it was, they hightailed it out of there.
Crazy Lucky Break
Lundgren was just hanging around the set of A View to a Kill, waiting for Grace Jones when he was asked to fill in for an actor who hadn’t shown up. His job: to point a gun at Christopher Walken.
Despite being a novice to acting, Lundgren beat out 5,000 other hopefuls for the role of Ivan Drago, Rocky’s Russian opponent in Rocky IV.
In addition to acting, karate and engineering Lundgren speaks multiple languages: Swedish, English, German, along with some Spanish and Japanese. He also plays the drums.
Lundgren on his Accidental First Role
‘I guess I hit my mark and didn’t screw it up too bad, and the director said, “Hey, kid, you have a future in the movies.”’
Lundgren on Acting
‘When I started studying acting in New York, I didn’t plan to be an action hero. I just wanted to learn acting because I felt it was something I needed to try to do for myself, to express something, my inner pain, or something I couldn’t get out.’
Lundgren on his Instant Success
‘I was a movie star before having the chance to become an actor, so now I’m trying to backtrack.’
Lundgren on Shyness
‘I was incredibly shy when I first got into the business. I still am to some extent. I’ve overcome that shyness through contact sports, but I wanted to find that same confidence interacting with people instead of in the ring.’
Lundgren on Action Films
‘Action films are an extension of Greek myths…Everybody’s life has some mythical quality: you struggle against obstacles, you fight to get to a higher level and there are great loves…That’s why people will always love action movies.’
Lundgren on Hollywood
‘Hollywood is great for entertaining people, it’s a wonderful business but it’s make-believe. You must remember that… people [can] get lost in their own fame, and it makes them unhappy.’
Lundgren on Himself
‘My problem is that people get intimidated by someone big and beautiful like me. They hate to think I can be smart as well.’
Showdown in Little Tokyo
Masters of the Universe
A View to a Kill