June 02, 2014 12:00 PM

By age 25, Hollywood’s hottest sex symbol was already stressed about aging. “If you don’t fight gravity, you sag,” Marilyn Monroe told LIFE in 1952, when these workout photos were captured by Philippe Halsman. To keep her curves, “I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights,” Monroe told Pageant magazine. “It is a simple bust-firming routine, which consists of lifting 5-lb. weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly over my head. I do this 15 times, slowly” she explained. “I don’t count rhythmically like the exercise people on the radio. I couldn’t stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it.” Another dislike? “I have never cared especially for outdoor sports,” she said. “I’ll leave those things to the men.”

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