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Review: Dailyburn – SPARTAN



Being over forty, I’ve often considered the possibility of doing a Spartan run as a means of entering my mid-life crisis with a bang and taking part in the tradition of mortality self-denial.  In the meantime I have chosen a less crippling alternative: Dailyburn – Spartan.

Spartan is a 6 week program hosted by Kevin Donoghue, a registered Spartan SGX Coach.  There are 6 unique workouts and occasionally the program inserts recovery videos from other instructors in the Dailyburn catalog.  As with other Dailyburn workouts, this is part of a monthly subscription service and available via streaming video.

What you need:

A plyo box and weights are all you need.  Should you desire to go balls-to-the-wall with authenticity be sure to grab a Home Depot pail, a big ass rock, cover yourself in fresh mud and set the dry grass in your backyard on fire.

Note to self: Use less gasoline next time.


Time: 29 minutes

The great outdoors.  We bask in sunshine and take the opportunity to watch the cast fill their lungs with smoldering ashes.  Maybe we should rename this the Pompeii Workout.

This is a general circuit workout that goes after many moves synonymous with a Spartan race.  Shrugs, step ups, shoulder carry, burpee presses and deadlifts.  3 rounds with increasing time per reps as rounds progress.  As with most Dailyburn workouts I’ve seen, the plyo box becomes a staple.  You can naturally use regular weights instead of rocks ( highly recommend doing so ) so don’t feel a compulsion to go digging for a nice stone in your neighbors landscaping.

Although it does get points for manliness.

This being the first workout, it is also the introduction to the set and cast. I found it comical that Kevin mentions how Jax has asthma ( somewhere a SJW parasite is running to their safe space after that comment ). Hey, you know what is great for asthma?  Not working out in a bush fire.

Just take in another cleansing breath.

Rig Strength

Time: 32 minutes

This is a pyramid workout, which means you start with one rep of each move moving up to 8, then back down to one.  While this workout would likely be great in a boot-camp environment, it becomes a mad scramble when done in your home.  Once it begins you will almost assuredly never be in sync with the cast and it can be a bit a distraction.

It's my new all-natural weight set. You like?

Army Crawl

Time: 24 minutes

Two rounds of 5 moves ( plyo push-ups, crawls, rolls ) done for 45 seconds a piece.  This is all low to the ground to condition your body for the barb wire crawl portion of a Spartan Race.  Either that or crossing the street in an upper-class Syrian neighborhood.

The barb wire crawl will prepare you for the Monday office lineup at the coffeemaker.


Time: 32 minutes

This is all about core with burpees and various crunches to go after the wall climb.  There is a wrist workout between moves that essentially involves wringing a towel.  The difficulty rises fast depending who you follow out of the three cast members; in particular the V-Up rope climbs.  Modified they are pretty easy.  Decide to go advanced and they will show you just how weak certain core muscles are.  Two rounds of 5 moves and each one is 90 seconds which certainly starts to hurt, but I guess that’s the idea.

You would think unassisted stand-ups shouldn't be so blasted hard...


Time: 35 minutes

Three rounds of 7 moves done for 45 seconds each.  The focus is general core with moves such as rows, squats and fingertip planks.  I’m not sure they’d really do that much to help with a rope climb, but I can certainly see the legal liability in asking viewers to attach a grappling hook to the roof of a condo.

Get strong for climbing, or enjoy falling to a crushing death.


Time: 33 minutes

Explosive power and hip mobility that finish up with a burpee circuit ( FYI: Spartan races love their burpees ).  This means lots of jump squats and plyo push ups to build that endurance up.  Out of all the Spartan workouts, this one is probably the most important and practical for the actual race.  If you don’t have reasonably fast muscle fibers, you might want to reconsider signing up.

I can fly!!!....THUD.


Spartan is a very targeted workout system designed for in-home training as opposed to doing the real-deal obstacle course.  While the moves are tailor made for specific aspects of a Spartan Race, I can see shortcomings where endurance is concerned.  More cardio conditioning is certainly required in order to truly drag what remains of your tired ass through miles of rough terrain, walls, wire and puddles of vomit.  So while Dailyburn Spartan is great for spot training certain weak areas,  don’t think of it as a complete solution or the body people crawl over to the finish-line will likely be yours.  Supplement with running or HIIT workouts and you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

As a trainer, Kevin Donoghue is both motivating and professional without going into hyper territory.  The casual humor is there but never goofy.  The cast likewise does an expert job in demonstrating three levels of difficulty which you can follow as your comfort level rises.

The schedule alternates daily with a Spartan workout and various recovery workouts from Dailyburn such as yoga and stretching.  It helps keep the program fresh during the 6 week run-time while also insuring proper flexibility to prevent injury on the course.

Currently the option to pre-download is available for iOS only ( suck it Android ) but I imagine the option will become available soon for other platforms.  This only becomes an issue for slow connections or when you need to practice your yoga in the bus depot.  At home I just Airplay the streaming video to my Apple TV ( Roku would be similar ) and I’m off to the races.

In all I give Spartan 4 FEATHERS out of 5.  While being short of a complete workout solution, it does the job of going after specific body exercises other programs might miss, thus helping make your big race a success.

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.



  1. Michael

    August 15, 2017 at

    Just letting people know that you can get 3 months free of Dailyburn by purchasing it at Groupon for $0 and then cancel at the end if not happy, that should be plenty of time to try it out, 30 days to me is not enough time to try different programs and there appears to be a lot. Good Health

  2. Stephen Smith

    July 8, 2017 at

    Hey DP, there is a guy on the southside of Chicago named Millionaire Hoy who creates great videos which he posts on YouTube. The videos are in the public domain and can be viewed and downloaded free of charge. The production quality of the videos is excellent as is the instruction. If you loved Stronger by Nicky Holender, you’ll be absolutely floored by Millionaire Hoy.

  3. Stephen Smith

    July 8, 2017 at

    Can you please recommend some good pre-workout drinks. I love your reviews

  4. José Tomé

    July 3, 2017 at

    Hey parrot, which program do you think its the best to loose fat for the obese crowd?

    ive joined the gym 18 months ago and ive lost over 35kg, by doing mostly bodybuilding, most of those lost weight were in the first 9 months but since then ive stagnated,

    although im getting stronger every month by lifting more and more weight, when i joined the gym i couldnt bench more than 45kg on the press machine and wasnt able to do a single push up but now after 18 month of strength training i can bench press 70kg and do 20 push ups with good form.

    But i stil have over 30kg of fat to loose and it seems i cant loose fat and gain muscle at the same time so im thinking quiting the gym for a while and do only cardio workout ( i hate doing eliptical and treadmill on the gym) for about 5/6 months so that i may loose most of the remaning fat, after that ill return to the gym and weight lift again.

    im unsure of what program to follow, insanity Max 30, focus t25 and core de force etc…?, what do you recommend to loose fat.

  5. ktern

    June 29, 2017 at

    heya parrot, is shaun week on your radar? seems up your alley :)

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 29, 2017 at

      I’m finishing up my Dailyburn reviews shortly and then plan to review some BOD offerings. If so then I will absolutely do Shaun Week as my first review.

  6. Christopher Mele

    June 25, 2017 at

    Love your reviews and your sense of humor. Keep these coming! I find them informative and helpful.

  7. Sean

    June 22, 2017 at

    Having done several Spartan Races, and other obstacle course races, it looks like some of these might help. Normal weightlifting, body weight calisthenics, and running could fill in most of the needs of the race. However, many of the obstacles require a solid technique, and it would be a huge help to actually be able to practice these before race day, which would be difficult to do in an at-home workout.

  8. Corey Sorenson

    June 20, 2017 at

    I signed up and ran my first Spartan Sprint this spring. 2 1/2 hours and 155 burpees later, I may have been cured of my mid-life crisis.

    • Sean

      June 22, 2017 at

      AROO! Congrats!

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