Excuse me, is this Sparta? Part 3
“It was all starting to make sense, in a Tyler kind of way.” – Fight Club
Week three of Spartan training is here and at zero-dark-thirty there we were outside in the dark once again, ready to work like we’ve never worked before. In the growing light I looked down the line and it felt like there were fewer of us. I think a few folks decided to pull the pin and quietly bow out. Not surprising really, this sort of thing isn’t for the faint hearted. Our ramshackle group was one part motivated, two parts stubborn. Up until today the training has felt like it was some sort of full-frontal assault of our fitness walls. One thing after another, more diabolical than the last with no rhyme or reason. Today amongst the hurt, reps and sweat it all started to make sense.
Right out of the gate Steve told us that the warm-up was over – it’s about to get much harder. After our usual warm-up consisting of a jog, lunges, squats and some stretches it was time to hit the circuit. The plan for today was to run through the circuit three times – nothing else was on the books – today was all about maximum effort, all the time. For the circuit we each teamed up with a partner and went from station to station exercising for 1minute per station, with a 10second rest between stations that included getting to the next station. The stations consisted of: Press-ups, squat with a medicine ball then throw it as high as you can, kettle-bell squats, kettle-bell swings (swing the ball from between your legs to fully extended above your head), flip a tractor tire end over end, run up the bank with a 25kg sandbag on your shoulder, hit a tractor tire with a sledge hammer as many times as you can, bear crawl (hands and feet on the ground) up the bank, two-foot hop over mini hurdles up the bank, walk with 2 x 25kg weight plates up the bank, make waves in the Titanic ropes. That’s 11 stations, 1 min per station with a couple minutes rest in amongst – roughly 15min of suffering. 15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time – but when you are smashing yourself as hard as you can the whole time, it feels like days. And that’s just one lap – after a 2min break we did it again and once more after that.
What’s starting to make sense is that you go 100% at one exercise and the next one you do is similar, but not quite the same. This means it kind of feels like a rest and you can give 100% all over again. I never would have expected that the hardest things I would do in this program weren’t some crazy never seen before exercise, the most challenging things are usually the simplest – press-ups on the third lap, swinging a kettle-bell the size of my head over my head when my arms were going to explode from doing lay-ups with a sand filled basketball.
It struck me once again today and is perhaps one of the most inspiring parts of this program – It doesn’t matter who you are, man or woman, weakling or ripped, trained or tired – we are all using the same weights. That means that the petite rail-thin runner girls in the class are monstering the same iron bowling balls above their heads as I’m nearly heaving my guts out to do. It puts things in perspective and is a timely reminder that toughness is a package that comes in all sizes. These ladies aren’t dragging at the back – they’re showing us lads how it should be done. Onwards and upwards – Wednesday is halfway and I’m starting to really feel the difference.