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Gym Jones – The Discipline Behind “300”

It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

The men of Zack Snyder’s “300” trained 10-12 hours a day, five days a week, for four months – all while eating barely enough to cover their needs and recovery. It was at the invitation-only fitness center in Utah, Gym Jones, where strength and endurance were pushed to near Spartan limits for around thirty actors and stunt men – one of which was the director, Zack Snyder.

At Gym Jones, “the objective is genuine fitness, not the appearance of fitness…appearance is a consequence of fitness.” Training is conducted for a specific job or challenge. Sometimes the real life challenge is a matter of life and death. Sometimes the challenge is make-believe and only for entertainment. Regardless, the training fits the job. In “300,” modern men needed to be transformed into Spartans of 480 B.C. When modern man trains, he trains for physical aesthetics, uniform muscular development, bigger muscles. In 480 B.C., man trained to throw a javelin further, hold a shield wall stronger, and cleave bronze armor with a one-handed sword. Challenges like this require a level of overall fitness that man no longer requires; man no longer knows. To reacquaint the modern physique with real endurance and relative power, trainer Mark Twight developed a “program” where no day was like another. Instead, exercise programs were constantly varied to stress muscles differently every day. Things didn’t get easier as time went on. The key concepts to the program were to develop a camaraderie to match what Spartan warriors might have had. Bring the overall body’s level of power and endurance up 100% or more. Push beyond both physiological and psychological barriers to rebuild a stronger man. Not everyone was able to complete the course – not everyone was able to complete the pinnacle “program” – the 300.

“300”

  • 25x Pull-up +
  • 50x Deadlift @ 135# +
  • 50x Push-up +
  • 50x Box Jump @ 24” box +
  • 50x Floor Wiper @ 135# (one-count) +
  • 50x KB Clean and Press @ 36# (KB must touch floor between reps) +
  • 25x Pull-up

300 reps total

Reading through GymJones.com really gives me a sense of awe and inspiration. The opportunity given to those chosen by Gym Jones is one none of us will ever have, but the experience is something we can all learn from. Not that any of us aspire to Spartan-like lives; nonetheless, a little knowledge of what made a warrior fit back in the day can’t hurt any of us today.


Reader Comments

  1. True, Mark Twight did a good job with these guys. But it should be known that his theories are derived from crossfit. In fact, that’s where he learned the foundations of gym jones. Look it up. Crossfit should get the credit it deserves.

  2. GGGAAAAAAHHH!!!
    Gym Jones is not CF. It was influenced by CF, it was influenced by Mark’s climbing experience, it was influenced by the old tyme strongmen, gymnastic, powerlifting, etc. CF does not deserve any more credit than is in the GJ webfiles.

  3. Aaron,
    While crossfit does not take credit for reinventing the wheel, they created the movement that is popular to day in gyms like Gym Jones. Go to any crossfit gym in the world and you will see the same training that went on for “300.”

  4. Where is the juice rutine they just got busted for? I guess that had nothing to do with how big they got? I say your work out is bullshit! steriods is the key to looking that big right? If not why did they get busted for it? uh? All this insperation talk is making me sick! Ha! Get off the juice!

  5. hey mat screw off the men who did this and endured the work they did had balls. so take your pussy ass and look up Gym Jones see if you have what it takes u errogant bastard.

  6. What we refer to as the “300 workout” was actually first pioneered by the Soviet training system for their athletes. All of the callisthenics, tires pulls, and, free-weight exercises, were routines commonly used in the USSR.

  7. First of all, the 300 is a test. Second, Gym Jones did take some things from crossfit but took it a step further, developing workouts and routines for those who were looking for a workout to help them perform better at activities they competed in. Mark Twight used to be one of the top alpinists in the world and many of his associates are professional athletes mainly in climbing and MMA.

    Finally, Matt, just because they are in shape and toned does not automatically mean they are on roids. Its called diet and exercise. I’m pretty sure there are individuals that are more physically fit than the 300 guys but dont have a six pack because they love their meat potatoes and beer.

  8. First off, lets get one thing straight about Gym Jones AND Crossfit. They both stole from me! I invented the push-up, sit-up and pull-up. They took my ideas and used it for their own profit. So obviously I am kidding…..its call PT people; working out, getting your sweat on, etc. Mankind has been doing it for 1,000 of years. It’s nothing new. Yeah, Crossfit reinvented the wheel, mastered the internet and sold it as “elite fitness” for the masses (not to mention that ever other picture on their website is of some hot chick in booty shorts and a sports bra….I am SURE that has absolutely no bearing on its popularity what-so-ever. I just go to the website for the articles). Everything Mark Twight does is based on quantified data….. i.e. this workout has “x” outcome based on “y” inputs (exercises) and here are the numbers to prove it. Crossfit is VERY generalized, something for everyone. I saw a picture of some old lady (one of the few NOT of a hot chick) participating…..hardly the image that comes to mind when I think of “elite fitness”!

  9. wow that’s a killer workout! i join lot of workout program, and “300” is the only workout program that i can’t do perfectly. just stay in diet habit and do workout 4 times a week will make me fit and healthy enough

  10. Actually, they didn’t train by performing the 300 reps of various workouts. That’s a myth. And they didn’t train 10-12 hrs a day. Haven’t you gone to the Gym Jones website yet to learn anything?

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