Achilles Bodyweight Workout

The Achilles Workout, the first in our series of Legendary Hero Workouts. Bodyweight Circuits inspired by ancient legends. Be brutal to yourself and get noticed by the Gods!

Introduction

The Achilles Workout is a Bodyweight Circuit.  Bodyweight workouts are highly versatile fitness exercises that encompass and combine many levels of fitness.  This includes strength, cardio, core strength, flexibility mobility, stability, and agility (phew!).  Since they require no or little equipment they can be undertaken anywhere.  This includes at home in the parks, at the workplace even.  For the same reason, they are also time-efficient, no setting up equipment or tidying away afterward. Just find a space and you are good to go.

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The Greatest Greek warrior?

In Greek mythology, Achilles was the greatest of all the Greek warrior heroes, a hero of the Trojan War, and the central character of Homer’s Iliad.  He was the leader of the Myrmidons (fierce warriors from Thessaly) that fought in the Trojan War.  The Myrmidons were considered among the best warriors in Greece. They also were known for wearing black armor, according to some accounts.

According to legend Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for one heel.  Achilles mother Thetis was extraordinarily concerned about her baby son’s mortality.  She did everything she could to make him immortal:  To prevent his death she dipped him in the River Styx (the River of Death) as an infant, holding him by one of his heels.  The river was said to confer the invulnerability of the gods.  As a result, Achilles was invulnerable everywhere but the heel that was not submerged.

Hector vs Achilles. Achilles greek mythology. Achilles brad pitt. Trojan War. Who fought trojan war. Iliad and odyssey – homer. Iliad summary
Fight night. Achilles vs Hector with the future of Troy as well as Greek bragging rights on the line!

Achilles‘ most notable feat during the Trojan War was his epic duel with the Trojan prince Hector outside the gates of Troy. The duel took place because Achilles wanted revenge for the death of his friend Patroclus (at the hands of Hector).  Although the death of Achilles is not presented in the Iliad, other sources concur that he was killed near the end of the Trojan War.  Ironically shot by an arrow in his vulnerable heel by Paris (the brother of Hector).  The story states that the arrow was guided by the god Apollo who wanted revenge on Achilles for an earlier transgression (unforgiving those Greek gods).

Did Achilles exist in real life? The answer is uncertain. He might have been a great warrior of human birth or a compilation of the deeds of many great warriors of that time. The truth is sadly lost to history so we shall never know…

The Circuit

Breakdown

There are 3 sets of exercises.  Each set contains 5 exercises to be undertaken for 5 rounds.  Finish all exercises in a set before moving onto the next.  On completion of the third set, there is a finisher to be completed as quickly as possible.  No or little rest between sets if possible.  The rest is the change in exercise.  If you are a beginner allow yourself 30 seconds rest, if intermediate allow 15 seconds only if you absolutely need it. 

Warmup

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Set #1

  1. Pistol squat x 15 reps (each leg).
  2. Staggered push-ups x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  3. Burpees x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  4. Triceps Extensions x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  5. Spartan kicks x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.

Completion of all required reps of each exercise = 1 round.  Beginner: complete 3 rounds of each circuit.  Intermediate: complete 4 rounds of each circuit.  Advanced: complete 5 rounds of each circuit.

Calisthenics. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight circuits. Callisthenics workout plan. Pistol squats. Staggered push ups. Burpees garden. Burpees pull ups. Burpees. Triceps extension. Teep kicks.

Set #2

  1. Bulgarian single-leg lunge x 15 reps (each leg).
  2. Dragon flag x 10/8/6/4/2 reps
  3. Hanging leg raises – x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  4. Side crunches x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  5. Shoulder push-ups x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
Calisthenics. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight circuits. Callisthenics workout plan. Bulgarian lunges. Bulgarian split lunges. Dragon flags. Hanging leg raises. Side plank crunches. Shoulder push up.

Completion of all required reps of each exercise = 1 round.  Beginner: complete 3 rounds of each circuit.  Intermediate: complete 4 rounds of each circuit.  Advanced: complete 5 rounds of each circuit.

Set #3

  1. Handstand pushups x 10/8/6/4/2 reps.
  2. Plyometric box jumps x 20/18/16/14/12 reps
  3. Plyometric back rows – x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  4. Ankle touchers x 20/18/16/14/12 reps.
  5. Suicide planks  20/18/16/14/12 reps.
Calisthenics. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight circuits. Callisthenics workout plan.handstand push up progression. Handstand push up. Plyometric exercises. Plyometric workout. Plyometric box jump. Australian pull ups. Core exercises. Abs exercise. Obliques. Suicide planks.

Completion of all required reps of each exercise = 1 round.  Beginner: complete 3 rounds of each circuit.  Intermediate: complete 4 rounds of each circuit.  Advanced: complete 5 rounds of each circuit.

NB: Bodyweight exercises are a perfect opportunity to focus on technique and improve your form.  So slow it down and concentrate on this.  Use a mirror if you can and look for room for improvement. Are you touching the floor with your chest on those push-ups?  Is your knee aligned with your foot on the lunges? 

Finisher

Didn’t think you were going to get off so easy, did you?  Don’t let this finisher be your Achilles heel, get this done!!

  1. Squat jumps x 10 reps.
  2. Burpees to chin-ups x 20 reps.
  3. Jump lunges x 30 reps (15 each leg).
  4. Mountain climber x 40 reps.
Calisthenics. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight circuits. Callisthenics workout plan. Squat jumps. Burpees pull ups. Jump lunge exercise. Split jump lunges. Mountain climbers exercise.

Whichever workout you undertake. Remember to cool down, stretch and drink water!

Workout Complete!

“The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal. Because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again".

Achilles (From Homers Illiad)

Quick Guide to the Trojan War and the Homer’s Illiad

Trojan Horse. Trojan War. Illiad. Homer.
'Never look a Horse in the mouth' as the old saying goes... unless that horse is one left behind by those conniving Greeks!!

(Bear in mind this is a super quick version for those who lack time, patience, to read the book 😀 You might also have a watch the film Troy. Which isn’t bad, to be honest, a bit hammy and in Hollywood style isn’t faithful to the original source material.  However, it is overall an enjoyable introduction to the Trojan War with some spectacular battle scenes).

NB: The Trojan war was a legendary conflict fought between the Greek states and the Kingdom of Troy in Asia Minor (Turkey).

NB: The war occurred because of one woman (how the best conflicts start) Helen (the most beautiful woman in the world) when she runs away from her husband Menelaus (Then King of Sparta) with her lover Paris (the Prince of Troy).

NB: Homer’s writing has many of the Greek Gods (Zeus, Apollo, Athena, etc) meddling and influencing events on Earth at that time. Having their own divine squabbles among themselves, they take sides with heroes on the opposing sides (Greeks and Trojans) to push their own agendas.

  • The Trojan War begins when the Greek God Zeus decides to reduce Earth’s mortal population by arranging a war between the Greeks and the Trojans. He does this by interfering in their political and personal affairs.
  • Zeus ensures the prince of Troy Paris judges a beauty contest between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Each of the goddesses offered Paris a bribe in exchange for his vote. Aphrodite’s was the most alluring: She promised to give the young prince the most beautiful wife in the world. Unfortunately, the wife in question was Helen who was already married to someone else, Menelaus, the king of Sparta. At Aphrodite’s urging, Paris went to Sparta, won Helen’s heart, and took her (along with all of Menelaus’ money) back to Troy.
  • On finding out of the betrayal, Menelaus vows revenge. He assembled an army of Greece’s greatest warriors, including Achilles and his Myrmidons, and set off to conquer Troy and get his wife back.
  • The Trojan War took place at Troy in western Anatolia, dated to have occurred around the 12th or 13th century BCE.
  • In Homer’s Illiad, the Trojan war lasted for 10 years.
  • The Iliad picks up 9yrs into the war and the fighting has reached a stalemate.
  • In the Greek camp, an internal conflict is brewing, between Achilles and Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek armies and brother of Menelaus.  This occurs when Agamemnon demands Achilles Concubine Briseis in replacement for his own who he has lost.
  • Achilles relinquishes his bride because Agamemnon supersedes him in rank but then announces he will no longer fight on Agamemnon’s behalf. He gathers his belongings, removes himself from the battlefield and returns to his tent.
  • With the Greeks’ greatest warrior on the bench, the Trojans take advantage and the Greeks begin to lose ground.
  • Fearing the worst, Achilles’ best friend and comrade in arms Patroclus, borrows Achilles’ armor to use as a ruse. By wearing it on the battlefield the Trojans will think that Achilles has returned to battle and will retreat in fear.  The Greek army is inspired and begins to fight harder.
  • The plan works until the formidable Trojan Prince Hector (guided by the God Apollo) manages to find and kill Patroclus in single combat.
  • Enraged by the death of his friend, Achilles returns to the battlefield to enact his revenge.  He chases Hector back to the walls of Troy, slaughtering Trojans all the way.  Hector tries to reason with his pursuer, but Achilles can’t see past his vengeance. After an epic duel, he stabs Hector in the throat and kills him.
  • Achilles humiliates his enemy even in death. He refuses to return Hector’s body to Troy for burial. Instead dragging Hector’s body behind his chariot all the way back to the Greek camp before leaving it to rot.
  • The gods intervene again and help Priam (Hector’s father and King of Troy) to reach Achilles’ tent undetected and beg for the body of his son. Achilles is moved to tears by this act and agrees to give Priam his son’s body. Achilles returns Hector’s body to his father for a proper burial.
  • The Trojan war finally ends when the Greeks pretended to withdraw, leaving behind them a large wooden horse on the beach where they were encamped.
  • The Trojans bring the horse into their city thinking it a sacrificial gift to the Gods from the Greeks for a safe journey home.
  • However, the horse is a ruse-de-guerre (military strategy) of Odysseus (a hero and strategist in the Iliad and the Odyssey).  He has a raiding party hidden inside the horse who lie still until nightfall.   
  • At night whilst Troy sleeps, the hidden men exit the ‘Trojan Horse’ and open the gates to their Greek comrades.  Then begins the fall of Troy, the city is sacked, its men massacred, the women are taken and the city is reduced to ruin.
  • The Iliad does not explain the eventual fate of Achilles. According to later legends, Achilles returns to Troy after Hector’s funeral to exact further revenge for Patroclus’ death. Paris, who was not a great warrior, ambushes Achilles as he enters Troy. Shooting his unsuspecting enemy with an arrow (guided by the God Apollo) to Achilles one vulnerable area his heel.  Achilles dies on the spot, still undefeated in battle.

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