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Uncompromising, challenging and intense – use Mark Twight’s two-part workout from Gym Jones to cut fat from your abs and build full-body muscle worthy of a Spartan

Are you ready for this? Because, more so than for any workout we’ve written in the last five years, you need to be. “This strength-endurance session should be slotted in after three months of conditioning, when you’ve developed a high level of fitness,” Twight says. Don’t attempt it unless you’ve built up a tolerance to regular resistance training (at least three times a week). The main meat of the session targets your legs and posterior chain: the muscles along the back of your body.

It also imposes a high demand on your O2 system. You’ll reveal your abs and build elite fitness in tandem. And while the workout focuses on the lower body, it triggers a surge of testosterone that makes full-body muscle building easier. “People fail to complete all five sets because they spend the entire rest period panic-breathing,” says Twight. “The psychological strength needed to finish is intrinsic to what we do: the sheer volume allows plenty of time to think about quitting. Can you win that negotiation or not?”

Stage One – The Preimier

Wall Squat / 2 Sets of 5 Reps – Face the wall, toes touching it and place your hands flat with arms outstretched (A). Drop your hips back into a squat (B).


Air Squat / 2 Sets of 10 Reps – With your feet at shoulder width (A), squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B). Tense your glutes to stand.


Jump Squat / 2 Sets of 5 Reps Dip into a squat as before (A) and explode upward, around 15cm into the air (B). Land in the next squat and repeat.


Kettlebell Swing / 3 Sets of 10 Reps – With the weight between your legs (A), thrust your hips forward to swing it up (B). Add weight with each set: 16kg, 20kg then 24kg.


Broad Jump / 2 Sets of 5 Reps – Dip at the knees and throw your arms back (A) to jump as far forward as you can (B). Land in a deep squat (C).


Goblet Squat / 3 Sets of 10 Reps – Hold a kettlebell to your chest and sink into a deep squat (A). Drive back up (B). Add weight each set: 20kg, 24kg, 32kg. That was just stage one.


Stage Two – The Assault

Front Squat – With your knees dipped and palms up, step under the bar in a squat rack. It should rest across your shoulders. Now, to battle: lift the bar and step back (A). With control, push your hips back and squat; keep your torso rigid (B). When your legs are just beyond parallel to the floor, tense and drive up.

  • Why? Packing more power than Leonidas’s roar, the front squat hits your whole body, hard. Your legs and back control the motion, while your abs bear much of the burden, developing in strength and definition.


Back Squat – Approach the squat rack again (without trepidation if possible) but this time, dip under the bar so it rests on your shoulders (A). Step back and squat; keep your body as steady and tensed as you can (B). Exhale sharply and power back up. Feel free to shout, “This… is… squatting!” and kick your spotter over.

  • Why? If the Spartans were around today, they’d be squatters. It’s the essential move for strength, size and all-round fitness. Your abs get an easier ride, but this move hammers your back for a cape-filling V-shape.