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November 20, 2006

Frank Miller movie 300 actor training - The 300 Workout

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.

If you're not up on Mark Twight's gym, Gym Jones, you should check it out.  It's a trip.  Mark is a world class extreme alpinist.  He climbs mountains that no one else in the world has ever climbed before.  Ok, I'll do my best to sum up Mark's workout philisophy, as I understand it:  Mark believes that there is something that happens on a mountain - when you are totally exhausted and when your life is on the line - that strips away all of the pretense of our modern existance and all that is left is your humanity.  That only through pushing yourself to the absolute limit do you truly find out who you are.  He strives to create workouts that have that same kind of impact.  Hence the Gym Jones tagline: "Power, Speed, Endurance, Suffering and Salvation".

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

25 pullups, 50 deadlifts with 135 pounds, 50 pushups, 50 jumps on a 24-inch box, 50 floor wipers, 50 single-arm clean-and-presses using a 36-pound kettlebell, and 25 more pullups.

A common misconception is that they did this workout over and over again.  Mark Twight isn't in to repeating workouts often with his athletes.  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 ever 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.

"The 300 Reps Workout" should give you a little bit of a flavor of the workouts the actors from 300 did at Gym Jones.

"You know that every bead of sweat falling off your head, every weight you've pumped -- the history of that is all in your eyes," says Gerard Butler, who played King Leonidas. "That was a great thing, to put on that cape and put on that helmet, and not have to think, Shit, I should have trained more. Instead, I was standing there feeling like a lion."

How To Get Started Training Like One of the 300

Ok, so lets say you want that "spartan warrior" kind of strength - If you are new to full body lifts, you may be wondering where to start.  Kettlebells?  Bodyweight?  Sandbags?  Tires?  Gymnastics rings?  Hey I'd grab on to any one of them that you can get good instruction on.

Without a doubt, the best way (if you've got the nuts) would be to go to Gym Jones and stand on the porch - just like Fight Club.

If you're too far from Salt Lake to train at Gym Jones, then here is where to start:  Start off with 50 or 100 reps of the 300 workout.  Done at speed, 100 reps is easily enough to crush the average gym goer - so take it easy the first time.  You can push the pace and increase the reps after a couple months.  And I wouldn't do this exact workout more than once a week.  My preference would be to do it even less often than that - to use it as a test once a month.

 You're probably pretty familiar with pullups, box jumps, and pushups - so lets get you some solid instruction on the hardcore full body lifts you may not be good at - the kettlebell clean and press and the deadlift.  Both exercises that you need to learn how to do correctly. 

If you aren't familiar with solid full body lifting, you have a few choices: 1.) Fly out to Gym Jones.  2.) Get some personal coaching from a Powerlifter, Olympic Weightlifter, Strongman, or Highland Games Athlete, 3.) Get some solid instructional material. You absolulely need to learn to do full body lifting if you want to take on workouts like "300".

Enter the kettlebell is literally an entire book on the kettlebell clean and press.

-  In The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, they talk about that the only study that Lou has ever seen where athletes lost fat and gained muscle at the same time the athletes used only snatches and clean and jerks and their variations.  Enter the Kettlebell teaches the kettlebell clean, press and snatch - essential full body lifts.

Power to the People is literally the best video there is on deadlifting:
-deadlifts are absolutely essential to the 300 reps workout.  Deadlifts are one of the best exercises there is if you want that Spartan Warrior look - and if you want to really be as strong as you look.  Deadlift correctly = get the body.  Deadlift incorrectly = jack your back up in a bad way.  You need to learn how to do it right.

Check out: The 300 Workout: Part 2





Index7_2 By Josh Hillis, RKC Level 2 kettlebell Instructor

P.S. One of the best fat loss workouts I've ever written is called Fighter Workouts for Fat Loss, and is now available in Kindle format for under $3

I'm a specialist in getting my clients lean, fast.  My book is about how anyone can get that that lean, rockstar body.


© Joshua Hillis 2007


i have a question? how's the diet?

About the diet, to quote Mark Twight:

"The first misconception is that we used a bodybuilding-type program of progressive overload and over-feeding with the goal of making the guys look huge. We took the opposite route of calorie restriction to make them look like they lived off the land, in the wild, all sinewy and ripped. The diet was adequate to fuel effort and recovery, barely."


thanks for replying sir mark twight. so what should i do?

it looks like the actors that trained with Mark Twight for "The 300" trained using a Crossfit training modality.

definitely crossfit. think that 300 workout is tough? try the filthy fifty.

Amen to Crossfit. I second the Filty Fifty, Fight Gone Bad etc.

Crossfit is definatly the train to get on

I can't wait to get so hawt!


How many times a week did they do these workouts? no questions asked Spartan Warriors of the 21st century

pussy bodybuilding? lmao... i can vouch for bodybuilders, because I am one, and I'd have preferred to see more "Arnold" physiques :) Seems as though it would fit better. Still a great movie nonetheless.

Wow, the main guys look a lot smaller in the workouts than they do in the movie, I guess makeup and post-production can do wonders.

Great info here, but fitness should not be something based on the latest movie fad. Just put the burger down and do some push ups.

Hey, even if it was inspired by a movie fad, surely any increase in the number of people exercising is a good thing. If a hit movie is what it takes for more people to get down the gym, then let's go out and make another one.

Very cool video. It look harder then i thought.

How long did the actors go through this trainig? Did the actors use any supplements to help them get bigger, like protein, creatine etc...?

300 was a very very good movie, and the fact that they really did train very hard to BE the spartan warrior is awesome.

i don't think that having the "arnold" effect would be a very good idea. the way they looked more slim, and not so bulky and huge, is more.. realistic ^^

very sexyyyy~~~

i have a question...which jumpstretch band are they using on the video? and how did they rig it up so it is on the wall?

i always thought about getting that i can attack to my SUV...but i dont know which one to get...

The jumpstretch bands are color coded for the amount of resistance they are.

You can make a harness by wrapping two of them together. After the harness, you could use two or three more to connect the harness to the pole.

In terms of connecting them together or connecting them to the pole - you just loop it through itself like you were making a chain of rubber bands in elementery school, and you connect it to the pole the same way - just like a surfboard leash.

To get startet, just visit and jump right in or check out your local crossfit affiliate.

Looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger would have ruined the movie! The appearance of the actors in this movie is perfectly representative of extremely fit warriors who have been fighting and are always ready to do battle. A bodybuilder is good for posing in the mirror... a narcissist, not a warrior.

I am wanting to start out on this program. Does anyone have some good initial advice? My fitness base is that I rockclimbed for about 5 years, so I have a pretty good but limited understanding of this type of fitness. If anyone would be so kind as to share nutrition advice, and fitness advice, please share!

Start with the basics - learn to deadlift and squat. Do pullups and standing shoulder presses. Learn kettlebell movements like snatches, swings and cleans.

Treat your workouts like "practice" until you are very familiar with the movements, then ease into higher intensity circuits.

I started today with a short sprint (about 100 yards) to a nearby park wearing a 20 lb weight vest. As soon as I got there i started with ten pull-ups and ten push-ups. By then I was totally wasted! I tried to do some hand over hand rope climbs (thats the best way I can describe it.) and some plyometric jumps onto a pic-nic table bench.

I will probably start with one day in the gym to practice these movements. Am I off to a good start or do I need to focus my energy in a different direction? Thanks again!!

I have a question about the eating habits of the spartans as well. I'm doing as many of the 300 reps as i can everyday(17 years old, did basketball+football). Right now I'm eating complex carbs(fruit, beans) an hour before working out, a protein shake while working out, and 2 eggs right after im done. Would this be considered overloading it? I do not want the Arnold look, I want the wiry, sinewy look so any help appreciated. Thank you

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