When the film 300 starring Gerard Butler as King Leonidas was first released there was a huge amount of interest from young fans. Why? Because the film portrayed the story of 300 brave soldiers who were all extremely fit, well toned and strong. Naturally many people started searching for the “300 workout” or asking “how does Gerard Butler workout?”.
Well, the below video clip is a workout similar to that done by the actors in the film 300. Gerard Butler stated that he was in training for 4 months prior to the film to get himself in excellent physical condition. The 4 month workout plan certainly worked.
Who Trained Gerard Butler For 300?
The movie 300 was released back in 2007 and yet there is still a lot of interest in how the actors were trained for the role. 300 has become a classic already and is one of the bloodiest warrior movies ever made. It is still inspiring new people to attempt to sculpt their bodies to look like that of a Spartan warrior.
There are now so many variations on the 300 Workout that it is hard to find out which on is the “original” workout, and by that we mean, who actually trained Gerard Butler and his co-stars, and how did they do it? In the film 300 Gerard Butler plays Leonidas, King of Sparta, and he is in amazing shape.
Fortunately the truth is out there. In January 2007 Men’s Health magazine interviewed Gerard Butler about his role in 300 and more specifically, about his preparations for the film.
Gerard first approached Mark Twight for help. Mark Twight is a California mountaineer who became famous for his documentary about some of the most dangerous Alpine climbs. He is also a trainer and founded Gym Jones where he trains pro athletes, the military and some celebrities.
Mark Twight actually trained the whole cast and the stunt team of 300. His philosophy is “appearance is a consequence of fitness” which simply means, if you want to look good, you have to get fit. He made is clear that warrior training is not bodybuilding:
“The first misconception is that we used a bodybuilding-type program of progressive overload and over-feeding with the goal of making the guys look huge. We took the opposite route of calorie restriction to make them look like they lived off the land, in the wild, all sinewy and ripped.” Mark Twight.
Mark Twight’s approach was to push each man to his limits. He did not care if they were actors, stunt men or athletes, they all had to do the same workouts to get in shape.
How Long Did It Take?
First of all lets be clear, this was not a quick transformation. It took Gerard 4 months of extremely hard work to turn his slightly overweight and out of shape frame into a lean, mean fighting machine.
300 Rep Spartan Workout
Often when you hear about “300 workouts” it is actually because the workout consists of 300 individual exercises, or reps. This is how Mark Twight created it, maybe just to hammer home to each actor what they were trying to achieve.
According to the interview that Mens Health did, Gerard Butler’s routine was like this:
“Without resting between exercises, Butler performs 25 pullups, 50 deadlifts with 135 pounds, 50 pushups, 50 jumps on a 24-inch box, 50 floor wipers, 50 single-arm clean-and-presses using a 36-pound kettle bell, and 25 more pullups”
Simple really, 300 reps of some simple exercises. Although extremely intense!
5 Weeks Training With Franco LiCastro
However, Garard Butler was not content with just being extremely fit, lean and strong. He also wanted to bulk up, so 5 weeks before shooting began Gerard started training with Franco LiCastro, a bodybuilder from Venezuela. Bodybuilding is about lifting heavier weights and optimising nutrition to build the biggest and best toned muscles possible. This article will get you started: Full Body Weight Training Workout Split Over 3 Sessions.
Spartan 300 Workout
It has been a while since the Film 300 made this workout popular, but there is now a pretty good workout video on YouTube worth sharing. The exercises demonstrated are:
- 25 Chin Ups
- 50 Deadlifts
- 50 Pushups
- 50 Box Jumps
- 50 Floor wipers
- 50 Clean and Press
- 25 Chin Ups
“This video is in honor of Mark Twight (the inventor of the 300) and the two guys that posted their “300” workout on YouTube that inspired me to start using it in my own fitness regimen; I proudly present my own humble effort.” Auriconxl (YouTube user)
Turbulance Training 300 Workout
Some confusion about who really trained the 300 crew was the result of an article about training by Craig Ballantyne, the author of the Turbulence Training workout. His workout method is very similar to that of the one used by Mark Twight, so he naturally shared his own take on the 300 Workout which received a lot of press at the time.
The Bodyweight 500 Workout
Craig Ballantyne then felt that 300 reps was not enough, so developed a 500 reps program. This is another intensive workout that will give great results. For the full details you need to get a copy of the Turbulence Training manual.
There are still new 300 Workouts popping up on the Internet, some are better than others, however we feel that we have mentioned the best here.
300 Movie Workout vs The Bodyweight 500 Workout
There has been much hype over the film 300, or more specifically over the athletic physiques of the men that appeared in the film. Many people were soon asking, how do I get a body like that? What sort of training program do I need to follow? Is it possible for the average guy to look so athletic?
In short, the answer is yes. But it requires a lot of hard work. The sculpted bodies in the movie “300” were chiselled over many months. The actors trained hardcore, using kettlebells, weights, bodyweight, tires, and much more. Training lasted 8 hours a day. It was relentless.
For most people, this workout is too difficult to do because it includes a lot of equipment typically not found in home gyms or commercial gyms and takes a lot of time.
That’s why Men’s Health expert Craig Ballantyne developed the Turbulence Training Bodyweight 500 workout. This is a 500 repetition workout performed using only bodyweight exercises. No weights are needed. It’s still challenging, it will still burn fat, and it will still help you achieve the body of a Greek Warrior. The great thing is that you can do it in any gym, or with a few pieces of equipment, a home gym also.
Craig Ballantyne describes how the workout developed:
“Now earlier this year I tried the 300 movie workout. It is a challenging 300 repetition workout put together by a trainer for the lead actor in the 300 movie. This isn’t how they did their workouts…it was just a test of his strength-endurance.”
The 300 workout:
- Pull-ups – 25 reps
- Deadlifts with 135lbs – 50 reps
- Push-ups – 50 reps
- 24-inch Box jumps – 50 reps
- Floor wipers – 50 reps
- 1-arm 36lbs Kettlebell Clean n Press – 50 reps
- Pull-ups – 25 reps
Here is Craig Ballantyne’s TT Bodyweight 500 Workout:
- 50 Prisoner Squats
- 50 Push-ups
- 25 Jumps
- 25 Stability Ball Leg Curls
- 50 Stability Ball Jackknifes
- 50 Step-ups (25 reps per side)
- 25 Pull-ups (NO substitutions)
- 50 Forward Lunges (25 reps per side)
- 50 Close-grip Push-ups
- 50 Inverted Rows
- 50 Squats
- 25 Chin-ups (NO substitutions)
The bodyweight 100 Workout
Do it once, and then a week later try doing it twice. One week after that, try doing it 3 times. Then you could be ready for the Bodyweight 500 in the fourth week.
- 20 Prisoner Squats
- 20 Pushups
- 10 Jumps
- 10 Inverted Rows
- 20 Forward Lunges (10 reps per side)
- 15 Close-grip Pushups
- 5 Chin-ups or Inverted Rows
“Those are the 300 and Bodyweight 500 workouts. These will put turbulence on your muscles and help you burn fat and boost your metabolism without slow boring cardio.”
For more advice on bodyweight exercises read our circuit training article.
Is the 500 Workout as Good as the 300?
MotleyHealth reader Drew Walker does not think so:
The bodyweight 500 is a very effective workout. But I don’t think it is fair to present it as just as tough as the 300. I have done both of these several times and it’s not even close! 50 pull ups are much harder than 25 chin ups. 50 step ups are a joke compared with 50 24 inch box jumps. And again, the floor wipers have no reasonable substitute in the Bodyweight 500. Most of the “500″ exercises are easier than their “300″ counterparts, and the extra reps cannot make up for the difference. A 300 workout will destroy anyone not in superb shape. The Bodyweight 500 is not as intense. The 500 is a good way to prepare for the 300, so get good at the 500 before you try the 300!
Try them both and see for yourself. If you are unable to perform pull-ups or box jumps, then the higher rep workout with slightly easier exercises is a good choice. No doubt Gerard Butler was not doing the full workout on the first day of training.