Verifiably True Ancient Greek and Roman Exercises

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Well, what's more important - paying your bills or living long and healthily???
Sadly, there are too many situations where you can't have one without the other.

However, what I tried to imply was that strength is more esteemed in the cultures where it is necessary for working ones job. The more a society becomes estranged from physical life, the more strength is dismissed.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
Sadly, there are too many situations where you can't have one without the other.

However, what I tried to imply was that strength is more esteemed in the cultures where it is necessary for working ones job. The more a society becomes estranged from physical life, the more strength is dismissed.
Yes, that's the problem. But what they don't think about is how they have to get strong in order to be healthy even though strength is needed for nothing in their daily lives at all. That's true in my case. I need no strength at all for anything in my career or home life, but I need it for health.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

I am more or less in the same situation. I have a desk job, etc... Nonetheless, even if it can sounds a bit weird or ridiculous, I appreciate the fact of "being ready" whatever happens. Sometimes, it helps. A simple example: moving furnitures, being physically and mentally prepared to an agression. Both of them occurred to me. Then I became kinda "prepper".

Money is of course an item to consider. I can not speak for other countries but here in France, I can buy almost everything raw and organic, and it does not cost much more than anything else. Of course, I could save a few, but comparing to what I get from quality food, this is a very worthy investment.

I think strength is linked to way of life too. For instance, Indian wrestlers take good care of what they eat and listen to their body: they eat in function of what they need. Even if they eat simple things, in simple plates, top quality food can make all the difference. To a certain extent, we are what we eat.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
Hello,

I am more or less in the same situation. I have a desk job, etc... Nonetheless, even if it can sounds a bit weird or ridiculous, I appreciate the fact of "being ready" whatever happens. Sometimes, it helps. A simple example: moving furnitures, being physically and mentally prepared to an agression. Both of them occurred to me. Then I became kinda "prepper".

Money is of course an item to consider. I can not speak for other countries but here in France, I can buy almost everything raw and organic, and it does not cost much more than anything else. Of course, I could save a few, but comparing to what I get from quality food, this is a very worthy investment.

I think strength is linked to way of life too. For instance, Indian wrestlers take good care of what they eat and listen to their body: they eat in function of what they need. Even if they eat simple things, in simple plates, top quality food can make all the difference. To a certain extent, we are what we eat.

Kind regards,

Pet'
I have to say visiting France a couple of years ago that it sure seemed like a paradise on earth - no bugs, mild weather not too hot or cold, lots of land and space, logical, serious people and a fascinating history and culture.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Kozushi
As you mentioned, culture and / or education may also be an element worth considering. Why are we practicing ? For instance, Spartan used to train for war since they were child because it was their culture, their raison d'être. I grew up while being aware of my environment "just in case". Basically, I anticipate a lot.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Kozushi
When I practice, I always look for different things, such as: strength, power, endurance / cardio / conditioning, and flexibility /mobility / coordination, while avoiding exhaustion. To reach these goals, I can use different tools: mostly bodyweight and bells.

The more mininalistic I can go with good results, the better.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
This isn't exactly ancient, but I recalled reading some documented feats of strength during the Middle Ages. This is from Contamine's War in the Middle Ages re one Marshall Boucicaut:

He executed a somersault fully armed except for his bascinet and wearing a mail coat.

Item, he leapt onto a courser without planting his foot in the stirrup, fully armed.

Item, with a strong man mounted on a great horse he leapt from the ground onto his shoulders by taking his sleeve in one hand and without any other hold.

Item, placing one hand on the saddle pommel of a great courser and the other near the ears, seizing the mane he leapt from the ground through his arms and over the horse.

Item, two walls an arms length apart and as high as a tower, he could climb to the top without slipping on the ascent or descent simply using the strength of his arms and legs and without any other assistance.

Item, wearing a coat of mail he ascended the underside of a great ladder placed against a wall to the top without using his feet, simply jumping with both hands from rung to rung and then, taking off his coat, he did this with one hand until he was unable to ascend any higher.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
This isn't exactly ancient, but I recalled reading some documented feats of strength during the Middle Ages. This is from Contamine's War in the Middle Ages re one Marshall Boucicaut:

He executed a somersault fully armed except for his bascinet and wearing a mail coat.

Item, he leapt onto a courser without planting his foot in the stirrup, fully armed.

Item, with a strong man mounted on a great horse he leapt from the ground onto his shoulders by taking his sleeve in one hand and without any other hold.

Item, placing one hand on the saddle pommel of a great courser and the other near the ears, seizing the mane he leapt from the ground through his arms and over the horse.

Item, two walls an arms length apart and as high as a tower, he could climb to the top without slipping on the ascent or descent simply using the strength of his arms and legs and without any other assistance.

Item, wearing a coat of mail he ascended the underside of a great ladder placed against a wall to the top without using his feet, simply jumping with both hands from rung to rung and then, taking off his coat, he did this with one hand until he was unable to ascend any higher.
The first half of this resembles the "vault" or "pommel horse" training the Julius Caesar had his troops do in large sheds all winter to stay ready for fighting cavalry or to get onto and off of horses easily when under the stresses of battle.

Another thing often forgotten about regarding ancient exercise was the "dancing" which isn't what you think it is - it's in armour and done with the mimicking of fighting moves. It resembled Native American war dances and there is also probably a cultural link to Kung Fu katas and similar.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
The ancients divided exercises into 1. strong 2. fast and 3 violent (a mixture of strong and fast).
For instance here is the same exercise treated in each of the three ways:

1. The overhead "military" press - strong - using a dumbbell or a rock
2. Punching your hands straight up in the air as fast and as hard as possible holding NOTHING in your hand - fast
3. Taking a light to moderately heavy dumbbell and punching straight up in the air with it as fast and as hard as possible. - violent

The ancients believed ALL THREE kinds of exercise were important. This is one lesson for us from the ancients. However, they saw #3, the "violent" exercises as the best proof of real world strength and applicability. It comes out of the first two kinds of strength training. Here is another set of related exercises:

1. Holding a fairly heavy weight or wearing a heavy backpack, walk uphill. - strong
2. Run uphill carrying nothing at all as fast as you can. - fast
3. Carrying a moderately heavy weight or wearing something like armour or a moderately heavy backpack RUN uphill as fast as you can! - violent

Here is another:

1. Wrestling - strong - you have to physically manipulate another person's bodyweight.
2. Boxing - fast - you don't lift anything at all, you move as fast and as hard as you can!
3. Pankration - violent - a mixture of the strength of wrestling with the speed of boxing.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
Hello,

@Kozushi

+1 !

I still do heavy 1H swings because I love this exercise so much. Nonetheless, since I walk one hour a day with 10kg (or 12 since today) backpack, I no longer need them to maintain my conditioning.

Kind regards,

Pet'
Long distance hiking ("marching") with a heavy backpack was considered a major part of strength training for the Roman legions. I read this in Vegetius - a late Roman military manual. They did a major "heavy hike" like this once every month to keep strong.
 
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