So, you want the physique, stamina, and mental determination that a spartan warrior has?
Are you sure you’re up to the task?
Being a spartan warrior is not easy, and many who have tried have failed. It takes perseverance, mental stamina, and brute strength to be in the leagues of the long ago spartan warriors.
The bodybuilders of the Golden Era used a lot of the same principles and philosophies of the Spartans. They worked out tirelessly to create the “perfect” body – long, lean, and V shaped – a tapered waist with little body fat and a chiseled, muscular upper body.
Of course, spartans were not training for competitions and how they looked on stage. Their focus was training in the military and going to battle. Still, they were able to excel in the Olympic games – the women as well as the men of Sparta – due to their tireless training methods.
Sparta was a Greek city-state previously known as Lacedaemon, and is located in the Southern region of Greece currently called Laconia.
The Spartan society’s greatest claim to fame was defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War, which raged from 431 – 404 B.C. What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in unity, strength, perseverance, and tenacity.
The entire culture of the Spartan people was founded on the principle of remaining loyal to the state and serving in the military. It was their greatest accomplishment and what ultimately led to their downfall.
- Once boys turned 7-years-old, they were sent to Agoge – a state sponsored education, military, and socialization program.
- Spartan men were required to live communally until the age of 30, even when married. They would have to sneak out to see their wives and the men who fathered boys were seen as superior to others.
- Full fledged military soldiers at the age of 20, all Spartans were considered active duty and must remain as warriors until the age of 60 – if they lived that long.
- The population of Sparta was divided between three groups:
- Spartans/Spartiates – full citizens and soldiers for the city-state
- Helots – serfs/slaves
- Perioeci – craftsmen and traders, weapons builders for the Spartans
- Dying in battle was considered to be the best way to have lived. Soldiers who made it back from war were embarrassed and ashamed that they didn’t fall to their deaths among the other soldiers.
Once boys turn seven, they are then sent to Agoge to start their education and military training.
Over time, their ties to their family are loosened to help create them into powerful and formidable spartan warriors.
Loyalty to the state came before all else – even family.
The spartan military style training started at this young age, grooming them to:
- Conquer in battle at all costs
- Be compliant and take orders
- Endure any hardship brought upon them
They were taught the Pyrrhic dance, a traditional Greek battle dance, with their sword and spear, to prepare themselves for training and to get acquainted with their weapons. Similar to plyometrics, it helped them to be nimble and light on their feet.
When the boys turned 12, they could expect to:
- Bathe but once a year
- Be given just one cloak to last for the year
- Wear no shoes
- Hunt wild boars for food and prepare for battle
- Sleep on pallet beds, created by themselves with little to no tools, with the other boys
This type of training not only created devout dedication, but groomed them for the warrior training they would endure to prepare for future battle. It was thought that being barefoot and wearing minimal clothes weathered the skin, hardening the outside of their bodies as much as their insides, in order to keep them in a state of constant battle preparation.
Living and dying by the sword was not just an expression in the age of Sparta, it was how all healthy men were expected to live. After all, if you did not die during battle, you were not able to be considered a hero to your family.
Let’s not forget the role that spartan women played in keeping the city-state functioning.
They were educated as well, though not in the same style as the spartan young men were. Rather than being taught to battle, the women were taught practical lessons and how to manage the village when the men were away at battle.
To be attractive to the men, women learned:
- Javelin throwing
- How to own and manage property
Spartan women were given more knowledge and freedoms than most other Greek women, and homemaking tasks were largely left up to the group of helots to manage.
Fun fact – Spartan princess Cynisca became the first woman to win at the Olympic games by employing a team of men to enter and win the chariot race in 396 B.C. and 392 B.C.
The women were expected to be caretakers of the young children, and groom the girls to grow up and help maintain the city-state like their mothers. Boys were raised to be strong and healthy so they could go on to become spartans, or else be relegated to being a helot or perioeci.
So, do you think you have what it takes to be a spartan warrior?
What does the mindset of a warrior look like?
- Pushing through the pain
- Persevering above all else
- Not giving up
- Not taking a rest day
- Being prepared for battle – always
We don’t expect you to climb mountains barefoot while hunting wild boar with your shield and spear or anything. But, you do need fierce dedication and to push through the pain to even consider being on the same level as a spartan warrior.
That is the mindset you must adopt before starting the best spartan warrior exercise program. Boys are groomed from a young age to become warriors. They work their entire lives for the sole purpose of dying in battle to be considered a hero. Anything less is embarrassing and demeaning.
If you think you’re prepared to be in battle mode, then get ready because we are about to unleash the ultimate spartan warrior program. We’ll give you the best exercises to do, ways to do them, and what you should do each day of the week to be successful.
Without the right mindset, you are sure to fail at becoming a spartan warrior. There are no rest days, no days where you are too tired or sore from the previous days workout. You have to do some type of exercise every day to keep your body in peak performance mode – ready for battle at anytime.
Create a workout plan that you know you can keep to, and don’t let anything get in your way.
You have to put some type of exercise in your schedule every day of the week. Spartan warriors didn’t take a day off, and you shouldn’t either.
A sample schedule for you:
- Monday – Strength day
- Tuesday – Speed day
- Wednesday – Open day
- Thursday – Strength day
- Friday – Endurance Day
- Saturday – Speed day
- Sunday – Open Day
This schedule is just an idea to get you started. Feel free to change it up from week to week. Just strive for two strength, speed, and open days. Or change out one of the open days for a speed day if you’d rather focus more on your stamina.
What’s an open day? That’s the day you get to be flexible in your workout. Do something that gets you moving moderately for at least an hour.
On open day, you could:
- Do chores around the house
- Go for a jog
- Go for a hike
The program is adaptable. As you progress and gain strength and stamina, add more time and challenge to your workouts. Push yourself week after week so you can reap the results of your struggle and sacrifice – like a true spartan warrior.
3. Food is Fuel
Whether you’ve got some pounds you are looking to lose or just looking for muscle gains, you will definitely lose some fat on the spartan warrior program.
Spartan warriors only ate once, sometimes twice, a day. They ate mostly grains – bread dipped in wine, broth, pork dishes. And forget about seconds at dinner (if there even was dinner) – all Spartans needed to stay lean for battle.
Now we know a lot more about nutrition and keeping our bodies fueled properly for our workouts. We don’t want you to eat like a spartan did – the risk of injury when you get dizzy and pass out from lack of food is not something to take lightly.
Stick to a lean diet though, eating foods like:
- Lean meats
- Fresh veggies
- Fresh fruits
Stay away from processed foods, fatty and fried foods, and sweets. You want to be lean while you build muscle, but eat enough to fuel your workouts.
And of course, make sure you get plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can certainly have some wine if you’d like, but keep it to no more than a glass a day. Less than that would probably be better – especially in the beginning stages of your spartan workout program.
Starting your week out with strength day is a great way to get yourself accustomed to your spartan warrior program.
Word of caution: start out slow to reduce risk of injury. Add reps to each set as you slowly gain more muscle strength and endurance and the exercises get easier. Sparta wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your physique!
Make sure you are dedicating at least an hour of your day to strength day for best results. Pick a few of the following exercises or, if you are feeling particularly tough, try them all and see how long it takes you!
Here are some great strength exercises to start out your week.
This exercise is simple, yet effective. You can do it anywhere you have room to lay flat, and no equipment is needed.
When you do a plank using the correct form, it activates almost every muscle in your body. They look easy, but they are really a great way to engage your muscles and have them work together.
Unsure about how to do a plank? Check out this article for a step by step guide to the plank and proper form to complete the exercise.
If you haven’t planked before, then start out doing one for 30 seconds. If that’s too easy, hold for a minute. You want to work your way up to being able to hold the plan for five minutes. Sounds easy – but we can assure you, it’s not!
Squats work your core, legs, and upper body. Start out using just your own body weight until you perfect your form, then add weights. You are no use as a spartan warrior if you injure yourself, so take the time to learn proper form before you add any weight.
Once you’ve mastered the form, use either:
Be sure to add weight and challenge yourself. There are many variations to the squat, so get your form down and then go to town trying new techniques!
See how many sets of 10 reps you can do in five minutes. Once you’ve reached 10 sets, bump up the time to 10 minutes and start working on those reps again.
3. Push ups
Whether you love them or hate them, push ups are a go-to exercise to work your arms, chest, and back.
Again, proper form is key to avoid injury. We don’t want to keep repeating ourselves, but we want to be sure that you do everything you can to not seriously injure yourself. The only way to get the physique of a spartan warrior is to be consistent with your workouts, and you can’t do that if you are injured.
Like the other strength exercises shown, there are push up variations you can try to activate different muscles.
Set a timer for a minute and see how many push ups you can do. Take a minute rest, and then do another minute. See if you can keep this up for a total of 10 minutes.
A proper deadlift can really increase your overall body strength while keeping lean muscle mass for maximum gains.
If you haven’t done deadlifts before, start out with a low weight to so you can work on form and avoid injury. Once you can handle doing 10 reps in a row without stopping, then increase your weight to take it to the next level.
A great way to engage your upper body and especially target your back and core, rows can be done with:
- Rowing machine
Try different weights and techniques to keep your muscles in top shape and reduce boredom.
To keep yourself challenged, row intensely for a minute and then take a 30 second break before you go for another minute. Keep the momentum going for 10 minutes.
6. Glute Bridge / Hip Thrust / Hip Extension
Regardless of what you call this exercise, you will want to make it a point to add it to your strength days.
The glutes are often forgotten when working on building muscle, but it is essential to help maintain proper form during other exercises. Strong glutes support the back and core.
To increase the resistance and impact on your glutes, try:
- Holding a weight (dumbbell, weight plate, kettlebell) at your hips.
- Putting a foam or other type of roller or a platform under your feet to make the move more difficult and targeted.
- Use a barbell across the hips with increasing weights as your resistance improves.
If you want to be sure you are using proper form, check out this video before your get started.
To train like a spartan warrior, you must have the stamina required to compete in battle.
When you are working on speed day, you will be doing running and jogging intervals. Your goal here is not to be the fastest with the longest strides. You want to be able to maintain a steady speed for a long period of time as if you were going into an arduous battle.
Try this routine to work on your speed and stamina:
- Start with a brisk walk to warm up for 30 seconds
- Increase your speed to a jog for another 30 seconds
- Pick up the pace and sprint for 15 seconds
- Repeat for a total of five minutes
- Take a break to cool down for two to three minutes – don’t forget to hydrate!
- Start over and complete a total of 20 minutes, or four rounds
If you want to work on your speed more, you can add this activity onto one of your other program days. We suggest shortening your total time to 10 or 15 minutes if you do.
In addition, a pre-workout supplement can help improve your performance and stamina while training. Check out this list of the best pre-workout supplements for running.
Today’s challenge is all about maintaining your speed and stamina and pushing yourself past the point of giving up.
When the lactic acid in your muscles builds up and all’s you want to do is quit – that is the point you need to keep pushing past.
Don’t give in and know that increasing your endurance will take time. Start out with 20 minutes per day, and work your way up to an hour.
It might take weeks or months to get to an hour, but what an accomplishment once you do!
When you want to quit, just remember that a spartan warrior never gave up. Use what you’ve learned today about the history of the warriors to keep pushing yourself further and further.
Not sure what to do on Endurance Day? Consider:
- Playing tennis
- Hill or stair sprints
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Do you think you have what it takes to be a spartan warrior? How do you divide up your workout schedule? Let us know in the comments.