In 2007, the movie 300, directed by Zack Snyder, took the world by storm with its graphic violence, intense fighting scenes, amazing special effects and compelling storyline.
The movie was adapted from a comic book series by Frank Miller, which is a fictionalized retelling of an ancient Battle of Thermopylae that took place in roughly 480 BC between a Spartan army and the Persian empire.
The movie captivated audiences with its violent yet stunning battle scenes. These scenes were loosely based on the historical battle where 300 Spartans, and roughly 1,000 other soldiers, protected a pass to prevent the Persian army from invading their homeland.
Unfortunately, the small army fell victim to the Persian empire which sent at least 250,000 soldiers.
In addition to the previously mentioned aspects of the film, the actors who portrayed the Spartans were in amazing shape.
In fact, their pre-filming workout camp became legendary as their workout routine spread like a wildfire throughout the internet.
Fans and exercisers wanted to know how these actors got into amazing shape. Thus, the actors’ workout program was dubbed “The 300 Workout” and quickly became a fad within gyms worldwide.
About the 300 Workout
This workout program was designed by Mark Twight, a fitness guru and world class mountain climber.
He was enlisted to train these actors and get them into amazing shape within 8 to 10 weeks. Gerard Butler, the main star of the film, reportedly spent 12 weeks with Twight.
Mark trained these actors and stuntmen at his gym is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark came up with a program that would help the men lose body fat, gain lean muscle, and improve muscular endurance.
The program consisted of 2-3 months of daily training before they took a graduation test, which was a grueling non-stop test that included 6 different exercises for a total of 300 reps.
This graduation test is what’s commonly referred to as the “300 Workout”.
The Spartan Test
After months of training, the actors and stuntmen performed a graduation test which was scored by how long it took each individual to complete the 300 reps.
- 25 pull-ups
- 50 deadlifts of 135 pounds
- 50 push-ups
- 50 box jumps on a 24-inch box
- 50 “floor wipers” of 135 pounds
- 50 “clean and press” at 36 pounds
- 25 more pull-ups
About the Exercises
The “300 Workout” consists of exercises that test overall total body strength and core strength. Here’s a breakdown of what each exercise targets:
This exercise directly targets the latissimus dorsi, or “lats” for short. However, there are numerous muscles of the back and arms that help to assist the “lats’ in this exercise movement. Pull-ups typically involves the use of one’s body weight for resistance.
To begin, grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip at roughly shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, with feet behind you, and pull your body up to the bar until it’s even with your neckline.
Do not rock back and forth when pulling your body upwards.
This is exercise directly targets the erector spinae, which is the main muscle located in the lower back region.
This compound exercise is a difficult one to execute due to the required number of muscles in the back, legs, core, and arms needed in performing this movement.
To begin, stand with feet roughly shoulder width apart and position them under the barbell. Grab the bar with an overhand grip inside of shoulder width.
Squat down to pick up the bar with your back flat. Stand upright by pushing through the hips and fully extending the knees. Make sure to roll the shoulders back when standing up straight.
This helps to stick the chest out and get a maximum contraction of the lower back muscles.
This exercise directly targets the pectoralis major, or “pecs” for short. This exercise also requires muscles of the back, shoulders and arms to assist in performing the movement.
One’s body weight is typically used as the resistance in this exercise. Lay face first on the ground and position your body weight on your hands and feet.
Push up until your arms are fully extended and slowly lower until your chest is about 2 inches from the ground.
This plyometric exercise is designed to build explosiveness in the lower body specifically the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps.
Stand in front of the box with feet roughly shoulder width apart. Jump up onto the box and stand completely upright when on top.
This exercise directly targets numerous muscles in the core region. To begin, lay flat on the ground and bench press the barbell.
Hold the weight upwards with your arms fully extended. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the ground and then move them side to side like a “windshield wiper”.
Clean and Press
This exercise is a compound movement designed to build explosiveness in the core and lower body regions. This exercise is done in two grouped movements. Begin by getting into a starting position similar to the deadlift.
Stand with feet roughly shoulder width apart and hands at the same distance. Squat down and bend over to pick up the bar. But, keep your back leveled, no hunches.
Explode upwards by pushing through the hips and extending the knees. As the bar gets close to the thighs, shrug the bar up to your shoulders and squat down.
Allow your elbows to rotate underneath the bar and for your hands to rest with the barbell on your shoulders. Finally, explode straight upward by extending your legs and knees. Press the barbell over the head with arms fully extended.
The “300 Workout” is not recommended for beginners. This workout was a graduation test for the actors who had trained for at least 8 to 12 weeks prior to performing this test.
These exercises are total body and/or compound movements that require a high level of experience and a solid foundation of strength.
Do not try this workout unless you have been properly trained or you can successfully perform these exercises on an individual basis without any problems and with perfect form.
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