Bust Out Your Inner Gladiator With This Spartacus Workout
Back in 2010, we launched the very first Spartacus Workout: a cutting-edge training regimen designed to torch kilojoules at a blistering pace, demolish belly fat, and sculpt every muscle in your body. It did just that – and quickly became the most popular workout in Men’s Health history. This sequel workout plan, created by MH advisor David Jack, delivers the same fat-burning, muscle-blasting, sweat-drenching results you’d expect from Spartacus – and then some.
Directions: Do Workout A, Workout B, and Workout C once a week, resting a day between them. For A and B, do one of the two routines described below according to the first chart. For Workout C, do all 10 exercises as one megacircuit. (The moves in Workout B become exercises 6 through 10.) The chart below shows your work and rest times and which exercise to start at. (If you start at 10, your next exercise will be 1.) Rest 2 minutes after you complete all 10. That’s 1 round. Do the number shown for each week.
Routine 1/ The Lunatic Ladder – Do this as a circuit, completing 1 set of each exercise in succession and resting only as long as you need between them to maintain good form. For each exercise, use a weight you can lift about 12 times, and then climb the ladder. For circuit 1, do 4 reps of each move. For circuit 2, do 6 reps; for circuit 3, do 8 reps. Then repeat the ladder once more (twice in total). Want more? Add a third ladder.
- Circuit 1 – 4 reps
- Circuit 2 – 6 reps
- Circuit 3 – 8 reps
Spartacus Workout A
1/Dumbbell Split Squat – Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your sides, palms in; stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right [A]. Slowly lower your body as far as you can [B]. Pause, and push yourself back up to the starting position as quickly as possible. Complete the prescribed number of reps, switch legs, and repeat.
2/Dumbbell Single-Arm Snatch – Hold a dumbbell in front of your waist, feet shoulder-width apart [A]. Dip down [B], and then explode up, raising your elbow and keeping the weight as close to your body as possible [C]. Allow your forearm to rotate up and back until your arm is straight and your palm is forward. Pull your body under the weight [D]. Do all your reps, switch arms, and repeat.
3/Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift – Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them at arm’s length in front of your waist. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly [A]. Without changing the bend in your knees, lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, raise your torso back up to the starting position, and repeat.
4/Rolling Plank – Assume a push-up position but rest your body weight on your forearms instead of your hands [A]. Shift your weight onto your left forearm and pull your right shoulder blade back as you rotate your torso up until you’re facing sideways [B]. Pause, and return to the starting position. Repeat to your other side. That’s 1 rep. Continue alternating sides.
5/Lateral Duck-Under – Secure a barbell in a squat rack so the bar is slightly above waist level. Stand with your left side to the bar [A]. Step under the bar, squatting and ducking low as you follow your left leg with your torso and right leg [B]. Rise to a standing position on the other side of the bar [C]. Reverse the move and return to the starting position. (No bar? Just pretend.)
Routine 2/ The Sweat Storm – In weeks 1 and 2, perform an exercise for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 2 more times. Then go to the next exercise. Once you’ve done all five moves, rest 1 minute. That’s 1 circuit. In weeks 3 and 4, follow the same plan, but do each move for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat once. Do 4 circuits in week 1, then 5 in week 2, 6 in week 3, and 7 in week 4.
- Weeks 1+2 – 10 Seconds work /10 seconds of rest
- Weeks 3+4 – 20 Seconds work /10 seconds of rest
Spartacus Workout B
1/Lateral Step-up – Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your left side facing a step or bench. Place your left foot on the step [A]. Press your left foot into the step and push your body up until both legs are straight [B]. Lower yourself back down to the starting position. Complete the prescribed number of reps with your left leg, and then repeat with your right leg.
2/Push-up – Kneel down on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than your shoulders. Set your feet together and straighten your arms and legs. This is the starting position [A]. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor [B]. Pause, and then push yourself back up to the starting position as quickly as possible.
3/Dumbbell Squat and Curl – Hold a dumbbell horizontally at arm’s length in front of your hips, palms facing in and feet shoulder-width apart [A]. Brace your abs and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Let the dumbbell hang between your legs [B]. Curl the dumbbell to your chest [C]. Return to the starting position and repeat.
4/Standing Dumbbell Single-Arm Supported Row Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and place your left hand on a bench in front of you. Let the dumbbell hang at arm’s length with your palm facing forward [A]. Keep your elbow in as you row the weight to the side of your torso [B]. Pause, and return to the starting position. Complete the prescribed number of reps, switch arms, and repeat.
5/Skater Hop – Stand on your right foot with your right knee slightly bent and your left foot off the floor and crossed behind you. Hold your right arm out to your side and your left arm across your torso [A]. Bound to your left, landing on your left foot, crossing your right leg behind you, and switching arm positions [B]. That’s 1 rep. Continue hopping back and forth.