For those of us who love training, there are some common sources of inspiration that we all look up to as the pinnacle of what the human body can achieve.

Classic bodybuilders like Arnold, movie stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and even comic book superheroes such as Batman.

They all exhibit the huge, muscular physiques that many lifters dream of.

But before all these icons of strength – like, long before – artists were depicting the gods of the ancient world. The gods were preserved in bronze and stone to stand today as examples of the perfected human figure.

This article is a comprehensive guide to that – the Greek god physique.

We completely break down everything you need to know to turn your body into the next Hellenistic masterpiece.

Greek God Physique Body Type
Greek God Body Type

We’ll cover exactly how and what to measure to assess your leanness, muscle size, and proportions to make people confuse you with Zeus himself.

Unfortunately, the steps to growing an epic curly beard are beyond the scope of this article.

Next, we’ll go over the training, nutrition, rest, and recovery (probably) used by the gods of Olympus.

Once you’ve got these Greek god physique fundamentals covered, you’ll come to the juicy part of this guide.

This section will be filled with fun workouts, accompanied by the stories of the ancient Greek gods and heroes that inspired them.

There are some unique exercises in these programs, so we’ve included videos explaining how to perform them.

These sessions cover absolutely everything you need to sculpt a body that will inspire epic poems for centuries.

I’ll cover in detail:

  • What is the Greek God physique?
  • How to Look Like a Greek God
  • How to Train Like a Greek God
  • How to Eat Like a Greek God
  • How to Recover Like a Greek God
  • Greek God Workouts
  • Greek Hero Workouts
  • Greek Athlete and Soldier Workouts
  • Scribe Your Own: Greek God Program Template

What is the Greek God physique?

You might write it off when someone says they want a Greek god physique, thinking it’s just another way to describe looking fit.

But the Greek god body type is more than just a low body fat percentage and decently developed muscles.

I remember the first time I encountered what it is to be awestruck by this kind of physique.

It was on a trip to Sydney, Australia. Walking through Hyde Park, I came across the Archibald Fountain. 

Surrounded by splashing water and other exquisitely crafted sculptures, I was immediately drawn to a hulking figure.

He was holding a sword in one hand, and with the other, he was forcing a huge, horned beast to submit.

It was a depiction of Theseus and the Minotaur. If you haven’t been to see it, I highly recommend it.

Greek God Physique
Dcoetzee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Theseus and the Minotaur (Sydney, Australia – Hyde Park)

Of course, there are many such examples of these figures created throughout history, which are displayed all around the world.

It’s this sense of amazement that is part of what it means to have a Greek god physique.

So, how can you develop a body that creates a similar reaction?

After all, it was the Greek philosopher Socrates who said “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

The answers lie in the following sections.

How to Look Like a Greek God

Related: Arnold Split

Chisel Away the Fat

Like creating a classical sculpture out of bronze or marble, the first step to looking like a Greek god is to carve away some of the excess, ahem, ‘material’.

To measure your progress in this endeavor, you’ll need to keep track of your body fat percentage (bf%).

The first goal should be to reach the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) body fat percentage categories of ‘good’ to ‘very lean’.

For men aged 20-39, this means somewhere in the range of 4-18% body fat, and for women aged 20-39, within 11-21% body fat.

Note that the ACSM also recommends minimum safe body fat percentages at no less than 3% for men and 10-13% for women.

If we take inspiration from another Greek tradition – the Olympic Games – we see that many Olympic athletes fall within these ranges.

For example, one study evaluated over 500 male and 300 female Olympic athletes competing in 15 different events. It found body fat ranges of about 6-15% for males and 10-22% for females.

Since athletes and warriors were the inspiration for the sculptors to create their renditions of the gods, this range is a good yardstick to aim for.

If you’re starting from outside these ranges altogether, simply make your first goal to enter the ‘good’ body fat range for your age group.

Once there, you can continue to chisel away until you’re satisfied.

To measure your body fat percentage, you can use a simple electrical bioimpedance scale or handheld device at home.

If you want to be slightly more accurate, you can have a professional take your skin folds and perform a body fat percentage calculation.

If you want to take your body fat measurement to the extreme, you can enquire about getting a DEXA scan or hydro-immersion body fat measurement done.

Sculpt the Muscle

While reducing body fat is critical for revealing your inner Greek god physique, you’ll also need to build up the muscle underneath.

After all, no matter how much body fat you lose, the Greek gods are revered for their muscular, powerful bodies, not just their leanness.

While specific training methods will be covered shortly, we simply need to realize that the appropriate stimuli will be needed to increase the size and strength of our muscles.

There are many mechanical and metabolic pathways to muscle hypertrophy, and the exercises and programs in this guide will take advantage of most of them.

To measure your muscle growth progress, one of the most effective methods is to track body circumferences.

Here is a list of body parts you may want to measure to keep an eye on your muscle gains:

  • Mid neck
  • Mid bicep: flexed and relaxed
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Mid-thigh
  • Calf

Before chiseling away to sculpt the exact proportions you want to resemble your favorite statue, you need to build a foundation of solid muscle mass using the major muscle groups.

Using this guide, your measurements should increase steadily, and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with Zeus in no time.

Refine the Proportions

When we talk specifically about ancient Greek sculptures, there are a couple of important points to note in relation to our fitness goals.

In the Classical and Hellenistic periods, statues of Greek gods and heroes were either mathematically perfected, or idealized into superhuman physiques.

Methods such as the golden ratio were used to measure out the perfect proportions for the face and body, to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

The golden ratio, or divine ratio as it’s also known, is 1.618 (or its inverse, 0.618). Certain body parts which fit this ratio are considered to be the most pleasing to the eye.

For example, in the golden ratio, the length of the head and the width of the abdomen should be equal. 

A common example in the fitness world is the shoulder to waist ratio. It is commonly agreed that the ideal physique has a golden shoulder to waist ratio (the shoulder circumference should equate to about 1.6 times your waist measurement).

In the case of measuring your own progress, use the circumference at these measurement sites to progress toward Greek god proportions:

  • Shoulder (you may have recorded this from the previous section)
  • Mid waist
  • Mid hip

In addition to the shoulder to waist ratio, the waist to hip ratio (WHR) is not only a good indicator of aesthetics but of your health.

The World Health Organization places the WHR cutoff for significantly increased risk of metabolic diseases as <0.9 for men and <0.85 for women.

So, not only does this guide aim to give you the proportions of a Greek god body but hopefully a small boost towards their immortality, too!

A final note here is that indeed, the proportions of Greek gods depicted in art are idealized. They were not always reflective of realistic human anatomy.

Further study of some sculptures which look realistic at first reveal that things like leg length, bone structure, and muscle characteristics were taken beyond what is achievable by mere mortals.

As we strive to achieve a godly physique, keep in mind that we’re human!

How to Train Like a Greek God

Train for Strength

The reason the Greek gods and heroes are depicted as being so strong and muscular, is that they were!

From Atlas holding up the heavens to Zeus dropping a mountain on Typhon, there are endless tales of feats of strength within Greek mythology.

While looking like a Greek god is one thing, this guide will also assume that you want to strive toward becoming (nearly) as strong as the gods themselves.

If you want to keep track of your maximal strength, perform one repetition maximum (1RM) tests every few weeks for the main compound lifts.

These include the bench press, barbell squat, and deadlift. When keeping track of your heaviest lifts, be safe, include a sufficient warm-up, and use optimal technique.

Many of the exercises in this guide are chosen for their ability to strengthen the major muscle groups, especially in their ability to work as a collective unit.

Train for Aesthetics

Greek God Body Type
Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

As mentioned in the previous section, it’s no good being able to throw mountains if you don’t look like you can!

While the strength-focused exercises in this guide will help build your maximal strength and power, there is also a need for specific training focused on isolating and building any weak areas.

This includes things like single-joint exercises to build mass in the shoulders, arms, and legs.

The workouts below also incorporate exercises that both, directly and indirectly, train the core musculature. 

There aren’t many depictions of Greek gods and heroes who don’t have thick, muscular midsections.

It’s kind of a requirement when defeating giant three-headed dogs with your bare hands.

According to the ancient Greeks, the most aesthetic body was one where all of the muscle groups were well-developed.  

This showed an individual as a well-rounded athlete, capable of many different feats and prepared for anything.

So, use your eye (and take photos if it helps you) to examine your overall musculature and determine any areas which may need some extra attention in the gym.

Train for Athleticism

Greek God Workouts

While you may not need to chase mythical creatures around ancient Greece, even regular Greek athletes trained to be competitive in multiple events.

Yes, the bodies of the gods depicted in sculptures look super strong, but they also look like they could run, swim, or climb over a wall if they needed to.

What does this actually mean when talking about your own training?

Well, it essentially covers everything around the resistance training that makes up the bulk of the following programs.

Let’s face it, if you are muscular but can’t touch your toes or run up a flight of stairs without gasping for air, will you really feel like a Greek god? 

Probably not.

The workouts here all incorporate some kind of cardiovascular element, in addition to the muscle-sculpting exercises.

They also consist of many functional, compound movements, which translate into being able to perform real-world sports and active endeavors.

Train for Combat

Greek God Training

While feasting, dancing, and partying were all favorite pastimes of the Greek gods, there’s a reason the statues frequently depict them defeating monstrous enemies.

Not only were the gods constantly at war, but the ancient Greeks also had their fair share of battles as well. 

From the savage Spartans to the mythical Myrmidons, ancient Greece is famous for its world-class warriors.

While martial arts may not be your thing, it’s still important to include related elements of this style of training into this kind of program.

The Greek god programs in later sections include exercises that will have you looking and feeling battle-ready.

How to Eat Like a Greek God for muscle growth

How to Eat Like a Greek God
Photo by Emily Wilkinson from Pexels

Typical Diet in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greeks would usually eat three meals a day, similar to the average eating pattern today.

Breakfasts would consist of bread made from barley, which was relatively hard and dipped in wine to soften it up.

Lunch was considered more of a light snack in ancient Greece, and people ate foods like olives, figs, salted fish, and cheeses.

These foods were also included at dinner, along with chicken and quail eggs, legumes, and home-grown vegetables like carrots, cucumber, cabbage, and asparagus. Only the wealthy class would have regularly dined on meat.

As for treats, the ancient Greeks drank a lot of various types of wine, usually cut with water, as well as some cheese, figs, or olives drizzled with honey for dessert.

The Modern Mediterranean Diet

Moving on to more recent times, the ancient Greek way of eating has evolved into one of the most popular healthy modern diets, the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean diet is based on frequent consumption of the following food groups:

  • Olive oil
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Wine

It also consists of a moderate intake of these foods:

  • Seafood
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Poultry
  • Eggs

Finally, the Mediterranean diet involves a low amount of foods such as:

  • Sweets
  • Red and processed meats
  • Milk, butter, and cream

Studies of the Mediterranean diet have found it to be high in healthy fats and fiber due to the high olive oil and vegetable content.

While this way of eating is certainly healthy, it’s not the only option when it comes to cultivating a Greek god physique.

After all, although the people who eat a Mediterranean diet may live long, healthy lives, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll attain a sculpted, god-like body along the way.

Calories and Macros for a Greek God Physique

As we mentioned in the section on looking and developing a Greek god body, the first step is to reach the desired body fat percentage range.

When it comes to diet, this fundamentally means that we need to create a calorie deficit to gradually lose weight from our body fat stores.

Alternatively, if you’re already in the ideal body fat range, and now need to add muscle to your frame, you’ll need to create a calorie surplus to provide the necessary nutritional building blocks.

The ACSM recommends a calorie deficit of between 500 and 1,000 calories per day, including burning about 300-400 calories per workout.   

This means that you’ll need to eat about 200-600 calories less each day. But how much weight loss will this result in?

A total calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories daily typically results in 1-2 pounds (0.5-1kg) of weight loss per week.

How you do this is up to you.

Whether you use intermittent fasting to limit your number of meals or choose a way of eating that lowers calories by eliminating certain foods, experiment (within reason) and see what is the most sustainable for you.

Once you’ve reached a suitable body fat percentage, it’s time to increase calories slightly to start building muscle. 

This calorie surplus is best provided by adding sufficient protein intake to the diet. 

Intake for building strength and muscle hypertrophy should be at least 0.7g/lb of body weight (1.6g/kg) a day.

After meeting the protein requirement, the rest of your food intake will be a balance of fats and carbohydrates.

Go with the macronutrient ratios that give you good results, while also keeping your energy levels (and mood) at an optimal level.

Spartan Supplements

While the Greek gods didn’t require any help to optimize their physiques, we mortals may want to recruit the aid of a few well-researched nutritional supplements.

While not a requirement by any means, these ergogenic aids are backed by years of studies testing their ability to help with strength, muscle growth, and performance.

Protein powders can help you reach the aforementioned daily intake levels, and can be easier to digest than other high-protein foods like meat or dairy.

Creatine monohydrate has been found to boost muscle strength and hypertrophy, particularly in the upper body – a plus when striving for the physique of a Greek god.

Other aids like caffeine can give your workout a boost, helping your performance, endurance, and energy levels throughout a workout. 

How to Recover Like a Greek God

Training Recovery
Photo by Michelle Reeves from Pexels

Sleep like Hypnos

Hypnos was the son of the goddess of night, Nyx. He was also the brother of Thanatos, or Death (bummer). 

When working toward achieving a Greek god physique, Hypnos should become one of your best friends. 

Sleep affects so many aspects of your health, especially when it comes to muscle recovery and sports performance.

Don’t forget, the time you spend in the gym is the time when you are causing your muscle tissue to break down.

It’s in the recovery period that new muscle tissue is built and strengthened. And this is especially true during sleep.

During sleep, everything from your metabolism and blood pressure to your immune system and hormones are working to help your body come back bigger and better.

Don’t think you can substitute quantity for quality when it comes to sleep, either. Studies on obese teens found that sleep quality didn’t make up for lack of total sleep time.

Try to aim for your 8 hours of sleep if you want to give your body the best chance of resembling a Greek deity.

Hydrate like a Naval Oarsman

The trireme ships of the Athenian navy consisted of as many as 170 rowers to power their movement. 

These men would often need to consume up to two gallons (8 liters) of water a day as they rowed endlessly into glorious battle.

While this might be overkill in your case, it highlights the point that hydration is critical in optimizing your body – both its look and its performance in the gym.

The ACSM recommends the following guidelines regarding hydration for athletes:

  • Drink adequate fluids throughout the day.
  • Drink about 17 ounces (500mL) two hours before exercise to promote hydration.
  • Drink at regular intervals during training to replace water lost through sweat.

While sports drinks containing electrolytes and carbohydrates can be beneficial during intense exercise or competition lasting longer than one hour, these are not necessary in a regular workout.

If these drinks help you to consume more fluids, without compromising your dietary goals, then go for it.

Relax in the Bath House 

Ancient Greek bath houses existed in Olympia, Corinth, Athens, and many other regions throughout the Mediterranean.

While the practice may have been mainly used for relaxation and hygiene, there is scientific evidence supporting the recovery benefits of water and steam immersion.

One study found full immersion in hot water or sitting in a steam sauna to be effective in facilitating recovery from muscular fatigue.

Other handy recovery methods include foam rolling, massage, and heat and cold therapies.

Try things out and see what helps your body recover for the next workout most efficiently.

Greek God Workouts

Now you know the principles behind living like the deities and people of ancient Greece, it’s time to get into the specifics.

The following sections contain training sessions and challenges designed to get you looking, performing, and most importantly, feeling like a Greek god.

Please perform adequate warm-ups before each workout, as well as any mobility or recovery work you’d like to add as a cool down.

First up, we have several routines ordained by the Olympians themselves.

Poseidon, God of the Sea: Pull Workout 

Poseidon was the brother of Zeus and Hades. When the world was divided between the three, Poseidon was given dominion over the seas.

Poseidon is also known as the ‘earth shaker’, for his power over earthquakes and storms. He also protected those traversing the waves, like the many rowers of the Hellenic navy ships.

To honor the Greek god of the seas, this pull workout focuses on the muscles needed for swimming through waves, lashing ropes, and heaving oars.

It will also develop the lats, traps, rear delts, and biceps, helping to sculpt your Greek god physique.

Poseidon Pull Workout:

ExerciseReps / SetsRest
Bent row 3×53 min rest
Pull-ups 3xMAX3 min rest
Sled rope pull 3×123×121 min rest
Dumbbell pullover 3×123×121 min rest
Rowing machine 2000m2000m1 min rest

Sled rope pull:

If you want more workouts inspired by the water, check out our article on Ottermode, or the swimmer’s physique.

Hephaestus, God of the Forge: Push Workout

Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, and was the god of fire, metalworking, and craftsmanship. 

From his palace on Olympus, Hephaestus used his hammer, anvil, and tongs to forge armor and weapons for the gods.

Hephaestus made famous artifacts such as Achilles’ armor, Hermes’ winged sandals, and Helios’ chariot.

In the spirit of the blacksmith of the gods, this push workout targets the muscles used to pump the bellows, strike the anvil and lift a heavy hammer to the skies.

This session will develop the chest, shoulders, triceps, and forearms, rounding out the sculpting of the upper body musculature.

Hephaestus Push Workout:

ExerciseReps / SetsRest
Bench press 3×53 min rest
Single-arm press 3×101 min rest
OH tricep extension 3×101 min rest
Single-arm cable extension 3×121 min rest
Tire sledge 3×20 / Ski erg 3x1min MAX3×20 / Ski erg 3x1min MAX1 min rest

Single-arm overhead press:

Hermes, God of Speed: Leg Workout

Hermes was another son of Zeus and was known as the herald of the gods. He was also called the ‘soul guide’, leading the departed from the world of the living to the divine.

Hermes was able to move as swiftly as a bird, with his winged sandals, the talaria, made by Hephaestus.

Hermes is known as the god of travelers, athletes, thieves, and shepherds. Basically, anyone who needs to be able to run fast and far.

In the name of this divine trickster, this leg workout will develop the muscles needed to run marathons, jump between realms, or just to kick a titan in the groin to get away. 

This program will carve out the muscles of the glutes, thigh, and lower leg, completing your Greek god build.

Hermes Leg Workout:

ExerciseReps / SetsRest
Single leg press 3×101 min rest
Romanian deadlift 3×101 min rest
Barbell glute bridge 3×101 min rest
Calf raise 3×121 min rest
Treadmill sprints 3x30sec1 min rest

The Greek god workouts here make for a great 3-day workout split. For a more complete guide on 3-day workout splits, check out our comprehensive guide.

Greek Hero Workouts

In this section, we’re going to have some real fun.

These workouts are designed as challenges, inspired by the feats of ancient Greek heroes.

Use these workouts on off days for some extra conditioning, or as finishers if you have some gas left in the tank at the end of your workout.

Sisyphus, King of Corinth: Boulder Challenge

After tricking his way out of several trips to the underworld, Sisyphus was condemned by Hades to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down just before reaching the top.

While this challenge might also feel like punishment, luckily for you it’s only temporary.

To mimic this eternal struggle, you’ll need a sled and a whole bunch of weight plates.

It will also help if you have access to some floor space (at least 20 meters would be ideal) along which to push the sled.

Challenge:

  • Set up the sled with a decent track space ahead.
  • Load up the sled so it is just moveable.
  • Drive it forward as fast as possible until you reach fatigue.
  • Give it 30 seconds to ‘roll back down the hill’.
  • Repeat as many times as you can!

Sled push:

Milo of Croton: Bull Challenge

Milo was an ancient Greek wrestler and warrior, who may have been the closest thing to a real athlete achieving god-like status among the people.

While you may not recognize the name, Milo’s feats may be familiar to you.

The most well-known of these is when a young Milo carried a newborn calf on his shoulders every day until it was a fully grown bull.

While this story is personified in the modern-day training principle of progressive overload, we’ll aim to recreate this feat in a fun workout challenge.

This challenge is best done with a yoke apparatus. Alternatively, use dumbbell farmer’s carries as a substitute. 

Challenge:

  • Set up under the yoke without any additional weight added (yet).
  • Walk as far as your available space allows (max. 30 meters).
  • Add a set amount of weight (e.g. a 25 or 45lb. plate) to the yoke.
  • Rest 3-5 minutes, and carry the yoke back to the starting point.
  • Repeat until you can’t carry the yoke the complete distance.
  • Disclaimer: Don’t roast and eat the yoke like Milo did with the bull.

Yoke exercise:

Farmer’s carry:

Heracles, Son of Zeus: 12 Labors Challenge

Finally, we have a workout inspired by the god of strength himself. 

While the feats of Heracles (or Hercules as he’s more commonly referred to) are many, for this challenge we had to go with his most famous adventure: The 12 Labors.

This workout will have you shooting arrows, lopping off heads, breaking chains, and more as you strive to complete the impossible tasks given to Hercules.

Although we can’t recount the entire tale in this article, we recommend looking into the story when you get the chance.

Small tidbits will be recounted here, just to explain the reasoning behind the exercise selection.

The challenge is set up as a circuit of 12 exercises, to be done consecutively with as little rest as possible. 

If you’re feeling immortal, you can complete the bonus challenges placed at each station.

Challenge:

  • Slay the Nemean Lion: Archer rows x12 (each side)
    • Bonus: Hold the last ‘shot’ for a 10-second isometric hold to aim for the lion’s mouth!
  • Slay the Lernaean Hydra: Alternating single-arm cable chest fly x12 (each side)
    • Bonus: Perform this as an ascending set (1 rep each side, 2 reps each side, etc. up to 12 each side) to chop off the hydra’s heads as they grow back!
  • Capture the Ceryneian Hind: Treadmill run 3 min.
    • Bonus: Make it 5 minutes and give it a 10% incline (Hercules did chase this thing around Greece for a whole year, after all!)
  • Capture the Erymanthian Boar: Barbell walking lunges x12 (each side)
    • Bonus: Add a high knee to each step (but keep your balance) to carry the boar through the thick snow.
  • Clean the Augean Stables: Hang clean and press x12
    • Bonus: Perform a full clean and press to really get down and dirty!
  • Slay the Stymphalian Birds: Single-arm cable tricep extension x12 (each side)
    • Bonus: Once you hit 12 reps, drop the weight and perform two more drop sets to failure to really scare those buzzards away!
  • Capture the Cretan Bull: Coffin press x12
    • Bonus: On the last rep, squeeze out an isometric hold with the weights just above your chest until failure, to really choke out the father of the Minotaur!
  • Steal the Mares of Diomedes: Cable reverse flys x12
    • Bonus: Scream ‘I am HERCULES!!’ on your last rep as you break the chains to release the wild man-eating horses!
  • Obtain the Belt of Hippolyta: Ski erg / elliptical / assault bike 1 min.
    • Bonus: Make this a 4-minute Tabata interval (8x20sec with 10sec rest) to really take revenge for your two fallen comrades!
  • Obtain the Cattle of Geryon: Side lunges x12 (each side)
    • Bonus: Hold a pair of dumbbells to swat away the gadfly Hera sends to annoy the herd!
  • Steal the Golden Apples of the Hesperides: Swiss ball wall sit 3min
    • Bonus: Put your back on the wall and hold the ball overhead instead, to really feel like you’re holding up the world while Atlas gets your apples!
  • Capture Cerberus: Push-ups xMAX
    • Bonus: Make them spiderman pushups for a tougher challenge to wrestle the three-headed beast with your bare hands!

Okay, that was a big one. Hopefully, you find these workout challenges fun and can use them as a way to break up your more standard workouts.

Greek Athletes and Soldiers Workouts

While we can always look up to figures like the Greek gods and heroes for inspiration, we shouldn’t forget about the real-life references for many of the likenesses we see in statue form.

The warriors and athletes of ancient Greece had some of the most versatile and well-rounded figures of all time.

Far from the hyper-specialized world of fitness today, with powerlifters, bodybuilders, calisthenics enthusiasts, or runners, the Greek citizen could do it all.

The following workout sessions are designed to give you a taste of life as a real ancient Greek.

If you train hard enough, the gods might even take notice.

Pankration: Ancient Greek Combat Workout

Perhaps one of the first versions of today’s mixed martial arts, pankration was a combination of ancient boxing and Greek wrestling.

Pankration is said to have been invented by Heracles and Theseus, who used this unique fighting style to take down beasts such as the Nemean lion and the Minotaur in the labyrinth.

Pankration was both a sport and a combat technique. Its combination of boxing, takedowns, submissions and leg strikes led to some brutal clashes, both in athletic competition and on the battlefield.

To create a similar effect for your physique without enrolling in martial arts classes, the following workout will develop the muscles used in pankration.

Pankration combat workout:

ExerciseReps / SetsRest
Reverse lunge 3×101 min rest
Cable woodchopper 3×101 min rest
Single-arm cable press3×101 min rest
Plank3xMAX1 min rest
Assault bike3mins MAX 1 min rest
Heavy bag 3mins1 min rest

Reverse barbell lunge:

Cable woodchop:

Agoge: Spartan Education Workout

A harsh upbringing used to create hard, loyal warriors, the agoge was the rigorous training program used by the ancient Spartans.

In terms of the physical aspect, the agoge provided young Spartans with military training, along with education in hunting, dancing, and other, less pleasant physical tolerances.

In the same vein as the agoge, this bare-bones workout requires minimal equipment. Use it to develop a tough and versatile body, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

Now go make Leonidas proud!

Spartan agoge workout:

ExerciseReps / SetsRest
Vertical jump 3×101 min rest
Broad jump 3×101 min rest
Rope climb 3×11 min rest
Chin-ups 3xMAX1 min rest
Push-ups 3xMAX1 min rest
Run 1 x 10 mins1 min rest

Rope climb:

‘Scribe’ Your Own: Greek God Program Template

Finally, we want to provide a framework for you to create your own Greek god workout, as well as a way to combine it with the sessions above for your own customized program.

The first step in this process is to select some exercises that will cover all the fundamental movements of a Greek god, athlete, or warrior.

Example exercises:

  • Push – Single-arm OH press, push press, sled push, push-ups, reverse lunges
  • Pull – Deadlift, pull-ups, rope climb, rope pull, archer row
  • Jump: Vertical jump, broad jump, jumping lunges
  • Carry: Dumbbell farmers carry, yoke walk, sandbag shoulder carry, single-arm farmer’s carry
  • Move: Rowing machine, swimming, sprints, long run, hiking with weight vest
  • Fight: Boxing, med ball slams, med ball side throws, Russian twists

Med ball slam:

Next, select any accessory exercises you need to sculpt your physique by targeting certain lagging muscle groups.

Example exercises:

  • Chest: Cable flys, incline bench press, coffin press, dips
  • Back: Pull ups, dumbbell pullovers, barbell shrugs, supported rows
  • Shoulders: Lateral raise, upright row, front raise, reverse fly, face pulls
  • Arms: Incline curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, tricep extension, OH extension
  • Quads: Hack squat, leg extension, sissy squat
  • Glutes: Bridges, sumo deadlift, reverse lunges
  • Hamstrings: Nordic curls, seated leg curls, stiff-legged deadlifts
  • Calves: Single-leg calf raise, seated calf raise
  • Abs: Hanging leg raise, Bosu crunch, lateral woodchopper, bicycle crunch

Once you have a good selection of exercises, place them in the example table below. You don’t need to fill every category in the sculpting exercises.

For example:

Fundamental Moves

PushPush press3×81 min rest
PullPull-ups 3xMAX3 min rest
JumpJumping lunge 3×101 min rest
CarryFarmers carry 3xMAX1 min rest
MoveRower 2000m1 min rest
FightMed ball side toss 3×101 min rest

Sculpting Exercises

Chest
Back
ShouldersLateral raise 3×101 min rest
Arms
Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
CalvesSeated calf raise 3×121 min rest
AbsHanging leg raise3xMAX1 min rest

Lateral med ball toss:

Keep in mind that all the exercises you select don’t have to be done in one go. You may want to focus on heavy strength work one day, isolation exercises on another, with swimming or running day thrown in for conditioning.

Once you have your custom Greek god workout, you can perform it several days per week as a whole-body program.

Alternatively, you can combine it with any of the workouts and challenges above, depending on how busy your schedule is.

The following are examples of a Greek god weekly workout schedule for people with different availability for training.

Greek God Physique 3-Day Plan:

  • Monday: Custom Greek god workout (from the template above)
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Poseidon pull workout
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Hercules 12 Labors Challenge
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Greek God Physique 4-Day Plan:

  • Monday: Poseidon pull workout
  • Tuesday: Hephaestus push workout
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Hermes leg workout
  • Friday: Spartan agoge workout
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Greek God Physique 5-Day Plan:

  • Monday: Custom Greek god workout: Fundamental moves
  • Tuesday: Sisyphus boulder challenge
  • Wednesday: Custom Greek god workout: Sculpting exercises
  • Thursday: Milo bull challenge
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Pankration combat workout
  • Sunday: Rest

As you can see, there are plenty of options when combining these Greek god-inspired sessions.

If you want to include more ab work to further sculpt your Zeus-level abs, add one or two extra abdominal targeted exercises from the example list to your accessory work.

As always, though, the real sculpting of the abs will come from a consistent calorie deficit in your diet.

What about additional cardio work?

If you want to add more steady-state aerobic exercise into this Greek god program, go right ahead!

Whether it’s for your heart health or to create a larger calorie deficit, more cardio can definitely be a benefit to this program.

If you’re looking for some Greek mythology inspiration, try loading up a weighted vest for a military-style hike, go for a swim in a lap pool, or try your hand at some track athletics.

Again, make sure to include adequate stretching and recovery work around your training sessions.

Here is a short post-workout stretching routine, if you don’t have one. While it won’t lengthen your limbs to Hellenistic proportions, it’ll help your muscles recover and reduce your risk of injury.

Greek God Stretching Routine:

  • Standing calf stretch
  • Elevated hamstring stretch
  • Lying pigeon stretch
  • Cobra stretch
  • Standing quad stretch
  • Standing side bend
  • Doorway / wall pec stretch
  • Forward fold

Hold each of these stretches for 20-30 seconds, and repeat for 2-3 rounds. You’ll really notice the muscles release in the second and third sets, so make sure not to skip them.

Start Sculpting!

What do you think about our Greek God Physique guide?

We hope this article gave you some useful tips for attaining a Greek god physique.

A final tip from Chronos, the Greek god of time: be patient and stay consistent with your plan, and you’ll be ready for Mount Olympus before you know it!

Let us know what areas you intend to work on to work towards a sculpture-like body (and your favorite Greek gods) in the comments!

If you have friends or family members who are into Greek mythology – or just want to sculpt a better physique – share this article with them, too.