The Gain Train Is Leaving Station! Get On Now! 🚂🚂🚂

Dear Spartan,The weather is fantastic, the birds are chirping, and it almost feels like spring is in the air. and that in the middle of February! The only thing missing now is the end of the lockdown and our collective return to the temple of iron. But while that may take another few weeks(…or months, honestly who knows at this point), fret not, because the Body progression contest and monthly movement challenge are here to keep the gain train moving.

Besides that, we have the next installment of Pjotr’s technique clinic upcoming. This time around, he will get into detail on everyone’s favorite exercise; the squat!

Lastly, Ruben, our affiliate from Fysio Fitaal is back with another segment to make you a better lifter! Remember that as a Spartacus member you are eligible for a free screening at their practice!

Read more below…

On a one-way ticket to Gainsville

It’s that time of the year again; The Body Progression Contest has started! Participating members will be working extra hard to improve their physique and reach their fitness goals! Participants do a starting measurement when signing up and one at the end. The measurement can either just be pictures or actual body measurements, whatever you are more comfortable with. Measurements must be handed in by the 28th of February at 23:59, as the BPC runs from March until the 31st of July! The winners (1 female and 1 male), who made the biggest improvements will not only win an exciting price but also get an exclusive photoshoot to show off their progress!

We also do monthly movement challenges which are also meant to facilitate your strength gains and physique improvements. Participants test their maximum repetitions on one movement at the beginning and end of the month. This month the push-up is on the menu;
Perfect for keeping your chest from withering away to microscopic levels during the lockdown.
What?             Body Progression Contest
When?            March till the end of July

More info:   

Pjotrs Squat Masterclass!

Pjotr, our powerlifting head coach, is back with another technique clinic! This time it is all about the Squat. Who could pass up on the opportunity to learn from one of the strongest lifters in Europe? Because we can still not meet offline, the clinic will be done on zoom, with Pjotr showing some demonstrations of the movement. That way both beginners and intermediates are surely going to learn something new.

The clinic will go down on the 9th of march at 19:00, so mark your calendars!

What?             Squat Clinic by Pjotr
Where?           At home on zoom
When?            March 9th at 19:00

More info:   



Ruben’s Review: Strong mind in a strong body

How much does mental training contribute to your strength gains?


Study: Effects of mental training on muscular force, hormonal and physiological changes in kickboxers



  1. Two groups of high-level kickboxers performed the same lifting program over 12 weeks. One of the groups did additional mental training, including motivational self-talk and visualization.
  2. While both groups experienced increased performance, the group doing additional mental training made larger gains. For our purposes here, their additional strength gains in the bench press and half squat are most relevant.
  3. The group doing additional mental training also showed markers of decreased stress, including an elevation in testosterone:cortisol ratio and larger decreases in resting heart rate and blood pressure than the group not performing mental training.

Two groups of elite-level kickboxers followed the same strength program. The only difference was that one group performed some kind of mental training as well. This mental training consisted of self-talk and visualization training. I think it is no shock that both groups got stronger over 12 weeks. But the group that was doing mental training, in addition, experienced larger strength gains. Not only did they get stronger but there was also a difference in other health biomarkers such as a lower blood pressure overall, a lower resting heart rate(a sign of low-stress rate and good recovery), and higher testosterone levels in combination with lower cortisol levels. 

What I like about this study is that they tried to standardize other factors that would contribute to recovery and strength. 

To be included in the study, they had to meet these criteria:

  1. They’d never done any sort of dedicated mental training with the goal of improving sports performance.
  2. They didn’t use any drugs or dietary supplements.
  3. They had no recent injuries.
  4. They had no history of using drugs or medications that could affect the hypothalamic-adrenal-gonadal axis.
  5. They had no history of chronic disease.
  6. They had regular eating patterns.
  7. They had no depressive illnesses.
  8. They had no severe cognitive impairment.
  9. They had to have at least moderate mental imagery ability, according to the Sport Imagery Ability Measure.(the ability of an individual to bring an image to mind) 

The way they used self-talk during rest periods is that they were preparing themselves for the next set. This is something that we can all do. This is a good way to keep the focus on your training and keeps you away from checking your Instagram feed or other things that will get in the way of your session. Also when they were thinking negative thoughts, they were instructed to switch that thought to something positive. An example of this can be; my deadlift is to slow off the ground. You can flip this thought to “I know I can be much faster off the floor with my deadlifts”. 

The most effective way to perform mental imagery is to look through your own eyes. Don’t look at yourself from a third-person point of view. This means that you are playing a move inside your head that makes the image of you lifting heavy weights as vivid as possible. Picture yourself grabbing for the bar on the floor, bracing yourself, hearing the music that you want to listen to when you are training. In this study, they performed this task after training for 30 minutes. But I can imagine that you want to go home after a session so you could try this in between sets as well. 

Adding mental training to your program will likely boost your strength gains and may even decrease markers of physiological stress. Positive self-talk and first-person kinesthetic mental imagery absolutely don’t replace training! But they can make you recover faster and improve your strength in the long run. 





Become active!

Enthusiastic about Spartacus? Do you want to help promote, or even create and set up events for the organization? Or would you rather help behind the scenes with some Photoshop or videography action? Get active! We have various committees dedicated to all facets of our organization. Let the board know if you are interested in becoming a member of the Activity Committee, the Social Media Committee, the Tech Team, or the Powerlifting committee!

You can find more information about our committees here.

Idea box

Do you have a great idea for a clinic or activity? Or do you simply have something to report? Through the idea box, you can anonymously submit a suggestion or comment and the board will take a look at it! Click here.

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Keep in Touch!


With powerful greetings,

The T.S.K.V. Spartacus board,

Kristel Sas (Chairwoman)
Han Pei Wu (Vice-Chairwoman)
Nout Hakkesteegt (Treasurer)
Tim Wegener (Secretary)