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December 12, 2021 2 Comments
So you watched 300, and maybe the good-but-not-quite-as-good sequel, 300: Rise Of An Empire and decided you want to look like that. It’s ok; everyone watched that and wondered, “how in the hell can I look like Gerard Butler?” We did. The physiques of the Greek gods are what most guys really want. Big, defined muscles with low body fat yet nimble enough to jump around and slice off legs. Well, maybe not the mutilation part, but they do have the ideal body.
This workout and diet plan won't tell you how to build the physique of a mere Greek mortal; it’s going to show you how to build the body of a Greek god!
To start, we will go over the best exercises for pure strength, legs & glutes, chest, back, shoulders, and arms, then we will explain the programming of this workout plan and provide you a clear breakdown of the workouts (this is a 5 day workout program). After all that, we will explain the finer details of the workout plan, as well as the best nutrition and supplementation to build the body of a Greek God.
Note: While this workout plan is themed "Greek God Body", it is simply a program with two main goals - power and aesthetics. If you want a more bodybuilding workout plan purely for aesthetics, check out our Ultimate Aesthetic Workout Plan.
Poseidon was one of the three amigos, the three gods who reigned over the sky, sea, and underworld. These three included Poseidon who ruled the seas, Zeus in the sky, and Hades chilling in the under realms. As most are aware, Poseidon carried a trident forged by the cyclopes to and reigned over all the oceans, ruled all marine life, and could even control storms. He also randomly liked horses.
However, one of his lesser-known powers was that he could cause earthquakes. Note the word cause not control is used. That’s because the guy would just pound the ground when he wanted an earthquake. For example, after Odysseus blinded his son Polyphemus (a cyclops), Poseidon chased him for 8 years using earthquakes to disrupt Odyessus’s travels and attempts to escape. Poseidon even had cults that followed him, known as the “Earth-shaker”. Pretty badass.
We know for sure that Poseidon was an insanely strong and powerful god. That means if you saw Poseidon at Gold’s Gym, he’d be sticking with the biggest, baddest compound lifts that are for pure strength and power. This means using some untraditional training like carries and sled work for that crazy strength.
Have you ever seen shoes with little wings on them? Those are the shoes of Hermes. One of the 12 Olympian gods, Hermes was the protector of travelers, messengers, and merchants. He was also the herald of the gods as he could travel extremely quickly; even traversing dimensions and kingdoms. Basically, the guy could run anywhere.
The only way to travel around like that would be to have a strong set of legs. To do that, you’d find Herms hogging the squat rack doing a ton of squats. Since Poseidon already has back squats, here are the other leg exercises we’d have Hermes do.
Heracles (called Hercules by the Romans and modern West) was a legend, an absolute hero. Literally. In Greek mythology, Heracles is not god as he was born of god and a mortal woman. However, considering that his father was Zeus, it’s safe to assume he was pretty special. Was he ever! Hercales was the strongest mortal to ever live; he was even stronger than some gods. For this, he was considered a divine hero worthy of worship.
Further, it seems that Heracles was always running around on some kind of adventure or task. His most famous adventures were the 12 Labors Of Hercules. These were tasks given to him to atone for his sin of killing his children. Now, these weren’t things like cleaning. Actually, one labor did have him cleaning the Augean stables. The only thing is that this stall was full of immortal livestock producing poisonous poop for 30 years. The other labors included things like;
So much insanity for one man. The only way he’d get through this is if he had an insanely strong chest to kill and capture all these beasts.
Before the Olympian gods, the titans ruled the heavens. However, this ended when the Olympian god challenged the titans, which ended in a great war for control of the heavens called the Titanomachy. Atlas, the son of two titans, decided to side with the titans in this war.
Bad choice atlas.
The Olympians won, and while Zeus imprisoned many of the titans (and those who fought with the titans) in Tartarus, he had an especially sucky punishment for Atlas. Zeus forced Atlas to bear the weight of the heavens and celestial realm on his back forever (due to a famous art piece, many people falsely believe Atlas holds the earth on his back).
Atlas did have a chance to get off his back but screwed it up. Hercules had to fetch some apples guarded by the daughters of Atlas. To do so, Hercules had to take the weight to allow Atlas to fetch the apples. Now, the only way atlas could get rid of this burden was if someone agreed to take the weight of the heavens for an extended time. Therefore, Atlas came back and attempted to trick Heracles by holding the heavens longer so that he could deliver the apples. Hercules didn’t believe him, so he said he would do it if Atlas took the heavens for a minute to reposition his shoulder padding. Atlas agreed, and then Hercules took the apples and ran. So, while Atlas is a bit of an idiot, his upper back could hold the weight of the heavens. Talk about a god-level back.
Here’s what you need to build a back to support the heavenly realm.
Hephaestus was the Greek of blacksmith, metalworking, and carpentry. He was considered responsible for Greece’s beauty and was worshiped for his craftsmanship, especially within the manufacturing centers. Hephaestus was a real working man’s god, a guy you could sit down at the bar with and down a few pints of adult sweet nectar.
All that being said, Hephaestus knew how to swing a hammer. He was responsible for forging a list of mythical items such as;
The guy even built an actual human, Pandora! The list goes on, but he had skills. However, we can’t stop thinking of the strength he has in his shoulders to withstand that amount of banging. Along with his skills as a blacksmith, Hephaestus must have had boulders as shoulders.
In addition to the other pressing movements, here are the best exercises to build the shoulders of a god.
Zeus was the most powerful of the Olympian gods. It is widely accepted that he was the most powerful god of all. Zeus was designated as the god of the sky and thunder and ran things on Mount Olympus. In fact, he was the one who established the duties of every other god. And, he did all this being the youngest. How? Well, it’s Greek mythology, so it’s kind of nuts.
Before the Olympian gods ruled, their parents, the Titans, were the rulers of the world. Cronus, the leader of the Titans and father to the Olympian gods, did what any father afraid of being usurped by his children would do, he ate them. Well, he ate all of them except Zeus, as he had tricked Cronus into thinking he had already ate him. That being said, Zeus went to Cronus and caused him to vomit out his sisters and brothers, thus becoming the leader of the Olympian gods.
After this wild event, Zeus freed the cyclops who had been imprisoned by the Titans. In turn, they gave Zeus the lightning bolt for a weapon, such as throwing them at Odyessus ship in Homer’s The Odyssey. Have you ever tried to throw a lightning bolt down from heaven? Probably not ’cause you don’t have the arms of a god. Here’s what exercises you need to get them.
While technically a Titan (the gods before the Olympian gods), Coeus was the son of Uranus and Gaia and was said to be one of four pillars that supported heaven from earth. A big enough job in its own right, Croesus was also smart. Really smart. He was the god of intelligence and understanding and was said to have such great foresight that he could comprehend future events. To be clear, he didn’t necessarily see into the future like looking into a glass ball. He was so intelligent, he was able to know what was going to happen and could make what was one a mystery easy to comprehend.
What does intelligence have to do with muscles? Well, as you know, there’s more to lifting than counting reps and sweating. While the lesser gods want to confuse you with their jargon and big words, Coeus will make programming easy to understand as it’s really not that hard.
Your program is going to consist of 5 days. These sessions will look like this;
Session 1: Upper Body A (Back focused with chest and shoulders)
Session 2: Lower Body A (Squats focused with posterior accessory movements)
Session 3: Upper Body B (Chest focused with shoulders)
Session 4: Lower Body B (Deadlifts focused with accessory back and legs)
Session 5: Core, Arms, Accessory
This will allow you to train each body part twice per week, which studies show is the optimal frequency for strength and muscle hypertrophy. Training a muscle group two times a week allows maximal volume while giving you adequate rest in between each exercise. You’ll also have a specific day to train your arms and core and extra accessory work such as sled work.
You’ll want to use a range for optimal effect for your rep range. While studies show any load (percent of your 1RM) can contribute to hypertrophy, only heavy loads (>85%1RM) are effective in building strength. Therefore, your big movements will be used with a heavier range, while your accessory and isolation exercises will be used with a lighter load ( <80%1RM) for maximal muscle hypertrophy.
Related: Strength Standards Chart
Take a look at the plan first, and then Coeus will tell you how to use progressive overload to grow.
This is what your plan will look like.
|Push Press||3 sets||3 reps|
|Weighted Chin-Ups||4 sets||4 reps|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3 sets||6-8 reps|
|Bent-Over Row||3 sets||6-8 reps|
|Dips||3 sets||RPE 7-8|
|Face Pulls||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Cable Reverse Fly||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Back Squat||4 sets||4 reps|
|Deficit Deadlift||3 sets||5 reps|
|Hip Thrust||4 sets||8 reps|
|Split Squat||3 sets||8-10 reps per leg|
|Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Leg Extensions||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Leg Curls||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Single Dumbbell Snatch||3 sets||5 reps per arm|
|Bench Press||4 sets||4 reps|
|Seated Military Press||4 sets||6 reps|
|Weighted Push Ups||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Upright Row||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Cable Chest Fly||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Lateral Raises||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Conventional Deadlift||5 sets||5 reps|
|Pull Ups||3 sets||RPE 7-8|
|Front Squat||4 sets||6-8 reps|
|Kroc Rows||3 sets||12+ reps|
|Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Seated Row||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Cable Lat Pushdowns (Swimmers)||3 sets||12-15 reps|
|Farmer Carry||5 sets||30 seconds|
|Sled Push||5 sets||10-15 meters|
|Carry||3 sets||30 seconds|
|EZ Bar Preacher Curls||4 sets||8+ reps|
|Overhead Rope Triceps Extensions||4 sets||8+ reps|
|Reverse Barbell Curls||4 sets||8+ reps|
|Triceps Pressdown||4 sets||8+ reps|
|Biceps 21s||4 sets||7,7,7 (21 reps)|
First, you will notice that there is a lot of variation. And you would be right. While we don’t believe in the concept of muscle confusion, we do believe that having variation can generate optional growth. However, you’ll also notice the variation is slight, such as a deadlift vs. deficit deadlift. This will use the same biomechanics yet hit alter it enough to require different muscle firing.
That being said, you’ll see that the days are spread out, so you’ll have at least 2 days of rest between each body part. Therefore, you will cycle through the sessions weekly as is. For rest days, you don’t have a lot of options. The best choice is to throw in a rest day after the first 2 or 3 sessions and another rest day after the subsequent 3 or 2 sessions. Therefore, you’ll have training blocks of 2 and 3 sessions. You could alter that (train 4 days then rest) if you absolutely had to, but you don’t want that to be a habit.
More importantly, you’ll need to understand progressive overload. Progressive overload is simply the principle of gradually applying a slightly larger load on your body over time. You’ll do this with 2 methods, adding weight and adding volume.
For some of the exercises, you’ll see a set rep scheme such as 5X5. For these exercises, you’ll simply add a little bit of weight. For example, if you benched 150 lbs the first week, next week you’d add 155lbs. If you have access to a smaller weight, you could even use 152lbs, ensuring a longer period of growth with less plateaus.
Other exercises that have a range of reps, such as 3x6-8, you will start by using 3x6. Then, instead of increasing weight, you’ll add a rep, so you’ll do 3x7. Then 3x8. Once you hit the top range, you can add weight and go back down to 3x6. You can also use this technique for the first method if you get stuck. Try to do more reps and then jump up on weight.
The bodyweight exercises that use RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. Basically, how hard the exercise feels. For these, you’ll just gradually increase the number of reps you can do at the assigned level of exertion.
For the carries and sled, you’ll just increase the weight as needed.
You’ll also notice that the arms just have 8+. For these, train how you feel. If you want to use a bit heavier, go for 8 reps. If you want to do a ton of volume, use 15+. For your arms, the most important aspect is you bring them to failure.
Your rest will look like this;
Even us gods need to recover. This is why the Greek god Aceso is vital for your journey to sculpting your Greek body because how well you can recover will dictate how much you grow. Therefore, you’re gonna need Aceso wisdom.
Your recovery starts immediately after your workout and get home. While some have placed too much weight on the importance of your post-workout meal, it’s still a significant part of recovering. While you don’t need to speed home to eat it, you’ll still want to eat it sooner than later. The main components of this meal are your protein and carbs. Aim to eat 0.4-0.5g/kg of protein along with 1.5-2.0g/kg of carbs. This will put you at the “golden ratio” of 1:3-1:4, which seems to be the most beneficial protein ratio to carbs.
Your protein should be some quality lean protein or protein powder, and your carbs should be a mix of high-GI and low-GI carbs. DON’T be scared of some high-GI carbs, especially right after your workout. If you train hard enough, your glycogen stores need some refueling, and food with a higher GI has shown to replenish stores faster and fuller.
The next most important thing you need to do is engage in active recovery. Active recovery is simply performing light exercise to “get the blood flowing”. This can be as simple as going for a leisurely bike ride or taking your dog for a walk.
The theory behind active recovery is that you will pump more fresh blood with oxygen and nutrients to the damaged muscles when you increase the heart rate. Further, you will use the muscles and increase internal body temperature, which will cause them to become more pliable.
When speaking of things like heat therapy, cold therapy, or massaging; evidence for benefits is not as strong as some like you to believe; especially heat and cold therapy. Trigger point massage may provide relief if you have specifically tight muscles.
However, if you were to talk to Aceso, she’d have you concentrate on your post-workout meal and active recovery.
Unfortunately, the one area where trainees mess up their quest for glory (glory=Greek body) is messing up sleep. Sleep is the easiest thing you can do for recovery and muscle growth (you literally lay there and do nothing), yet it also has tremendous influence. However, we still screw it up. That’s why you need help from Hypnos, the Greek goddess of sleep.
Hypnos knows that you need a good night’s rest even on recovery days. And after a day of hard training, you need a really good night’s rest. You see, sleep isn’t an option when you’re training to be Gerard Butler’s double; it’s a necessity. Sometimes in the world of mortals, there can be a false notion that sleep is for lazy or weak people. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. Well, if you don’t sleep now, you’ll be dead a lot sooner.
Still, I’d rather be immortal (or as close as possible).
You see, a lot of essential things happen when we sleep. Extremely important.
Therefore, get enough sleep.
The absolute best practice is to get in a pattern where you go to bed and wake up at the same time.
Muscles don’t grow themselves; they need fuel for the gods. Ambrosia is the term of the divine food that was delivered to gods on Olympus by doves. Usually served by the hero Ganymede or the goddess of youth, Hebe, ambrosia was the source of the god’s immortality and vigor. One of the more famous stories of ambrosia is when Hercales was given ambrosia to eat by Apollo when he became a god (but then he became not a god).
For us, food fuels our workouts and supports our muscle growth. You can’t keep eating the packaged and manufactured crap or indulging in insane cheat meals if you’re trying to get to god level. Therefore you need your nutrition in check for god-like body composition. This means stick to whole foods as much as possible. We like to stick to an 80/20 principle which means 80% of your diet is good, clean, natural foods. The other 20% isn’t so great. There’s absolutely zero science to back this number up but it seems to work for most people.
When determining your calories, YOU NEED to monitor. While we can come up with a good estimate of how many calories you need, you won’t know for sure until you see what happens. You don’t need to get on the scale every day but you should check weekly. When weighing, always check your weight first thing in the morning after using the bathroom and get rid of all your divine nectar.
That being said, here are some basics to get you started.
You’ll first need to find BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. Your BMR is your basic caloric needs to support life, such as breathing. Basically, this is the number of calories you need if you lie down all day. There are several equations, but the Mifflin - St Jeor formula stands out when calculating efficiency and accuracy. The equations are below;
Men (Imperial & Metric)
BMR= (4.536 x weight lbs) + (15.88 x height inches) - (5 x age) + 5
BMR= (10 x weight kg) + (6.25 x height cm) - (5 x age) + 5
Women (Imperial & Metric)
BMR=(4.536 x weight lbs) + (15.88 height inches) - (5 x age) - 161
BMR=(10x weight kg) + (6.25 x height cm) - (5 x age) - 161
Now that you have this number, you’ll need to factor in your activity level. Since you’ll be working out like a god, you’ll need some extra calories. Therefore, multiply your BMR by 1.55. This will likely be on the lower end, so you may need to add some calories. Plus, REMEMBER that this is only an estimate. It will get you in the vicinity of what you need but monitor and adjust as necessary.
The last part is to determine if you want to lose weight, maintain, or gain weight. Maintaining weight is easy as you just use the number from your BMR x 1.55. If you want to lose weight, you’ll subtract 300-500 calories to lose fat but mitigate muscle loss. If you want to gain weight, you’ll add 300-500 calories so that you gain muscle and mitigate fat gain. Keep this simple and do not try to expedite the process or you’ll either burn too much muscle or gain too much fat.
Neither is worthy of Mt. Olympus.
For macro counting, your primary concern is going to be protein. This is responsible for building your muscles, so you’re going to need plenty. Aim to eat 1.8-2.2g per kg of bodyweight. If you are gaining weight, you can eat on the lower end. However, if you are cutting, you’ll want to consume the higher end as studies have shown that the added amino acids can preserve the muscle and elicit optimal body compositions.
Your fat consumption should make up at least 20% of your total caloric intake but start off at 30%. You’ll then fill in the rest with carbs. As you go forward, you can adjust the fats and carbs as desired as long as you don’t go below 20% fat. Also, keep in mind that very low carb diets may be good for losing weight or maintaining weight; however, studies show they suck for gaining muscle.
All that said, below is a recap.
For those who want to track macros without the headache of calculating your daily intake, there are multiple online tools that make it a seamless process of staying on the right path. We like to use Trifecta Nutrition's App that helps you lose weight and gain confidence thanks to the plans they offer that are crafted by registered dietitians. Plus, the app allows you to track your personalized macros and progress in a user-friendly way.
Panacea was the goddess of universal remedy. She knew all of the medicines and tonics to use to cure just about anything. In your case, you want to be cured of your not-as-big-as-I-want muscles. While you don’t need to call out to Panacea, if your training, sleep, and recovery are all in check, go outside on a full moon and yell her name. Her tonics can definitely boost you if the above variables are god-level. These are the best medicines she’ll give you as they are backed by science and years of use.
Consider yourself lucky to have been chosen by the divine powers to find this information as it was once only accessible by the gods. Yes, it's a tough training routine but it’s a workout for gods. The above information contains the same steps all the Greek gods took to build their extraordinary powers. Probably.
However, if you want to train with Zeus and Poseidon on the steps of Olympus, you need to put your average, earthly behavior aside and bring it. A program built for gods assumes you’re going to train like a god. If you want to play on your phone and talk to the pretty divinine bodies, stay where you are and have an earthly good time. However, if you have what it takes to become an Olympian and become Hercales’ lifting partner, train with the divine fire that burns inside you and you too shall ascend the heights to Olympus.
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