Roughly 10 years ago, a movie came out that was the first since Pumping Iron to spur an increased up-take in gym membership.
The shredded midsections, vein-riddled arms and perfect physiques got far more attention than the story of 300 ever did. Aside from the epic filters the editors used, what is it that made the characters look so good? The rumor-mill was rife with stories that the actors all followed a specific workout to gain these legendary proportions, which is when this workout of the day (WOD) first gained popularity.
To mark a decade since this training phenomenon first took hold, we’ve broken down how to do the CrossFit-inspired 300 WOD better in every way so you forge a warrior physique that takes you to become the alpha of your gym.
1. Pull-ups (25 reps)
Focus on momentum as you perform this exercise. Some will choose to “kip” or “butterfly” to make the 25 more realistic. It’s rare to see someone bust out 25 strict pull-ups. When you first give it a go, you may find yourself breaking this up into a few sets to make it more manageable, so find out what your limit is before you try this workout and know when you’ll need a rest.
2. Deadlifts with 135lb (50 reps)
While the weight will feel relatively light for the seasoned lifter, you will start to feel the lower back and legs weaken as you cross over the mid point. Focus on keeping a tight core, engaging the lats with each lift and using a hip hinge as your primary mover. Any breakdown in form will cannibalize performance in later exercises, so stand side-on to a mirror and always ensure your back is flat during the entire movement – don’t risk one poor-form rep.
3. Push-ups (50 reps)
To make sure that you keep the strain off your shoulders, focus on keeping your elbows tucked in closer to your body as opposed to flaring out to the side. Regularly test the number of reps you can do before needing a break, this will give you an indication of when to plan your rest. Some people can do 20 before a break while others are better off doing five sets of 10 reps. Often longer rest breaks can see you finishing faster and stronger.
4. A 24-inch box jump (50 reps)
When you perform this movement correctly, you will find yourself in a rhythm and the 50 reps will move by fast. Focus on a soft landing on the box so the force is absorbed by your hips. Be careful when you come back down. A jump down will cause the legs to fatigue faster so conserve energy by stepping down. Your explosive strength does taper after 4-6 reps, so be mindful of taking a well timed break or your shins could suffer.
5. Floor wipers with 135lb (50 reps)
This is a glorified leg raise that blasts the abs and the obliques. While lying on your back with your legs extended out on the floor, raise your legs to the left, down the center, then to the right and again down to the center to complete one full rep. The big secret is keeping your shoulders, neck and head relaxed or they’ll suck up energy and tire you out.
6. Single kettle bell clean & press (50 reps)
Start each rep from the floor and complete 25 reps with each arm. You will drive the clean with your hips but try to keep the press primarily an upper body movement or you’ll tax your legs too much.
7. Pull-ups (25 reps)
As if the first round of pull-ups wasn’t brutal enough, now you have the wonderful opportunity to finish your 300 reps with 25 more! If you kept the first 25 strict you will likely need momentum here through a “kip” or “butterfly”.