7 Workout Tips From Ancient Civilizations

7 Workout Tips From Ancient Civilizations


If like us you have an inquisitive mind, you may wonder how ancient civilizations used to exercise. This article is loaded with tips from how people used to workout thousands of years ago! We think that the majority of these workout tips from ancient civilizations are still relevant today. What do you think?

1.       Go Easy On The Carbs

Yes that’s right, criticizing high carbohydrate intake is nothing new. It was common practice for Roman gladiators to bulk up through consuming barley porridge loaded with beans. However a well known Roman physician at the time Claudius Galen, argued that this style of eating made the gladiators chubby and not ready for combat.

2.       Focus On Breath Control

During the 2nd century, a Chinese medical pioneer emerged who many argue was on a par with Hippocrates. Hua Tuo emphasized the need for regular exercise, stating that “the human body requires exertion”. Hua also knew how important proper breathing was for personal well-being and designed a stretch known as “Tiger Pawing”. This stretch helps to improve respiration through expanding the lungs.

3.       Go For Short And Simple Exercises

According to the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, strenuous exercise is pointless. Instead if someone wished to work out, Seneca suggested keeping it quick positing “There are short and simple exercises which will tire the body without undue delay.”

4.       Try Digging To Get Toned

If you’re after a well-defined, chiselled muscular look, Galen recommends either digging or rope-climbing.

5.       For Extra Stamina, Run Through Sand

A Mediterranean philosopher known as Anacharsis, developed a good understanding of how the Greeks trained their sprinters after spending much of his time in Athens during the 6th century. Anacharsis observed that running was not performed on hard, resistant ground, but instead in deep sand where both planting the foot and attaining a grip is much more difficult. Anacharsis also noted that the Greeks were instructed to jump over obstacles carrying large lead weights to further improve stamina.

6.       Don’t Over-Train

One of the world’s oldest medical documents, the Indian Caraka Samhita praises the many benefits of physical activity. However, the document also calls for moderation, stating that in excess, physical exercise can cause exhaustion, thirst, coughing, fever, shortness of breath and vomiting.

7.       Being Drunk Doesn’t Excuse You From Working Out!

First off let us state that we do not recommend that you work out after drinking beer as it may be dangerous, so take this last point with a pinch of salt! A Greco-Roman gymnastics guru known as Philostratus, did not excuse any of his students if they were intoxicated. Whilst he recognized that his pupils could not train with the same intensity whilst under the influence, he maintained that they should complete their routine scheduled workouts, just at a slower pace!

What do you think of these seven workout tips from ancient civilizations? Are they relevant today? Let us know what you think in the comments section or on our social media channels!