Ancient Greek Weight Training

Weight training became popular long before there were dumbbells, barbells and exercise machines. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese weight trained with activities such as stone lifting, stone throwing, wrestling and rope climbing.

Weight training began in Ancient Greece to prepare males for war.
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Ancient Greek training methods, particularly for the Spartans, was structured and extremely intense.

Spartan Training History

Spartan training began for men at a very young age. At seven years old, Spartan males were sent to military and athletic training school where they were taught toughness, discipline, pain endurance and survival skills. The Spartan life centered around military training and toughness. Spartan males were soldiers from the age of 13 to 60, and even the women were taught physical and gymnastics training.

In the "modern" era weightlifting was introduced as an event at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens. Women were first allowed to participate in the Olympic weightlifting events in 2000 at the Games in Sydney according to Olympic.org.

Spartan Training Methods

A Greek warrior workout meant improvising and using whatever was available to improve their physical fitness. Ancient Greek body building relied on performing body weight exercises such as push-ups or pull-ups. The Ancient Greeks would use resistance in their strength training methods by using stones, logs, animals or each other to help increase their strength.

Read more: Proper Push-Up Technique

Modern Day Spartan Training

Fancy equipment is not necessary to get in peak physical condition. Use push-ups and pull-ups in your routines to help build upper body strength. Chopping or splitting logs and log throwing is also an effective way to train the entire body. Tire flipping, dead-lifting, car pushing or carrying heavy objects to a predetermined destination are all examples of modern day Ancient Greek strength training.

Individuals who prefer to train in a gym can still do intense weight training similar to the Ancient Greeks by using mostly free weights and incorporating Olympic and power lifts in your training to build explosive strength such as power cleans, hang cleans, snatch, squats, deadlifts and bench press according to the American Council on Exercise.

Read more: 9 Essential Strength Benchmarks for Men

The “300” Workout

The "300" workout was designed to get the actors in shape in preparation for filming the movie "300." The actors trained for four months using similar training intensities that would have been used during the times of the Spartans — including plyometrics —which includes box jumps, medicine ball wall shots and vertical jumps and many more according to ExRx — sprinting and intense weight training. They used such equipment as barbells, kettlebells and medicine balls.

At the end of the four months of training, the actors where invited to complete the "300" graduation workout which involved performing the following exercises in sequential order: 25 pullups, 50 deadlifts at 135 lbs., 50 pushups, 50 box jumps onto a 24 inch box, 50 floor wipers at 135 lbs., 50 kettlebell clean and presses at 36 lbs. and 25 pullups. The combination of all repetitions for all of the exercises totals 300 repetitions.

Read more: Advantages and Disadvantages of Plyometric Exercises

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