Does It Work? Behind the Scenes of the Spartacus Workout!Posted on Apr 5th 2010 1:00PM by Myatt Murphy
Readers at That's Fit are asking questions about the Spartacus workout -- a training regime that was created by fitness experts Adam Campbell and Rachel Cosgrove to help the cast of Starz' TV show "Spartacus" get into rock-hard shape. It's proof our readers (that's you!) are in touch with what's up-and-coming when it comes to new and imaginative workout programs -- and we're happy to share what makes this simple, yet creative workout so effective.
The Spartacus workout is basically a circuit routine of 10 exercises that work every part of your body [to see the exercises, check out Men's Health's web site for both pictures and exercise descriptions for each move.]. To do it, you perform one set of each exercise -- or "station" -- in succession for a total of 60 seconds, doing as many reps as you can with perfect form. If you can't exercise for the entire 60 seconds, exercisers are encouraged to go as long as they can, rest for a few seconds, then continue until the minute is up.
After that, you move on to the next station, resting 15 seconds in between. After you've completed the entire 10-move circuit, rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit twice more for a total of three times. The workout is repeated three times a week, resting a day in between each workout.
Pros: What's great about the routine is that -- much like most weight-training based circuit programs -- it's equally effective at burning fat as it is building muscle. (A lot of men never realize what a great fat-burning tool weight-training exercises can be when performed at the right pace and the right intensity.)
What's also nice is that you can do all of the exercises sans dumbbells, so if you're not strong enough at your current fitness level, you can still do the routine without dumbbells. That's a huge plus in my book, since many workouts expect you to either be strong enough to perform them from the start (even when you're still a beginner), or, may require a few extra pieces of equipment that you don't have (requiring more of a cash commitment than you may be willing to invest in.)
Cons: With the workout available right on Men's Health's site -- and the fact that you can try the workout without weights (so there's no excuse not to give it a shot) -- it's hard to find any downsides. I did the workout myself prior to writing this, just to remind myself of the intensity and it's a smart, well-structured routine that truly elevates your heart rate, challenges your muscles and leaves your body feeling spent from head to toe (And if that sounds horrible, just remember, that's how a good workout should feel, or else you're just wasting your time.)
You can learn more about the science behind the Spartacus workout. Also, the Spartacus workout is part of Adam Campbell's new book, "The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises," which I highly recommend.
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Fitness expert Myatt Murphy is the author of the best-selling books, The Body You Want in the Time You Have,Ultimate Dumbbell Guide and co-author of The Men's Health Gym Bible and Face It & Fix It: A Three-Step Plan to Break Free from Denial and Discover the Life You Deserve.