Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Spartan - The Ultimate Test

I had never heard of Gerard Butler or indeed the film ‘300’ in which he played King Leonidas.  On Facebook one day, I spotted a post by Ballinderry goalkeeper and fitness guru Mickey Conlan. 

He had just completed a Spartan 300 workout.  Curiosity got the better of me, so I headed for the ever reliable Google.

I had been frequenting Slaughtneil’s gym on a regular basis and was in need of some variation to my routine.  With the help of YouTube (see below) I discovered how hard this was actually going to be.  In order to get conditioned for this role in 300, Paisley (Scotland) born Butler conducted the following routine. 

·      25 pull-ups
·      50 deadlifts (60kgs)
·      50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
·      50 "clean and press (15kgs) – 25 with each arm
·      50 "floor wipers" (60kgs)
·      50 pressups
·      25 more pull-ups
·      A total of 300 reps

I had a good base of training behind me so was confident enough to give it a try, but adapted it a little.  Due to my considerable frame, I cannot do pullups, so with help of a bench, I managed ‘assisted' pullups.  For the wipers I used 50kg (the bar plus 2 15kg discs).  It was hard to control the full 60kg at the start.

On my first attempt I struggled through it but I got there.  I planned to do one of these a month and try and see if there was any progress.  However, two days later I suffered with DOMS in my legs.  It is Delayed Muscle Soreness.  Despite my previous gym work I had never completed a dead lift, so my hammies were in melt down. 

Thankfully, masseur Ryan Bradley came to the rescue and I was back in business.    Once a month, for the next few months I completed this Spartan routine on Saturday mornings.  The toughest was the wipers.  It is a great exercise for core strength and I have built them into my routine ever since.

However, during July and August, with my increased level of cycling I found it hard to get time for the gym and something had to give.  The gym sessions stopped for about 6-8 weeks.  I was foolish.  Rather than stop completely, I should have kept one session a week for maintenance.  After a layoff from this type of training you are back to square one.

A few weeks ago I started in the gym again and last night I did another Spaprtan, only this time my aim is to keep my routine, and try and improve on my times.  It was 19mins 31secs.  It is a well varied routine and a real test.
If you are pushing yourself against the clock, it helps as a cardio workout as well.  Also, my second last exercise is usually the pressups and it is an unreal effort to get the 50 after nearly 20mins of hell.

I still have never watched the film 300 nor am I training to become a movie star.  This time however, I am going to try and keep at my Spartan routine over the winter months. 

Hopefully it will help with my core and overall body toning.  Over the next year, hopefully I will be able to phase in a few proper pull ups, but that will take plenty of hard graft.

My next Spartan episode is on Saturday 17th September.  Bring it on!

No comments: