Weekly Workout: The Coach's Choice

Possibly the best workout you can do with a pair of dumbbells. And it comes with a good story.

When I was a junior in high school, we had a coach for our cross country and track team who seemed to embody the term ‘physical specimen.’ He was impossibly muscular, well proportioned, and handsome. He had a chiseled jawline to match a sharp sense of humor. Moms would line up outside his door to ask how their sons were doing. Now that I think about it, those were our moms. Anyway, he once said he broke up with a girl just so he could have more time to train for an ironman. We were in awe of this guy.

So one day I was on the stationary bike warming up. I think we were in between seasons and thus left to do whatever the hell we wanted so long as it was on a track or in a gym. Coach was in the gym that day stretching out on a yoga mat and reading a magazine. I think he might have yawned too. Light day for him, we all thought. Then he proceeded to saunter over to the rack of dumbbells, lift off a pair forties and come back. He took another look at his magazine. We were thinking he was about to attempt the laziest set of curls maybe ever. Nope.

I should probably tell you about the workout we witnessed because it was incredible. He must have hit every single body part about fifteen different ways. I was sore just watching it. The magazine he had been reading was Men’s Health. And it was opened to a page that proclaimed, ominously: The Spartacus Workout. I know, I know, cheesy workout based on a movie/tv show… you aren’t interested. But, this was our Coach, and for us, anything he did to his body was a good idea. So we took a look at said workout and here’s what we found:

Perform each exercise for 60 seconds and then immediately move to the next one. Rest two minutes at the end. Repeat. Rest again. Do it again. You may die now.

Goblet Squat

Mountain Climbers

Single-Arm Dumbbell Swing


Split Jump

Dumbbell Row

Dumbbell Side Lunge

Pushup-Position Row

Dumbbell Lunge and Rotation

Dumbbell Push Press

Needles to say, Coach was dripping of sweat when he finished. We had to try it ourselves. And I think we might have done it twice before it became clear that no amount of running could be worse than this. If it’s done right, you will be at about max exertion for thirty minutes. In other words, it’s like sprinting for thirty minutes. Even sprinters know, you don’t sprint for thirty minutes! Even on an absolute bear of a day where you might do 6x400m followed by 3x200m on the track, it’s only about seven or eight minutes of action.

So if you find yourself pressed for time, maybe you’ve only got 45 minutes to yourself this holiday weekend, and you want to squeeze in a workout, perhaps even a great workout, one that leaves you sore for days, try the Spartacus. Trust me, it’s Coach approved.

Title Image Credit: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post, via New York Times.

Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.

Twitter: @IshFarooqui