How to Become A Greek God

By Joe Kita

The Doryphoros at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, one of only four Roman versions of the lost Greek original.

This is Doryphoros (Dore-IF-er-us), a statue created by the Greeks in the fifth century bc. He later came to be regarded by the Romans as the Canon of Proportion, or the ideal man. In fact, when it was time for Emperor Augustus to be immortalized in marble, he merely had his sculpted head placed on a copy of this body. If only it were that easy for the rest of us. Even though the only throne you sit upon is cast from porcelain, you can still acquire a body worthy of adulation. Doryphoros's physique is a bit extreme (try finding a dress shirt with a 19-inch neck), but it remains a model of proportion. To help you attain similar results, we asked Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness research director at the South Shore ymca outside of Boston, to recommend the best exercise for building each body part. Do all eight exercises twice a week. Some of these moves can be challenging, so do your upper-body work (neck, biceps, chest, waist) on one day, lower-body work (forearms, but tocks, thighs, calves) the next. Ideally you can complete each session in 20 minutes—and, in time, you too might be up on a pedestal.


At the gym: Nautilus four-way neck machine. Allows you to safely work the neck by raising and lowering your head, and by moving it side to side. Start with 70 pounds in the head-raising exercises, 50 for all the rest. Do one set of 8-12 repetitions in each direction.

At home: Barbell shrug. Pick up a 100-125-pound barbell using an overhand grip. Stand straight and let the bar hang down near your thighs. Without bending your arms, repeatedly shrug your shoulders toward your ears (the same motion you'd use before a tribunal). Do two sets of 8-12 repetitions.


Gym or home: Incline biceps dumbbell curl. Sit on an incline bench and let your arms hang back so they're fully stretched; your palms should face forward. Alternately curl the dumbbells up, turning each palm inward as you do. Two seconds up, pause, four seconds down. Do three sets of 8-12 repetitions; rest 45 seconds between sets.

HEIGHT = 6 feet, 5½ INCHES

That's a big boy, by any empire's standard. If you're significantly shorter and can't realistically hope to attain equivalent measurements, keep these general rules of proportion in mind:

* Your waist should be about 12 inches smaller than your chest.
* Neck, biceps and calf measurements should each be roughly half your waist.
* Your thighs should be about 1½ times the size of your calves.


Gym or home: Bench press with dumbbells, a barbell, or any available Greek column. Start with a warmup set, using two-thirds the weight you normally bench. Then add the rest of the weight and do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.


The other one once held a spear, but it was broken off centuries ago, perhaps by a premenstrual Aphrodite.

Gym or home: Wrist roll. Tie one end of a 30-inch rope to a broomstick that's been shortened to 18 inches. Tie the other end to a five-to 10-pound weight. Hold the stick horizontally in front of you using an overhand grip, then roll it to raise and lower the weight. Repeat the exercise as many times as you can.


At the gym: Nautilus hip-extension machine. It works the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. Do one set of 10-15 repetitions.

At home: Full squat, with dumbbells or a barbell. With feet flat, slowly lower yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor; keep your weight on your heels and your knees in line with your feet. Slowly come back up. Start with a warmup set, using two-thirds the weight you normally squat. Then add the rest of the weight and do three sets of 10-15 repetitions. (If you have knee, hip or back problems, do a half squat: Lower yourself till your thighs make a 30-degree angle with the floor.)


Gym or home: Standing calf raise, with dumbbells in your hands or a barbell on your shoulders. Stand on the balls of your feet at the edge of a sturdy step. (Be careful not to trip on your toga.) Rise up on your toes, then come back down, letting your heels drop slightly below the step. Do two sets of 15-20 repetitions.


This is mainly due to his sizable obliques, the muscles on each side of his torso. In ancient Greece, athletes were thick-waisted; they needed abdominal strength for the discus, the long jump, and wrest­ling. Doryphoros's waist doesn't look big, though, because his chest is proportionately larger. So there's hope for you yet.

Gym or home: Twisting trunk curl. Lie on the floor with your lower legs on a chair seat. Slowly curl your upper torso off the floor; but at the top of the movement, slowly twist to the right, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee. Untwist and lower yourself, then curl up and twist to the left. That's one repetition. Do two to four sets of 20-25 repetitions.


You can't see it because it's not there—a sobering lesson to nude spear-bearers everywhere. What's left has a four-inch circumference.


At the gym: Leg press. Pick a weight you can press only about a dozen times. After the twelfth repetition, quickly reduce the weight by 20 percent and do 6-8 more. Think you're Atlas? Drop the weight an additional 20 percent and pound out 6-8 more.

At home: Lunge, with dumbbells in hand or a barbell on your shoulders. Step forward with your right leg so that your knee is bent 90 degrees. As you do so, let your left knee drop toward the floor. Then push back to the starting position with your right leg. Now repeat with your left leg. That's one repetition. Do one set of 6-8 repetitions. (If you have knee, hip or back problems, do the half squat under “Buttocks” instead.)


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