It took at least half a year before a tiro (recruit) could appear publicly in the arena. If he survived his first bout, he was considered a veteranus. All victories and defeats were noted and mentioned in the libellus munerarius (a kind of program leaflet) as well as on the tabella (a panel carried before the gladiator at the pompa).

The gladiators did not pay any rent to the ludus and were catered for free. Most probably two men shared one cella (chamber). Inscriptions prove that gladiators could marry and have children, so it is assumed that the auctorati (volunteers) and those who resigned to the gladiatura after being freed could leave the ludus after the training sessions were finished and lived outside, because there was not enough space for a family at the ludus.

Cooks were responsible for the food of these professional athletes and supplied them mainly with barley porridge (hordeum) which was supposed to enhance the build up of muscles. Hence gladiators were also called hordearii (barley eaters). Other aspects of gladiator care seem also very modern: After training they took hot baths and got massages. Injuries were treated by ludus-owned physicians. The training of gladiators was very expensive and thus everything was done to keep them healthy.