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.
IMDb.com provide a short biography for Andy Whitfield.

15 Comments on “Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus Workout”

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

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