Closing the Gap between Local and Elite

So you want to be a Spartan? Part 2

How PEAQ coaches Sean, Jaimi and Sam prepared for the Channel 7 Australian Spartan obstacle course.


So how do I start training like a Spartan?

The Australian Spartan production was understandably very tight lipped about what the physical demands of the obstacle course were. Other than the fitness test at auditions and a handful of training tips from the production fitness coach, we were not given much information. As such, we were flying pretty blind in terms of training. We began with some research into versions of the show in other countries. This was the best starting point as we thought the Australian version may replicate some of the obstacles. We were lucky enough to have PEAQ owner and head coach Sean Baker as part of our team who provided a creative, tailored and specific training program to prepare us as best as possible. Armed with as much research as was available to us we began preparing for our once in a lifetime opportunity and the unknown physical challenge.


Below is a rough outline of Team Family Tie’s, Australian Spartan Training Regime. Within one week we completed:

– 5 x training days

– 1 rest day

– 1 active recovery day


                                             Spartan Training Regime
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday      Friday Saturday Sunday
Obstacle specific Training Weight/ Resistance Training    Rest day Obstacle specific Training    Team technique/  High Intensity Training Obstacle specific Training Active Recovery



Obstacle Specific Training/ High Intensity Training: We were lucky enough to have access to SA Basecamp (an indoor obstacle course gym), which allowed us to incorporate actual obstacles into our training. During these sessions we would focus on fatiguing ourselves with a range of exercises and then completing a specific course of obstacles.

Weight/ Resistance Training: Our weight/resistance training incorporated a mixture of heavy weights (with low repetitions) and plyometric exercises. The aim of this combination was to maximize our explosiveness. This type of training was specific to Australian Spartan as we assumed we would be able to apply this to sprinting between obstacles, throwing and jumping.

Team technique: These sessions were generally lighter in load but focused on our technique under pressure. We worked on getting over walls, carrying objects as a team and communication. These sessions were also a bit of fun and we would sometimes incorporate a group challenge to improve the team dynamic and bond even closer.

Active Recovery: Active recovery is mentally and physically a crucial component of a high intensity training regime. This type of session is generally less intense and has less volume. The idea is to promote recovery rather than intensity by keeping the blood moving which helps reduce residual fatigue in the muscle. Active recovery is just as much about mental recovery as it is physical. It was for this reason that each member of family ties generally engaged in a different form of active recovery. For example, Jaimi generally chose to do yoga, swimming or taking the dogs for a beach walk, Sam liked to go for a massage or sauna, and Sean preferred to roll his legs over on a bike or foam roll.

Rest: On a rest day we made a pact to do no exercise at all and do something completely different to keep our minds and bodies fresh. As exciting as training was with the goal of Australian Spartan in mind, our training schedule was busy and challenging. These days allowed us to prepare mentally and physically for a new training week. Rest days became even more important as we drew closer to competition time. Sean ensured our training was periodised correctly so that we could taper the intensity at the correct time to reduce injury and burn out.


At the end of the day there is no magical formula for training for a particular event. The most important thing is making sure you have PURPOSE behind your training and ensuring each session you understand is a logical step towards the goal you are trying to achieve regardless of what you are trying to achieve.

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