How to Get the Body of a Greek God in 3 Steps
Stop for a minute and ask yourself, “What exactly am I trying to achieve in the gym? Why do I show up here 3-4 times a week?”
Do you want to get ripped and strong? To be healthy? A bit of both?
UPDATE: BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE GREEK GOD MEASUREMENTS EXCEL SHEET AND PDF TO USE YOURSELF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE.
Most guys aren’t clear on what they want to achieve. They gain some strength and they think well I guess I’ll get even stronger. They gain some muscle and they think maybe I should get a little bigger. Or maybe it’s time to cut fat?
I’m going to suggest a focus for your training that makes everything much simpler.
It’s perfectly attainable with the amount of time you are already putting in. A goal that has a clear path and end point. You will know when you reach it.
Train to look like a Greek god.
What Does a Greek God Look Like?
The Greeks understood aesthetics. And this fact is portrayed in the way they displayed the bodies of their gods.
In their drawings, and the statues they built, their gods were perfectly proportioned with a powerful physique, strong shoulders and arms, a slim core and athletic legs.
Hollywood has done a good job of portraying the Greek god physique in movies involving powerful male characters. And for good reason. People love to see it. The Greek god physique is very attractive.
Think about the movie Troy. Brad Pitt was cast to play Achilles the Greek hero of war. During preparation for the film he built his body exactly as we imagine a mythological war hero should look. Powerful, agile, strong.
I still remember watching the movie with a female friend of mine. There is a scene in the middle of the film where Briseis (Rose Byrne) has been taken captive by Achilles and is sleeping with him in his tent. While he is sleeping Briseis comes to Achilles bed with a knife and is about to cut his throat. Just before she does it he wakes up, looks intensely into her eyes and tells her, “do it, there is nothing easier”. She stops, paralyzed by his intensity, after which he rolls her over in the bed and takes her. I remember how my friend got so excited by that scene.
The Greeks ideal male body is not based on absolute measurements. It is based on perfect ratios of different body parts.
This is good news because no matter how tall (or short) you are you can train to achieve these ratios and to achieve the look of a Greek god with your own body.
The first and most important ratio is the golden ratio (or divine proportion). The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature and on the human body.
The golden ratio is defined as (A+B)/A = A/B. It is a ratio of 1:1.618.
This appears naturally all over your body. For example, the length of your hand compared to the combined length of your hand + forearm has an approximate value of 1.618. The proportion of your upper arm to hand + forearm is the same ratio of 1.618.
Ideally, the distance from the top of your head to your fingertips vs your fingertips to the bottom of your feet is also 1.618.
The face is another great example. The head forms a golden ratio from the top of the head to the eyebrows with the eyebrows to the chin. The mouth and nose are each placed at Golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin.
It’s found in waves, snail shells, snowflakes, and 1000’s of other patterns.
So how do you use this ratio to your advantage?
Fortunately, the largest application of the golden ratio in the male body is fully within your control. The ideal ratio of your shoulders to waist circumference is 1:1.618.
The closer you can get to this ratio the better looking your body will be. This is the main ratio around which the Greek god physique is based.
Male bodies with this ratio have continually scored higher on perceived attraction tests with females.
Not only have they been rated more attractive than average or fat bodies, but also more attractive than the overly developed and muscular bodies found in bodybuilders and strength athletes. The Greek god body is strong and ripped but most importantly looks natural.
The good news is it doesn’t take a lifetime of dedication to the gym and thousands of dollars in steroids to achieve. Unlike an IFBB membership.
Is there more to it than just the 1.618 ratio?
Greek God Primary and Secondary Ratios
The golden ratio (shoulders to waist) is the most important ratio for achieving the Greek god body.
However, there are other primary and secondary ratios of the Greek god body that make the overall appearance of the physique even better. We’ll look at those below.
To begin, you’ll start by taking one measurement (your height). From there all of the other ideal measurements you want to achieve will be calculated.
Height to waist ratio.
Your waist should be 43-46% of your height.
Taller or naturally skinny guys should be striving to hit closer to 43%. Shorter or naturally thicker guys should try to get closer to 46%. If you are not sure it is usually better to be closer to 43%.
I’m 5’9” tall. Therefore, I calculate my ideal waist to be between 29.7” to 31.7”.
Ideal Waist = Height (69”) x 0.43 to 0.46 = 29.7” to 31.7″.
Shoulders, arms, and neck
You’ve calculated your ideal waist size. Now use this to calculate ideal shoulder, flexed arm and neck size.
To get your ideal shoulder size multiply your ideal waist size by 1.618.
To get your ideal flexed arm and neck size multiply your ideal waist by 0.5.
To make things simple I’ll choose my ideal waist size to be 30”. Which is just above 43% of my height.
Ideal Shoulder Circumference = Ideal Waist (30”) x 1.618 = 48.5”
Ideal Flexed Arms Size = Ideal Waist (30”) x 0.5 = 15”
Ideal Neck Size = Ideal Waist (30”) x 0.5 = 15”
Focus on the primary ratios. The waist, shoulders and arms are where 90% of the look comes from.
However, for completeness we’ll discuss the secondary measurements here.
These don’t need to be perfect. But keep them in mind because if you’re too far off from these measurements it might start to look awkward.
In particular, if you completely neglect to train legs for a long time you could end up with an un-athletic, top heavy looking physique. We’ve all seen this guy in the gym. Don’t be this guy.
Continue to workout legs for strength and stability purposes. Even if you don’t need to focus on getting them bigger.
Here are the secondary numbers that work well for chest, forearm, thigh, and calf size.
Chest = 12” bigger than waist.
Calves = arms
Thighs = 0.75* waist
Forearms = 0.85*arms
Summary of Greek God Ratios and Measurements
Here is a summary of the primary and secondary ratios of the Greek god body.
I’ve also calculated the ideal Greek god measurement ranges for guys between 5’0” and 6’7”. So you can easily see your ideal measurement range here in this table.
Here is the metric system version.
Health Benefits of Training to look like a Greek God
A lot of people these days stick up their nose at someone who trains to look good.
They’ll say that they train to “be healthy” or “get fit”. And if you train to look good that you´re vain.
But here’s the reality.
To achieve the Greek god ratios, you are going to have to get into great shape. You will need to drop your body fat percentage to around 10% and gain considerable neuromuscular strength to build up your muscles.
You are not trying to achieve the body of a steroid using bodybuilder. This is a physique that is attained through eating extremely well and exercising consistently. If you achieve this physique you will be healthier than 90% of the people out there who train to “be healthy”.
Intuitively we know what “healthy” looks like. It looks attractive. So if are not training to look attractive you are not likely getting much healthier. The more attractive your body is in 99% of cases the healthier it will be.
Don’t confuse building the maximum amount of muscle with building an attractive physique. We are not bodybuilders. The Greek god physique is lean, strong and attractive.
This physique is also very functional. Most guys after achieving this physique will be walking around at between 155 to 180 lbs. I’m 5’9” and when I achieved it I was 167 lbs. That’s not a big and bulky body. You can be fast, agile, and not need to live in the gym or spend your life obsessing over supplements and chicken breasts.
The most important advantage of training to reach the Greek god ratios is that it brings crystal clear intention to what you are doing. This solves a massive problem that most people have with their training. People go to the gym but they don’t have a long term measurable purpose for being there.
Training to achieve the Greek god physique gives you that end goal to go after. When what you’re doing is working you know it’s working because you’re getting closer to your goal. You also know when it’s not working because you aren’t getting any closer.
With this focus and clarity, you can make the necessary changes to your workouts and diet along the way. And you will achieve far more than someone who just shows up because they want to be healthier without a real plan.
How to Become a Greek God in 3 Steps
You need to do 3 things.
- Measure yourself.
- Cut fat.
- Build strength with the muscles that matter.
Step 1: Take Your Measurements and Compare to the Greek God Ideal
Once you’ve taken your measurements compare them to the Greek god ideal range from the table. See where you have gaps and where you should start to focus.
Here is an example for a 5’9” guy.
Priorities for this guy are:
- Lose 3-4 inches on his waist
- Add 1-2 inches to his shoulder circumference
- Add 1 inch to his arms
If you were him what should you do?
Step 2: Cut fat until you’ve reached the waist size of a Greek god.
For most people (including the example above) your waist size will be more than 46% of your height. In this case the focus is simple. You need to cut fat.
You need to be slim to have the waist size of a Greek god. Most of us need to be in the 30-32” waist range. For most of us cutting fat is more important than the need to add muscle to your shoulders and arms.
Of course while you are cutting fat you will continue to strength train. Your goal will be to cut fat while maintaining and maybe even gaining a bit of muscle. But your top priority is to cut fat until you reach a height/waist ratio of 46% or less.
If you need more information on cutting fat I’ve got you covered. I’ve written a step by step guide on how to diet to lose fat in this article:
step 3: build strength on the exercises that will help you achieve a 1.618 shoulder to waist ratio.
For anyone who already has achieved the waist size of a Greek god your top priority is to gain muscle on your upper back, chest, shoulders and arms while maintaining your waist between 43 to 46% of your height.
You’ll do this by consistently gaining strength on the exercises that support muscle growth on these parts of the body.
You don’t need to “bulk up”. Eating anything and everything in an attempt to add muscle is a recipe for getting fat again. Maintaining a low body fat and building strength over time is the way to achieve the Greek god body.
A lot of guys get into a cycle of bulking, then cutting, bulking, then cutting and end up just spinning their wheels for years without making the progress they want.
Gain strength consistently and slowly on your upper back, chest, shoulders and arms. Stay lean. And watch as your Shoulder to Waist ratio gets closer and closer to 1.618 over the months.
A note on posture.
Greek gods have great posture. They don’t look like gorillas with their arms and shoulders rounded over and their heads lurched forward. While you are working towards your Greek god ratios be sure to fix your posture as well if you need to.
If you have any questions about how to improve your posture, I have you covered. Check out the 3 exercises I used after 8 months of experimentation to fix my posture by clicking here.
Sample 12 Week Training Program to Achieve the Greek God Physique
This is the training program that I used in the final months before I achieved the Greek God physique. It can be done whether you are currently focusing on cutting fat or focusing on building up your shoulders and upper body.
If you are dieting to cut fat this program will support you to maintain lean muscle mass while you reduce the size of your waist.
If you are dieting to gain lean muscle this program will support you to gain strength and muscle while maintaining a lean waist and low body fat percentage.
There is some debate as to whether you should work out three, four or more times per week for the best results. I believe the answer is unique to each person and depends on your lifestyle, stress factors, and how much time you actually want to spend in the gym.
There are a lot of good programs out there that can help you build a Greek God physique. This program isn’t the only one. Whichever program you do, just make sure you focus on building the muscles that enhance your golden ratio and track progress over time.
General Training Tips
This program has you in the gym 3 times per week. I’ve had great success with it. And I personally like to get the maximum gains while spending the least amount of time in the gym.
During this time if you want more fat loss benefits try to do 1 hour of slow-paced activity during your rest days.
Activities like walking, yoga, bicycling or any other low intensity activity that gets you up and moving. Doing low intensity exercise during your rest days will also help to remove the muscle soreness you will feel from doing these high intensity workouts.
Before moving on to the workouts I want to re-state that it is your responsibility to make sure you are physically prepared to do these exercises.
Get your doctors approval before starting this or any other workout program.
These workouts are intense and are meant to be done by people who are already familiar with the gym and have a basic understanding of resistance training. If you are brand new to resistance training, then this program might not be the best place for you to start.
Tell the staff at your local gym that you would like to start doing resistance training and they should be able to give you a free beginner workout and teach you the basics.
After you’ve got the basics down come back here and start this program.
If you have questions on how to properly perform any of the exercises, again, at your own risk, you can try the following this process.
- Search YouTube with the exercise name and watch a video tutorial
- Search google with the exercise name and read a written tutorial
- Ask someone reputable to help check your form in your local gym
I’ve designed this program to use the least amount of equipment possible. However, there may be some exercises that you can’t do. Maybe you don’t have the required equipment available to do certain exercises, or your body doesn’t allow certain movements. That’s fine. You can replace the exercise with a similar one and still do the same number of reps and rounds.
For example, if you don’t have access to a set of dumbbells you can replace any dumbbell exercise with the same exercise using a barbell.
Spend at least 5-10 minutes getting warmed up. Do basic movements like jumping jacks or walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes to get your body temperature up. Then do exercises A1 and A2 for one round with a very light weight to get your body ready for the movement.
The workouts are meant to last between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes each.
The workouts are setup in 3 sets. A, B, and C.
Do exercise A1 for the prescribed number of repetitions, rest, do A2, rest. Repeat A1 and A2 again until you finish the total number of rounds. Then move onto B1, B2 etc. Then onto C1, C2 etc.
Use the maximum amount of weight that you can lift safely for the required number of repetitions.
As you go through the rounds you will get tired. You’ll very likely need to lower the weight throughout the workout. That’s fine. Just lift as much as you can for the required repetitions and write down the weights that you used. Either with pen and paper or use an app. I prefer pen and paper.
Next week come back mentally prepared and try to lift more than you did in the previous week.
Track Your Progress
Every four weeks retake your measurements to see if you are progressing or not.
If you are progressing, Great!
If not, why not?
Take an honest look at your training, diet, and lifestyle choices from the last four weeks and make the necessary changes if needed.
Use a table like this to track your measurements.
Keep measuring and making changes until you get your waist to measure between 43 to 46% of your height and your shoulder to waist ratio to 1.618.
I’ve Achieved the Greek God Physique. Should I Be Happy Now?
It feels cool to have the physique of a Greek god. It’s a nice accomplishment, and it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to get there. So when you achieve it be proud of yourself.
Just remember that achieving a badass physique is like any other personal-improvement goal. It’s for YOUR personal improvement. Not for anything outside of yourself.
If you want to look like a Greek god because you feel like you’re inadequate as you are now, then I have bad news. You’ll feel inadequate as a Greek god too. There are a lot of jacked guys out there who hate themselves.
When you hit the 1.618 ratio people don’t start lining up to congratulate you. Women won’t start falling from the sky into your bed. And although you may look like one, you’re still not quite a god.
However, if you treat it as a personal goal and you learn to be secure with yourself as you are now, then it’ll be that much more badass when you do reach the Greek god physique.
When you’ve achieved the Greek god physique you’ll be healthier and better looking. You’ll have learned a lot along the way about incremental progress, taking feedback, and being consistent.
So not only now do you look awesome but you can apply these lessons to achieving any other goal you want to accomplish in your life.
To download the Excel Sheet for calculating and tracking your own Greek God measurements as well as this article as a PDF ebook enter your email here.
Thanks for reading.
If you have any questions about the article or anything else fitness related in general hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Just letting you know that for the imperial table you’ve provided, the chest measurements are larger than the shoulder measurements. The metric one looks ok though.
Thanks Craig. I had left the formula for metric in the imperial table by accident. Fixed now.
The measurement diagrams that are depicted seem to be based on width. Given that, shouldn’t we instead shoot for width measurements rather than circumference? For example, someone with a waist that measure 12″ across should have a shoulder width of 12*1.618=19.4 inches. When we “see” a person walking or standing in front us, the proportion that stands out to us aren’t really their circumferences, but their widths. Interested to hear what you think of this.
Hey! Thanks for this article.
It’s fabulous ????. Can you please help me to figure out a good diet plan for the workout mentioned above .
Wow, you put so much work into this. Do you think there might be a way to translate this into feminine female measurements? I have looked EVERYWHERE to find all of your mentioned areas for a small framed woman and can find nothing on hip-thigh ratio, calf, upper arm, forearm, neck… It’s all bust-waist-hip and nothing else.
I’ve also looked all over the internet for this type of information. The best I’ve found for women is to attempt to get a waist to hip ratio of 1.618.
If you achieve this ratio the measurements for the rest of your body will probably be very good. Because to achieve this one ratio means that you have a very healthy body fat percentage and decent muscle tone. If you’re worried about your calves, arms etc. Then just make sure you’re doing full body weight training programs while you work towards the waist-to-hip ratio to not neglect the secondary parts of your body.
Okay, I’m already there then. Hahaha
Thank you so much Tyler!
I’m curious about the math behind the calculations, especially for the second ratios.
How did you determine the ratios for thighs and forearms?
Would welcome any insight!
Great article. How does one maintain the Greek God body year-round rather than the cut bulk cycle that all bodybuilders do?
Once you’ve attained it it’s pretty straight forward to maintain.
1. Keep training 2-4 times a week.
2. Eat reasonably clean, but you don’t have to be perfect on your diet.
3. Keep taking your measurements every 8 weeks or so.
4. If your measurements stay relatively constant keep doing what you’re doing.
5. If your measurements start to deviate from the greek god measurements make a micro-correction to what you’re doing. Whether it’s diet or training based.
Right to the point. No BS
Thanks a lot pal gonna use it for setting goals
Kill it, man.
Thanks for this information! I’ve been looking for a method to use the golden ratio to inform my fitness goals.
I especially appreciate how comprehensive your article is!
I am curious, do you know how to apply the Golden Ratio to determine an ideal hip size for men? Or does the Golden Ratio help inform an ideal waist-to-hip ratio for men? It seems as if I can’t that information anywhere, and would greatly appreciate some assistance in determining this final measurement for my goals.
As far as waist to hip ratios go the only information I know is for women. There have been a number of studies done on perception of attractiveness that say the ideal waist to hip ratio for women is around 0.7.
In practice this has also been seen as every Miss Universe ever has had a waist to hip ratio of between 0.67-0.71. Also, almost all playboy models have been in this range as well.
For men, I don’t have an exact number. As waist to hip ratio has more to do biologically with healthy birthing potential it is a female trait.
My suggestion would be to work legs normally. Do a reasonable amount of squats, lunges and deadlifts to maintain good strength but don’t worry about aesthetics for lower body.
Did you use a RPT (Reverse Pyramid Training) style, in regards to weight used, or the same weigh throughout each exercise? For example: Incline BB press – 120lbs for 12,6,8,10 reps or did the weight change each set?
The first set (12 reps) is a lighter weight. Then the 6 rep set is the heaviest. Then I drop a little off for 8 reps. Then the 10 rep set will usually be about the same weight as the first 12 rep set due to fatigue.
Great info! Thanks for sharing.
Looking at my measures, I’m not that far off of getting there, some areas better than other and I definitely need to drop some body fat. My arms, neck and calves measure exactly the same, but there’s one part of my body that is severely underdeveloped, and that’s my forearms. Almost 3 inches behind the ideal and completely ruin the look. Any advice?
I usually train 3x a week on a full body basis. Thanks
Why don’t you check out Charles Poliquin’s program “Arm Size and Strength: The Ultimate Guide”. You could easily incorporate it into your full body workouts and it’s a program that absolutely destroys forearms.
Hey man! Thanks for the great information. I’ve been wondering what the heck to focus on for a while and now I have a clear path and I am not to far away. Just need to cut fat and add an inch or two in certain body parts. Looks like I will achieve this by summer 2018. You’re the man dude! Thanks for all this hard work. 🙂
Thanks Marko. And good luck with your gains!
Does doing tywl grows muscles???
And u didnt exactly answer my previous question either.. the question was; is the frequency enough for the workout routine uve given above trainig each muscle only once a week??? And how do i do the workout.. so do i do
A1 1set and T 4reps
A1 2set and Y 4reps
A1 1set and TYWL 4reps each??
Hey man, are your measurements for a relaxed state or a flexed state. Or when I measure should I be flexed or relaxed. Thanks
The arm measurements are flexed. Everything else relaxed.
Observing the routine its push pull leg only once a week… i have a question .. isnt working twice a week more optimal than once a week something like 4 day upper lower split or maybe 3 day full body.. this routine is more for muscle maintenance ?? Its focused more on shoulders i can see and is the frequency enough?? Wont it be too loong for rest days to hit that muscle again
To be honest. The best advice I have is to try 3 days a week, 4 days a week, push/pull, full body, etc. for atleast 6 weeks at a time. Be consistent. Measure your progress. And see what your body responds best to.
I’ve made muscle gains with a 3 day per program and for a lot of people who are busy 3 days a week is ideal.
please can you explain what you mean by 20m?
Are you referring to 20 minutes of sprints?
This comes under your section on WORK OUT 3 – Friday.
Please let me know thank you.
20m is 20 meters.
7 sets of 20m sprints.
I found this very relatable to the regular guy who is out to improve his fitness and health.