Darin St. George: The 'Spartan 300' workout

Darin St. George

It is no secret that I love to exercise; running, jumping, leaping and heaving anything that isn't bolted down is my sport, and there is no off season. My good friend Mike Westerling is the same way; between the two of us (he's also a fantastic trainer), we're constantly saying, "Hey, did you see the guy online lifting the cow over his head?"

The other day I told him I was trying something called the "Spartan 300." This routine is so named because it is 300 repetitions long and it was also used by many of the actors in the Hollywood blockbuster "300," about a small group of Spartan warriors holding off a million-man army all by themselves. Allow me to tell you the exercises I did and maybe recommend something less lethal for those who want to live to see tomorrow.

25 pull-ups: OK, these will take a while. Pull-ups are one hard exercise to get good at, so maybe bust out as many as you can and then do the rest with a certain percentage of your bodyweight on a pull-down machine.

50 dead lifts with 135 pounds: No way around this; it can be done in mini sets (10 each times 5) or again, use something lighter (empty bar up to 135).

50 push-ups: Some will do these straight out, some on their knees or on something higher (squat rack) until they can crank them out on the ground.

50 jumps onto a 24-inch box: I used an 18-inch box and stood further away; these will completely blow your lungs out, but would a Spartan expect any less? Try a small step as your target if this is too high, but keep moving.

50 side-to-side floor wipers: You're supposed to hold a 135-pound bar, but I started with an empty one (smart, as I barely made these). Maybe 100 bicycles on the floor until you can see straight might work for you?

25 clean and presses with 36-pound kettle bell for each arm: These were actually easier than most of the preceding moves; if you can't handle/don't have a bell, use a lighter dumbbell until you work your way up.

25 pull-ups: Yes, you end at the start with 25 more pull-ups. Try them with your foot on a stool for assistance or use an assisted machine until you can end on the bar where you began.

This was seriously one of the hardest training sessions of my life, and I can't wait to do it again. Care to join me?

Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his Web site at