The Conan Workout Challenge: Final Week

The final week is here of Eric Laciste’s backbreaking AR7 Conan The Barbarian workout is upon me. I can hear the distant chorus of cherubic angels and the celebratory sounds of my congratulatory parade of honour. Or alternatively, the sounds of the microwave defrosting a meal for one and bubbling of potatoes on a hot stove.

It’s been tough, and I’ve gone through three weeks of unenviable physical pain and tastebud annihilating tedium (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3)

Right, time to finish strong and knuckle down to the serious business of punishing my body. I will carve myself into a vascular fortress of steel if it kills me.

As before, here are the beginning of the week photos:


Starting strong today despite having got off the plane from Valencia late last night. I’m feeling good. Bring it on big heavy things!

Warm up: 15 jackknives/3 burpees
1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 rounds

No problems here, I am the destroyer.

The Concept:
5 pull ups, 10 push-ups, 20 body weight squats CONTINUOUSLY, NON-STOP for 20 mins. Record the number of rounds completed.
The goal is 20 rounds in under 15 mins.

Ha, my overconfidence has got the better of me and reality slaps me back to earth with a thud. I only manage 14 rounds despite trying really hard. How can I be worse at this than I was in the first week. I’m blaming the air travel.

7.6.5 Series Barbell Military Press
* Utilize 60-70% your Max

7 reps, 7 secs active rest (arms locked out controlling the weight above your head, abs engaged, hips beneath the shoulders, head forward – POSTURE, POSTURE, POSTURE!)
6 Reps, 6 secs active rest
5 Reps, 5 secs active rest
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between sets.
3 sets.

I’ve upped the weight and the exercise is back to its horrible muscle crippling agony. Still, that’s progress that is. It now take more weight to cripple the might of Conan. I might write to Eric Laciste after this is all over and ask him what he thinks of the merits of pushing a massive stone wheel around in a circle forever.

Rowing is my friend. Well it’s not really, it’s a total bastard, but it’s better than the soul-shredding tedium of riding the bike for over thirty minutes. I manage to find a comfortable pace and go quite a lot faster than I did last week. I’m now fit to lead a Viking-style nautical invasion by war canoe.


Hmm, again I’ve run into a few problems. My schedule today means I can’t get to the gym. I’m in the cinema in the afternoon and I’ve got plans for the evening so the only solution is to do as much as I can before work.

Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats. CONTINUOUSLY, NON-STOP however you can get it done.

I proved that I can do this last week and that lovely warm carpet is better that unforgiving gym floor. Well, at 7am, it’s a furry nightmare. The impulse to just lie down and sleep between press ups is almost overpowering.

The Concept:
7.6.5 series Body Weight Dips/Diamond Push-ups
7 Dips/ 7 Diamond Push-ups
6 Dips/ 6 Diamond Push-ups
5 Dips/ 5 Diamond Push-ups
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 Rounds

Diamond push ups, how I loathe thee. After the initial push ups, my arms are already tired, trying to do diamond ones afterwards is seriously in danger of smashing my nose into the floor.

7.6.5 Series Incline Dumbbell Basic Chest Press/Close Grip Press
*Utilize 60-70% your max

7 Basic Press/7 Close Grip Press (turn your palms in, pressing the same weight from the top of your chest to your line of sight), 7 secs active rest – lock your arms out holding the weight above your chest, maintaining control).
6 Basic Press/6 Close Grip Press
5 Basic Press/5 Close Grip Press
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 rounds

Wow, my bench is getting more usage in two weeks that it has in years. I have the same wobbly problem in the third set that I’ve been having these last few weeks but I figure that’s the point.

No chance to do any cardio today. Can I just watch highlights from the Tour de France and think deeply about sweating?


I feel fine again, a clear sign that either I’m a) getting stronger or b) not working hard enough. Come on, it’s the former. You know it is.

Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

I’ve made a mistake in not leaving enough time to eat lunch before going to the gym so I feel like one of those cack pink robot bunnies that are always beaten by that Duracell bastard.

The Concept:
7.6.5 Series Pull Up/Barbell Bicep Curl
*Real Pull Ups are key but if you need to perform an Assisted Pull Up be sure the assisting weight is set at its minimum. The barbell weight should be 60-70% your Max
7 Pull Ups/7 BB Curls
6 Pull Ups/6 BB Curls
5 Pull Ups/5 BB Curls
= Round 1
1-2min real rest between rounds

Complete 3 Rounds

I think I did pretty well here, only resorting to assisted in the last set. Go me.

7.6.5 Series Seated Cable Row/Dumbbell Bicep Curl
*Both the row weight and BB weight should be 75% your Max

7 reps Seated Row/7 DB Curls
6 reps Seated Row/6 DB Curls
5 reps Seated Row/5 DB Curls
= Round 1
1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 Rounds

I used the same weight as last time and managed to get through it ok. Hey, maybe soon I’ll be able to lift that collosal sword that Conan always has. That’d be cool.

Martial arts later for the cardio…


Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

Blah blah blah press ups, blah blah blah squats. Are we there yet?

The Concept:
7-5 Series Deadlift, Rear Squat, Body Weight Jump Squat

*Weight for Deadlift and Squat should be 50-70% your Max. Be smart, use the correct form and if you’re not sure or don’t know, ask someone to show you!

7 reps, 7 secs active rest (standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
7 sets = 49 Reps
1-2min real rest

6 reps, 6 secs active rest (Standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
6 sets = 36 Reps
1-2min real rest

5 reps, 5 secs active rest (Standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
5 sets = 25 Reps
Total reps = 110

Back to learning how to do this. Natalie’s not around today, so I try to do it myself. Low weight, good form. There’s a problem here because with low weight, it means I can get away with doing it badly and with high weight I just cheat (by accident you understand). I think this’ll be a long road but if anything it’s woken me up to how neglected this exercise is. One to keep working on after this living hell is over.

Rear squat
7 Reps, 7 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
7 sets = 49 Reps
1-2min real rest, rack weight

6 Reps, 6 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
6 sets = 36 reps
1-2min real rest, rack weight

5 Reps, 5 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
5 sets = 25 reps
Total Reps = 110

Again, I use a really low weight and work on the technique which isn’t so hard as the deadlift – I mean it’s just bending your knees and keeping your back straight; only an idiot couldn’t do that. Right? Right.

Body Weight Jump Squat
*The landing is more important than the take off. Protect your knees, bend your knees on the landing utilizing your muscles to absorb the impact.Do not land stiff-legged even on the last rep!
7 Reps, 7 secs active rest. Standing tall. Breathe…
7 sets = 49 Reps
1min real rest

As previously mentioned I can’t do this exercise without shattering my right knee and landing in a twisted broken heap of agony so I stick to normal squats which are quickly becoming my most hated exercise. It seems to be all I do these days and the constant bobbing up and down is making me seasick.

Not too bad, but then again, I wouldn’t expect to be that crippled after my “learning” session. Onwards and upwards.


It’s the final day, hallelujah, it’s the final day! When this is all done, I’m going to go eat a mound of potatoes, a sugar sandwich (on white bread), a pint of milk and enough Haribo to kill a small town.

Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

Ha, are you kidding me. I’m Conan; this puny workout is nothing to me. I storm through the press up and squats. I swear I can taste victory (or the sweat dripping off my face – either way).

The Concept
7.6.5 Series Rev Grip Pull Up, Body Weight Dip, Burpee

7 Rev Grip Pull Ups/7 Dips/7 Burpees/7 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
6 Rev Grip Pull Ups/6 Dips/6 Burpees/6 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
5 Rev Grip Pull Ups/5 Dips/5 Burpees/5 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
= Round 1
Complete 5 Rounds

I manage to get through the pull ups unassisted for two rounds; verily I am powered by the will of Crom. I hate burpees. I take it all back about squats; burpees are the worst. They’re most demoralising, debilitating exercise known to man. I grit my teeth and struggle towards the finish line knowing in my heart that I’ll be able to pillage and loot any village of my choice once I’m done. Great warriors might be born on the battlefield, but they’re also made in the gym.


Right, here’s the final progression photos. As you can see, all that suffering was probably worth it as there’s a marked improvement. Let’s just hope it doesn’t all run to fat over the Christmas period.





If you want to see how a real warrior does it then check out Conan The Barbarian which is out on Blu-ray and DVD Double Play, DVD and Download to Own on December 12, courtesy of Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Or if you’re interested in working out and becoming a mighty destroyer of empires and pillager of helpless puny villages, then you may want to head over to Eric Laciste’s website which is

Can’t get enough of Jez’s suffering? Read Week 1’s workout here, Week 2’s here and Week 3’s here.

Follow Jez Sands on Twitter mortal.