Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus Workout

Spartacus: 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

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

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. provide a short biography for Andy Whitfield.

15 Comments on “Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus Workout

  1. MotleyHealth says:

    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.


  2. 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.

  3. MotleyHealth says:

    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!

  4. RIP Andy.

    His death will inspire me to become like him someday.

  5. 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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