September 2010

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The Leg Matrix

You might call this our “2 minutes of Hell” workout. If you can make it through two rounds of this routine, you’re a fitter man than most.Here’s the kicker: The best performance we’ve ever heard of was done by a Division one FEMALE volleyball player. Her time: two rounds in 3 minutes total.

How to do it: Do one set of each exercise below without resting, and keep track of how long it takes you to complete the circuit. Then rest for twice that duration, and repeat once. When you can finish the first circuit in 90 seconds, skip the rest period.

• Bodyweight Squat: 24 reps

• Bodyweight Alternating Lunge: 12 reps (each leg)

• Bodyweight Split Jump: 12 reps each leg

• Bodyweight Jump Squat (for fat loss): 24 reps

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by Men’s Health
Fitness fact: Most ab exercises build your six-pack muscles, but don’t do much to burn away the flab that covers them. That’s because moves like situps and crunches don’t require you to burn a lot of calories compared to fat-fighting exercises that skyrocket your heart rate. Our solution: the metabolic mountain climber. It targets your abs, but also forces you to work at a lung-busting pace for a one-two punch that’ll help reveal your sculpted midsection. Ready to try it? Click here to see how to do the metabolic mountain climber–you might just find it’s the best exercise you’re not doing.

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By: Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S.


Perform the following routine prior to every upper body workout. The movements will activate the muscles in your shoulders, back, chest, and arms, which helps you lift more weight and prevent injury. The exercises should take no more than 10 minutes.

Pushup Circuit
Complete one set of 5 to 10 reps of each pushup version listed below. After each set rest 10 to 20 seconds and then continue on to the next exercise. Use the higher number of reps if you’ve been resistance training for more at least 1 to 2 years.

How to do it: This circuit uses variations of the standard pushup. For each movement, assume a pushup position (with your body in a straight line from ankles to shoulders), and then lower your chest to the floor. Press your body back to the starting position by straightening your arms.



Assume a pushup position with your hands set just wider than shoulder-width. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, then push yourself back up to the starting position. That’s one rep.


Diamond Pushup

Do a pushup with your hands close enough for the tips of your thumbs and index fingers to touch, forming a diamond shape.


Wide-Hands Pushup

Place your hands about twice shoulder-width apart.


Staggered-Hands Pushup

Place one hand in standard pushup position and your other hand a few inches farther forward.


Explosive Pushup

After you lower your body, press yourself up so forcefully that your hands leave the floor.

After completing the pushups, perform the following two exercises designed to improve range of motion in your shoulders and protect your joints before lifting heavier weights.


Dumbbell Lateral Raise and External Rotation

1-2 sets of 15 reps

Grab a light pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length with your palms turned toward each other. Bend your elbows 90 degrees. Without changing the bend in your arms, raise your upper arms out to the sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Rotate your upper arms up and back so that your forearms are pointing toward the ceiling. Pause, then reverse the movement and return to the starting position.


Cable Diagonal Raise

1-2 sets of 15 reps per arm

Attach a stirrup handle to the low pulley of a cable station. Standing with your right side toward the weight stack, grab the handle with your left hand and position it in front of your rip hip, with your elbow slightly bent. Without changing the bend in your elbow, pull the handle up and across your body until your hand is above your head. Lower the handle to the starting position. Complete all repetitions with your left arm, then immediately do the same with your right arm.

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THIS WEEK’S EXERCISE: Check out Our Newest Exercise Video, delivered straight from the world’s top fitness conference. In this installment, strength coach Brett Contreras shows you how to train your body’s largest muscle group.

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What are you most afraid of? Heights? Spiders? Flying? Whatever your biggest fear may be, you are capable of conquering it! Watch this week’s video to learn the simple steps to overcome any fear.

What did you think of this video? Do you think these techniques could help you overcome your personal fears? Have you tried any of them? After watching the video be sure to share your comments below, and feel free to pass this video on to friends and family.

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Take these self-tests to find out

 Pop quiz: Which is worse, having a muscle weakness on both sides of your body–or on just one side? It’s the latter, says Gray Cook, P.T., one of the world’s top fitness experts. Click on the video to find out why, and to learn two simple self-tests you can use to identify problem areas. The upshot: Use Cook’s advice to fix your flaws, and you’ll be able to increase your size and strength faster than ever before.
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A little more muscle goes a long way, especially as you become leaner. That’s why this workout focuses on the big stuff: big muscles, big weights, big calorie burn, big payoff. It all helps you add serious size to your chest, back, legs, and arms, while finishing off the flab that covers your abs. Use this routine for 4 weeks and you’ll be on your way to looking as fit as an action star. For more workouts like this, go to

Do three workouts a week, alternating between workout A and workout B. (You’ll do each workout six times in 4 weeks.) In each workout, do alternating sets of each exercise pair (1A/1B, 2A/2B, and 3A/3B). That is, do 1 set of the first exercise and rest 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Then do 1 set of the second exercise and rest again for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Repeat until you’ve done 3 sets of each exercise in a pair. Then move on to the next pair.


Barbell Deadlift

Workout A

Exercise: 1A

Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar using an overhand grip. Your lower back should be slightly arched and your arms straight [A]. Without allowing your lower back to round, stand up with the barbell [B]. Pause momentarily, and then lower the bar to the floor. Do 5 reps.



Workout A

Exercise: 1B

Grab a chinup bar using a shoulder-width, underhand grip, and hang at arm’s length [A]. Now squeeze your shoulder blades down and back, bend your elbows, and pull the top of your chest to the bar [B]. Pause, slowly lower your body back to the starting position, and repeat. Do 6-8 reps.


Barbell Split Squat

Workout A

Exercise: 2A

Hold a barbell across your upper back and stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right [A]. Keeping your torso upright, lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [B]. Then push yourself back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 6-8 reps each leg.


Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Press

Workout A

Exercise: 2B

Stand holding a dumbbell with your right hand just above and outside your right shoulder. Your palm should be turned toward your head [A]. Push the weight straight up over your shoulder [B]. Then lower it, and repeat without pausing. Do 6-8 reps each arm.


Cable Face Pull

Workout A

Exercise: 3A

Attach a rope to the high pulley of a cable station and grab an end with each hand. Back a few steps away until your arms are extended in front of you [A]. Pull the middle of the rope toward your face [B]. Pause, and reverse the movement back to the starting position. Do 8-10 reps.


Barbell Rollout

Workout A

Exercise: 3B

Load a bar with 10-pound plates and kneel on the floor. Grab the bar with an overhand, shoulderwidth grip. Keep your lower back naturally arched and your core stiff [A]. Roll the bar forward as far as you can without letting your hips or back sag [B]. Pause, and return to the starting position. Do 8-12 reps.


Barbell Squat

Workout B

Exercise: 1A

Hold a bar across your upper back with an overhand grip, and stand with your feet set shoulderwidth apart [A]. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, and return to the starting position. Do 6 reps.


Chest-Supported Row

Workout B

Exercise: 1B

Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie chest down on an adjustable bench set to a low incline. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, your palms facing each other [A]. Without moving your torso, pull the weights to your sides [B]. Pause, lower, and repeat. Do 6-8 reps.


Barbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

Workout B

Exercise: 2A

Grab the bar with an overhand grip, and hold it at arm’s length in front of your thighs, your knees slightly bent [A]. Without allowing your back to round, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, and rise back to the starting position. Do 6-8 reps.


Close-Grip Bench Press

Workout B

Exercise: 2B

Grab a barbell with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, and hold the bar above your sternum with your arms straight [A]. Lower the bar straight down as you tuck your elbows close to your sides [B]. Pause, press the bar back to the starting position, and repeat. Do 6-8 reps.


Barbell Curl

Workout B

Exercise: 3A

Grab a barbell with an underhand, shoulderwidth grip, and let it hang at arm’s length in front of your hips [A]. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows to curl the bar as close to your shoulders as you can [B]. Pause, and lower it back to the starting position. Do 8-10 reps.


Swiss-Ball Jackknife

Workout B

Exercise: 3B

Start in pushup position, but with your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from ankles to head [A]. Without rounding your lower back, contract your abs and use your feet to pull the ball toward your chest by bending your knees [B]. Pause, and return to the starting position. Do 8-10 reps.

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By: The editors of Men’s Health

How large is 3 ounces of steak? What about an ounce of cheese or half a cup of spaghetti? Doling out food portions for a recipe or a diet plan is always a crapshoot—it’s hard to tell 3 ounces from 10. Worse, we simply shovel down our chow until our plates are empty and it’s time to leave the table. To help you monitor how much food you put in your mouth, a team of nutritionists helped Men’s Health compile a dozen easy conversions for standard servings. Just keep in mind that nutritional information will vary by brand and type of food. And for another great weight-loss tool, download the Eat This, Not That! iPhone app.


Food portion: 1 oz sausage link
Nutritional info: 54 cal, 5 g fat
Same size as: Shotgun shell



Food portion: 1 tsp butter
Nutritional info: 34 cal, 4 g fat
Same size as: Tip of thumb

Mashed Potatoes
Food portion: 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
Nutritional info: 112 cal, 5 g fat
Same size as: Half an apple



Swiss Cheese
Food portion: 1 oz cubed Swiss cheese
Nutritional info: 107 cal, 8 g fat
Same size as: Four dice



Cooked Spaghetti
Food portion: 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti
Nutritional info: 99 cal, 1 g fat
Same size as: Fist


Ice Cream
Food portion: 1/2 cup ice cream
Nutritional info: 143 cal, 7 g fat
Same size as: Tennis ball



Chicken Soup
Food portion: 1 cup chicken-noodle soup
Nutritional info: 175 cal, 6 g fat
Same size as: Baseball


Blue-Cheese Dressing
Food portion: 2 Tbsp blue-cheese dressing
Nutritional info: 154 cal, 16 g fat
Same size as: Golf ball


 Dry Spaghetti
Food portion: 4 oz dry spaghetti
Nutritional info: 422 cal, 2 g fat
Same size as: The diameter of a quarter (when held tightly together and viewed from the end)


Food portion: 8 oz lasagna
Nutritional info: 270 cal, 8 g fat
Same size as: Two hockey pucks



Food portion: 1 oz mozzarella
Nutritional info: 80 cal, 6 g fat
Same size as: Ping-Pong ball


Food portion: 3 oz beef
Nutritional info: 219 cal, 13 g fat
Same size as: Deck of cards

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Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

Randy Pausch was included in TIME Magazine’s 2008 list of the world’s 100 most influential people. His book, “The Last Lecture,” co-written by Jeff Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal and based on Pausch’s now-famous talk “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” is a New York Times #1 bestseller. In this week’s video, Randy Pausch talks about life, love, and passion.

What did you think of Randy’s speech? Have you found your passion and experienced love, or are you still searching? After watching the video be sure to share your comments below, and feel free to pass this video on to friends and family.

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How to make any exercise target your abs

You don’t need crunches to sculpt your abs. You don’t even need to lie down on the floor. This week, Mike Wunsch, director of programming at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California, shows you how to work your core with any exercise. Click on the video to see his advice in action: It’ll help you lift more, look better, and get in the best shape of your life.

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