Greek God Physique: Is it Possible to Achieve?

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
October 23, 2022

Everyone has a personal inspiration for choosing to improve their body. Be it their athletic coach, their children or even themselves, it’s pretty likely that, at some level, an extrinsic source of motivation fuels their physical training.

For the more classically minded of lifters, this can even take the form of the Greek gods - of which are almost entirely depicted as possessing lean and athletic builds, hence the term “Greek god physique”. 

But how does one go about replicating this source of inspiration?

The Greek god physique is actually one of the more attainable training goals, being within natural capabilities and entirely doable within as little as a year’s time, with proper training methods and recovery.

What is the Greek God Physique?

The Greek god physique is an athletic body type that is characterized by a lean and muscular build, with each muscle group being in proportion to the other so as to produce a balanced aesthetic and a level of general athletic ability that makes this particular physique suitable for a wide variety of activities.

greek god physique

From a purely visual standpoint, the Greek god physique follows traditional beauty standards quite closely, often being of equal proportions and of a suitably low body fat percentage so as to maximize visible muscle striations and the much-coveted six-pack.

Notable Muscles of the Greek God Physique

Though the Greek god physique is visually balanced in terms of muscular proportion, not all muscle groups are of the same size - and in actuality, this means that certain muscle groups are in fact trained more extensively than others so as to make up for this difference in relative size.

greek soldier muscles

In particular, the muscles of the chest, the latissimus dorsi, the medial and posterior deltoid head and the abdominal muscles are all key points of training in the pursuit of the Greek god physique.

One may note that the majority of these muscle groups are in fact in the upper body, and generally considered to be “show muscles” so to speak. 

While it is true that these muscle groups are the most visually appealing, the reasoning as to why the Greek god physique focuses more training stimulus on these areas is simply due to their proportions in comparison to other muscle groups - wherein they may become disproportionately small if given an equal amount of training volume.

Physicality of the Greek God Physique

A major feature of the Greek god physique lies not only in its visual appeal, but the fact that it is capable of impressive athletic feats as well. 

As such, the Greek god physique and its subsequent training program will often require the exerciser perform regular aerobic workouts, alongside mobility and flexibility drills. This will ensure that the exerciser is in physically sound shape, regardless of what sort of activities they are participating in.

Who Should Build a Greek God Physique?

The Greek god physique is most appropriate for individuals that want a balance of aesthetic looks and actual functionality, or those that wish to still possess a muscular body without the disproportionate and bulky appearance of more traditional bodybuilders.

From a training standpoint, the Greek god physique is also an excellent goal to strive for if you wish to train with a variety of different compound movements, high volume isolation exercises and high-intensity cardio workouts.

How to Get a Greek God Physique

Training for a Greek god physique is much like training for any other muscular body type - with sufficient training stimulus, protein intake and recovery methods, it is only a matter of time until one reaches their goal.

However, it is in the specifics of this training stimulus and the caloric intake of the exerciser’s diet that striving for the Greek god physique can differ.

Generally, the Greek god physique will require that the exerciser maintain a low level of body fat, with the most achievable means of doing so being regular caloric restriction. 

This, in combination with the muscular proportionality that characterizes such a physique, means that attaining the Greek god physique will often require more effort and time than some other types of athletic bodies.

Key Exercises

The key exercises that you will wish to structure your Greek god physique training around are that of the bench press, the barbell squat and variations of the standard pull up.

barbell bench press

The reasoning behind these three being considered the “main” compound exercises are simply that they target the correct musculature in the correct proportions, producing a balanced spread of muscular hypertrophy that can be further accented with additional isolation exercises.

barbell full squat

The bench press, for example, targets the pectorals and triceps brachii in an equally intense fashion, while pull ups train the width of the back while simultaneously working the biceps - completing the upper body’s largest muscle groups in two equally complex exercises.

Diet

Diet is perhaps the most important aspect of training to attain the Greek god physique, as it will be responsible for both the anabolic response that is muscular development, and the metabolic fat-burning that will be needed to achieve the Greek god physique’s characteristic leanness.

How one goes about achieving this will differ, with some individuals choosing to go with the slower method of bodily recomposition through carefully calibrated maintenance caloric intake, while others will choose the more classical bulking and cutting method instead.

In order to pick the dieting method that is most appropriate for your circumstance, you must first assess your current body composition, as this will dictate what the next step to achieving the Greek god physique will require.

Workout Programming for the Greek God Physique

Programming a workout for the Greek god physique is much like programming one for any other body type - choosing a method of splitting up your exercises within a given block, ensuring sufficient frequency and volume is used and designating recovery days are all the main tenets of proper training programming.

Splits and Frequency

To create a split for the Greek god physique, we advise that exercisers target each muscle group of the body with a frequency of at least twice a week. 

Though three times a week is indeed possible, it is likely that exercisers beyond the novice level will have trouble recovering from such a high frequency of training.

Furthermore, in order to avoid disproportionate development of certain muscle groups, it is also best to separate any exercises involving the lower body from those of the upper body - this will ensure that the legs do not develop in size beyond the upper body’s own mass, straying from the proportionality of the Greek god physique.

As such, a theoretical training split for such a goal would involve two to three workouts involving the upper body, and another two or three involving the lower body per week - with the manner in which these are split depending on your preferences.

Incorporating Cardio

Incorporating cardio into your Greek god physique workout plan will aid in bodily recomposition and general athletic ability, two major factors needed to achieve this particular body type.

However, with the relatively high training frequency involved, it may be difficult to squeeze in a cardio session without accruing excessive fatigue, or otherwise interrupting your lower body recovery.

As such, we advise that only one heavy cardio workout be performed per week, with one or two lighter sessions being possible on days that are not designated as recovery days for the lower body.

While this is unlikely to provide enough training stimulus to make you a marathon runner, it is sufficient enough cardio to support the two aforementioned factors.

Mandatory Recovery

Just as choosing the correct exercises and training frequency are important, so too is ensuring that sufficient recovery is incorporated into your workout routine as well. 

The majority of your muscular development will in fact take place during these recovery days, and as such we advise placing at least one day between workout sessions targeting the same muscle group, alongside one day of no resistance exercise whatsoever so as to allow the central nervous system to recover.

Training Volume

Another important characteristic of programming a Greek god physique workout is proper training volume.

Not all muscle groups and individuals respond the same to a certain amount of training volume, but a generally agreed upon fact in fitness literature is that higher volume equates to higher muscular hypertrophy to a certain extent.

As convenient as this tidbit of information may seem, it does present several problems, especially in regards to compound exercise usage. 

To avoid going too deeply into specifics, achieving a Greek god physique will require a combination of low-volume yet heavy compound sets alongside structured and targeted high-volume isolation exercise sets. 

This will ensure that the exerciser achieves the strength development and general benefits of heavy compound movements while also maximizing the muscular hypertrophy needed to achieve the visual appeal of the Greek god physique.

Two to five sets of heavy compound movements, followed by several sets of isolation exercises at a low level of resistance is the ideal in this particular case.

Body Composition of the Greek God Physique

Though we’ve thrown around words like “leanness” and “proportionate muscles”, we’ve yet to specify exactly to what extent these terms mean.

While muscular insertions, bone structure and relative body fat potential will differ between individuals, being at a body fat percentage between eleven and fourteen percent is generally seen to be the golden standard for the Greek god physique.

In terms of muscle mass, approximately one year of accrued muscular hypertrophy is considered enough to be on-par with many of the depictions of Greek deities in classical artwork, though some individuals may reach this point even faster, depending on their training history and age.

Dieting for the Greek God Physique

When dieting to achieve the Greek god physique, maintaining the same caloric intake as your daily energy expenditure is the most advisable route for those that adhere to the concept of body recomposition.

Otherwise, if performing the more common cutting and bulking cycle method, it is advised that you only enter a surplus of approximately two hundred and fifty calories during the bulking phase, and enter a deficit of anywhere between seven hundred and fifty to five hundred during the cutting phase.

In addition, regardless of your dieting method, ensure that you are consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight every day, as this is vitally important for muscular development.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Greek God Physique?

All in all, if one were to diet and train to absolute perfection in their pursuit of the Greek god physique, it could take as little as ten to twelve months naturally.

This, of course, will generally take a longer period of time if using the body recomposition dieting method, or if one’s training is not entirely optimized for achieving such a goal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do You Make a Greek God Physique with Calisthenics?

Achieving a Greek god physique solely through calisthenics is much the same as one achieved through free weight exercise - proper rest, diet and training are all that is needed.

The sole point of difference between the two methods of training are in the speed at which the exerciser will develop their body, with calisthenics being slower and requiring some additional exercise meddling in order to reach the correct proportion of training stimulus.

How Do I Get a Body Like Zeus?

Classic artist’s depictions of the deity Zeus often feature a heavily muscled individual with an impressive shoulder to waist ratio - something that is partially dictated by genetics, but is also achievable through proper training.

Though it would depend between depictions, Zeus is often the most cited ideal for individuals seeking to attain the Greek god physique. As such, simply employing the methods mentioned earlier in this article will result in you getting a body like Zeus, or, at least, something similar in function and appearance.

What are the Best Training Programs to Achieve a Greek God Physique?

Quite a number of popular training programs are actually in-line with what is required of the Greek god physique, with the closest being the ever-popular push/pull/legs split, as well as the upper/lower split, though the latter may place too much emphasis on the lower body in certain variations.

Regardless of what training program you may wish to adhere to, modifying it somewhat with the intention of the Greek god physique being the end result should be simple enough for even novice lifters to do so.

Parting Words

To conclude this article, we advise that exercisers keep in mind that individual differences in genetics and proportions can greatly influence how their body will look, even with targeted and structured training.

While it isn’t likely that you will look exactly like your favorite Greek god statue, it is entirely possible to look just as good as they do - even better, with the right training and conditioning.

References

1. Rios, Epic. (June 12, 2017) “Bodybuilding: How to Build the Body of a Greek God” Volume 3 of Health and Fitness CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Jun 12, 2017 - 46 pages ISBN: 1548044245, 9781548044244

2. Barakat, Christopher MS, ATC, CISSN1; Pearson, Jeremy MS1; Escalante, Guillermo DSc, MBA, ATC, CSCS, CISSN2; Campbell, Bill PhD, CSCS, FISSN3; De Souza, Eduardo O. PhD1. Body Recomposition: Can Trained Individuals Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?. Strength and Conditioning Journal: October 2020 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 7-21 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000584

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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