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Ancient Greek Training


I thought you would be interested in that since you like history of training and stuff.I am writing a paper for college on that topic and what i am learning is awesome!!!Man,they knew stuff we know now and maybe even more!?I will try to explain some of their methods but i cant translate things perfectly so...Also i will talk only about the weight lifting-bodybuilding part because the sports part is a bit boring and difficult to understand.

The divided the daily workouts in 3 parts, warmup , main workout and cool down.I will explain only the main workout because warm up and cool down is almost what we do today except covering our bodies with olive oil :smiley: lol...

The part of the main workout which had weights was called ''Building''.They trained almost the whole body every day but with emphasis on certain bodyparts that the athlete needed.they progressed by increasing the weight or the reps.Also they tried to increase the time of training they could handle.They said something like the more you train without exceeding the limits of your body ,the better you become.and you should always try to increase that limt.Thats almost what you say about work capacity!!!

Now for the exercises they used.I will use the terms of the exercises we use today for obvious reasons :slightly_smiling: !!! They climbed ropes for their arms.Deadlift,power clean and press,prowler pull,prowler push,box jumps with weight,db bench presses.It is said also that they knew most of the dumbell exercises we know today!!!

Thats most of the stuff about the building part.it is important to note that their daily workout wouldnt end after that.Most of athletes would do something for their sport,runners would run,boxers would hit that bag or spar and the general population would do activities like swimming.

they ate a lot of meat ,especially steers, bulls, goats, deer, whole bran bread,vegetables and fruits( a lot of figs),honey and cheese,.They sleeped a lot,lied in the sun to make the skin look more healthy and avoided drinking too much wine.
Thats all i learned that i could translate till know...hope you find it interesting.

Isnt it amusing that the were great athletes and really big and symmetrical without all the supplements and science we have today???that goes also with old school bodybuilders.my grandpa was a bodybuilder in the 50's( he says he was a weightlifter they didnt use the term bodybuilder so much back then)and he had a good physique with training routines and nutrition that most of us today would say wtf!!! (he also didnt go on stage because he says that he didnt like the idea of men in underwear posing in front of other men lol!!!Different era,different minds!Even today when my cousin wore an earing he almost had a heart attack and got really mad on him lol)
That all.I hope i hear your thoughts and everyones thoughts about all that...


I still like the story of the guy who got given a calf, and lifted it every day till it became a bull. History is full of examples of people forgetting what works, because of some fancy new idea.


Are we talking about the Athenian or the Spartans here? My understanding is that they differed significantly in the way they did things...


Awesome post! Very interesting. Love history and the Greeks/Spartans even more! If I remember correctly, there was a huge library that was burned down during the Greek era (can't remember many details)and a ton of information was lost and really set us back. Imagine how much further along we would be had that not happened??


That would most likely be the Library of Alexandria.


To anyone who grew up with Greek parents, this shouldn't be a surprise. I'd always been told that "everything was invented by the Greeks". :slightly_smiling:




What implements did they use? Natural things like rocks, trees, etc; existing tools put to a new use (hammers, anvils, etc); or did they have specially made things such as barbell-like objects?


they used barbell and dumbell like objects(they didnt really look like modern barbells and dumbells but they had the same use) made out of stone but i am not 100% sure about that...
Hey man sorry about this but instead of quote i pressed report and didnt realize it till now that i saw that my answer was not posted.I hope the admins will understand this...


Out of interest, could you nme the piece which you are translating?


Hmmm, wonder what they'll do, meh nothing personal if it happens mate


Conclusion: We Greeks are awesome as athletes and philosophers, suck as workers.


Just bear in mind though, the life expectancy of these people was not very high and most training techniques did not consider issues such as cumulative joint damage and arthritis which can happen later in life.

I learned this when I studied classical japanese jujutsu: a very good (and fascinating) martial art but one designed primarily to train people to survive the battlefield and not as a form of exercise for people in their thirties or older....


Yeaaah, Im Greek, and I love being proud of Greek History.

BUT, I think the GOOD Knowledge TODAY, is far more useful.
You just cant compare.


First off, I must stress that meat was very rarely found in the Greek diet. The Greeks also practiced widespread slavery, not cool. Further, most Greeks led a life devoted to farming a meagre surplus in shitty conditions. We should not overemphasize the importance of athletics to the Greeks


slavery was normal than at that time, like media and brainwasing is today. Just today after WW1 and 2 these things have definitely changed.

Also, there is a rumor, that Alexander the Great brought the culture of athletics and Fighting into Asia.
Before the fight at thermophyles, messenger of Xerxex where in greece, and whenn they saw the greeks doing their usual routines, bodyweight exercises, they saw that as a sign of weakness, like dancing.
Every body knows 300 but thats just junk.

Karate, Kunfu, all came later, even if some second class historians tell something else.

Olimpic games? Whole wars were stopped for the time the best athletes could compete with each other, and only the best one was honored, every body else was the biggest shame.

Look at the Meditarrean diet, and thats a decent way of eating even today. And they ate meat, but especially the spartans were used to earn their ounces of flesh more than WE do today.

But, like I said you just cant compare.
i dont want to get into a fight, I just have to stand by my country, haha


Dude, greek wars weren't that huge, more like a few hundreds at most at a time. Reports of the"huge" battles, like that at Leuctra, involved 400 Spartan casualties. Greece never invaded anyone, Macedon is not Greece but instead a bunch of barbarians who wanted to leach off Greek heritage becuase their own was so young. the Med diet is high in figs, olives, and grain. Meat is rare, there were few beasts of burden. Fish was plentiful near the coast, hence Athens, hence why you think a lot ate meat. In Athens, as much as half the pop of the city were not Greeks. Your country is fine, our facts are not. China had been fighting and exercising for hundreds of years, and further he never got anywhere near China. India also had quite a military and athletic culture, hence the elephants and tantric sex. This isn't an arguement cause you have no basis for a lot of what you say.

Chances are that Thermpopolae (sp) was not "junk", it is entirely plausible that a small, determined, well trained force, unassailable by missile, secure on most flanks using long, well made weapons fighting men generally not well armoured (it is a long way from Persia) could hold out for 3 days. Whether it was a fight or a massacre is irrelevant, as thy gave the Greeks enough time to figure out anouter plan, which was running the fuck out of Athens. Remember, 300 Jews kept an entire Roman Legion at bay under similar conditions.


I still say ancient greece�´�´s impact on the world today, was bigger than that of that of whole Asia.
Today we have olimpic games, not yoga or tantra world contest(being mostly ironic here).
maybe in 200-500 years the people say China and India.

history is not only facts, thats very restricted.
Alexader the Great was Greek, case closed for me.


I never would of guessed the civilization who gave us astronomy and the basis for science as we know it today could figure out how to move some dumbbells through basic ranges of motion...


No, he was very clearly the descendent of an upstart King and his barbarian bride, hardly a greek bone in his body. hence, in the olympics not only is today's macedon a separate country, but Phillip II was not even initially allowed to compete in the ancient games due to his lack of greekness. Look it up.

Phillip II was the son of an Illyrian princess, while his father I cannot easily find a conclusive geneology. Olympia, Alexander's mother, was a princess of Epirus.

Yoga is one of the most widely practiced means of physical fitness, prob more yoga enthusiasts in the world than bodybuilders that is for sure. The chinese invented gunpowder, so that prob is more influential than the Olympics from the start, while India is the basis for our system of writing (indo European language tree). Heck, ancient Greece is spoken by how many people? Isn't it funny that greek culture was spread by a barbarian, the power of Hellenistic civilization was centered in modern day Turkey and Egypt, while Greece was a shithole backwater with harly a penny to their name for the last two thousand years?