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Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus Workout

Andy Whitfield in SpartacusSpartacus: Blood and Sand was an historical drama on cable channel Starz on Friday nights that featured the late Australian actor Andy Whitfield, along with Jai Courtney, Peter Mensah and Erin Cummings.

At first glance the series was very much in the style of 300, i.e. scantily clad men, with muscles oiled, wielding swords and generally putting their testosterone to good use with snarling, shouting, fighting and plenty more action on top of that.

As with the film 300, the lead characters were very well toned, with strong athletic muscle on show. Luckily we had the chance to take a peek at a behind the scenes training workout for the actors working on the series.

Andy Whitfield Spartacus Workout

The workouts to prepare for the role of Spartacus are very much gladiator inspired workouts, using bodyweight exercises and free weights. If you have ever done any martial arts training or been along to a Cross Fit class then you will be familiar with the sort of workouts that Andy Whitfield endured for the role.

Andy’s main tips for getting in shape are incredibly simple: “Train more and Eat Less

These are the key elements to his workouts:

  • Acrobatics – jumps, dives, rolls etc. to help compliment fight training
  • Gymnastics – to learn to tumble
  • Fighting techniques – specific weapons training plus martial arts exercises to condition and tone the fighting muscles
  • Focus on compound exercises

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This form of training is very intensive. Simply throwing your body around (in a controlled way!) requires a lot of energy and therefore helps to burn a lot of calories. It also works the whole body. Unlike weight training which moves muscles in a very linear way, acrobatics, gymnastics and fight training works the supporting muscles and improves functional strength. However, weight training still formed a vital part of the training.

Spartacus Weight Training Routine

The actors were sent to “Gladiator Boot Camp” 2 weeks before filming started to get them extra toned and ready for filming. Peter Mensah, who worked on 300 and also has extensive martial arts training, said that he did more training in preparation for Spartacus than he did in his competition days! They would train for four hours every morning.

  • Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Lunges
  • Press Ups with side planks
  • Kettlebell Raises
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Bicep Curls

You can find instructions for these exercises on our article on Beginning Weight Training.

The Men’s Health Spartacus Workout

This video by Nat Jones shows the routine that was put together by Men’s Health. A list of the exercises is below the video. These are basic circuit training exercises with bodyweight, kettlebells and dumbbells.

  1. Goblet Squat – hold a weight (e.g. kettlebell) to your chest and deep squat
  2. Mountain Climbers – classic mountain climbers, palms on floor, arms straight, knees to chest.
  3. Single Arm Swing – Use uettlebell or dumbbell. Squat deep and power with the hips to swing the weight forwards and up.
  4. T-Push-up – You need square / hex shaped dumbbels. Hold them while performing a push up, then lift one above your body
  5. Split Jump – / Jump Squat From a lunge, jump up and switch legs in mid-air, land in lunge. Repeat
  6. Dumbbell Row – bend forward with straight back, using dumbbells, row to upper chest
  7. Side Lunge and Touch – Side lunge with dumbbells – place them on the floor at the end of each lunge
  8. Push-up Position Row – Push up with dumbbells, row one dumbbell after each push up. Do not twist.
  9. Dumbbell Lunge & Rotation – With weight held to mid-chest, lunge forward and twist toward the leading knee.
  10. Dumbbell Push Press – Start with weights at shoulder height, do a half squat and as your raise push the dumbbells up. The idea is that you use a heavier weight and use body momentum to power the weight upwards.

Spartacus Cardio Training Routine

Cardio is also essential, even with intensive bodyweight workouts and weight training. Improving your cardiovascular fitness allows you to work at a greater intensity. It also burns a lot of fat. Typical cardio drills should include:

  • Rowing machine – also works upper body
  • Shuttle Runs
  • Medicine Ball throws
  • Mountain Climbers

All of these also provide functional strength training as well.

Spartacus Diet


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Without a strict diet all the fitness training can quickly go to waste. Even with regular intensive workouts a poor diet can prevent significant fat loss and impair fitness progress. As muscle growth was a key goal their diets consisted of a lot of protein.

  • The actors consumed 4 energy/protein shakes per day to help fuel and build muscle.
  • Calories were reduced to help with fat loss

When following such an intensive fitness routine and diet you will obviously feel exhausted and hungry at times – this is when you have to be strongest to avoid sneaking in snacks!

More insights into his training can be seen on our page about Dustin Clare / Gannicus.

IMDb.com provide a short biography for Andy Whitfield.

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  15 comments for “Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus Workout

  1. Vince
    January 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Medicine balls do work great, and effectively executed moves will only enhance the natural resistance you can achieve with the medicine ball. Core training is necessary to enhance performance in any number of sports, including baseball, basketball and even golf. Strengthening your core can improve precision, power, and better prepare your body for injury.

  2. MotleyHealth
    March 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Sad news out in the last few days about Spartacus star Andy Whitfield. He has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma which is a form of cancer. Filming of the second season of Spartacus was due to start any day now but has been postponed while Andy Whitfield receives medical attention. As the condition was detected early doctors are hopeful of a full recovery.

    “I’m receiving excellent care, and am feeling strong, positive and determined with an army of support behind me.” Andy Whitfield.

  3. Nick
    March 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hey man,
    I never blog/comment on the internet. I’m a business owner here in Austin, TX and rarely have time for any TV outside of ESPN. I got to say, I love the show! You are by far the heartbeat of that series, on so many levels. After learning some about your career, I am very happy for you in getting this opportunity and absolutely flourishing. I also heard about the prognosis and I just want to say that my family/network/friends will all be praying for your speedy recovery. Keep a positive attitude and will it! May god bless you and your family while you get through this minor obstacle and get back to kicking ass on the only show I watch!

  4. Vabe
    March 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Wassup,

    I’m doing the Men’s Health version (Jan/Feb issue) of the Spartacus Workout! And I look great! My girlfriend loves it. Check it out on menshealth.com. Put in the search box sparatus workout and print it out today! Its will bless your life!

  5. MotleyHealth
    March 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Sounds good Vabe, how does is compare to the exercises here?

  6. Dominic campbell
    April 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    the bodies in the series are so beautiful that they inspired me to aim for that type of body as well

  7. Dennis
    April 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I am a Peace Officer and was injured while on duty and will need to have surgery. I have been sitting on my butt for eight months and have put on twelve pounds. The guys have inspired me to workout harder than ever when I’m healthy.

    “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” George Orwell

  8. Smallz
    May 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I absolutely love the show. i jus started watchin it on Netflix but the second season. This show is amazing and way better than 300!!! i have started the workouts in hopes to have that strong pillar-like body for the summer.

  9. MotleyHealth
    May 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Awesome Smallz, let us know how you get on!

  10. Janine
    July 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I adore Spartacus Blood and Sand! An amazing series. Wishing Andy Whitfield a swift recovery! We wanna see you well and healthy. xx

  11. MotleyHealth
    September 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sad news today, Andy Whitfield has lost his battle against cancer and died on Sunday 11th Sept. He has suffered from non-Hodgkin lymphoma for 18 months.

    On a beautiful sunny Sydney spring morning, surrounded by his family, in the arms of his loving wife, our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18-month battle with lymphoma cancer” statement by his wife, Vashti Whitfield.

    News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14878973

  12. Duane
    September 20, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Very sad that he passed. Still In shock. This was his breakout role and he had very little time to enjoy his success.

    One thing that I think is off in this article, however- the gladiator bootcamp they all attended was more than 2 weeks (correct me if I’m wrong). It was more like months prior to the start of filming. RIP Andy.

  13. MotleyHealth
    September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Yeah, that is not very clear. Will check it out. I think that the 2 week boot camp was the final assault to get them in super shape after a long time being guided through the paces in their own time while working on other projects etc. So, certainly not to say it is possible to get a body like that in 2 weeks – if it were we would all be gladiators!

  14. Perry
    August 30, 2012 at 6:04 am

    RIP Andy.

    His death will inspire me to become like him someday.

  15. Olivia
    March 23, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Hai,

    I was looking for Spartacus work-out’s and diet scedules. I’m a woman, 48 years and I love, love, love training and nutrition (I’m a certified paleo coach). My trainer always laughs and shakes his head, because I never give up, always looking for a extra challenge. You do a very good job with this video. Great performance and clear explanation! Going to try this one and I look forward to your other video’s.
    Olivia, The Netherlands

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