So What is Spartan Training?

The paperwork is in!  I am officially a certified Spartan SGX coach.  With a personal training prerequisite, this certification officially allows me to use the Spartan SGX name when marketing specific classes designed for obstacle races.  The thing is the “sport” is so new to this area that it is about time someone explains why you might want to train, or simply use the training, to make racing or every day life easier.12821613_10104133957542803_7477580119651217040_n.jpg

Let me give you a brief background.  The “Spartan” methodology is based on seven pillars. The seven pillars just happen to be ordered in the manner of the word Spartan.

Stamina – Developing endurance and strong conditioning.  Stamina is not just being able to run for long durations, but alactic for quick bursts, and lactic for sustained, intense pushes.

Power – Used to complete obstacles as well as the EMPOWERMENT derived from completing a race.

Athleticism – Through training, a functionally balanced individual.  A functionally balanced individual can do everything well.  You can be good at running, but if you don’t have power obstacles will be difficult (and vice versa).

Readiness – Are you ready for what obstacles you might encounter during a race or life in general?  Teaching your mind to handle the unexpected without anxiety is an important way to approach racing and life.

Tenacity – NEVER QUIT.  Simple as that. This, again, applies to all aspects of life.

Attitude – Surround yourself with people that motivate you, inspire you and push you forward.  Remove the negativity.  It only affects your attitude.

Nutrition – I hate to say it, but it is something we all need to focus on.

The background of the program has been built on the seven pillars.  Through the training and coaching program, the goal is to help individuals not only be prepared to finish a Spartan Race, but also, be a better human being (in all aspects of life).  Hence why I say, this training doesn’t need to be done with the ultimate goal being the race.

Strength Workout

With the background in mind, know that a typical training week includes two strength workouts that are based on a phased approach.  The first phase is based on body weight and animal movements, second phase on metabolic conditioning and various weighted exercises (including TRX, Bosu, and rings), and third phase power and metabolic conditioning.  See below for two recent workouts performed at the Harris Y Spartan SGX class.


Phase 2 Strength Workout

  • Warm Up
    • Hip Flexor Stretch
    • 10 Body Weight Squats
    • Bear Crawl Down/Backs
    • Lunge Down/Back
    • Shoulder Pass Through
  • For Weight 2 rounds
    • 5 RDL each leg
    • 5 Goblet Squat
  • Back Squat Progression
    • 1 x10 50%, 3 x 5 70%, 4 x 4 85% 1 Rep Max
  • Metabolic Conditioning 3 rounds
    • 10 Step Ups each leg
    • Sled Push
    • Hip Bridge x 10 each leg
    • Calf Raise x 20 each leg
  • 30 race burpees for time – 3 rounds

Phase 1 Workout

  • Animal movements – focus is mobility, less on speed, 3 rounds:
    • :30 work, :30 rest
    • Ape (side traveling)
    • Bear Crawl
    • Crab Walk
    • Inchworm with push up
  • Front Squat
    • 10×3 Ascending Weight
  • 3 rounds each station
    • :40 work, :20 rest
    • Rowing (cals)
    • Heavy Farmer Walk (m)
    • Burpee (Reps)
    • KB Swing (Reps)


I want you to notice a few things about the workouts and the pictures above.

  • The Spartan SGX workout from the Harris YMCA is included in Wodify.  It is comparable to a Crossfit workout with some major differences.  We will not be doing any overhead cleans, jerks, pushes using a bar.
  • There is a bigger emphasis on conditioning, since the ultimate goal is to race.  While strength is a major focus on these days, several of the strength building exercises will significantly test metabolic thresholds and heart rates.
  • The room is kind of a fusion of Orangetheory and a Crossfit Box.  There are rowers, bikes, treadmills, rigs, plyo boxes, sleds, sandbags, etc.  Rope climbing is done in the gymnastics room with the ability to utilize the outdoor track.

Running (Cross-Training) Workout

The ultimate goal for someone competing in a Spartan Race is to be able to run the race, at least partially.  For some people, walking is the only option.  That is fine.  Running and/or cross-training makes up 2-3 days of the program.  I oftentimes complete one sprint/hill workout, 1 long steady state run, and a few Flywheel classes a week.  The great thing about the cardio piece is that it can be easily modified.


Final Talking Points

I continue to get several questions about scheduling, pricing, etc.  Here is the run down:

  • Spartan SGX strength classes are now offered at the Harris YMCA (the only Spartan SGX sanctioned location in all of Charlotte) every Tuesday/Thursday at 10:45AM and 6:00 PM.  Both workouts are the same.
  • If you are a Y member participating in the Fit Challenge, classes are free this month!  FREE!  If you are not a Y member, the cost is $75/month (8 sessions total).
  • Free childcare.
  • The first Charlotte race is the Spartan Sprint on April 9th-10th.  The Spartan SGX training group from the Harris Y will run a group on Saturday.
  • Through training with me, you are eligible with a 20% discount on your race fee.  Based on pricing for races, that 20% will cover a decent part of the monthly fee you pay to train.  No brainer right?



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