by Matt Wiggins – MMAWeekly.com
With the recent smash success of the movie “300″ at the
box-office, a hot topic has become the training the actors for the film
underwent. There is a video and an article, and it’s been been posted darn
near everywhere. There is an actual “300″ workout, and plenty of others have
been designing their own versions of such.
For those of you who might not know, the training was
administered by Mark Twight of Gym Jones. The training (not just the “300″
workout – that was only one specific routine he put the actors through)
was all anaerobic in nature, combining full body barbell exercises, kettlebell
work, bodyweight calisthenics, sprinting, tire flipping, and more. As Twight
put it (and I’m paraphrasing here), “We’re combining three different kinds of
training – gymnastic, metabolic, and lifting or throwing things.”
Though, according to Twight, the main goal of the training
was to ready the actors for the strenuous labor that was to come with shooting
the movie, what has caused so much commotion (and was another main goal of
Twight’s training) was the phenomenal shape the actors were in for the movie.
Some gained muscle, others lost fat, all were incredible physical specimens.
The problem that I see with Twight’s training and the
success the actors had in transforming their bodies, is that too many people
are now jumping on the “300″ bandwagon. They think that they can do the “300″
workout a few times per week, and BOOM, they are going to look like King
Ain’t gonna happen.
First of all, the “300″ workout, as I said before, was a
one-time routine. In fact, according to GymJones.com,
the actors never repeated a workout in four months’ worth of training. That
leads me into my next point – this wasn’t a “magic pill” nor was it
“quick & easy.” The training took four months, and was intensely hard.
Nervousness before training was mentioned as being a normal occurrence because
the training was so hard. Diet was strict (most were in a state of calorie
restriction, and hunger was common) and everybody learned to work as a team.
See, you have to realize something – training was
these actor’s jobs, and full-time jobs at that. You could liken what they went
through to a boot-camp of sorts. Months of highly intense training, diet
restriction, watchful supervision, with everybody training, eating, and working
together. This was a highly professional atmosphere, as not only was everybody
under the watchful eyes of Twight and fellow trainer Logan Hood, but, again,
according to GymJones.com, a
massage-therapist was available everyday, and a kinesiologist came by twice per
week to treat those with injuries.
The “300″ training was very successful, and the improvements
everybody involved made were spectacular. That goes without saying. However,
don’t think that you can cherry-pick a few things (like the specific “300″
workout), apply it to what you’re currently doing, and expect to have the same
The problem that arises when training plans like this become
successful or a few people have great success (such as this case) is that
people start to jump on the bandwagon. For a while, things in the S&C
world were “combat” this and “combat” that. Then it was “functional.” Then it
was “core.” Then it was kettlebell. Then it was clubbell. Then it was
bodyweight calisthenics. Then it was complex/circuit training (a la Team
Every so often, some new training program comes to light
(although it’s usually not “new,” per se, it just hasn’t been popular, so it
seems “new”), and everybody everywhere starts doing it. They go hard for a
couple weeks. Then life gets in the way somehow, and they don’t go as hard.
Then they’re not as motivated anymore, and they stop the program altogether.
Now, everybody is off the bandwagon, and though the training method has people
that are using it to full capacity and taking full advantage of it, its “15
Minutes of Fame” (for lack of a better term) is over. “300″ will more than
likely be no different.
Now, I’m not saying that the training used is preparation
for “300″ isn’t valid or isn’t good. In fact, I think just the opposite
– it was kick ass. Just don’t (necessarily) expect to have the exact
same results that the actors who did it for a full time job did. And if you
don’t, don’t abandon the program thinking that it doesn’t work, you’re
“overtraining,” or that you’re a “hardgainer.”
As with all things S&C related, take a look at what it
is, and see if the method(s) can help you improve your own training – not
just for S&C purposes, but in the “big picture” to make you a better
Train Hard, Rest Hard, Play
Matt "Wiggy" Wiggins is a
strength coach and author living in Cameron, NC. Having trained 15+ years,
Wiggy is a strength moderator at mma.tv, columnist for href="http://www.mmaweekly.com">MMA Weekly style='font-family:Arial'>, and an avid fan of href="http://WorkingClassFitness.com">Mixed
Martial Arts Training. His site, href="http://WorkingClassFitness.com">Working
Class Fitness.com, is dedicated to href="http://WorkingClassFitness.com">Martial
Arts Strength and Power Training and
designing low-tech, high-result fitness plans for "regular joes."
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