This article addresses how the sophistic-style analysis in Philostratus' Gymnasticus gives expression to the physical and social complexities involved in ancient athletic training. As a case in point, the article provides a close reading of Philostratus' description and criticism of the Tetrad, a four-day sequence of training, which resulted in the death of an Olympic athlete. To make physiological sense of the Tetrad, this method of training is compared to the role of periodization in ancient medicine and modern kinesiology. At the same time, Philostratus' own critique of the Tetrad is compared to Foucauldian models of discipline and bodily attention. Ultimately, it is argued that the Tetrad fails because it does not incorporate καιρός, a theme common to athletics, medicine, and rhetoric. Overall, therefore, Philostratus' critique of the Tetrad helps us to appreciate the underrepresented role that γυμναστική occupied in the larger debates on bodily knowledge in antiquity.
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