The 300 Workout : A Spartan Workout That Kicked Gerard Butler Into Shape!

I defy anyone who say’s they haven’t seen, or at least heard of Gerard Butler’s physique from when he was starring in the 2007 blockbuster 300 film. This saw Butler play King Leonidas, a Spartan king that lead 300 brave warriors into battle in Thermopylae. The Spartan warriors were renowned for their bravery and body, they were a different breed in terms of discipline, strength and bravery making them some of the most feared warriors of all time!

The man behind the muscle

Although I concede the warriors in the film were actors, the reason they were tasked with becoming such brutes for the film was to live up to the legend of the 300 Spartans that went head to head with the Persian King Xerxes. Gerard Butler’s physique has famously fluctuated, he dips in and out of condition possibly because of the roles for upcoming films, or probably because he wants to let go from time to time. What is clear for all to see though is Butler’s conditioning in preparation for the original 300 film (the new 300 Rise of an Empire comes out in cinemas on March 7th), and this is largely attributed to Mark Twight, an ex world class mountain climber and self taught fitness guru. Butler and the rest of the actors playing the brave 300 were sent to Twight who put them through a torrid, intense, and as it turns out effective training regime that entailed and 8-10 weeks of INTENSE training!

The 300 workout

The name comes from the workout itself, in order to complete the workout you will have had to perform 300 reps…high volume indeed! The actual 300 reps are a finale to an intense resistance training regime building up to it, including kettle bell, medicine ball and regular weight training. This in effect prepared them for the graduation test as follows:

  • 25 pull-ups
  • 50 deadlifts at 135 pounds
  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
  • 50 "floor wipers" (a core and shoulders exercise at 135 pounds)
  • 50 "clean and press" at 36 pounds (a weight-lifting exercise)
  • 25 more pull-ups -- for a total of 300 reps

There's no rest between movements and the score is based on total time.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

There is no question that the root of Twight’s 300 workout is based around the ever popular HIIT principal which requires intense bouts of short burst moves. There are also elements of Crossfit in this workout, and many of you reading this will note that the completion of moves for time is a popular style of Crossfit workout. Interestingly Twight also runs something known as Gym Jones, a training method that has it’s foundations firmly set in the Crossfit style. Check out Scott’s post for more info on this.

Become a Spartan Warrior

So this type of training clearly works, but it’s important to remember to incorporate resistance work too in order to maintain muscle size, strength and overall mass when performing high intensity exercises. If the balance of these are right then there is no doubt your muscles will grow and the fat melt away. The inclusion of such a training method will not be easy, you’ll have to have a good base level of fitness in order to complete it, but know that once you get to this point few exercise methods will tax you quite as much as the 300 workout! Arrrooooooooouuuuggghhhhh!


WebMD, (2014). Fitness & Exercise. The 300 workout : Can you handle it? Retrieved 5th March, 2014, from

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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