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Fitness & Health

17th Dec 2013

JOE’s pre-workout tips: The Spartacus dumbbell circuit

From swings to chops and basic curls, the humble dumbbell is one of the best pieces of kit in the gym


From swings to chops and basic curls, the humble dumbbell is one of the best pieces of kit in the gym

Whether you want to gain muscle, burn fat, or get a great cardio workout, a circuit is a great way of ticking all the boxes and pushing yourself to your limits.

With that in mind, one of JOE’s favourite circuits to do is the Spartacus circuit that will have your six pack rippling in no time, and will definitely make you feel the burn.

There are two parts to the full circuit that you can do, and you can head over to Scott Herman’s YouTube to see the full workout, but we like to mix it up a bit, with a few of our favourite moves that we’ll look at here. We use the term like pretty loosely of course, we like it because we know it works, but it’s hard graft. Do two circuits of the workouts, then take a break for about two minutes, then do two more.

Dumbbell Chop
Interlock your fingers around the dumbbell (as if you were holding an axe) and with your feet shoulder width apart and keeping a natural curve in your back, rotate your hips to bring the dumbbell down towards your feet as low as you can. Make sure not to stoop over or hunch your shoulders, however. Extend up to the opposite side and repeat as many times as you can in 40 seconds from right to left, and on the second round switch side and move from left to right.

Plank walk to pushup
Starting with a plank (making sure to keep your back straight) on your elbows and forearms, and starting with your right arm push up in to a push up position, follow the same motion with your left, and then go back down to a plank position.

Rotational straight-Leg deadlift
Take a dumbbell in your right arm to act as a counter balance, and lift your right leg slightly off the ground. Keep your left leg straight but with a slight bend in the knee. Bend at the hips, trying to bring the dumbbell as low to the ground as you can (imagine that you want to touch your toes) and then slowly return to the starting position. Again, do the right side in the first circuit, and the left side on the second run.

Squat Thrusts
Similar to a movement from a burpee, start in a squat position and bring yourself down, bending at the hips until your hands touch the ground. In an explosive movement, push your legs outwards so that you end up in the position would start a push up in, then explode back towards your hands, and push yourself up with a jump to a standing position.

There’s no getting around it, these are difficult. Using both dumbbells, hold them at about shoulder height, squat down (ensuring your knees don’t go over your toes) and when you reach the bottom of the movement, drive through your heels to go up, and push the dumbbells up above your head.

Single-Arm dumbbell swing
This is similar to what you’d do with a kettle bell. Get your feet wider than shoulder width apart, squat down with the dumbbell between your legs in one hand, and drive through your heels to stand up, using the power from your hips to drive the dumbbell to the top of the movement (the point where it should feel weightless for a split second). Do as many as you can in 40 seconds, then start the circuit again, swapping to use the other hand.

If you’re not sure of the form for any of the exercises, this slightly longer video explains it well, with a few others thrown in too.

That should have you sweating and ready to go, but if you’re looking for a few more exercises as well as some great tips on form, you can check out more from Scott Herman.

Nutrition is always key to any workout, and for something great with a high protein content that’s also delicious, try Mooju chocolate milk. With over 10g of protein in a 250ml container, as well as carbohydrate. Mooju is a great choice for your workout.

Enjoy Mooju as part of a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle.


Hat-tip to Men’s Health for the picture.

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