Transform Your Strength Training With The Spartan Mentality
April 22nd 2019
Are you giving it your all when it comes to strength training? Are you still holding back? That is not what our Spartan ancestors would do. The Spartans were an ancient warrior society in ancient Greece that centered their entire foundation around loyalty and military training. Though some of their ideologies have been outdated, there are many practices they enforced that can serve us into getting stronger.
How to implement the spartan mindset into strength training
The Spartan mentality can be applied to strength training by applying these ancient training strategies used by our warrior ancestors:
- Be strong, powerful and physically fit
- Being mentally tough and strong
- Be selfish with your goals
- Learn from your failures and pains
The Spartans were known for their absolute strength and discipline. By the definition of the word “spartan,” it means to be indifferent to comfort and luxury. As lifters, we get so attached to all things that make us feel good and what feels right. But you know something? Your Spartan ancestors would not care. They are brutal to the core; you will get your training done or be shamed by it.
Be strong, powerful and physically fit
By age 7, Spartan boys were forced to enroll in a rigorous military training and socialization program. This was designed to create Spartan warriors. Not only that, they became men. As a Spartan man, you are expected to be strong, powerful, mentally fit and superior in life.
So, what does this mean for your strength training? This means you will not give up. You will always give it your best in your workouts. If you approach strength training at an angle where you will either get to your strength goals or die trying, you will become stronger. You will become the strongest you will ever be.
In addition to that, your physique must be that of a warrior. There are many strength athletes that have gained weight and fat due to increasing their strength. In modern-day strength training and bodybuilding, this would be considered normal. We can even write it off as “bulking.” A true Spartan warrior will not let himself be tempted by the comforts of excess food. You must learn how to develop a masculine looking physique - a warrior physique.
Women, I did not forget about you. Spartan women were encouraged to train and live an active lifestyle in order to give birth to the strongest babies in the nation. If your mother was weak, your child had the potential to grow up weak. So, this was an obvious no-no in the Spartan philosophy.
Emotions… the Spartans had no time for that. If you were to lose your temper in battle, experience rage, and lose your focus, you are not a true warrior. Being able to remain stoic under tremendous amounts of pressure and fear is what truly separates grows your character.
We, as strength athletes, can learn a lot from Spartan men and women. Their ability to control their emotions and focus on one goal - to improve their strength and physique. With that said, your strength training will not always be linear. For most days, training should go smoothly. But you may run into moments of time where training will suck. You will want to quit. You will want to give up and break down.
You need to be able to prioritize what is important for you. You will need to be able to face your anxieties head-on and tame them. You will need to understand and grow from mental and emotional challenges in life. Do you think mentally tough and persistent warrior caves into these fears? Everyone experiences the same emotions and thoughts but are you a true Spartan warrior?
Do not give until these temptations. Implement the spartan mentality and focus on getting closer and closer to the prize. If Spartan warriors can constantly improve their strength and physique up until age 60, what is your excuse? There should be none.
As a modern day Spartan warrior, we must learn how to put our mission first. This means that we will do everything in our mind, body, and soul to get towards our goals. Excuses are just for the weak and will cripple you on this journey. Your sole objective in life is to always improve everyday. There should no instances where you cannot improve something in your life.
Always say no to opportunities that do not directly benefit you. If you are in college and you are strength training towards being the strongest you can be, do not let social pressure and weakness cloud your thoughts. If there are parties you want to attend but they will interfere with your workouts, have the courage and discipline to say no.
And the best part of all? The biggest limiting factor that will hold you back… is yourself. Your own fears, your own weaknesses, your own thoughts, these are the small poison droppings that can ruin your success. Do not give into temptation. The warrior mentality always opts to achieve life lasting results, not short bursts of pressure. You are a warrior, not a slave to your feelings and emotions.
Of course, you can do whatever you want in your life. You always have a choice between pleasure or pain. But you will always know the decisions and paths you decide to travel on when you reflect back to the past.
Learn from failures and pain
True Spartan warriors will experience all sorts of setbacks, injuries, pain, and suffering. But they will welcome it fully. They know that it is through pain and suffering is where the most growth can occur. This is one reason why there are not an abundant number of strength athletes who can squat 700+lbs. Or lifters who can bench press 600+lbs, or deadlift 1000+lbs.
Your strength training journey will include ups and downs. Retrain to think that with every down moment, this is your ultimate and free chance to accelerate your growth. These challenges humble us to discover our limits. At the same time, it forces us to push beyond them.
So, what should you do if you stall? You will figure out alternatives to break past your plateaus. You will ask questions about why you are stalling in the first place? Are you sleeping enough? Are you being honest with the amount of effort you put in the gym? You will figure out new training strategies to better adapt to your current situation and prevent the same issue from re-occurring again.
Are you a warrior or a pseudo-warrior? You will know the answer to that question on your own reflection. To really tap into the true depths and powers of strength training, you will have to face many demons, particularly inner demons. It is a big shift in growing stronger since you will have never pushed yourself both physically and mentally past your limits. Strength training is the best opportunity in order for you to grow stronger for yourself and to help create a better world.
Let us get stronger together everyday.