Train like a Spartan: The 300 Workout

Do you remember the epic period movie 300? It’s hard to believe it came out in 2006 (!), yet here we are, fourteen years later. What everybody still remembers is the washboard abs of the film’s main stars. How did the actors train to become battle-ready and achieve a chiseled physique?

The goal of the director Zack Snyder and the trainers from Gym Jones was to give the actors an army-style training: extremely demanding, never boring and relying on camaraderie to pull everybody through tough moments. 

About The Gym Jones 300 Spartan Workout Routine

On-set training was based on:

  1. The 300 Workout challenge
  2. Daily training sessions

The 300 Workout challenge

This circuit-style challenge was laid out so the actors could gauge their performance and overall fitness levels. It was not the main workout program, but it was used as a test so that both the trainers and the actors could see their progress.

It’s by no means easy, though. Reportedly, only 17 of all cast members completed the challenge at some point during their training.

Here’s what they had to complete in 20 minutes:

  • 25 x Pull-up
  • 50 x Deadlift (135 lbs)
  • 50 x Push-up
  • 50 x Box Jump
  • 50 x kettlebell Clean and Press (36 lbs) (KB must touch the floor between reps)
  • 25 x Pull-up

= 300 reps total

Daily training sessions

The trainers went into this four-month transformation process with a bit of a philosophical approach and very clear goals set for the actors:

  • The new physique is not the goal – it is the result of hard physical work.
  • The actors had to be in a caloric deficit to be as close as possible to “the Spartan diet” and way of life.  This helped them become ripped and look distinctly different than bodybuilders.
  • Skill training is equally as important as the daily workout. Actor Gerard Butler (King Leonidas, leader of the Spartan army) trained for six hours daily and this included sword fighting, shield work, spear work, and choreography.
  • Every day is a challenge. Expect the unexpected. Workouts were never the same to throw the actors off balance and push them to the limit.
  • Don’t be Spartans just on the screen, fight side by side every day. The camaraderie was encouraged and achieved because the whole crew trained and had their meals in the same facility. Everybody had each other’s back, but they could also call each other out on slip-ups. Also, everybody trained in the same way: the actors, the trainers, and the stuntmen.
  • Physical recovery is a must. That’s why everybody worked with a kinesiologist 2x per week and had a massage therapist available at all times.

The main objective of the daily training sessions was to improve athleticism and range of motion required for performing advance fighting choreographies. Everything that the trainers prescribed was done to achieve the “Spartan state of mind”: always know what you’re capable of and always know you’re the best.

The results were impressive: some lost a lot of weight, some improved their personal bests and eventually everybody left the set with improved fitness and a body to kill (for).




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