The 300 workout routine is brutal. Without the mindset of a Spartan, you will not get through it. As it is in the movie...
This is madness!"
"This is SPARTA!"
~ King Leonidas of Sparta to Xerxes' messenger
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This workout was invented to transform the actors in the movie 300 into Spartans. It has 300 repetitions in it, hence it's many times simply called The 300 routine.
The 300 routine was invented by Mark Twight, a former professional mountain climber and founder of Gym Jones. He was incharge of metamorphosing the actor Gerard Butler into King of Leonidas of Sparta - and the other actors into his Spartans.
They needed bodies that could convey the strength it would take for a mere 300 men to hold back and defeat the entire Persian army in the Battle of Thermopylae. Gerard Butler also had help from the professional bodybuilder Franco LiCastro, but you can bet he put a lot of energy into the 300 Routine.
"When describing the workout, it is more accurate to say that it requires strength, power endurance and aerobic fitness, as it is generally a person's inability to continuously produce the power needed to do the movement over and over again."
The routine has a ton of reps, so you measure your progress by howlittle time it takes to do the routine. Time yourself whenever you do it, and push yourself to improve the times.
Of course, if you collapse from exhaustion before you finish the first time you do it, then your score is based on how many reps you got done. And you need to work your way up to 300.
Keep in mind that this was also more of a test for the cast, rather than a regular every-other-day workout. So, don't feel like you have to do this 4 times a week just to make progress. Hell, I'd be impressed if you got through it 4 times a week without dying!
Here is the routine, as it was presented in the March 2007 issue of Men's Health magazine and Hardcore Circuit Training for Men:
| 25 Pull-ups
| 50 Deadlifts
w/ 135 lb.
| 50 Push-ups
| 50 Jumps
24 in. Box
| 50 Floor Wipers
| 50 Clean & Press
36 lb. Kettlebell
(25 each arm)
| 25 Pull-ups
With a mere 4 months of regular training on this routine, other specialized workouts, and sword, spear, and shield work drills, Gerard Butler and his cohorts transformed into Spartans. He then spent about 8 months sitting on his butt - waiting for his muscles and joints to stop hurting, as well as mentally decompressing.
So don't burn yourself out.
I've drawn up a handy 1-page PDF that you can take to the gym. It'll keep you focused, and you can record your time for several workouts and see it improve.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, embrace your madness, andBECOME A SPARTAN!
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
The 300 Workout Routine - Become A Spartan!
1. McHale, James H., and Chohwora Udu. 2010. Hardcore Circuit Training for Men. Chicago: Priceworld Publishing. Pp. 147.
2. Ibid. Pp. 148.
3. Ibid. Pp. 147.
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