Exclusive: ’300: Rise of an Empire’ Cast Conquers Epic Workout Regimen

Movie Talk

It takes a lot of pain and gain to become a Spartan soldier, you know.

Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro and Eva Green will go to war in next spring's "300: Rise of an Empire," and their preparation for glory involved a rather intense workout regimen that even King Leonidas himself might find a bit of a challenge. Getting the muscular physique of a screaming, spear-wielding Spartan is hard, hard work ... and requires some pretty over-the-top exercises.

"Basically, these trainers take every exercise everyone else knows and [they] try to find the hardest possible way in doing that," says Stapleton, looking a little shell-shocked by it all in our exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.

Stapleton's most memorable exercise was something called the "Man Makers," which co-star Santoro also describes as "unforgettable." Stapleton then proceeds to demonstrate how to do a "Man Maker," which involves doing pushups whilst clutching a dumbbell in each hand — with two hands and then with one hand — and then standing up and lifting the dumbbells over your head. Stapleton also adds his own unique spin on the exercise, which involves stumbling to the bar and ordering a scotch.

Santoro describes his regimen as a mix of three to four hours of cardio and weights, with Stapleton saying his involved an hour and a half of sword training (just to "warm up") and an hour and a half of gym. It's all part of what Stapleton describes as "functional training," which is used in real-life military training.

[Related: ’300: Rise of an Empire’ Trailer: Lena Headey and Eva Green Bring the Girl Power]

So, does this mean that the cast members of "300: Rise of an Empire" technically now qualify as actual Spartan soldiers? Perhaps this will make for a new level of realism that was missing from Zack Snyder's highly stylized original film.

"300: Rise of an Empire" opens March 7, 2014.