By Nate Miyaki Men’s Fitness
This is the year you’ll get the body you want. No, really, this is it. We’re holding you to it. And we’re getting you started with a six-week plan that’s simple to follow. Both your training and your diet are covered, so you have no more excuses. No more wondering about how many sets and reps to do, how many calories to consume, or whether you got enough protein or too much fat. In fact, you don’t even have to suffer long bouts of cardio—there is no need for any on this plan.
Follow this workout program, and be prepared to make some amazing changes. It’s not as hard as you think.
How it works>>
The goal is body recomposition—building as much muscle as possible while burning fat. Some exercises will be done heavy and others for high reps to hit both ends of the muscle-building spectrum, and rest periods will be short to encourage calorie burning. Your heart will get a good workout from the fast pace of your weight training, so there’s no need to do cardio. (In fact, we insist you don’t do any, as it may negatively impact your recovery.)
However, the main reason cardio isn’t necessary in this case is that your diet will be dialed in. The truth is, studies have shown that training of any kind has little to no impact on your ability to lose fat unless you’re eating right, so divert any extra energy to making sure you’re eating correctly.
Time Needed: 60 min.
Frequency: Perform each workout (Day I, II, III, and IV) once per week, resting at least a day in between each training session.
How to do it: Perform the paired exercises (marked “a” and “b”) as alternating sets, so you’ll complete one set of “a,” rest as directed, then one set of “b,” and repeat until all sets are completed. The remaining exercises are done as straight sets.
Day 1: Chest and Back
1/ Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets, 6-8 reps. Rest: 60 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a flat bench with the weights at shoulder level. Press the dumbbells over your chest with speed.
2/ One-arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets, 12 reps (each side). Rest: 30 sec.
Rest one hand and one knee on a bench and hold a dumbbell with the other hand, arm extended but not resting on the floor. Row the weight to your ribs.
3/ Single-arm Floor Press (shown above): 4 sets, 12 reps (each arm). Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in one hand and lie on your back on the floor. Tuck your elbow to your side and turn your palm so it faces inward—your triceps should rest on the floor. Press the weight over your chest.
4/ Chest-Supported Dumbbell Row: 4 sets, 12 reps. Rest: 30 sec.
Set an adjustable bench to a 45-degree incline and lie on it facedown with a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing each other). Squeeze your shoulder blades together and row the weights to your ribs.
Day 2: Legs and Core
1/ Sumo Deadlift (above): 3 sets, 6-8 reps. Rest: 60 sec.
Stand with feet double-shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. Bend your hips back, reach down, and grasp the bar with hands inside your knees. Drive through your heels to
extend your hips and pull the bar up until you’re standing tall.
Trainer Tip: If you train in a gym that frowns on deadlifting, place a yoga mat under the plates. It will muffle the sound when you return the bar to the floor, as well as protect the floor from damage.
2/ Dumbbell Front Squat (below): 4 sets, 20 reps. Rest: 30 sec.
Hold dumbbells at shoulder level and stand with feet shoulder width. Bend your hips back and squat down as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. Drive through your heels to come up.
Trainer Tip: Don’t let your heels come off the floor. If they do, sit back more as you squat down.
3/ V-up Crunch: 4 sets, As many reps as possible. Rest: 30 sec.
Lie on your back on the floor and extend your arms over your head and your legs in front of you. Crunch your torso upward while simultaneously raising your legs so your body forms a V shape.
4/ Calf Raise: 4 sets, 20 reps. Rest: 30 sec.
Use a standing calfraise machine, or stand on a block or step and hold a dumbbell in one hand while the other balances you. Lower your heels until you feel a deep stretch in your calves and then drive the balls of your feet into the platform to raise your heels.
Day 3: Shoulders and Arms
1/ Chinup: 3 sets, 6–8 reps. Rest: 60 sec.
Hang from a chinup bar with palms facing you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
2/ Gironda Dip: 4 sets, as many reps as possible. Rest: 30 sec.
Use V-shaped dip bars. Place a hand on each bar and suspend yourself so your hands are wide; and point your elbows outward, not behind you. Tuck your chin to your chest and lower your body
to feel a deep stretch in your chest and then press up.
3/ High Pull: 4 sets, 12 reps. Rest: 30 sec.
Hold the bar in front of your thighs, hands outside shoulder width. Bend your hips and lower the bar to just above your knees. Explosively extend your hips and pull the bar up to mid chest.
4a/ EZ-bar Skullcrusher: 4 sets, 12 reps. Rest: 0 sec.
Hold an EZ-curl bar with a shoulder-width grip and lie back on a flat bench. Press the bar over your chest and then bend your elbows until the bar nearly touches your forehead. Extend your elbows to press the weight back up.
4b/ Cross-body Hammer Curl (above): 4 sets, 12 reps (each arm). Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides. Curl the lefthand dumbbell across your body so it ends up under your right shoulder. Your palm should be facing, and kept close to, your chest. Complete your reps on that side and then switch sides and repeat.
Trainer Tip: The cross-body hammer curl trains the brachialis—a cylinder of muscle that separates the biceps and triceps. The bigger it is, the bigger your arms look.
Day 4: Legs and Core
Trainer Tip: These can be done with a dumbbell or cable if a medicine ball isn’t available.
1/ Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 sets, 10 reps (each leg). Rest: 60 sec.
Stand lunge length in front of a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Rest the top of one foot on the bench behind you. Lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor, then drive your heel into the floor to come back up. Complete all your reps on that side and then switch legs and repeat.
2a/ Single-leg Swiss Ball Leg Curl: 3 sets, as many reps as possible (each leg). Rest: None
Lie on your back and rest your heels on a Swiss ball. Drive the heel of one foot into the ball to raise your butt off the floor. Raise the opposite leg in the air. Keeping your hips elevated, bend the knee of the working leg as in a leg curl.
2b/ Single-leg Glute Bridge: 3 sets, as many reps as possible (each leg). Rest: 30 sec.
Lie on your back and bend one knee 90 degrees. Plant that foot on the floor and extend the other leg away from you. Keeping your core braced, drive your heel into the floor and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line. Complete your reps on that side and then switch sides.
3a/ Plank: 3 sets, hold as long as possible. Rest: None
Get into pushup position and then bend your elbows to rest your forearms on the floor. Brace your abs and hold your body in a straight line for as long as possible.
3b/ Medicine Ball Woodchop (above): 2 sets, 20 reps (each side). Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a medicine ball with both hands and stand with feet staggered, left foot in front. Extend your arms to the outside of your left knee. Explosively swing your arms diagonally over your right shoulder as if you were reversing the path of a woodchop with an ax. Complete your reps on that side and then switch sides.