Most of you have probably watched 300 movie. Many have written about this movie and some are still talking about it. Hope it is not too late for me to write about 300. Not really the review on the movie itself, but something else.
Just in case you wonder what 300 movie is about – it is actually a film adaptation of the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller. It is about how Spartan King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fight to the last man against Persian King Xerxes and his army of over one million soldiers.
Lots of slow motion shots and gimmicky Matrix-style battle scenes. Almost all battle scene features at least one long shot that varies from super slow motion to super fast motion repeatedly. If you like Matrix with lots of blood, you will like 300.
What really impressed me is not so much on the story, but the actors’ body shapes.
Most girls may drool over the actors’ solid body shapes because this movie really shows lots of man-flesh. I almost dropped my balls after I found out about the training routine the crew has gone through. The director has successfully shown that Spartan army was not only cruel, but also ripped with muscle built from the hardships.
While surfing the Net for 300 movie posters, came to know Mark Twight with his so called 300 workout. Wonder who Mark Twight is? Mark Twight is an exercise guru and former world-class mountain climber who clings to the “no pain, no gain” mantra. 300 actors were trained by him under his brainchild program which has the same name, 300.
Gym Jones, where the crew was trained, is a no-frills gym. No funky music, no air conditioning, no mirrors and no comfortable place to sit. Twight warns that his Spartan workout is not for the faint-hearted, nor the out-of-shape.
These men were trained eight to ten weeks. One of the more interesting purposes behind this workout scheme is that the trainers did not want to turn the actors into bodybuilders. They wanted to create the conditions of the Greek warriors, shaping the modern man into a warrior look alike.
When I watched the preview of this movie, I thought the production team was relying computers alone to shape the actor’s bodies. I was wrong. These actors have shed their sweat and tears to get bodies like that. Like what Twight wrote, “The typical interviewer wants to know about the “magic” workout the cast did to make them look so good. Some were disappointed to learn that hard work is magic…”
No shortcut. Hard work and discipline instead.
King Xerxes (left) is not really that tall in real life.
“300″ workout gets its name from the total number of repetitions. But, those 300 reps are not done every day. Rather, the 300 workout was the finale of months of training, a kind of graduation test, after actors had weight lifted and trained with tools such as medicine balls and Kettlebells. What they were training is to prepare for the “300″ test. Here is what the regimen:
- 25 pull-ups
- 50 deadlifts at 135 pounds
- 50 push-ups
- 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
- 50 “floor wipers” (a core and shoulders exercise at 135 pounds)
- 50 “clean and press” at 36 pounds kettlebell (a weight-lifting exercise)
- 25 more pull-ups
Add the above reps together and you will get for a total of 300 reps and do all of them in less than 20 minutes.
See the pool of sweat?
No shit. All compound exercises.
300 is a one-time test, an invitation-only challenge undertaken by those deemed ready for it. By the end of the four-month project, 17 people had done the workout. This constitutes about 50% of the cast and stunt crew. Only one actor passed the test. Andrew Pleavin, who plays Daxos, leader of the Arcadians, was the only actor to take it. He finished in 18 minutes and 11 seconds.
You may have thought they have gone through typical bodybuilding programme of progressive overload and tonnes of supplements to make those guys bulk up. Not really. Twight said, “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. The diet was adequate to fuel effort and recovery, barely.”
Training for the actors required 90 minutes to two hours a day, five days a week, plus the same amount of time fight training. Stuntmen trained 90 minutes to two hours, five days a week, and another four to six hours fight training.
The workouts are tough. In one interview, Gerry Butler, who plays the Spartan King Leonidas, summed up his experience when he said, “Pretty much anything Mark Twight offered up was so difficult in the kind of way where you wish you had never been born – and even more than that, wished he had never been born.”
To become King Leonidas, Butler, who by his own admission was in less- than-ideal shape when he was tapped for the starring role in 300, spent 4 months transforming both his body and his mind. He went through the intense training required to build a warrior’s physique, aesthetically and functionally and with a warrior’s mentality.
This program is not for layman like us. “To ensure that the guys would last for the entire project, we addressed recovery as well as hard work in our process: we had a massage therapist on-site every day and a kinesiologist visited twice per week to treat anyone ailing.”
Damn, can you believe that?
If one is out-of-shape person, he will not survive under 300 training, even on the first day. One could probably only benefit from the Gym Jones workout is the person who already has a foundation in working out. So, no, not for a beginner. The entire regimen is too intense for the average person, but, do not be surprised if a modified version of the 300 workout appears at your local gym club. If US, Australia and Singapore can accommodate pole dancing after Demi Moore popularized it in the movie of Striptease, it is definitely possible to see a scale down version of 300 is introduced.
I like what Mark said, “…If you decide to do any of the workouts, take responsibility for your decisions and for the load you use. You make your own bed. Be willing to lie in it.”
So, ladies, if you have not watched 300 yet, go watch it now and it will better prepare you for a naughty night dream. As for guys, feel free to be jealous, but, don’t hate. And all for gym goers, watch the movie and go whack the irons today!
You may be interested in getting some of these 300 stuffs from Amazon:
- 300 (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD]
- 300 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- 300 (Novel in Hardcover)
Category: Weight Training
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