If you are looking for fitpo in 2022, you could do worse than look to the past – or more precisely, to StoryYouTube channel of. In addition to the ‘Ancient Recipes’ series, which sees the chef and the elder enjoy your food darling Sohla El-Waylly recreating dishes from some of the world’s oldest cookbooks, Story Also just launched “Ancient Workouts”, in which trainer Omar Isuf explores what we can learn from the fitness regimes of some of the greatest warriors of ancient times.
In the inaugural episode, it focuses on the Roman gladiators. While many of these fighters started out as impoverished or enslaved people, the arena became such a popular spectator sport that gladiators became the superstar athletes of their time.
“Gladiators were really built differently,” Isuf explains. “We have archaeological evidence that gladiators were indeed hijacked.”
He explains that one popular training mode was the tetrad system, or what today would be called a four-day division. The first day would consist of toning and preparing the body for the next day’s workout, usually through short, intense periods of activity. Think of it as an old HIIT workout. Day 2 would then consist of a longer and more physically intense exercise where the gladiators would go out of their way for their equivalent of heavy compound movements like the squat and deadlift.
The third day would be devoted to rest and recovery comprising lighter and less demanding workouts, followed by moderate intensity exercise on the fourth day. This is where gladiators would focus on incidental work and skill-specific activity to improve performance and endurance.
Since upper body strength was a huge requirement for all of these weapon-based fights, Isuf is putting together an upper body workout that he says will closely mirror the moves someone might have been focusing on. while preparing to enter the arena. This includes three sets of burpees, three sets of explosive plyometric push-ups, and finally, the overhead press, where he has to lift his own weight for as many reps as possible.
“This routine mimics what gladiators would need in terms of training,” he says. “Anaerobic capacity, so we do burpees. Plyo push-ups, which have a power component. And finally, strength and endurance.”
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