Workout Routines

The God of War Workout

Get superhuman strength and muscle gains with our God of War workout.

God of War Workout
Duration 1 week
Exercises 42
Equipment Yes

The only limit to what can be done in a video game is the developer’s own imagination. If the creators want the main character of a game to appear huge and imposing, with full, round muscles, single-digit body fat, and sharp separation, then a bit of computer wizardry can pull such a physique from the ether and put him on the screen just like that—no weights required. But what do you do if you’re Sony, and you’re trying to create a TV spot for God of War: Ascension, the latest installment of the critically acclaimed series, and you want a real-life version of Kratos, the massively shredded star of the game?

You hold a major casting call and keep your fingers crossed that if Kratos is out there, you’re going to find him. As it turned out, Kratos did have a real-life counterpart, and the honor of playing him went to a man who should be familiar to Muscle & Fitness readers: Brandon White. A personal trainer and fitness model who has appeared over a dozen times in Muscle & Fitness, White is also an avid God of War fan, having followed the series since the original installment hit the PlayStation 2 back in 2005. As soon as he heard about the casting call, White went straight to work, giving himself four weeks to prepare for his audition. He followed a six-day body-part split, and then combined steady-state cardio and interval training to get the kind of deep separation his muscles would need to retain definition through several layers of heavy makeup.

All the hard work paid off, and White landed the role. The full two-minute ad (which you can see on muscleandfitness.com) grounds Kratos in reality like never before and lends a new level of depth to his motives. In the original game, players learn that Kratos wants revenge for the death of his family—a simple drive that sets up the hours of hack and slash that ensue. In the ad for God of War: Ascension— a prequel to the original—we see Kratos’ daughter sprinting up a hill to her father, only to crumble to ash when she reaches him.

“I know the character quite well and wanted it more for that reason,” White says. “And I’m thrilled with how it turned out.”

Think you’re ready to build your own mythical mounds of muscle? You’ll have to attack the same weight training and cardio that White put himself through, meaning two-plus hours of training nearly every day for a month. But if you can follow it to the letter and keep your diet clean, you might just develop a physique worthy of the gods. And that’s something— whether you’ve followed the story of Kratos or not—that's worth aspiring to.

The Workout

Perform the following workout for four weeks. Do 45 minutes of steady-state cardio every morning before breakfast— in White’s case, this is a brisk walk around his neighborhood. After each lifting session, do 30 minutes of cardio: 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (10-second sprints followed by 10-second recovery periods) and a 10-minute cooldown. You will work out 6  consecutive days a week. The 7th day will be your off day where you perform steady-state cardio only.

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Day 1 Legs

Exercise 1

Barbell Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2A

Romanian Deadlift
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4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2B

Sissy Squat
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Glute-Ham Raise
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4 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Twisting Lunge
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4 sets
20 steps reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Donkey Calf Raise You'll need: Box How to
5 sets
8-20* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 20,15,12,10,8.

Day 2 Chest & Back

Exercise 1

Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
4 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Incline Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press
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4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 3A

Barbell Bent-Over Row You'll need: Barbell How to
4 sets
8-12* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 8,8,10,12.

Exercise 3B

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Barbell How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Straight-Arm Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment, Lat Pulldown Bar How to
4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Cable Crossover You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
4 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 6

Cross-Bench Dumbbell Pullover
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 7

Weighted Dip You'll need: Dip Station, Ankle Weights How to
4 sets
10-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 10,10,12,15.

Day 3 Shoulders

Exercise 1

Military Press
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4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2

Dumbbell Lateral Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3A

Dumbbell Upright Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3B

Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Upright Row
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Bent-Over Lateral Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Barbell Front Raise
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 6

Bradford Press
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3 sets
to failure reps
-- rest
Can be substituted for battling ropes - 3 sets, 30 sec reps.

Day 4 Biceps & Triceps

Exercise 1A

Skull Crusher
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4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 1B

Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Barbell How to
4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2

Wide-Grip Barbell Biceps Curl
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4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 3

Cable Overhead Triceps Extension You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment, Bench How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Hammer Curl
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Dumbbell Kickback You'll need: Dumbbells How to
4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 6

One-Arm Concentration Curls You'll need: Dumbbells How to
4 sets
12 per arm reps
-- rest

Day 5 Legs

Exercise 1

Barbell Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell
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4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3A

Leg Extension How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3B

Seated Leg Curl
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4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Single-Leg Press
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4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Standing Leg Press
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4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Day 6 Chest & Back

Exercise 1

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar, Bench How to
4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 2

Flat Dumbbell Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
4 sets
8-15* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 15,12,10,8.

Exercise 3

Close-Grip Seated Cable Row
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4 sets
8-12* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 12,10,8,8.

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Flye You'll need: Dumbbells, Bench How to
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Face Pull You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 6

Incline Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Barbell How to
4 sets
8-12* reps
-- rest
Perform reps as 12,10,8,8.

Exercise 7

Cross-Bench Cable Pullover
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4 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 8

Underhand Cable Flye
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4 sets
12 reps
-- rest
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