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Train Like A Gladiator: Get In Shape Now With The Dustin Clare Spartacus Workout

Let The Games Begin

Half "Rome", half "300", Starz epic drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (and it's prequel: "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena") is one of the biggest hit shows of the last several years. One of the biggest reasons for it's success (apart from the strong sexual content) is the amazing action sequences in the Arena.

Stars like Andy Whitfield (Spartacus), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus), and Dustin Clare (Gannicus), bring the brutality of the ancient Roman arenas to life, and do so in amazing physical shape. On this Hub, we'll go over the workouts that the actors used to transform themselves into gladiator shape, and get them ready for the arena.


This workout is intense- very intense. This workout is not for amatuers, nor should it be done every day. This is a "three times per week" max workout.

As with any new workout, you should consult your physician before beginning the Spartacus Workout.

Dustin Clare as Gannicus

Dustin Clare as Gannicus

The Workout

The idea behind this high intensity workout is to shock your body, plain and simple. This isn't designed to help you "drop a few pounds", this workout will be a brutal assault on your muscles, and will call your endurance into question like few other activities you will ever engage in.

It's important that you stay at 100% effort for the entire sequence in order to benefit from this program. You need to be Yoda on this one: "Do, or do not. There is no try.". Going halfway with any of these exercises will get you hurt, so make sure that you are familiar with the exercises before beginning.

With that being said, let's get into the Spartacus Workout.

Below, you will find links for all of the gear mentioned in this workout, as well as some "do-it-yourself" alternatives if your budget doesn't permit you to get what you need.

Sandbag Toss

This is one of the most intense exercises in the workout, which is why we start off with it.

From a standing position, start with your sandbag at your feet.

  • Step One: With your knees slightly bent, bend over and grasp your sandbag.
  • Step Two: In one explosive movement, lift the bag and drop it over your right shoulder
  • Step Three: Turn and face the bag, and repeat Step 2, only this time drop the bag over your left shoulder
  • Step Four: Complete 20 reps (10 each side). After the 20th rep, turn to face your sandbag.
  • Step Five: Grasp your sandbag and, in one explosive movement, throw the bag over your right shoulder as hard as you can (make sure you have enough room to do this exercise safely).
  • Step Six: Sprint to the bag and repeat Step 5 over your left shoulder.
  • Step Seven: Complete 20 reps (10 each side), for a total of 40 reps.

Spartacus: Blood And Sand "Gladiator Camp"

Kettlebell Dominators

This is a circuit of six kettlebell exercises preformed back-to-back with no rest in-between. This exercise is one of the reasons why I recommend wearing gloves for this workout as, by now, you will most definitely be sweating, making it hard to maintain your grip on the kettlebell.

With the kettlebell at your feet preform the following exercises:

  • 20 Kettlebell swings (right arm)
  • 20 Kettlebell swings (left arm)
  • 20 Kettlebell presses (right arm)
  • 20 Kettlebell presses (left arm)
  • 40 Kettlebell swings (both arms)
  • 40 Kettlebell clean and press (alternate arms)

Step Push Up Circuit

This is one of my favorite exercises, as it reminds me of my old Army days. It is intense, and should be completed as quickly as proper form will allow. While it's okay to sacrifice speed for form with this one, don't use it as an opportunity to slack.

You will need to set up your step with one riser, and place your medicine ball a few feet away (you see where I'm going with this). In this exercise, you will rotate your body as you move from movement to movement.

  • With your hands and feet on the floor, preform 10 push-ups.
  • Rotate to having one hand on the step, the other on the ground and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having both hands on the step and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having one hand on the ground and the other on the step and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having both hands on the ground and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having one hand on the medicine ball and one on the ground and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having both hands on the medicine ball and do 10 more.
  • Rotate to having one hand on the ground and one on the medicine ball and do 10 more.
  • Finish with both hands on the ground and do 10 more.
Scroll to Continue

Medicine Ball Step & Slam

This is a fun one to do, so enjoy it.

With as many risers as you can comfortably (and safely) fit into your Step, grab your medicine ball and stand facing your step. Each full cycle counts as one rep, and you will complete 20 reps.

  • Step One: Step up and preform a knee lift with your right leg.
  • Step Two: After your feet are flat on the ground again, raise the medicine ball over your head and slam it down as hard as you can (PLEASE be smart and safe about this, don't hit yourself or the step).
  • Step Three: Quickly grab your medicine ball and repeat Step One with your left leg.
  • Step Four: After your feet are flat on the ground again, slam the medicine ball down again.

This is one full rep. As I said above, you will preform 20 reps of this exercise.

Sprints, Slides, and Slams

This one is just insane. It's so intense that I recommend you do a couple walk through before hand just to get acquainted with it. This is best preformed outside, if you do do this exercise indoors, please don't do it wearing shorts, I've seen people do it and trust me, it's not pretty.

Place your medicine ball down and then mark off a distance of 10 yards with some sort of marker (I use my sandbag). Each rep will consist of a Sprint, a Slide, and a Slam. The Slam ends the set, so use that to keep track. You will preform 20 reps of this exercise.

  • Step One: Starting at the medicine ball, sprint to your marker (10 yards) and back.
  • Step Two: Sprint to your marker and back, this time, finish with a baseball slide (feet first, not head first)
  • Step Three: Sprint to your marker and back, this time, when you get back to the medicine ball, lift it over your head and slam it down as hard as you can.

Again, you'll preform 20 reps of this exercise.

Once you finish this exercise, rest for 5 - 10 minutes, drink some water, and then repeat the entire circuit. You'll do the entire circuit a total of three times.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena "Gladiator Camp"

The Nutrition

Nutrition is a key part of any workout. You need to make sure that you are giving your body what it needs to repair, rebuild, and grow. On days that you do this workout, you'll need to make sure that you have the protein handy. You can find some great deals on protein at Muscle & Strength (that's where I buy most of my supplements, avoid retail stores at all costs).

I would advise you to "carb up" a couple hours before the workout, and make sure above all else that you have plenty of water handy during. I like to load up on veggies on the days that I do this workout, that way if you do go a little overboard, you're not killing yourself with excess calories. Soy burgers and Turkey burgers are also good choices. Personally, I like to keep a few cans of Tuna (in water, not oil) in my gym bag. This makes for a great post-workout protein boost.

The Supplements

As I said above, Muscle & Strength is one of the best websites on the Internet for supplements. Regardless of where you buy them, just avoid retail stores. I worked for GNC in college and I know how much markup there is on these things, it's ridiculous.

I already mentioned Protein above, and there are really only a couple other supplements I'd recommend, but in the the interests of making this a "full-service" Hub, I'll cover them here:

naNO Vapor: This is a pre-workout Nitric-Oxide (also known as NO) supplement. Nitric-Oxide is a vasodilator, meaning that it causes the blood vessels to dilate, making it possible for your body to pump more blood during your workout. More blood means more oxygen and more nutrients into the muscles where they are needed most.

Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's): Without turning this lens into bio-chem lesson, here is the School House Rock version: Muscle is made of Protein. Protein is made of Amino Acids. By supplementing with Amino Acids, you can help increase your lean muscle mass by providing your body with more of the raw materials it needs to build muscle.

The Gear!

Below are my recommendations for gear to use with this workout.

Feel free to adjust the weights as you need to.

Gymboss Workout Timer

This little guy is extremely useful for Interval training. With a multitude of features, you can keep track of just how long it's taking you to complete each exercise, and how long you're really resting in between sets.

Trust me, the little "get-your-ass-back-to-work" beep will have you wanting to smash this thing against the wall by the end of your workout, but short of having a personal trainer, there is simply nothing better to keep you working hard.

Ultimate Sandbag Training System

This is a very well made and durable sandbag system. It comes with the shell and two filler bags that you can load up with up to 40 lbs. If you need more weight later you can just swap out the filler bags for larger ones.

Having a durable sandbag is essential to this workout. If you can't afford to buy one, you can use an old Army style duffel bag. Do Not use a laundry bag, or any other cloth style bag. It will rip and you will hurt yourself, trust me on this one.

Weider SpaceSaver 40-Pound Adjustable Kettle Bell

If I could only have one piece of workout equipment for the rest of my life, it would be a kettlebell. These things are so versatile that you can get a full body workout with just one of them.

On the down side, having a full set of them can be a pain in the ass to store, which is why I recommend you spend the couple extra bucks and get the adjustable style. The adjustable kettlebells also let you transition from exercise to exercise with only a minimal downtime in between, excellent for super-sets.

Body-Solid Dual Grip Medicine Ball

Medicine balls are pretty standard, but for this workout, take my word for it and get one of the ones with handles. With all of the slamming and tossing that you'll be doing, handles can make the difference between getting through your workout and getting a headache when the medicine ball slips out of your hand.

"The Step" Original Health Club Step

While I recommend that you use a step system like this one, pretty much anything that you can preform the exercises on will work. You will need to make sure that whatever you plan on using is sturdy enough to support your weight, and the impact of exercising, but anything that fits that description will be good enough.

Harbinger Durafoam Exercise Mat

A workout mat is more of a convenience than a necessity. If you're inside on a concrete floor, this can make the ground work a little easier to deal with. Outside, they're pretty much useless.

If you have to have one, I'd recommend this one for it's non-slip surface. Nothing in this life is more annoying than a workout mat that keeps sliding during an exercise.


kjrzeek1 from New Jersey, USA on May 13, 2012:

Always looking for new workouts, thanks!

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