Men’s Health and Women’s Health – The Spartacus Workout DVD Review

Happy New Year!  I am happy to bring to you my first workout DVD review of 2013!


The Spartacus Workout is something I first started reading about a couple of years ago.  When I was designing my own workouts to use at the gym I looked into exactly what this style of training was and incorporated something similar into my own workout.  When I heard that Men’s Health and Women’s Health were actually releasing it in DVD form I knew I had to try it.

Men’s Health and Women’s Health state that “[t]hree years ago, Starz asked Men’s Health and Women’s Health to create a workout worthy of the name Spartacus, the network’s hit original series.  With the help of top trainer Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., we did just that. And it became the most popular workout in Men’s Health and Women’s Health history.”

That’s precisely what I like about this workout! It was designed by a WOMAN!  The DVD, however, is performed with David Jack who is a performance coach and someone I had been following through Men’s Health e-mails that I get sent to me every few days where he gives you great workout moves to try while demonstrating them on video.  I have also incorporated some things into my own workouts that David Jack has taught me.

This particular Spartacus DVD comes as a 2 DVD set. I will review each workout separately below.

Total-Body Blitz!

This workout is 3 rounds. There are 10 total moves in each round and in each round the moves progress. In the first round you work for 20 seconds and rest for 20 seconds.  This round is generally performed with bodyweight only or lightweight and you could do this as your warm up (there is no formal warm up) or do a warm up on your own. There is a minute rest between rounds.  For the 2nd and 3rd rounds you work for 20 seconds and get 40 seconds of rest.   During these rounds you are expected to use weights and or added intensity (i.e., adding jumping/plyo) to push yourself.  Again, there is a minute rest between these rounds.  After these rounds are completed, David does a Finisher segment for Buns and Guns moves.  This is 5 moves of 20 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest on the first round and 20 seconds of work with no rest for the second round of Buns and Guns moves.  There is no formal cool down/stretch so you would have to do your own. The workout is roughly 30 minutes in length.  You will need dumbbells and preferably a set or two to tailor to your needs. David explains the moves while other men and women perform them.  He uses these people as examples and tells you that if you see one that performs at your chosen level to follow along with them.

I like some of the movements that are incorporated in this workout.  I like things like Dumbbell Thrusters and High Pulls to really get your heart rate up.  What I don’t like is all of the rest time that you get.  I just didn’t feel that even though I was using relatively heavy weight 15# and 20# for Rounds 2 and 3 that my heart rate stayed up as high as I like after the rest periods. You could use this workout a day after a high intensity workout day or maybe use it in addition to another 30 minute workout (I did both of the workouts I am reviewing today back to back for an hour long workout).


This workout is also three rounds but is performed differently than the workout I reviewed above.  This workout contains 9 moves.  In the first round you complete all 9 moves back to back working for 20 seconds and resting for 20 seconds (again you could do this with body weight and use this as your warm up as there is no formal warm up).   After resting for 40 seconds the fun begins. Using three moves grouped together performed with 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest you will perform a group of moves two times and then move on to another group of three moves with 40 seconds of rest between each grouping. There are 3 groups of moves total = 9 total moves. Again, just like the workout above, David explains the moves while other men and women perform them.  He uses these people as examples and tells you that if you see one that performs at your chosen level to follow along with them.

I felt that this workout had a little more bite to it considering that it had longer work periods and shorter rest periods. You will need dumbbells for this workout and the heavier the better to push yourself (except where you feel that it would hurt you).  I definitely felt more challenged in this workout and used heavy weight (i.e., 30# kettlebell for the deadlifts and 15# dumbbells for the push jerk).

David has a Finisher workout to this as well.  This Finisher is downright goofy but I say go with it.  You will need a towel and this is sort of a pyramid style round of towel shaking – yes that’s right – towel shaking – anyway you wish to shake it.  It starts with 10 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 15 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest and back down 15 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 10 seconds work/10 seconds rest.  I just did sort of a fast feet style move while sweeping the towel up and down/side to side.  My heart rate did increase.   You will need to do your own cool down/stretch but the good news is you will already have a towel on hand to dry off!

This style of training is very similar to DeltaFit SpeedShred training (which also has long rest periods).   David is less goofy than BJ but he has his own style of training and motivation. He doesn’t beat around the bush and he isn’t too demanding but he does encourage you to push yourself.

NOTICE:   Clicking the above picture is not going to lead you to try the DVD free for 21 days.  If you need me to point you in that direction, let me know and I will do so.  The picture is one I snagged.

16 Responses to “Men’s Health and Women’s Health – The Spartacus Workout DVD Review”

  1. Looks like another great one. I happened to search and also found a link on the Men’s Health Web site to an online workout. The guy is some nice eye-candy for you too. LOL!

    • Thank Jenn. Those moves are similar to what type of movements are used in this workout but the demonstrator pictured is not David Jack. When I have a moment I will find a video of him.

  2. I love the Spartacus workout!! I follow it on the Men’s Health App!! Excited to hear they have a DVD now, will def have to try!

  3. […] BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT #1SPARTAN WORKOUT 2.0 – FUNK ROBERTS SNEAK PEAKSam Roberts Sneak Peak!Men’s Health and Women’s Health – The Spartacus Workout DVD Review jQuery(document).ready(function() { jQuery('#feature .feat_box:first-child').addClass('first'); […]

  4. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  5. Hi Missy – I found your blog while searching for reviews of the Spartacus DVDs. They sound intriguing, but I’d like to ask if there’s anything that makes them different from other strength/cardio circuit DVDs, like Paul Katami’s, for example?

    Congratulations on your weight loss and fitness achievements!

    • Hi “RedPanda” and thank you for visiting and commenting! I love that you asked a question! I wouldn’t say that there is anything that would make them stand out against anybody like Paul Katami, Cathe, Chris Freytag, Patrick Goudeau, or other quality instructors who have been around a while! Sometimes I notice that Men’s Health workouts do throw in a few moves that I don’t normally see in the other fitness DVDs on the market. What this was designed for was to be a visual for the written workout that has been around for a few years. While I did enjoy this workout, I just didn’t feel it had the high intensity that I crave. Thank you for your question and I do hope you receive my response.

  6. Ozzy Gomez Says:

    Can you help me decide and tell me which DVD program has the most intensity or wich one is better.

    Also wich workout you think is better or more intens.

    Thank you.

    • Insanity is definitely more intense than the Spartacus DVDs. Spartacus is also different in that it utilizes weights for their workouts and the original Insanity workouts (the Asylum may use weights I have not done Asylum). As far as comparing Spartacus workouts this is the only one I have done so I cannot compare them with others. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Saad Yaseen Says:

    What about the other Spartacus DVDs?

    “Body Weight Revolution”
    “Ab Attack”
    “Body Weight Torchers”

    My main goal is to cut fat and develop a lean athletic body. I have all of DVDs above including the one the you reviewed, but right now, I am confused about which DVD do I start with.

  8. Hi Missy – I know this post is a bit old now, but I was randomly looking for reviews of this DVD, which I have been doing at home for awhile, and came across your post. I agree that the Total Body Blitz as performed on the DVD is not as intense as the Men’s Health Spartacus workouts themselves, which as I recall are 40/20 or 50/10 splits. However, an easy way to make them more intense is to just keep going for another 20 seconds while the folks on the DVD are resting! I do this, making the rounds 40/20 and effectively doubling the work load and halving the rest periods. If you do this with appropriately challenging weights, you will drip with sweat! I like David’s style and find I push myself a little harder with his encouragement than if I did the Spartacus workout on my own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: