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The 300 Workout

The 300 Workout is a high intensity exercise workout linked to the 2006 film of the same name starring Gerard Butler.

muscular man flexing his muscles

But how did he get those six-pack abs, that whittled waist and those rock-hard thighs?

The secret's out

The not-so-secret training programme was discussed all over the internet and demonstrated in ‘how-to’ videos. It is called the 300 Workout. It's the idea of Mark Twight, a self-taught US exercise guru and former world-class mountain climber who still believes in ‘no pain, no gain’.

At his exclusive gym in Salt Lake City, where he says there's no air conditioning, no mirrors and nowhere comfortable to sit down, his mission was to whip the 300 actors and stuntmen into warrior-fighting shape, most of them in eight to 10 weeks. Gerard Butler trained for 12 weeks.

The Spartan workout is not for the faint-hearted or for anyone out-of-shape, according to Mark Twight.

Exercise physiologists who reviewed the 300 Workout for us agreed, and they cautioned that he is not qualified as a trainer by conventional organisations.

The 300 Workout

The workout gets its name from the total number of repetitions, but those 300 reps weren't done daily. The 300 Workout was the finale of months of training, a kind of graduation test, after actors had weight-lifted and trained with tools such as medicine balls and kettle bells.

The taxing programme includes:

  • 25 pull-ups
  • 50 deadlifts at 61 kilos (135 pounds)
  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
  • 50 floor-wipers (a core and shoulders exercise at 61 kilos)
  • 50 clean-and-press at 16 kilos 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.

The programme

The exercise programme was varied and based on a person’s starting point. It included high-intensity circuit training, lifting very heavy loads for a few reps, mini-workouts and hard interval training.

To improve balance some tasks were done wearing blindfolds.

Training for the actors required from 90 minutes to two hours a day, five days a week. That was followed by the same amount of time fight training. Stuntmen trained from 90 minutes to two hours, five days a week, and another four to six hours fight training.

Everyone was given just enough food to recover from the workout.

At the end of the training, about half of those who trained took the ‘300 test’.

Exercise physiologists burst our bubble

Experts in exercise caution against trying the ‘300 test’ without significant training beforehand, and not without taking medical advice first.

In some cases the breakdown of muscle fibres from the programme could be toxic to the kidneys, and for an unfit person even heart attacks may be possible.

It's not for a beginner.

Anyone inspired by the DVD should consult an exercise professional before embarking on the 300 Workout.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 03, 2016

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