Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wanna Look Like the Warriors in 300?

300 seems to be the movie of the season. Don't really know why, but hey, I like actual dialogue in my movies. Anyway, many gym rats are interested in how they got a bunch of normal looking actors to look like [our idealization of] Spartan warriors.

First, here is the extended trailer for the movie:

The guys look pretty good. Yes?

Josh Hillis has posted info on the workouts the actors did to get in shape for the film. I believe there is also an article in the current Muscle & Fitness and/or Men's Health, as well. Here is some of the article:

Not your average workout: Tire flipping, jumping, sprints with a jumpstretch band, runs with kettlebells, turkish get ups with kettlebells, medicine ball throwing, kipping pullups, bear crawls, tuck sits on gymnastics rings, barbell thrusters. Real, oldschool, brutal - full body movements.

You'll notice they aren't doing any curls or tricep extensions, no machines, no pussy bodybuilding "watch yourself in the mirror exercises" crap. It takes real world strength to flip tires and do pullups and squats and sprints. Essentially, the actors were training for performance - and the look came with it.

The average celebrity trainer would have trained the actors to look like Spartan Warriors - Mark Twight put the actors in 300 through workouts that would create the kind of strength and power they would need to be Spartan Warriors.

And here are details on the circuit they did -- the 300 reps routine:

The now legendary "300 Reps Workout", a.k.a. "Spartans, tonight we dine in hell!"

The workout was first reported as: 25 pull ups, 50 deadlifts - 50 push ups (sometimes on gymnastics rings), 50 jumps onto a 24-inch box, 50 tire drags (dragging a huge tire attached to your waist across the room and back), 50 single-arm clean-and-presses using a 36-pound kettlebell, and another 25 pull ups.

The latest version everyone is talking about: 25 pullups, 50 deadlifts with 135 pounds, 50 pushups, 50 jumps on a 24-inch box, 50 floor wipers (like a hanging leg raise on the floor), 50 single-arm clean-and-presses using a 36-pound kettlebell, and 25 more pullups.

Mark Twight probably put them through both of these versions. And several other versions. In fact, most of the workouts were probably randomzied. They very rarely, if ever, would they do the same workout twice.

The idea is to do this workout for time - and if you did go through the hell of repeating a workout, to try and beat your time from before. Like a race. Speed, power and intensity are the keys here. Ideally you'd complete the circuits in around 20 minutes.

Sounds pretty cool to me. That's my kind of workout. I have never trained for look, only for strength and power -- the look is a nice side effect. However, if you aren't at least in some kind of shape -- and if you have never done these full-body lifts -- start with 100 reps and see how that feels.

Here's a video diary on the workouts:

Those band sprints look intense. I actually do a variation on those with a couple of my clients, although I don't have the fancy equipment (I have a huge rubber band that goes around their waist. I hold the end of it and anchor them while they sprint as fast as they can. Ideally, I let them pull me across the room, but they have to work like hell to do it. Loads of fun.)

I f you'd like a little more info on how to tailor these workouts to your fitness level, check out Josh Hillis' follow up post, in which he talks about how he tailored these workouts for his clients.

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