Training Like Spartacus

Words James Wilson
Date Mar 24, 2014

This workout is a perfect example of how to keep things simple but how simple things aren’t necessarily easy…

James Wilson is well known in the mountain bike world for training athletes at the World Cup and Olympic level, but he’s also got some great tips for the everyday rider. His last video covered some bodyweight movements and this one follows in the theme of simplicity…

Spartacus Sandbag Workout for Mountain Biking

The other night I was flipping through my DVR and I came across the Starz! series Spartacus. I’d read a book on the history of Spartacus and was curious to see how they portrayed it. If you aren’t familiar with him, Spartacus was a gladiator who escaped and led the largest slave revolt in history.

His army ravaged Italy from top to bottom and defeated the Romans multiple times in combat. When he was finally cornered and forced into a fight he knew he couldn’t win. His strategy was to personally fight into the heart of the enemy army and cut down their leader in hopes it would demoralize the Romans enough to get them to break ranks. He didn’t make it and got cut down on the way but he went down swinging.

In other words, he was a real badass who honed his physical skills in the gladiatorial training grounds. In the second episode Spartacus was training hard using a huge log and I suddenly realized that he was doing a Turkish Get Up and various loaded caries. While I’m not hard core enough to use a log (yet), I realized that I could do the same thing with a heavy sandbag and got inspired to put together a simple workout inspired by the gladiator’s workout.

In this video I show you how to do a sandbag TGU and various caries and how to create a simple but challenging workout combining the two elements. Check it out and let me know what you think…

This type of workout is a perfect example of how to keep things simple but how simple things aren’t necessarily easy. Give this workout a shot and you’ll see what I mean. I use and recommend the Ultimate Sandbag for this workout, it is by far the highest quality sandbag on the market.

If you have any questions about this workout or any sandbag exercises you’ve found helpful to improve your riding leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them. And if you like this post please click one of the Like or Share buttons to help spread the word.

Until next time…
Ride Strong,
James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems is the world leader in integrated performance training programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. As the strength and conditioning coach for World Cup Teams and 3 National Championships, his programs have been proven at the highest levels. James has helped thousands of riders just like you improve their speed, endurance and skills on the trail. Visit to find more free training tips and resources to help you ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail.

In this case being a sandbagger isn’t a bad thing!

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