Greetings, Peers, I am here to unveil my upcoming training manual trilogy: The Phalanx Method. Unlike Pump Dragon, this trilogy is going to be written all at the same time, with each of the phases preparing for and building off the others, to make what I consider to be the most well-rounded athlete.
By using my knowledge of the Hellenistic Period, the Persian & Peloponnesian wars, and the Greek phalanx, as well as using the writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, I will be using the training methods, warrior mentality and life outlook of an enlisted Greek hoplite to write the first historically-based training program. This program will be unlike anything you have tried before. I’m not going to lie to you: It’s going to suck. Bad. For some of you, it will be the hardest program you’ve ever done, and some might not make it through. If the idea of a monumental and physical challenge is too much for you, I would suggest some of my simpler programs.
For those of you who love a challenge, I would strongly encourage you to tackle this trilogy with a partner, as they will inspire you to continue when you want to fail, and in turn, you will do the same for them. There is no greater bond than the one that is forged through mutual suffering.
If I still have your attention, let’s get into the meat of the matter.
As trilogies tend to go, this one will be split into three parts, or phases. Each phase will have a theme, based on an aspect of Ancient Greek life or combat, and I will use that theme as the driving force behind each of the phases. Each week of each phase will also have a theme, much like the chapter of a book, that will embody the training approach that week. I suggest looking up the themes I write, as this will give you something to think about to elevate you to a loftier plain as you slog through the suck-fest.
The three phases are as follows:
Phase 1: Agoge
Phase 2: Othismos
Phase 3: Elysium
Each phase will include eight weeks of programming, with three dedicated training days each week. Three days might not seem like a lot, but you would be wrong. Because, in addition to the three dedicated training days, you will have three tasks each week that will attempt to replicate what was the absolute suck-fest that entailed a world where you traveled by foot with your panoplia, or kit. I call these weekly tasks Anabasis (to march inland). Throughout the entire six months of training, your weekly Anabasis will increase in distance or difficulty, and will be relevant to the phase that the Anabasis takes place in. For instance: some weeks you may be required to march 5 miles, three times a week, holding a 5lb weighted object in one hand, and a 10lb object rested on your shoulder on the opposite side of your body. Other weeks, you may be required to climb a hill or climb stairs for a total of 45 minutes, doing 10 pushups every time you stop to take a break. This will become the most mentally-taxing part of the trilogy, but will give you a glimpse of what parts of training may have been like for the hoplite. As with all my manuals, I strongly suggest NOT adding on to this program, so you get the full effect of my envisionment of your progress throughout the ordeal.
Now, let’s take a look at what each phase will look like.
Phase 1: Agoge
The Agoge was THE elite military training school in the world during the Hellenistic period, and from this tree came the fruit of the Spartan Phalanx. Although reserved male sons of the Spartan ruling class, Wealthy citizens from other Greek cities would attempt to send their sons to this training school. Spartan girls were encouraged to train with the young boys in their gymnastic classes and drive them on to greater deeds, as Spartan women were required to be as hardy as the men. As this is the 21st century, Not only do I want women to tackle this trilogy, I want them to surpass in effort the men that tackle this trilogy.
(Side note, because I know it’s coming: Sparta was the only ancient Greek city-state NOT to practice pedastery with their young males, stating that the role of an adult male tutor that was based on infatuation of the flesh was comparable to incest, and not allowed. See Xenophone for more)
As the Agoge was their first introduction to what being a hoplite was like so will the Agoge phase introduce you to what will be in store for you during this training manual. You can expect Agoge to include a multitude of tasks that will build your mental resolve, and it will ask you to push one more step when you think you can’t take another. This phase will arguably be the most important to have a training partner for, because if you can’t make it through this, you can’t be expected to make it through the next two phases.
Phase 2: Othismos
The second phase of the trilogy is called Othismos, a word with a mean similar to “push.” The Othismos was what took place on the field of battle, when shield walls met in combat. Although scholars used to think that Othismos was similar to a rugby match, where one side’s men pushed into the back of the men in front of them, literally pushing them off the field, this is unlikely. We aren’t talking about a match of a few dozen men; we’re talking about battles between 5, 10, 20, even 50,000 men. The pushing match scenario is unlike, plus the front rank will be rendered useless with someone pushing into their backs like that, up against shields. Rather, Othismos can be considered a figurative term for driving your foe from the field in their defeat.
This phase will still have a weekly Anabasis, but the training will involve what I like to think of as grinding workouts, workouts you must grit your teeth and slog through even as your muscles burn and your lungs scream for oxygen. Expect these workouts to tax your central nervous system like never before, provided that you leave everything you have on the field. Weekly heavy singles will be a staple during this phase, so you can expect your 1RMs to go up within this period of eight weeks. If you make it through this phase, you’re ready for phase 3.
Phase 3: Elysium
The Elysian Fields, or Elysium, was the Greek concept of the afterlife that expanded upon the idea of Hades, and ultimately surpassed it. Rather than a generic place where all souls went after death, Elysium was a place for heroes, the righteous and those chosen by the gods for their acts in life. Elysium was THE place to be in the Greek afterlife. It was the place where individuals could accomplish all the things they wanted to in life, or continue to strive for and build upon their actions, jobs, and roles in the afterlife that they held in life.
In this phase, we will train to achieve the body of a Greek god, so you can expect a very high amount of bodybuilding movements and pump work, while still carrying over your weekly Anabasis tasks, and strength work from Othismos. Think of this phase as an even better version of Pump Dragon, but with more conditioning and grinding strength work.
Thank you all very much for reading this through to the end. I hope to have this trilogy finished within four weeks, available to you in that time. The pricing will be as follows: $50 per each individual phase, or $100 for all three phases. This pricing is to encourage you to sign up for the whole process, as I want you to fully commit to something instead of dabbling for a few weeks.