The New “300” Workout

The NEW “300” workout – 100 x 1, 10 x 10, 1x 100

Do you remember the 2007 action movie “300” about the 300 Spartan warriors who fought to the death in the battle of Thermopylae?

The actors were shredded and had, according to magazines and websites, followed the so-called “300 workout” seemingly consisting of 6 exercises, 50 reps each, done for time (no mention of the intensity).

This article is about the NEW 300 workout that consists of 300 repetitions per exercise per week but the average intensity across the week is MUCH higher than in the old 300 workout.

NEW “300” background

The new “300” workout is about 100 repetitions, per exercise, per workout, in three workouts per week. There are an infinite number of ways to complete 100 repetitions per exercise in one workout but here we will focus on three particular ways:

100 x 1:  100 Singles

This program featuring 100 singles was mentioned years ago on the Dinosaur Training website.

10 x 10 – German Volume Training

The 10 sets of 10 methods – also referred to as “German Volume Training” method, supposedly used by bodybuilding legend Vince Gironda, has also been a staple in the off-season training of German weightlifters as a means of improving muscle mass (Poliquin).

1 x 100  – “100 rep death march”  

The 100 rep death march is a method of strength endurance that begins with 20 sets of 5 in 20 minutes and gradually progress to one continuous set of 100 reps.

Why could it be effective to combine these three programs into a week of training?

The most obvious aspect is the challenge – Can you do it?  Physically and mentally!

The second reason that combining these three programs is effective relates to the two fundamental strategies to develop muscle mass:

1. Subject the muscles to mechanical stress

2. Subject the muscles to metabolic stress

Optimal muscle growth may come from maximizing the combination of mechanical and metabolic stimuli via periodization (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 2008).

Mechanical factors involve eccentric muscle actions; heavy loading with 2-10 repetitions per set (75-95% 1RM) and 1-2 min of rest between sets.

Metabolic stress involve moderate loading with 10-30 repetitions per set (55-75% 1RM) and 30-60sec of rest between sets.

If we relate the two types of stimuli to our three training programs, we see the following pattern

100 x 1:  100 Singles – mechanical stress

10×10 – German Volume Training – mechanical/metabolic

100 x 1 – “100 rep death march” – metabolic stresses

The strategy of using different intensity zones within one week of training is a well-researched model of periodization called daily undulating periodization (also termed non-linear periodization). A standard version of daily undulating periodization involves, for example, the following intensity zones (Steven Fleck and William Kraemer, 2004):

Day 1: 4-6 RM loads (maximal strength day/mechanical stress)

Day 2: 8-10 RM loads (hypertrophy – mechanical/metabolic stress)

Day 3: 12-15 RM loads (strength endurance/hypertrophy – metabolic stress)

Training plans that are based on the daily undulating model can result in improvements in maximal strength, power, and muscle mass and strength endurance. The efficiency of the method is believed to be caused by the significant changes in intensity within one week of training, which improves the stress: recovery ratio and prevents overtraining (Steven Fleck and William Kraemer, 2004).

How To Apply the NEW “300” program in your training?

The requirements for safely and effectively training with the 300 program include:

  • No current overuse injuries. Performing a high volume of training on a few exercises could lead to pattern overload. Pattern overload describes injury to soft tissues resulting from repetitive motion in one pattern of movement, or restricted movement in one or more planes of motion (Chek, 2000). It is said strength training does not create injuries. Strength training reveals injuries. If you have any lurking overuse injuries the NEW “300” Program will reveal them.
  • Experience with other high-volume training programs like the great ones found here on! However, in many cases, it is a CHANGE in the program that sparks new growth. This phenomenon is explained by the General Adaptation Syndrome and the Principle of Accommodation (Redemption Program). Therefore, you are in a particularly good position to benefit from the new 300 program if you have experience with high-volume training and your most recent program involved lower volume.
  • Periodization and effective training are intimately linked to variation. There are many ways to apply variation to your training program. One way of applying variation to your training program involves changing between programs with less work (sets) on a higher number of exercises and more work (sets) on fewer exercises. The new “300” program clearly is about more work on fewer exercises, therefore, your body will be particularly ready to respond if you have just completed a program with less work on a higher number of exercises.

The new “300” program includes two exercises per training day. Pick three close variations of two key movement patterns.

Example 1: Deadlift and pushes:

Conventional Style Deadlift, Semi sumo style deadlift, and stiff legged deadlift or kettlebell swings.

Flat bench press, incline bench press, push ups or dips.

 Example 2: Squats and Pulls:

Barbell Back Squat to Parallel, Barbell Front Squat to Parallel and Hack Squat or Leg


Pull Up (overhand or underhand grip), Lat Pull Down (neutral grip) and Horizontal Pull Up or Seated Row.

Thus, if you had chosen Deadlifts and pushes, your week could look this

Monday: 100 x 1

A1. Conventional Style Deadlift

A2. Flat Bench Press

Wednesday: 10 x 10

A1. Semi Sumo Style Deadlift

A2. Incline Bench Press

Friday: 1 x 100

A. Kettlebell Swings

B. Push Up

Add 1 set of any other exercise you prefer, if you have the time or the energy.

The following section lays out sets, repetitions and progression.

DAY 1 – 100 x 1:  

Day 1 is the day of mechanical stress, which means that the intensity should be a between 75-95% 1RM (see above). Since you are doing 100 repetitions of the exercise, we recommend that you start in the low range of that zone. Thus, the start loads for the program should be 75% of your 1RM. If you are not sure what your 1RM is, 75% corresponds to a load that you can perform 10 repetitions with at a rate of perceived exertion of 4 out of 5 – a hard, but not exhausting effort (National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2008).

Spend a training session in the week before you start the program to find your 10 rep max for your chosen exercises.

On the first day of doing the program, warm up as you would normally do. 100 singles with 75% of your 1RM is going to be highly challenging without some rest in between. If you are simply waiting in this rest period the total time to complete the workout will be way above one hour. Therefore, it is recommended to set up for both your chosen exercises and load the bars with the appropriate load.

Depending on your preferences and time to train you may want to set up a pacing strategy. If your schedule permits, 90 minutes up to even 2 hours (after the warm up) is an acceptable time for this extraordinary challenge-workout. You are not focusing on increasing the load in this workout. Your focus is to complete the 100 repetitions per exercise in a shorter time frame.

Even though the theme of this workout is 100 singles, performing doubles or triples is allowed as well and can save you a lot of time. Regardless of whether you use singles, doubles or triples, lower the load in a medium tempo and maximally accelerate the weight through the lifting phase.

Below are three progressively more challenging pacing strategies. It is recommended to use a stopwatch to keep track of time and a training log to keep track of how many repetitions you perform.

1 hour 40 minutes total:

15 repetitions per exercise per 15 minutes

3 repetitions per exercise per 3 minutes

3 repetitions per exercise starting every 90 seconds

1 hour 15 minutes total:

20 repetitions per exercise per 15 minutes

4 repetitions per exercise per 3 minutes

4 repetitions per exercise starting every 90 seconds

60 minutes total

25 of each exercise per 15 minutes

5 repetitions or each exercise per 3 minutes

5 reps per exercise starting every 90 seconds

If you have to build yourself up to performing this workout gradually, don’t start with a lower load. Instead, start with a lower target number than 100 or – if you schedule allows – simply take whatever time you need to complete the workout.

Day 2: 10×10 – German Volume Training

The recommended start weight for the German Volume Training is 60% of the 1RM, which equates to a load that you can lift about 20 times (Poliquin).

Spend a training session in the week before you start the program to find your 20RM for your two chosen exercises.

On the first day of doing the program, warm up as you would normally do. It is recommended to set up for both your chosen exercises and load the bars with the appropriate weight.

Your goal is to perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions in a superset fashion with 60 seconds rest between each set. For example, if you were using a barbell back squat and lat pull down, you would rest 60 seconds after the squat before doing the lat pull-down set. If your rate of perceived exertion reaches 5 out of 5 within a set, you can rack the bar and apply the rest-pause principle and take a 10-15 seconds pause. Lower the weight in a medium tempo and maximally accelerate the weight throughout the lifting phase.

When you can perform 10 sets of 10 with 60 seconds of rest between sets, with no rest pauses, then you should increase the load by 5%.

Day 3: 1 x 100 – “100 rep death march”

The recommended intensity for the 100 rep death march is a load that you can lift for 30 times, your 30 rep max.

Bodyweight exercises, for example, push ups, are good choices for this training day. Thus, if you choose a bodyweight exercise, choose a push up variation that allows you to complete 30 repetitions continuously, but not much more. Kettlebell swings or dumbbell swings are good choices as a lower body exercise.

With the 100 Rep Death March you complete one exercise at a time with the following progression.

Step 1             20 sets of 5 in 20 minutes

Step 2             18 sets of 6 in 18 minutes

Step 3             16 sets of 7 in 16 minutes

Step 4             15 sets of 8 in 15 minutes

Step 5             12 sets of 9 in 12 minutes

Step 6             10 sets of 10 in 10 minutes

Step 7             8 sets of 12 in 8 minutes

Step 8             7 sets of 14 reps in 7 minutes

Step 10           1 set of 100

A stopwatch with a countdown feature is very useful for this workout. Set the countdown to one minute and start a set at the beginning of each minute. Perform each exercise in a medium tempo

As you can see it will take you 10 weeks to reach one set of 100. It is recommended to follow the program as instructed for 3 weeks, and then take a lighter week with any light activity that you prefer. Do a few sets of your chosen exercises to maintain your feel for the movements. Repeat this 4 week pattern 3 times for a total of 9 weeks of training with the program. Wait 4-7 days and then perform the 1 set of 100.