Arts & Humanities

Graduate Student Investigates How Gladiatorial Training Affected Mind, Body

By Taylor Emerson |

Video by Taylor Emerson, Digital Journalist, University Marketing & Communications

Through conquest and conflict, the armies of Ancient Rome helped to carve out an empire that, at its peak, encompassed the Mediterranean Sea and spanned three continents.

In his thesis research, Daniel Porter, a USU graduate student in Ancient Languages and Culture, found that within this Roman army, one general preferred soldiers with a certain type of training over any other. That general preferred soldiers who trained like gladiators.

To understand this, Porter wanted to see what made these soldiers so sought-after — so he decided to train as they once might have. He hypothesized that a Greek athletic training system known as the tetrad was a likely regime that was utilized, and decided to take up the four-day routine himself. After working with individuals and groups from Utah State Athletics, Nutrition, and Kinesiology, he modernized the routine and followed it for seven months.

He found that his strength increased, though his muscle mass stayed about the same, and he had a slight variation in his VO2 — an indicator that marks the efficiency at which your body can deliver oxygen to your muscles.

Watch the video to find out what Porter considers the most interesting conclusion to his study.


Taylor Emerson
Digital Journalist
University Marketing and Communications
(435) 797-2262


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