Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 10.2.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

The best way to elevate a WOD, and obstacle course training in general, is to incorporate meditation techniques. I always stress this because time after time, athlete after athlete, and one victorious Spartan after another the methodology proves to be truly effective. Throughout this WOD I’ll be including some tips on using it to your advantage.

In essence you’re running a timed event this week. It includes a mile broken up into four sections, each of which will be coupled with a set of body exercises. No weights or anything needed, but as always I advise you to perform this somewhere suiting. You have to be outside, despite downpours, blizzards, and hurricanes! If it’s possible to do in a hilly area or even a track that was once used in a race, that’s awesome.

Let’s strap our shoes on…

Shooting For:

- 3 minute 1/4 miles

- 2 minutes per exercise

The Four Sets in Order

1)  10 Burpees with two pushups and a side hop

2)  Continuous frontal/backward lunges – 40 altogether, 20 per leg.

3)  3 Point Plank – 45 sec per side = 1 minute 35 seconds

4)  20 Single Leg Deadlifts

W-T-R (Work-To-Rest)

I want you to shoot for completing the mile and the four exercises within 20 minutes. If you demolish that time, make sure to let the community know. It’s possible you could hold a quasi record, and trust me, this won’t be easy. I’m adding nuances to the exercises that truly compound their difficulty.

Let up if you feel it’s necessary, but if possible, take absolutely no rest periods until you’ve finished. You can start with the first leg of the mile, or the burpees, that’s completely up to you. Again, be strategic with your energy resources.

The Running Part

In order to make the time you have to plan for about 3 minutes per quarter mile, and 2 minutes per exercise. There’s an energy balance to set up early, and make sure to be strategic with your resources. Everything will get exponentially harder from the outset, so keep that time frame in your mind, and adapt around it.

Once the running begins to get excruciating, I want you to begin using inner visualization and awareness techniques to conquer the pain. Let’s examine it through the senses.


Feel everything piece by piece. The hardness of the ground, the temperature of the wind, your lungs contracting, your arms moving, your legs moving, the sensation in your feet, your hair, everything. Concentrate on pinpointing one tiny aspect of the experience at a time. Examine the stress, strain and pain. Know Pain Know Gain!


What does the environment smell like? Begin to pinpoint things specifically. Trees, bushes, pavement, your clothes, hair, sweat, car exhaust, dirt, everything.


Do you taste sodium in your sweat? What does the air taste like? What can you taste and be specific.


This one is obvious, but the trick is to, you guessed it, be specific. Try not to be judgmental, just perceptive. For example, try just to look at a bird without taking any mental notes about its color, size, location, etc. Awareness of the bird is the aim, not an examination.

By practicing these things during running, jogging, or cardio in general, to say nothing of the advantages while on the course, you’ll excel beyond expectations.


The Exercises

Burpees: You’ve probably gotten accustomed to my burpee philosophy by now. From standing into perfect pushup position in one motion, and then two determined pushups. Then return to standing and execute a hop in any direction. Rinse and repeat.

However, no sissy hops and each set of pushups should be in a different stance per burpee. There are plenty to choose from. Additionally, as you do these, pay very close attention to how your body, like an organic machine is evaluating and utilizing your energy. Take note of how subtle changes in your attitude can cause it to seem like it is rising and falling. Harness that power to your advantage!


Lunges: You’re a fourth of the way through. Let’s keep it going. I advise doing four sets of ten for this. Alternating sets of ten per leg. Why? Because there is no rest period or pausing between the frontal and backward lunges.

While keeping your balance you’re going to go from one to another without hesitation. This is really challenging because it’s a movement that the central nervous system rarely has to contend with.

Focus on that. Don’t judge or label it, just step back and look at it like a mindless perceiver. It’s not good or bad, no one watching is going to lose any sleep if you stumble a bit. Try to grab onto it like a white rope twisting through thick fog in front of you. There’s no need to bang these out really quickly, be mindful, smooth, and maintain good form. Finally, when experiencing your body, try as hard as you can to see it as seamless. There is NO separation between your upper and lower body.

Planks: Half way point! This is where energy management becomes real. Those that participate in Spartan races and watch the videos know what I’m talking about. Exhaustion, doubt, fear, pain, stress, fatigue: which are thoughts and which are physical?

The ones that are thoughts can be completely disregarded with a little training. For thousands of years sages have been showing and telling us that if we examine something like fear, or doubt, it disappears.

There are no rest periods between planks. Go from front for 45 seconds, to a side for 45 seconds, to the other side for 45 seconds and done. Examine the strain, and dissect the way the brain wants to avoid it, conserve energy, and relax. The elite make one choice, the mediocre make another. Which one will it be?

Deadlifts: By this time beads of sweat should be dropping everywhere. Your metabolism is through the roof, and if you haven’t managed your energy output wisely, these seemingly simply single leg deadlifts can suck tons of time.

Try to think of them more as a dynamic stretch, and that may shift your attitude into a final adrenaline rush.

Ten per leg and you’ve done it. You’ll find it especially difficult to balance and maintain perfect form because of what you’ve already put the body through. That’s the point. Enjoy it while it lasts, and draw on anything you can to disconnect the pain and exhaustion mechanisms from causing the body from stumbling.


Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call




15 Responses

  1. avatar

    Wow! This one sounds great – can hardly wait to try it in the morning!

  2. avatar

    OK so i see that it says to shoot for completing this workout in 20 minutes but it also says to shoot for completing each 1/4mile in 3 minutes and each exercise in 2 minutes. And with 4 quarter miles that gives u 12 minutes and 4 sets of each of the 4 exercises lasting 2 minutes each adds on 32 additional minutes making this workout take 44 minutes. Am I reading this wrong? Is there something I am missing? Thanx

  3. avatar

    Just curious, do we complete the quarter mile and 4 exercises, and repeat 4 times for a total of 1 mile ran?

  4. avatar

    Flat surface, 1 mile gravel track. 59 degree F, light rain, few seconds of light jogging in place and leg and chest stretch to warm up. 1/4 mile, 10 double push-up side hop burpees, 1/4 mile, 40 total front/back lunges each side, 1/4 mile, 45 second center plank, 45 second left arm plank, 45 second right arm plank, 1/4 mile, 10 single leg deadlifts each leg.

    15:13. 90% of my reps were good, solid reps without much wobble. No reps were rushed, concentrated on form. Didn’t have too much energy management issue, and did all my running at what felt like between a 5:15 or 5:30 (mile) pace as opposed to the 12 minute pace prescribed.

    To be honest, it felt pretty easy. Except for the front/back lunges. It seems like no matter how many lunges I do, they will always be a challenge. Maybe challenge is the wrong word… Suckfest is more like it.

  5. avatar

    And I just re-read and realized I did double the number of lunges needed. Grrrr…

  6. avatar

    3 planks at 45 seconds each equals 2:15, not 1:35. You’ve mistakenly converted 135 seconds into 1:35. 135 seconds is actually 2:15. This is going to affect your time per round by at least 40 seconds. Adjust accordingly.

  7. avatar

    I clocked myself at 13:09.

  8. avatar

    I’mslightly confused by the times in the article. 3 min 1/4 miles would imply a 12 min mile pace. 4 cycles and 8 minutes per cycle would imply 32 mins to do the exercises.
    That doesn’t quite add up when trying to make a 20 mins record.

    Can you guys clarify the running times and the time per cycle.



  9. avatar


    If you run 1/4 mile in 3 minutes, then take 2 minutes to do an exercise, round one complete total 5 minutes after 4 rounds that’s 20 minutes. I read it to do one of the 4 exercises every 1/4 mile not all four exercises each 1/4 mile.

    just my thoughts.

  10. avatar

    I did this workout in 19 mins. Maybe I read it wrong. I did:
    1/4 mile run
    10 burpees
    1/4 mile run
    40 lunges
    1/4 mile run
    3×45 sec planks
    1/4 mile run
    10x ea. leg standing dead lift.

    Wasn’t too hard, so I’m assuming I did it incorrectly. :)

  11. avatar

    Thanks Dee!

  12. avatar

    12:24, It didn’t seem too bad, I’m hoping I did it correctly

  13. avatar

    I did this a little different;
    1/2 mile
    10 burpees
    1/2 mile
    3 point Planks
    1/2 mile
    1/2 mile
    Dead lifts

    Was not that hard and i finished in 25:30 even. Pretty good in my book.

  14. avatar

    I misunderstood the plan, so I originally performed this WOD as such:
    1/4 mile
    10 burpees w/ 2 pushups and hop
    20 fwd/back leg lunges each leg
    3 point plank-:1:35
    20 straight leg dead lifts alternating
    X 4
    It was a great workout, and my time was 25:30.1. I saw that the workout should be done in under twenty, did the math, and concluded that was almost impossible. I was a bit dismayed because I thought I crushed it. When I realized how the workout was supposed to be performed. I was feeling good, so I did it again–this time properly.
    1/4 mile
    10 burpee 2 pushups w/ hop
    1/4 mile
    20 fwd/bck lunges-each leg
    1/4 mile
    3-point plank: 1:35
    1/4 mile
    20 straight leg deadlifts–10 per leg.
    My time was 12:21.7. I wanted to be around 11-11:30 or better. But, I was pleased and the combination was a great 40 min workout. I concluded with bar work, core work, stretching and Yoga. An hour and a half well spent.
    Anyone know the best time for this workout? I want to aim for it.
    Best to all!

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