Spartan WOD for 9.6.12:  Mile Repeats

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
-  Will Rogers


Mile Repeats

Warm-up (WU):  Run 15 minutes, gradually ramping up intensity.  Put in a few 30-second accelerations faster than your race pace.

Main Set (MS):  Plan on running between 2-5 one-mile repeats.  Start the first mile at your 5k pace and then get faster with each repeat.  You should finish well below a 5k pace on the final interval.

If you normally do an 8-minute mile pace over a 5k-time trial, your mile splits for this WOD might look something like 8.00, 7.40, and 7.15.  Dig deep on the last one.  You just might surprise yourself!

Cool down (CD):  Jog to help get some of the lactic acid out of your legs and then stretch.

A dynamic warm-up should be used to get you read for a workout of this intensity.  On the blog, Jeff Godin, Ph.D. of  outlines 16 exercises to get you ready to train at your best.



WOD for Tuesday, 8.28.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

Beginner Cycles: Should ideally have zero rest between exercises and a maximum of 2 mins rest between sets. For each exercise shoot for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute of continuous movement per exercise without stopping. 3 Sets minimum

Advanced cycles: should also have zero rest between exercises and a maximum of 1 min rest between sets. For each exercise shoot for at least 1 minute to 90 seconds of continuous movement per exercise without stopping. Shoot for 5 sets.


1) Duel High-Dumbbell Pushups: I’ve used these for years, and incorporated the single high dumbbell pushup into Spartan workouts before, but now it’s time to step it up. Here’s how to use two dumbbells to turn a simple polymetric pushup into an obstacle course for the upper body.

Keep in mind that no matter who you are, or how good of shape you’re in, these are extremely taxing and simply cannot be maintained for too long. It takes a highly trained athlete an incredible amount of energy to perfectly execute ten of these bad boys.

Now, a single high dumbbell pushup is where you take one and flip it on its side so it’s tall. Then with one hand on the ground and one hand up on top of it, do a pushup and then explode with power propelling the upper body over the dumbbell so that the opposite hand is now on top. Ok, now, this will take some situating but once you get it right the first time you can eyeball it.

Set up the other dumbbell about a foot and a half to either side. It should be perfectly level and even, not staggered. Additionally, these should be heavier weights that are stable, not light and easily tipped.

I’m sure you can already see where this is going. In all, there will be a sequence of three movements. Let’s say you start with your left hand up on the first one, with your body and right hand to the right side of the dumbbell. The first movement switches you to the other side so the right hand is on the dumbbell, and the left is now on the ground. The second movement is where you switch hands so you’re in the starting position between the two. Do the first movement with the other dumbbell and all without pausing. 1, 2, 3, so that you end up on the far left of the second dumbbell with your right hand on top. Hardcore Spartan Style!


2) One Leg Curl to Press: Now that the blood is definitely pumping, let’s add some variation and use different mechanics. Grab the dumbbells and begin to do alternating dumbbell curls to presses, but make sure that you’re only on one leg. To really get knee deep in the brain training, make sure that the leg going up and the arm going up are always on opposite sides of the body.

If you’re looking for even more work, use only one dumbbell at a time instead of two that are evening out the weight distribution. So if you’re standing on your right leg with the left being held high, then you should be doing the dumbbell curls and presses with the right arm. This is making it much harder for the central nervous system to navigate through the awkwardness of the exercise with so many muscles involved simultaneously.

Keep focused on the fact that you’re purposely challenging your core and your internal base of support by manipulating the direction of force, so make it tough! Just make sure you’re not ignoring any alarm bells originating from the ankles.


3) Reverse Lung & One Arm Snatch: Ok, once again we’re going to completely change up what the body is doing, but keeping it things in a full body groove. This is more brain training, so focus on the pelvis, spine, and obliques. If you decided to do the dumbbell presses with just one dumbbell, then you can go smoothly right into these. 

With these it’s best to split the time under tension in half to split the work evenly to both sides of the body.

These help with all kinds of obstacles, and situations where quick ducking, grabbing, and internal balance mechanisms are responsible for gaining or losing precious time.

With a dumbbell in one hand, say the right, step back with the right leg into a reverse lunge. As you do, lower the arm with the dumbbell down towards the ground parallel with the other foot. Don’t let it touch, and don’t lean too forward. Your head and eyes should stay up, not pointing towards the ground. This is where you really need to use the mind to make sure every part of the kinetic chain is supported, especially the lower back.

Instead of standing up, do a one arm snatch with the dumbbell to get back to starting position. Let me stress, there is no reason to use heavy weight when incorporating a lunge, in fact, it’s downright dangerous. Whether advanced or a beginner, the weight should only be light to moderate.

Finally, just because the weight isn’t what it would be in a real snatch, doesn’t mean you should pop your shoulders out of their sockets rocketing these things up. Remember, Spartan training is progressive, determined, and always mindful of form.


4) 10-20 Five Count Pushups w/ Row: Being a Spartan means elevating all the traditional exercises into something far more taxing. Most people use the gym to train for everyday life. These pushups are what build the strength to carve the upper body into a metabolic machine.

These pushups are done with the hands on your dumbbells. The eccentric count is three, the fourth count should be popping up, and the fifth happens at the climax when you lift one dumbbell for a row. Of course on each rep switch the hand that does the row. I included the numbers 10 and 20 just as a rough outline. Everyone is going to handle these differently, so as long as you make the work count and don’t let the body collapse to the ground, or stick your butt as high into the air as possible, you’re still working.

Beginners should shoot for about ten without stopping, and advanced twenty, but it’s the time under tension that’s the most important. These are not only about the chest, but the forearms, shoulders, core, and upper back as well. Make the rows clean, not jerky. Bring them to their height around the arm pit and feel the shoulder blade move.


5) Treadmill Farmer Walks: To end each set grab your dumbbells and head to the nearest treadmill. First of all, there will be zero running. If you’ve been following the W-T-R then your body thinks you’ve been doing cardio the entire set so far anyway. No, this is basically walking the treadmill at a moderate but comfortable pace on random hill mode. Everyone should set the time to exactly six minutes.

With most treadmills this is enough time to get into some of that hill mode, following a two to three minute warm up period. Most machines will have somewhere to set the dumbbells, if there isn’t one, well, that means no setting them down then! Either way, what you’re shooting for is one minute intervals of walking up hills carrying the dumbbells.

Even if you’re only using 15lb weights, that’s an extra 30lbs of body weight. It will cause you’re heart to speed up almost instantly, as though you were running. When the arms and shoulders begin to get tired, just curl them up and set them on your shoulders. Do whatever you have to do, but stay on that treadmill and add that extra weight for at least three of the six minutes.


Keep Going!


James Villepigue & Hobie Call


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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 8.21.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

Once again Spartans, a refreshing WOD challenge awaits you. We’ll be focusing the lion’s share of intensity and strength endurance on the lower body and hip complex. Additionally, we’ll be incorporating full-body movements to tap into our cardiovascular systems and upper body stamina. These are some excellent choices when prepping for obstacle courses, because they train the mind, happen in different planes of motion, require speed, demand agility, and produce power.

For this circuit, a really effective work to rest ratio is going to be employed. It’s called the 60-30 switch, meaning you go back and forth between 60-30 and 30-60 from each exercise to the next. The first number stands for work, and the second for rest.

So, for example, we’re going to hit the first exercise with 60-30, and then go directly into the second exercise but with 30 seconds of continuous non-stop movement, and 60 seconds of rest. Always remember to use active recovery while in rest periods. No standing still or sitting.

After the entire first cycle is done, don’t repeat the same sequence. Instead, start the first exercise with 30-60 this time and alternate from there. It just adds an extra twist of variation, challenging the body even further, and readying it for the race.

Let’s dive in…

(60-30) Dumbbell Side Lunge w/ Touch: During this exercise keep your abdominal wall and thighs in mind.

Countless studies have proven that direct deliberate attention towards recruited muscle tissue enhances efficiency and economy of movement..

Begin from a standing position with head up, back straight, and dumbbells resting with palms inward. The wrists shouldn’t be asked to twist during this exercise, but instead simply hold the weight steady.

Choose a direction and then slowly go into a side lunge. At the end of the movement the spine should still be straight, not leaning forward, and the dumbbells dangling an inch off the ground on both sides of the foot you stepped out with.

Sit low into the stance to feel the adductors, or the muscles on the inside of the extended leg, stretch. Try as best you can to keep the foot still, pointed forward, and squarely planted. At no time should you come forward onto the balls of your feet, because your center of gravity should be held in place by the glutes, abdominals, and upper body.

On the way back up, stay firm and determined. Start by doing one side for half the work time, then the other. Once you get the hang of it, increase speed and metabolic demand, and go from side to side without stopping.


(30-60) Split Jump Squats: This one is great not only for lower body burst and strength endurance, but for elevating overall control of balance and center of gravity.

It’s basically a continuous jumping saggital lunge. However, the real value of the exercise is in how hard you push up on the jump, and how well you can hold steady as you get back to the ground and descend into another lunge with perfect form. It’s easy to tip over, lose balance, and have to stand up to resituate.

Make sure those shoes are tied on tightly, and the ankle doesn’t twist. Take a brief second during every jump to feel yourself landing solidly with feet firmly planted each time.

Push hard; get as much air as possible each time. Use your mind and envision that each time you get just a tiny bit higher. The arms should stay lose at your sides, but it’s ok to use them for balance by extending them out between jumps. As long as you keep your eyes forward instead of looking down at your feet things will work out.

Don’t worry about them, but do keep your ankles in mind, and remember to clench the abs while taking in enough oxygen to sustain movement the entire work time.


 (60-30) Single-Arm Dumbbell Swing: This is going to feel like another leg exercise, and they will remain under tension, but this time stay stationary.

Too many Spartans have been focusing on their heart, or hamstrings, but not enough on the hips. The lumbo pelvic hip complex is where a ton of our quick and focused movements in the race originate from. Properly executed swings are a great way to loosen up, and train the hip complex within the saggital plane.

The feet should be pointed forward and a few inches wider than shoulder width apart. Any singular weight with a handle can be used, from a gallon of water to a kettlebell or dumbbell.

In the same way you used lower body strength to propel yourself into the air during Split Squats, now it will be components of the upper body that guide the weight up to shoulder height and back down between the legs. You control the movement, not the forces of gravity and momentum. Focus, be deliberate, and relish in the mobility of your hips that allow you to do all the amazing things you do.

Each part should be done by design, from the squatting aspect to the generation of force that brings up the weight. Work against gravity, not with it, for best results.


(30-60) Goblet Squat: Whenever extra weight is used with this exercise, unless it’s a secure weight vest, I wouldn’t recommend trying to jump. Your chin could easily get smacked like you received a right uppercut. It’s not a good idea.

However, I do recommend that when light to moderate weight is used, you add a shoulder press motion to the exercise. Just make sure that the back stays straight and supported. Only continuous motion and body control is required, no quick jerky movements unless the weight is really light.

It’s very important to flex the abdominal muscles, because the lower back can easily be injured here. It’s like a frontal barbell squat without the secured and evenly distributed weight on both sides.

Make sure to keep the weight into the chest and pay close attention to form. The squat needs to go smoothly. Leaning forward can be costly, especially when working with heavier weights.


(60-30) Dumbbell Floor Wipers: Most people do this with a barbell for extra stabilization, but as you’ll see with two separate weights, it’s far more challenging on the core, and everything else involved.

Typically people start out by holding the dumbbells as steady as possible in an extended chest press stance, and then go with traditional leg lifts that come straight up rather than attempting the wiper motion.

Another modified way to begin is to hold one dumbbell with both hands just to prepare the nervous system for when it won’t be able to depend on one centered point of reference. Once you’re ready to do wipers with two weights, one in each hand, make sure not to lock out the elbows, keep the head flat on the floor along with the spine, and concentrate on the abs during the lower body movement. Try to keep the lower back as stabilized as possible.

This exercise does not have to be executed with speed. In fact, the slower and more concentrated the time under tension, the better and more effective it will be.

Well Done!

Great work with the first cycle! You’ll notice that the second time around feels different, and so will the third. This is exactly the type of thing we want our bodies to become accustomed to for the races, where every single one is different. Even if we do the same course over and over again, the body experiences it differently.

Messing with Work and Rest time doesn’t always have to be complicated, but it should be effective. The 60-30 split is easy to remember, and can fit into literally any course specific training regimen.

Thanks so much for taking part, and don’t forget that the Spartan community is interested in what you think of the WOD, and how well you did. Make sure to leave a quick comment and share your thoughts and experiences.

Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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Are you getting your WOD fix regularly enough?  Our signature WODs are posted daily on our Facebook, Twitter, and we even send it to your inbox.  If you want to get the goods for week all in one place you have come to the right place.

When approaching training structuring your workouts by week is a great way to begin looking at training as being comprised of cycles.  Typically many athletes will work in week long cycles that comprise a gradual build up in workout volume (intensity x duration).  After 3 solid weeks of training, then there can be a week of lighter training to help recover from the previous 3.  As always, our WODs are basic introductions and you should consult with your own fitness professionals and doctors to find the program best for you.  We just want to help you get rolling!


Click Here for an in-depth WOD brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition.


“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect It’s successful outcome.”
William James

We build our WODs to help people train for our obstacle races!  We think the Cindy is one bad-ass workout and it will get you into Spartan Beast mode, quick!

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats


“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
-Jim Rohn

Today is brought to you by the number 100. Repetitions, that is. Feel free to chose the number 200 or 300, though.  Or 20 or 30.  It’s up to you based on your ability.


100 push-ups or burpees done as(choose one)
2 x 50
4 x 25
10 x 10
100 crunches done as (choose one)
2 x 50
4 x 25
10 x 10

Optional Add On:
Endurance: 2- 4 mile run


To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
~William Shakespeare

Beginners do NOT be intimidated!  Development takes time.  This is why we try and provide you WODs that are highly adaptable to your current fitness, geography, and goals.  Spartans take what they have and set to work to improve it.  So what if you have a long way to go.  Don’t let a suggested workout stop you from working out because it is ‘too tough’.  Doing 10% of a workout is better than not working out at all.  If you’re elite, get over patting yourself on the back and do the workout twice.

grab 5-30lbs sandbags or even set of dumbbells and hike/walk 2-4 miles (preferably hills).  It’s not about speed, it’s about strength and endurance.  The more irregular the weight you are carrying the more you are going to build your adaptability across many planes of movement and allow you to work your stabilizing muscles.

finish with weights and:

20-100 squats
10-100 push ups
20-100 lunges
10-100 squats


We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire…give us the tools and we will finish the job. ~ Winston Churchill

The work place is a great opportunity to get creative with fitness. Just try not to embarrass yourself too bad or get fired. Having someone walk in while you are alone, sweaty, and breathing heavy in a conference room can be awkward in certain companies, we guess…so maybe try this workout first on the weekend. Enjoy it everyone!

2-5 minutes of planking at 3 points in your day. The last time include 30-200 crunches.

Push ups until failure after each set of planking


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We all don’t all have a track nearby to workout at. Here’s a speed workout that can be even done on trails.

Fartlek’s Run on an open road/trail (2-4-6-4-2):
‘hard’ = above lactate threshold/race pace/NOT conversation pace
10 min w/u
2 min hard
1 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
6 min hard
3 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
2 min hard
1 min jog
(repeat as needed)
10 min c/d


The best way out is always through.
-Robert Frost

Grab a sandbag and start marching. If you have a weighted vest bring that along, too. The goal is NOT to run. Run and you will pound your joints with all that extra mass. Instead, find a steep incline and walk fast while carrying an uncomfortable amount weight. Very quickly you’ll most likely find yourself breathing heavy. With the added weight, you maximize the effort involved in each step. Do NOT worry about how far you go, just focus on 30 minutes of hard effort. For those of you who need heavy resistance and you don’t have hills, drag a tire behind you. Always be sure to spend 15 minutes warming up before big effort starts. Stretch it out for cool down.

Be sure to check out this Signature Founder’s WOD on our blog: Click Here

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A Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) is posted on FB, Twitter, and into email inboxes at by 10pm each night.  WODs are to be performed the next day according to a racer’s schedule.  Thus a WOD presented here for Monday, is written in the context that it was presented to be done on Tuesday.  Keep this in mind when looking at the workload flow as the week progresses. – Jason J

WOD Archive


WOD presented by Gaspari, hosted on our blog:  CLICK HERE

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

10 minute warm up run with some accelerations mixed in.
Then, 10 minute jump rope

2-6 sets of:

100 meter sprint
5-30 push ups
50-200 lunges
400 meter run
5–30 push-ups (or chin ups)
50-200 squats

light jog


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
-T. S. Elliot

(We’ve enjoyed seeing the Concept2 obstacle stop our racers in their tracks at our races.)

250m row on Concept2 Rowing machine (or jump rope for 2 min)
10 squats
10 leg lifts
10 burpees
500m row (or jump rope for 4 min)
15 squats
15 leg lifts
15 burpees
750m row (or jump rope for 6 min)
20 squats
20 leg lifts
20 burpees
1000m row (or jump rope for 8 min)
25 squats
25 leg lifts
25 burpees


People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
– Andrew Carnegie

We’ve done this before but we know it’s a favorite.

For one hour – do set number of push-ups each minute of that hour.

So do 3 push-ups every minute for an hour? 5? 10?

Great to do while watching a movie that motivates you!


The secret of success is constancy of purpose.
-Benjamin Disraeli

It’s been a hard week for all of us.  So stay focused and disciplined.  Time to leave your whining behind and stay focused as you train hard this weekend.

Long Run

Beginner Tip:
The ‘long run’ is a term athletes throw around all the time.  As in they spend most of their time bragging on Facebook about mileages they never actually ran.  The long run is the fish stories of endurance racing.

Tomorrow do your ‘long run’.  That might be 2 miles.  It might be 37.

In the end your standard is the only standard that matters.

For every one hour of running make sure you stretch a minimum of 15 minutes.


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

We are sure that you are exhausted if you ran long today.  Spartans need to know how to run fast on tired legs.  You are not just running, you are running through a hell of obstacles that will make you more exhausted than you are feeling right now.  So STFU and get it done.

Fartlek run based on time.

10 minutes jog warm up with some accelerations

Main set for run
2 minutes ‘on’
1 minute jog
4 minutes ‘on’
2 minutes jog
6 minutes ‘on’
3 minutes jog
4 minutes ‘on’
2 minutes jog
2 minutes ‘on’
1 minute jog

(repeat if necessary)

cool down stretch

What do we mean by ‘on’?  Getting hyper technical here is probably a waste.  Simply put, ‘on’ is NOT conversation pace.  Get after it, but be sure you can sustain ‘on’ tempo for full interval.


“The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” Plato

Monday is your day to recover from the weekend.  Best bet is to get all the things done you were supposed to be doing when you were training!  Even if you are not training you can be getting ready to train.  Interestingly, that is quality training.

While getting things done throw in a few sets of burpees during your work day.  Work them in with a super good stretch!

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