Spartan Training: Different Methods for Different People

BY J.C. Santana

Spartan Training:

Low-Tech, High-Touch Training for the Warrior in You

Many new training methods have been developed over time. One look in any fitness catalogue will show you many different pieces of equipment used to train strength and function. At the Institute of Human Performance (IHP), we have the great fortune of owning the latest in training and research equipment. However, even at IHP, we often get down to the basics and go for Spartan training. Spartan training is basically junkyard training; we simply make our own equipment out of anything found in a junkyard and rock and roll. We use stairs, hills, tires, cars, sandbags, ropes, PVC pipes, rocks, and whatever else catches our interest to create a great training environment. Once we have created the environment, we let our imaginations run wild. This article is the first in a series on IHP Spartan Training. Each subsequent article will cover our unique equipment and methods in more detail. For now, let’s take a sneak preview of some of our favorite forms of IHP Spartan Training.

One of the simplest ways of developing great legs is to run hills, bridges, or stairs. However, IHP kicks leg training into another gear with the truck push. A single push of the Navigator around our parking lot (i.e., about 80 yards with turns) is enough to kill most people; we normally get teams of 3 to 4 people doing 3 to 5 laps each. Another excellent form of Spartan training for the total body is dragging tires. At IHP, we drag tires in many ways; we push and pull them using many different strategies and lower body movements. We also use a variety of handles and grips to make tire training a bit more interesting. Adding various straps, PVC handles, iron bars, and other grips can turn simple exercises into absolute nightmares-pull-ups on big PVC grips are an example of doing just that! Of course, when all else fails there is Spartan body weight training. Whether using a partner or just going solo, you can use body weight training to take a huge departure from your traditional jumping jacks and lunges. Single-limb training and partner lifts can make the toughest men cry for help.

Spartan training can be modified to fit any age, gender, or training level. A little imagination is all that is needed in order to keep Spartan training safe, effective, and fun. A general rule of thumb is to start very light and use more volume to develop a good base of training and to get familiar with the equipment and movements. Then, slowly bring in the more aggressive methods. The Essence of Body Weight Training DVD series and book (available at provide over 200 body weight exercises and variations that will develop a great training base and gladiator-style Spartan strength.

Visit for some Spartan Strength video clips.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my friend JC Santana for this weeks article. For those few who may not have heard of him…JC Santana is a world renowned speaker, author, consultant, and strength coach. JC has one of the largest libraries of training DVDs and Books in the fitness industry -check him and his products out at

J.C. Santana loves the “got snatch”

Hi Everyone:

Taku and I were hanging out with J.C. Santana for lunch today – burritos all around!

Anyhow, we gave him a Got Snatch shirt just to say thanks for all his support and efforts.  He proudly threw that bad boy on right there in the restaurant.  What can I say, the guy is a class act.

J.C. is doing some work with Technogym and the Kinesis line while he’s in town.  Just for the heck of it, do yourself a favor and give his site a visit here:


Separately, we played around with some cool equipment, captured some great video footage today and met with some legends in the fitness industry.  You’ll have to watch the vids to see what all we did, but suffice it to say we had a blast.

That’s all for now.  Keep training hard!


P.S.:  Want a “Got Snatch” shirt of your own?  Click the image on the right side nav bar or go here.