January 2012

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Learn the proven way to sculpt a lean, muscular body
By Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S.,
Ever hear the adage, “Train like an athlete to look like an athlete?” It’s a popular mantra among strength coaches today, since it encourages folks to focus on total-body strength and all-around fitness—instead of just lying on the floor doing crunches.
But there’s been one downside: Plenty of guys have asked me what how to do “two-a-days”—as in two workouts per day. This is usually because they read that this is what some sculpted world-class athlete does.
My answer: If your goal is to lose fat and build muscle, you don’t need two-a-days. In fact, two-a-days would actually be too much training for the average person. (Even in the unlikely scenario that you had the time.) The truth is, even the best athletes don’t thrive on two-a-day workouts.
To understand why, I’ll need to give you a bit of history lesson. But by the time I finish, I will have revealed the training secrets that have built some of the best athletes in the world. And these same secrets will turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
***
Here in the United States, we’re a melting pot of different cultures. This gives us a diverse gene pool that produces amazing genetic freaks—who can run faster, jump higher, and throw harder than almost anyone in the world.
Now those of us in the fitness industry would like to attribute these athletes’ performances to our superior training methods. But that’s rarely the case. In America, strength coaches frequently overtrain many of our best young athletes, pushing them to exhaustion with hours and hours of intense training. So in the end, the athletes who break records are most often the ones who are so physically gifted that they can thrive at their sports in spite of these extreme training methods. Not because of them.
Of course, if longer and more frequent workouts aren’t the answer, what is? Well, you’ve heard the phrase work smarter, not harder, right? That’s the solution. And turns out, some fitness experts have known exactly what to do for a very long time.
Let me explain: Before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians lacked genetic diversity because they were a closed society. So what did Russian sports scientists do? They carefully studied and analyzed fitness performance until they discovered the best way to train athletes. The result: Some of the greatest athletic performances on the planet.
Don’t believe me? I have proof.
Back in 1984, the Russians and other Eastern-bloc countries decided to boycott the summer Olympics. So their athletes participated in an “alternative Olympics,” called the Friendship Games. And when the two competitions were over, it was clear that the Russian sports scientists really knew how to develop great athletes.
To give you perspective, 140 countries participated in the Olympics, while approximately 50 nations competed at the Friendship Games. Nevertheless, the Friendship Games athletes outperformed the Olympic Games sportsmen in 20 of 41 track and field events. In fact, a bunch of Olympic gold medalists wouldn’t have even placed in many of the events since more than 60 Friendship Game results were good enough to secure medals at the Olympics. The Russians broke numerous world records and would have been some of the top Olympians in weightlifting and wrestling. In other words, the Russian athletes were better prepared and better trained. Period.
Now, the secrets that I’m about to give you are based on a small piece of this Russian sports science. They’re not really secrets anymore, but principles. And I use them with many athletes at my private training facility, IFAST, in Indianapolis. The results have been beyond impressive. Not only have our athletes’ performances improved tremendously, but these clients have become even leaner—without trying. What could be better than that?
A quick biology lesson: Your muscles are composed of fast-twitch fibers and slow-twitch fibers. Heavy strength training targets the fast-twitch fibers and, of course, helps to build muscle. But it doesn’t do a lot for your slow-twitch fibers.
Endurance-based training, on the other hand, targets your slow-twitch fibers and ignites fat loss. But as just about any longtime runner can tell you, it doesn’t help you pack on muscle.
Which prompts a seemingly obvious solution: Why not combine training methods and achieve the best of the both modes?
Enter what I call The Russian Fat Loss Secret: a strength-aerobic workout that targets both your fast-twitch and your slow-twitch muscle fibers. This is the same strategy used by Russian sports scientists decades ago. So you build muscle and strength, burn fat, and improve your total-body fitness fast.
The best part: It couldn’t be simpler. For example, each workout contains heavy-lifting and explosive exercises. These movements are designed to hit your fast-twitch muscles, which have the greatest potential for size and strength gains. They’ve also been shown to require more energy to contract than slow-twitch fibers, providing an additional benefit.
To train your slow-twitch fibers, I prescribe “tempo” exercises within each workout. The idea is to perform an exercise at a slow but steady tempo from start to finish. I’ll use the “barbell tempo squat” as an example. This is simply a barbell squat in which you take two seconds to lower the weight, and 2 seconds to lift the weight—all without pausing at the top or the bottom of the exercise. One important point: You’ll have to lower the load—a lot—for these tempo moves. Too much weight and you’ll still be focused on your fast-twitch fibers, which won’t give you all the benefits of this combo approach.
But here’s why tempo exercises work. When doing the barbell tempo squat, for example, your legs are under constant, low-level tension. This reduces the blood flow to your working muscles, depriving them of oxygen for an extended period of time. With less oxygen, your muscles react by creating more mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny powerhouses in your muscle cells that produce energy.
So the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you can produce. And the more energy you can produce, the harder and the longer you can exercise before you run out of gas.
Now, can you guess what mitochondria like to use to produce this energy? Body fat. That’s right: The more mitochondria you have; the more fat you can burn.
There’s one last key piece to this puzzle. To end each workout, I include an intense “metabolic accelerator,” such as the kettlebell jump or kettlebell swing. These are power exercises that you do quickly for about 10 seconds, interspersed with about 50 seconds of rest. So it’s sort of like doing eight to ten 100-yard sprint intervals, but without the need for a track. That means they’re great for burning calories and boosting your post-workout metabolism, which results in even greater fat loss.
The upshot: By following the strength-aerobic principles of The Russian Fat Loss Secret, you’ll get the muscle-sculpting benefits of heavy lifting and the fat-loss benefits of endurance-based training. What’s more, you can achieve fantastic results in just three workouts a week. Now doesn’t that sound a lot better than two-a-days?
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By Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S.

If you can’t see your abs, don’t assume it’s because you’re missing out on a magical abdominal exercise or secret supplement. Blame your mindset.
You see, losing belly flab is a boring process. It requires time, hard work, and most important, dedication. Take the right steps every single day, and you’ll ultimately carve out your six-pack. But if you stray from your plan even a few times a week—which most men do—you’ll probably never see your abs.
The solution: six simple habits, which I teach to my clients to help them strip away their lard for good. Think of these habits as daily goals designed to keep you on the fast track to a fit-looking physique. Individually they’re not all that surprising, but together they become a powerful tool.
The effectiveness of this tool is even supported by science. At the University of Iowa, researchers determined that people are more likely to stick with their fat-loss plans when they concentrate on specific actions instead of the desired result. So rather than focusing on abs that show, follow my daily list of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle strategies for achieving that rippled midsection.
The result: automatic abs.
Need help planning your workout? Men, click here | Women, click here.

Wake Up to Water

Imagine not drinking all day at work—no coffee, no water, no diet soda. At the end of an 8-hour shift, you’d be pretty parched. Which is precisely why you should start rehydrating immediately after a full night’s slumber. From now on, drink at least 16 ounces of chilled H2O as soon as you rise in the morning. German scientists recently found that doing this boosts metabolism by 24 percent for 90 minutes afterward. (A smaller amount of water had no effect.) What’s more, a previous study determined that muscle cells grow faster when they’re well hydrated. A general rule of thumb: Guzzle at least a gallon of water over the course of a day.

Eat Breakfast Every Day

A University of Massachusetts study showed that men who skip their morning meal are 4 1/2 times more likely to have bulging bellies than those who don’t. So within an hour of waking, have a meal or protein shake with at least 250 calories. British researchers found that breakfast size was inversely related to waist size. That is, the larger the morning meal, the leaner the midsection. But keep the meal’s size within reason: A 1,480-calorie smoked-sausage scramble at Denny’s is really two breakfasts, so cap your intake at 500 calories. For a quick way to fuel up first thing, I like this recipe: Prepare a package of instant oatmeal and mix in a scoop of whey protein powder and 1/2 cup of blueberries.

As You Eat, Review Your Goals . . .

Don’t worry, I’m not going all Tony Robbins on you. (I don’t have enough teeth.) But it’s important that you stay aware of your mission. University of Iowa scientists found that people who monitored their diet and exercise goals most frequently were more likely to achieve them than were goal setters who rarely reviewed their objectives.

. . . And Then Pack Your Lunch

My personal Igloo cooler just celebrated its 19th anniversary. I started carrying it with me every day back in college. Of course, it often housed a six-pack of beer—until I decided to compete in the Purdue bodybuilding championship. (Second place, by the way.) Once I knew I’d have to don a banana hammock in public (the world’s best motivator), I began to take the contents of my cooler seriously. And so should you. In fact, this habit should be as much a part of your morning ritual as showering. Here’s what I recommend packing into your cooler.
• An apple (to eat as a morning snack) • Two slices of cheese (to eat with the apple) • A 500- to 600-calorie portion of leftovers (for your lunch) • A premixed protein shake or a pint of milk (for your afternoon snack)
By using this approach, you’ll keep your body well fed and satisfied throughout the day without overeating. You’ll also provide your body with the nutrients it needs for your workout, no matter what time you exercise. Just as important, you’ll be much less likely to be tempted by the office candy bowl. In fact, my personal rule is simple: I don’t eat anything that’s not in the cooler.

Exercise the Right Way

Everyone has abs, even if people can’t always see them because they’re hidden under a layer of flab. That means you don’t need to do endless crunches to carve out a six-pack. Instead, you should spend most of your gym time burning off blubber.
The most effective strategy is a one-two approach of weight-lifting and high-intensity interval training. According to a recent University of Southern Maine study, half an hour of pumping iron burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-per-mile pace for the same duration. (And it has the added benefit of helping you build muscle.) What’s more, unlike aerobic exercise, lifting has been shown to boost metabolism for as long as 39 hours after the last repetition. Similar findings have been noted for intervals, which are short, all-out sprints interspersed with periods of rest.
For the best results, do a total-body weight-training workout 3 days a week, resting at least a day between sessions. Then do an interval-training session on the days in between. To make it easy on you, I’ve created the ultimate fat-burning plan.

Skip the Late Shows

You need sleep to unveil your six-pack. That’s because lack of shut-eye may disrupt the hormones that control your ability to burn fat. For instance, University of Chicago scientists recently found that just 3 nights of poor sleep may cause your muscle cells to become resistant to the hormone insulin. Over time, this leads to fat storage around your belly.
To achieve a better night’s sleep, review your goals again 15 minutes before bedtime. And while you’re at it, write down your plans for the next day’s work schedule, as well as any personal chores you need to accomplish. This can help prevent you from lying awake worrying about tomorrow (“I have to remember to e-mail Johnson”), which can cut into quality snooze time.

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By Lucy Haro Photos by Rick Hustead

In the martial arts, one school of thought holds that you should change your game to match your opponent’s. Example: If you’re a stand-up fighter and you’re facing a grappler, you should immediately switch into grapplingmode. Problem is, that requires you to train to such an extent that each subset of your skills is superior to the skills of a person who focuses on only that range of combat. Your grappling must be better than a grappler’s, your kicking must be better than a kicker’s and your punching must be better than a puncher’s. It’s a tough task, to be sure.

Another school of thought holds that you should never fight force with the same kind of force. In other words, don’t try to beat your opponent at what he does best. Instead, use a set of concepts and techniques that will enable you to nullify his attacks and nail him when he’s not expecting it. The best set of concepts I’ve found is called the science of wing chun, as taught by Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung. It offers a strategic approach to combat that’s guaranteed to help any stand-up fighter prevail on the street.

Maintain a Balanced Stance When you’re in a balanced wing chun stance, your opponent won’t be able to read your intentions because you’re not telegraphing the way you’ll fight. He can’t discern your commitment to any move or to any direction.

The stance requires a 50-50 weight distribution at all times. That enables you to move either foot in any direction at anytime. Having maximum mobility, at a moment’s notice, is essential for dealing with armed or multiple attackers. Being balanced also conserves energy, which allows you to channel it to other uses while under attack.

Once your opponent moves, wing chun teaches that you should immediately shift into a side-neutral stance based on the side of your body he attacks. If he comes from your right, you deal with him by using your right arm and right foot, and vice versa. Your stance is now similar to that of a boxer, except that you’re oriented at a 45-degree angle so you’re less open to his blows.

Attack Your Opponent’s Balance In any kind of fighting, balance is everything. Strive to maintain yours while attacking your opponent’s. Often, that entails getting him to lean too far into his technique, overcommit to his movement or overextend his body. Without proper balance, he won’t be able to move, block or strike effectively.

In general, grapplers employ a strategy that involves an overzealous commitment to a move. They’ll lean, lunge or throw themselves forward in an effort to take you to the ground, which is their preferred environment. At that point, they’ll attempt to mount you and punch, or they’ll choke you unconscious. That’s all well and good as long as you don’t take advantage of their momentary lack of balance.

In wing chun, you control your opponent’s balance and then deflect his force primarily by controlling his elbow. As Cheung likes to say, if you control his elbow, you can control his balance.

With practice, you can incorporate the principles of wing chun into your self-defense system no matter what it is.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this Web post in “How to Win a Street Fight Using Wing Chun Techniques, Part 2.”

About the Author: Lucy Haro has been a disciple of William Cheung for more than 10 years and holds a black sash in traditional wing chun kung fu. A 17-year veteran of the martial arts, she’s also an attorney and entrepreneur.

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By Robert Wang, M.D.

I recently saw a fit 74-year-old patient who’d practiced wing chun and tai chi for many years. He came to me because of shoulder pain that was bothering him during the performance of his everyday activities. Even doing slow tai chi forms was problematic because he couldn’t raise his arms above his shoulders anymore. He feared he’d no longer be able to practice or teach his arts.

His X-rays revealed significant shoulder arthritis — so much so that the bone was eroding. My concern was that if he continued putting stress on his shoulders, he’d soon have a permanent disability that affected every aspect of his life. It was difficult to advise him to stop training, but his condition was so severe, I couldn’t let him act in a way that would further the deterioration.

The patient informed me that he’d trained old school all his life. He’d punch a concrete wall every day, and he had knuckles to show for it. To strengthen his bong sao, he’d tie weights to his arms before working out. He said he did these and similar exercises up to three times a day.

That raised many questions in my mind: Did his workouts cause his current problem? How much abuse can the human body tolerate before structures start to break down? How should martial artists regulate their training intensity? Unfortunately, there are no simple answers.

Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage on the humeral head (ball of the joint) and glenoid (socket) wears out. In severe cases, the joint space is lost, and the bones grind against each other. There are several causes of shoulder arthritis, including trauma, inflammation (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), a large/massive rotator-cuff tear and primary degeneration. No matter the cause, the end result is loss of joint functionality.

People with the problem usually feel pain and stiffness. The pain can be mild and associated only with activity, or it can be noticeable even while resting and may wake a person at night. Stiffness also becomes a problem with everyday activities; sometimes it’s so severe the person can’t reach the top of his head or back.

Shoulder arthritis is diagnosed after a physician obtains a history, performs a physical exam and reviews the X-rays. Initial treatment involves pain management with analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication, lifestyle modification to avoid activities that aggravate the condition and gentle stretching exercises to avoid progression of the stiffness. Painkillers may control the pain enough for the person to continue training. Martial artists will often try to tough it out, ignoring shoulder pain and opting not to use medication. That’s ill-advised. The condition can worsen, and the pain can become so severe that training is impossible.

If the pain cannot be controlled with medication, cortisone may be prescribed. It’s a strong anti-inflammatory that’s injected into the joint. The main risk, albeit a low one, associated with the treatment is infection. The injection should be performed via sterile technique, preferably in a clinic at a hospital. The duration of relief varies. Some patients report lessened pain for a year or more, while others say they notice an improvement only for a few weeks. On occasion, people find no pain relief at all.

Another type of injection, called viscosupplementation, is designed to lubricate the joint. Why does that help? Because arthritis also entails the “drying up” of the joint, meaning that the normal fluid that circulates in it is lost. Therefore, supplemental lubrication can provide relief — according to studies, it’s usually short- to medium-term duration. It may be delivered as a single-dose injection or in multiple doses, often three given at one-week intervals.

If one of the aforementioned treatments helps manage the pain, the afflicted person will want to resume training. I usually advise my patients not to engage in intense workouts because excessive force placed on the shoulder can worsen the condition. I then explain the importance of daily stretching and range-of-motion exercises to counteract the stiffness. The goal, of course, is to prolong the life span of the joint by slowing the deterioration.

If nonoperative treatment fails, surgery may be required. The definitive treatment is shoulder replacement. That involves removing the arthritic surfaces of the joint and replacing them with metal and plastic components. After such a procedure, I always advise against any martial arts practice. Some surgeons, in fact, will perform a shoulder replacement only on sedentary elderly people.

If the patient elects not to have a shoulder replacement, an arthroscopic procedure may be an option. This minimally invasive surgery can address all the non-arthritic causes of shoulder pain (e.g., bone spurs) and improve range of motion. However, it won’t alleviate all shoulder pain and is usually beneficial only for those with mild to moderate arthritis.

Returning to my patient: His arthritis is so bad in both shoulders that the only viable solution is shoulder replacement. However, he insists the pain isn’t severe enough to warrant that. I told him he should stop all training.

I still think about the effects of hard training over extended periods and how it can lead to a breakdown in the anatomy. Yes, such training can facilitate impressive displays of strength and power, but you need to think about the potential long-term consequences. If you don’t moderate your training now to preserve the integrity of your shoulders and other joints, you may not be training at all in the future.

About the Author: Robert Wang, M.D., is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He’s an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine.

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By Paul Kita, Photographs by Scott McDermott

I’VE BEEN CALLED A pencil, a string bean, skin and bones. I’ve heard the three words no man who cares about his physique ever wants to hear: “You work out?” Trainers refer to us as ectomorphs—which sounds like something from Ghostbusters—to distinguish us from mesomorphs, the guys who always look like they work out even when they don’t.
My fellow ectomorphs and I prefer to call ourselves “hard gainers.” We brush off the insults, chalk up our physiques to high metabolism, and take solace in the fact that some of us are good at endurance sports.
At least that’s what I used to do. Then I had my Charles Atlas moment. But it wasn’t a sand-kicking bully who made me want to become bigger and stronger. It was a former girlfriend who wanted to hire movers to carry her furniture into a new apartment because she was afraid I’d hurt myself if I tried to help.
I knew it was time to build strength and muscle. But before I could, I had to demolish five of the myths that hold skinny guys back.
MYTH 1: An ectomorph can’t gain muscle I almost puked during a test of my maximum bench press. Martin Rooney, C.S.C.S., director of the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, explains why: “Lifting weights is a stimulus. It attacks your body—everything from your muscles to your nervous system,” he says. “That was your body being challenged in a way it’s never been before. It isn’t used to that kind of stress. Now your muscles will rebuild and prepare for the next attack.”
I’d need it: That first workout was humbling. At 6 feet tall and 146 pounds, I could deadlift just 105 pounds and bench press 95 pounds only three times. I could do 11 chinups, which isn’t bad, and my 11.5 percent body fat would be the envy of many mesomorphs if they weren’t already laughing at my 12-inch upper-arm girth or my wimpy 20-inch vertical jump.
Rooney assured me that building up from this shaky platform would be difficult but not impossible, as long as I was willing to push myself. “Your body is an incredibly adaptive organism,” he says. “That’s why every time you lift, you have to challenge yourself to provide a greater and greater jolt to shock your muscles into another round of rebuilding.”

MYTH 2: No matter how much he eats, a hard gainer can’t put on weight If you think you eat enough to build muscle, try this experiment, courtesy of Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist and Men’s Health advisor from Thousand Oaks, California.
Pick a recent day that represents how you typically eat. Try to remember everything you consumed and run it all through a calorie calculator, like the one at nutritiondata.self.com. If you’re like me, you’ll see a problem. I estimated that I ate about 2,000 calories a day, but it was really more like 1,700—nowhere near what I needed to maintain my existing muscle mass, let alone add to it. “Underweight people tend to overestimate their daily calorie intake,” Aragon says. “Then they incorrectly attribute their low weight to a high metabolism.”
So calories matter. But so do the sources of those calories, Aragon says. More food means higher levels of glucose circulating in your blood. That creates metabolic stress, leading to inflammation, and inflammation can lead to a whole host of problems, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. So trying to build a more muscular body with junk food is like trying to build a log cabin with wood drenched in lighter fluid.
Aragon directed me toward whole grains, which provide fiber that may help regulate blood glucose, and foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation. But I still dreaded the answer to my next question: How much will I have to eat?

MYTH 3: He has to eat till he bursts Aragon’s nutrition plan called for 2,500 calories on workout days, including 213 grams of protein. That much protein amounts to almost 2 1/2 pounds of raw sirloin, or 34 large eggs!
I had trouble stuffing it all down at first. It took me a half hour to finish breakfast, and my lunches in the company cafeteria horrified my coworkers. Soon I realized I couldn’t consume all my calories in three giant meals. So I adapted: I kept a jug of almonds and a bunch of bananas at my desk for snacks. I stored a block of cheese and a gallon of chocolate milk in the office fridge. “Your body will tell you how it best processes calories,” Aragon says.
“For some people it’s large meals. For others it’s around-the-clock eating. If you time it right, you should rarely feel as if you’re force-feeding yourself.”

MYTH 4: He must live in the gym Each week I worked out 4 or 5 days, training for up to 6 hours total. (See this month’s poster.) But if I felt physically or mentally drained, I skipped a workout or two. “If your body’s sore, it’s telling you it needs more time to recover,” Rooney says. I’m convinced that the extra rest time enhanced my results, giving my body the time it needed to recover and to come back stronger.

MYTH 5: Results will be minor I won’t lie: This plan is tough, especially in the first few weeks. Some days I was so sore I wanted to avoid walking up a flight of stairs. And the results are unpredictable. You may gain a few pounds right away, or you may lose a pound or two because of the radical change in your routine. But once you’re past the shock stage, you should see steady growth. “Beginning lifters can expect about 2 pounds of muscle growth a month,” Aragon says.
Key point: Each time you hit the gym, give your best effort. “You may think it’s just 1 rep you’re missing, but that last rep is when your muscles are working hardest,” Rooney says. “The question isn’t whether you’re a hard gainer, but are you a hard trainer?”
Rooney retested me about 4 1/2 months after my first visit. I deadlifted 250, and my 3-rep max on the bench press jumped to 165 pounds. I cranked out 20 chinups, and my vertical leap soared to 26 1/2 inches. That’s in addition to the 14 pounds I gained. And it may not sound like much, but I added 2 inches to my biceps. My waist was still 32 inches, and my body fat actually decreased to 9.8 percent.
But the sweetest reward wasn’t measured with a barbell or tape measure. A friend mentioned that she was moving to a new apartment and asked if I could help with the furniture.
“No problem,” I said. And it wasn’t.
Want to try it? The Skinny Man’s Muscle Plan is available exclusively on Men’s Health Personal Trainer. There you’ll find Rooney’s complete plan, and have access to our customizable nutrition program—which will help you create the best diet for your goals, lifestyle, and preferences. Click here to learn more!

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by Lou Schuler

The old reliable exercises are fine for producing old reliable results. But if you want a physique that’s better than the body you have now, you need exercises that do more for you than the ones that took you to this point. Luckily for you (and your muscles), trainers and scientists across the continent spend their days asking excellent questions, such as “Why do we do it this way?” and “What if we did it that way?” The answers they find are surprising—and useful. Turn the page to read about exercise variations and technique tweaks from some of the country’s most innovative trainers. You’ll refresh your workout and soon have muscle in places you didn’t even know it could grow.
Like these exercises? Click here for three MORE exercises you should do everyday

Try a new muscle formula

Do at least 3 sets of pulling exercises—rows, pullups, and pulldowns—for every 2 sets of chest and shoulder presses you perform, says Brian St. Pierre, C.S.C.S., the owner of BSP Training & Nutrition in Augusta, Maine. Chances are you’ve been doing just the opposite, so this approach can help you build the muscles you’ve been neglecting. The result: Improved posture, better overall muscle balance, and faster gains.

Sculpt bolder shoulders

Strong, stable shoulders will help you lift more weight in nearly every upper-body exercise. So start each upper-body workout with the band pull-apart, suggests Shon Grosse, P.T., C.S.C.S., owner of Comprehensive Physical Therapy and Fitness in Colmar, Pennsylvania. It trains your rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers, the network of muscles that help create a strong shoulder joint. (And it counts as another pulling exercise.)
Keeping your arms straight, use both hands (palms up) to hold a stretch band out in front of your chest. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together and stretch the band out to your sides, without bending or lowering your arms, until the band touches your sternum. Reverse the move and repeat. Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.

Beef up your back

Most of the fibers in your upper-back muscles are horizontal, which is why rowing exercises work them so well. But the ones in your lats are closer to vertical. The J pull-in hits your lats from start to finish, says Lee Boyce, a Toronto-based strength coach. “And it won’t take much weight for you to feel a deep contraction.”
Attach a rope handle to a high pulley of a cable station. Grab an end with each hand and kneel facing the machine. Keeping your arms straight and your torso upright, pull the rope down toward your groin. (The rope’s path of travel should look like a J.) Try 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.

Pump up your pecs

If you’re unhappy with your chest development, you may have one of two problems.
You don’t work your chest enough. Sometimes you just need to do more work. Boyce recommends the 1 1/2-rep bench press, which effectively doubles the workload of your pectoral muscles. On a flat bench, lower the weight to your chest, and then press it halfway up. Lower it again, and then press it up until your arms are straight. Use 70 percent to 80 percent of your 1-rep max, and perform 3 or 4 sets of 8 reps.
Your shoulders are beat up. Years of dips and bench presses will do that to you, says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. To build your chest and triceps while sparing your shoulders, he recommends the close-grip board press. Duct-tape a pair of footlong 2×4s together, the 4-inch sides facing each other; secure the block under your shirt. Load a barbell onto a flat bench-press station. Lie on your back and grab the bar using an overhand grip, your thumbs 12 to 15 inches apart. Lift the bar, lower it to the block, come to a dead pause, and then push back to the starting position. You can go heavy: 3 or 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps.

Add to your adductors

You wouldn’t be caught dead on the inner-thigh machine. But you also don’t want to ignore your adductor muscles, an area of untapped growth potential. Target them by doing pullups while holding a light weight plate between your feet, Grosse suggests. You’ll force your abs and adductors to engage as you work your back, shoulders, and arms.

Blast your biceps

To hit all the muscle fibers in your biceps, you need to either lift max weight or lift at max speed—which nobody does when they work their biceps, says Chad Waterbury, M.S., the author of Huge in a Hurry. The next time you do curls, use a weight you think you can lift just 6 or 7 times. Bang your reps out as fast as you can while maintaining good form. That means lifting the weight quickly, lowering it at a normal speed, and immediately starting the next rep. Stop the set when one rep is clearly slower than the others. You may pull off 4 or 5 reps on your first set, and fewer on later sets. Rest for 45 seconds between sets, and shoot for 25 reps total.

Trick out your triceps

Waterbury recommends jackknife pushups as a triceps-building companion for the high-velocity curls (tip 6).
Assume a pushup position but place your toes on a bench; keep your hands on the floor, thumbs 6 to 12 inches apart, and hips up. (If you feel the blood rush to your face, you’re in the correct position.) Do pushups as fast as you can without rearranging any of your favorite facial features. (That is, don’t hit the floor.) Go for 35 reps total, with 7 or fewer per set.

Power up your legs

Supercharge any lunge variation by extending your range of motion, making your muscles work harder and grow faster. Boyce recommends these brutally effective leg builders.
Reverse lunge from step: Stand with both feet on a 6-inch-high box or step. Take a long step back with your right foot and descend until your knee almost touches the floor. Return to the starting position, and then repeat the move with your left foot.
Bulgarian split squat with front foot elevated: Place your left foot on a 6-inch step in front of you and your right foot on a bench  behind you. Drop straight down until your right knee almost touches the floor. Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions for each leg using body weight only, or 10 reps holding dumbbells at your sides.

Shift your butt into gear

Deadlifts and squats are great for your glutes, but only if you’re actually engaging those glutes. If your knees cave in toward each other, you’re doing less with your butt and more with your back, says Brian Zarbatany, C.S.C.S., training director at the Human Performance Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The solution: Grab the floor with your feet, as if you’re trying to twist through the outsides of your shoes. That helps you keep your knees out and your glutes working.

Get more from your core

The abdominal push press is the best ab exercise you can do in bed, although you’ll probably want to try it on the floor first, says physical therapist Jonathan Fass, D.P.T., C.S.C.S. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lift your right knee so your hip is bent 90 degrees, and press your left palm into your right thigh, near your knee. Now try to lift your thigh to your chest while pushing back with your hand. If you’re doing the exercise properly, your core should work to produce a stalemate. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, switch sides, and repeat until you’re sick of it.

Mix it up for a hard middle

If you have a partner, Fass recommends ab prayers, a core-building exercise for two that can double as foreplay. Stand facing each other in an athletic position. Put your palms together (as if praying) in front of your chest, elbows extended 6 to 10 inches from your body. Have your partner push and pull your hands in all directions, forcing you to adjust. Go for 30 seconds, and switch. You should both feel your midbody muscles working.
No partner? Try stir the pot, a classic core exercise from spine specialist Stuart McGill, Ph.D. Assume a plank position with your forearms on a Swiss ball, and roll the ball around by moving your forearms and elbows in a circular pattern.

Build bigger calves

Instead of working your calves in isolation, try the bench bridge, which works them in conjunction with your hamstrings and glutes, says Nick Tumminello, a Baltimore-based personal trainer. Lie on your back with the balls of your feet on the edge of a bench and your knees slightly bent. Lift your hips. You should feel it from your calves through your glutes. Lower your hips and repeat the move for as long as you can.

Move more and risk less

Everyone wants to lift more on the classic powerlifts, and nothing beats hard work, of course. But you can also produce big improvements by incorporating even the simplest of tricks. For the barbell squat: During the move, “Pull the bar down as if you’re trying to rip it apart,” Gentilcore says.
“You’ll activate your lats, which provide more spinal stability.” You’ll move more weight with less risk of injury. And if you actually do rip the bar apart, please send us video.

Boost your bench

This one may seem “bass ackwards,” but to improve your bench press, the experts would like you to start with your butt.
“Clench the bench” by contracting your glutes, and keep them contracted throughout your set, says Joe Stankowski, a personal trainer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You’ll find that this tweak solidifies your base and allows you to generate more force on the lift. Don’t forget to unclench when you’re done.

Raise your deadlift

Here’s a gear tip: Wash your socks. Then, when you arrive at the gym, perform the deadlift with your shoes off (if your gym allows it), advises strength coach and power-lifter Eric Cressey, C.S.C.S. “Shoes increase the distance the bar has to travel,” Cressey says. They also lift your heels off the floor, which puts more emphasis on your quads and less on your glutes and hamstrings, where it belongs. Either barefoot or in your stocking feet is fine. If your gym frowns on this, invest in shoes with minimal heel lift. Or find a new gym.

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By Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.

If it weren’t for dead guys, we’d probably never have started doing crunches. Or situps, or just about any other conventional ab exercise.

That’s because for years, much of our knowledge of the way midsection and other muscles work was based on the study of human cadavers. By looking at the anatomy of corpses, modern scientists figured that the function of your abdominals—particularly the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack muscle”—must be to flex your spine. Which is exactly what you do when you perform a crunch or a situp, or any other movement that requires you to round your lower back. But despite the popularity of these exercises, they simply aren’t among the most effective movements for building a rock-solid core.

You see, your abdominal muscles have a more important function than flexing your spine—their main job is to stabilize it. In fact, these muscles are the reason your torso stays upright instead of falling forward due to gravity. So in stabilizing your spine, your abs actually prevent it from flexing while you’re standing, walking, and running. Here’s my point: If you want better results from your core workout, you need to use a routine that trains your abs the way they’re designed to function. That’s not to say the classic crunch doesn’t work—it does. But the future of ab training is all about stabilization. And guess what? The future is here.

Your Hard-Core Training Plan

Fair warning: This workout may not feel like your usual ab routine. Because the exercises focus on spinal stabilization instead of spinal flexion, they don’t create the same type of abdominal-muscle soreness that you might have felt from traditional core moves. (Moving a muscle against a force causes more muscle damage than resisting movement does.) But that doesn’t mean they’re not working. In fact, since I began using this method in my gym, my clients are seeing faster progress than ever. So don’t worry—not only will this workout make your core strong and stable, it’ll also make your ab muscles pop. The Level 1 workout is the easiest, and a good place for beginners to start; the Level 2 and Level 3 workouts are progressively more challenging. For the best results, do the workout that best matches your fitness leve twice a week.

The Best Ab Workout Ever: Level 1
EXERCISE SETS REPS REST DURATION
1 Plank 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
2 Mountain Climber with Hands on Bench 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
3 Side Plank 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
The Best Ab Workout Ever: Level 2
EXERCISE SETS REPS REST DURATION
1 Plank with Feet Elevated 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
2 Mountain Climber with Hands on Swiss Ball 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
3 Side Plank with Feet Elevated 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
The Best Ab Workout Ever: Level 3
EXERCISE SETS REPS REST DURATION
1 Extended Plank 2 N/A 30 s 30 s
2 Swiss-Ball Jackknife 2 15 30 s N/A s
3 Single-Leg Side Plank 2 N/A 30 s 30 s

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After practicing jiu-jitsu for 15 years, Gene Pace is awarded with highest common belt in Brazilian martial arts.

By Sarah Peters

COSTA MESA — It’s pretty impressive whenever a student of the Gracie Barra school of Brazilian jiu-jitsu gets a black belt.

Even more impressive is when one of those students is 78.

Gene Pace was awarded his black belt Thursday night during a ceremony after his regular twice-weekly class and sparring session at the Costa Mesa studio.

More than 100 of Pace’s friends and supporters showed up to see his milestone.

“It was overwhelming. And last night…” Pace started with a pause, then laughed. “Well, it was a little emotional.”

The Whittier resident has been training under the Costa Mesa school’s founder and instructor, Mike Buckels, for more than 15 years.

“He’s Mr. Consistency. He never misses a class, not ever,” said Buckels, who holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, as well as kru in Muay Thai kickboxing.

In those 15 years, before Pace, Buckels had only awarded one other jiu-jitsu black belt, and it was to another instructor.

“The best way to describe Gene is that he just executes what you teach him to do,” Buckels said. “If you show him a move, he will go after that move.”

Although Buckels admits that he is careful whom he pairs with Pace, as an older student Pace is not one to underestimate.

“Gene can still pick me up — and I’m a 180-pound man — and toss me to the ground,” Buckels said. “He practices with people as much as 55 years younger than him.”

Pace fell into the Brazilian practice after signing up for a martial arts course for fitness — and to humor his grandchildren.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, OK, they can’t kill me, and besides, maybe I’ll learn something,'” Pace said, laughing.

“Once I got started, I had to think, ‘Do you just walk away [and] embarrass your grandkids?'” Pace continued. “Nah, you can’t be disrespectful like that. And everyone just stuck with it.”

Pace’s interest in martial arts transferred to jiu-jitsu after meeting Buckles and liking his style of teaching.

A lot of that style resonated with Pace’s finish-what-you-start attitude.

“The things learn you here are discipline and techniques, which you apply to situations, but you never walk around like a peacock,” Pace said. “But, as Mike says, if someone won’t back down, you finish it.”

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In Eat This, Not That!, we often write about the foods you should avoid—foods so infused with calories, fat, and sodium that they should come stamped with Surgeon General warnings like cigarette packs. But the foods on this list? They’re different. They’re among the planet’s most perfect foods, capable not just of helping you boost metabolism and melt fat, but also fight disease, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and live a longer, better life. And did we mention that they’re delicious? Make it your goal to work these edible all-stars into your diet every day.

Green Tea

Literally hundreds of studies have been carried out to document the health benefits of catechins, the group of antioxidants concentrated in the leaves of tea plants. Among the most startling studies was one published by the American Medical Association in 2006. The study followed more than 40,000 Japanese adults for a decade, and at the 7-year follow-up, those who had been drinking five or more cups of tea per day were 26 percent less likely to die of any cause compared with those who averaged less than a cup. Looking for more immediate results? Another Japanese study broke participants into two groups, only one of which was put on a catechin-rich green-tea diet. At the end of 12 weeks, the green-tea group had achieved significantly smaller body weights and waistlines than those in the control group. Why? Because researchers believe that catechins are effective at boosting metabolism. Substitutes: Yerba mate, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos (red) tea

Garlic

Allicin, an antibacterial and antifungal compound, is the steam engine pushing forward garlic’s myriad health benefits. The chemical is produced by the garlic plant as a defense against pests, but inside in your body it fights cancer, strengthens your cardiovascular system, decreases fat storage, and fights acne inflammation. To activate the most possible allicin, you’ve first got to crush the garlic as finely as possible. Peel the cloves, then use the side of a heavy chef’s knife to crush the garlic before carefully mincing. Then be sure not to overcook it, as too much heat will render the compound completely useless (and your food totally bitter). Substitutes: Onions, chives, leeks

Grapefruit

Just call it the better-body fruit. In a study of 100 obese people at The Scripps Clinic in California, those who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over the course of 12 weeks Some lost as much as 10 pounds. The study’s control group, in contrast, lost a paltry 1/2 pound. But here’s something even better: Those who ate the grapefruit also exhibited a decrease in insulin levels, indicating that their bodies had improved upon the ability to metabolize sugar. If you can’t stomach a grapefruit-a-day regime, try to find as many ways possible to sneak grapefruit into your diet. Even a moderate increase in grapefruit intake should yield results, not to mention earn you a massive dose of lycopene—the cancer-preventing antioxidant found most commonly in tomatoes.

Substitutes: Oranges, watermelon, tomatoes

Greek Yogurt

If it’s dessert you want, you go with regular yogurt, but if it’s protein, you go Greek. What sets the two apart? Greek yogurt has been separated from the watery whey that sits on top of regular yogurt, and the process has removed excessive sugars such as lactose and increased the concentration of protein by as much as three times. That means it fills your belly more like a meal than a snack. Plus a single cup has about a quarter of your day’s calcium, and studies show that dieters on calcium-rich diets have an easier time losing body fat. In one of these studies, participants on a high-calcium dairy diet were able to lose 70% more body weight than those on a calorie-restricted diet alone. If only everything you ate could make a similar claim. Substitutes: Kefir and yogurt with “live and active cultures” printed on the product label

Avocado

Here’s what often gets lost in America’s fat phobia: Some of them are actually good for you. More than half the calories in each creamy green fruit comes from one of the world’s healthiest fats, a kind called monounsaturates. These fats differ from saturated fats in that they have one double-bonded carbon atom, but that small difference at the molecular level amounts to a dramatic improvement to your health. Numerous studies have shown that monounsaturated fats both improve you cholesterol profile and decrease the amount of triglycerides (more fats) floating around in your blood. That can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. Worried about weight gain? Don’t be. There’s no causal link between monounsaturated fats and body fat. Substitutes: Olive, canola and peanut oils, peanut butter, tahini

Eggs

When it comes to breakfast, you can’t beat eggs. (That was too easy, wasn’t it?) Seriously though, at a cost of only 72 calories, each large egg holds 6.3 grams of high-quality protein and a powerhouse load of vital nutrients. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who replace carbs with eggs for breakfast lose weight 65 percent quicker. Researchers in Michigan were able to determine that regular egg eaters enjoyed more vitamins and minerals in their diets than those who ate few or no eggs. By examining surveys from more than 25,000 people, the researchers found that egg eaters were about half as likely to be deficient in vitamin B12, 24 percent less likely to be deficient in vitamin A, and 36 percent less likely to be deficient in vitamin E. And here’s something more shocking: Those who ate at least four eggs a week had significantly lower cholesterol levels than those who ate fewer than one. Turns out the dietary cholesterol in the yolk has little impact on your serum cholesterol. Substitutes: Egg Beaters egg substitute

Quinoa

Although not yet common in American kitchens, quinoa boasts a stronger distribution of nutrients than any grain you’ll ever get a fork into. It has about twice as much fiber and protein as brown rice, and those proteins it has consist of a near-perfect blend of amino acids, the building blocks that your body pulls apart to reassembles into new proteins. And get this, all that protein and fiber—in conjunction with a handful of healthy fats and a comparatively small dose of carbohydrates—help insure a low impact on your blood sugar. That’s great news for pre-diabetics and anyone watching their weight. So what’s the trade off? There is none. Quinoa’s soft and nutty taste is easy to handle for even picky eaters and it cooks just like rice, ready in about 15 minutes. Substitutes: Oats, amaranth, millet, pearl barley, bulgur wheat

Bell Peppers

All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none so much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and oranges. These colors result from carotenoids concentrated in the flesh of the pepper, and it’s these same carotenoids that give tomatoes, carrots, and grapefruits their healthy hues. The range of benefits provided by these colorful pigments include improved immune function, better communication between cells, protection against sun damage, and a diminished risk for several types of cancer. And if you can take the heat, try cooking with chili peppers. The bell pepper cousins are still loaded with carotenoids and vitamin C, but have the added benefit of capsaicins, temperature-raising phytochemicals that have been shown to fight headache and arthritis pain as well as boost metabolism. Substitutes: Carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon

Almonds

An ounce of almonds a day, about 23 nuts, provides nearly 9 grams of heart-healthy oleic acid, which is more than peanuts, walnuts, or cashews. This monounsaturated fat is known to be responsible for a flurry of health benefits, the most recent of which is improved memory. Rats in California were better able to navigate a maze the second time around if they’d been fed oleic acid, and there’s no reason to assume that the same treatment won’t help you navigate your day-to-day life. If nothing else, snacking on the brittle nuts will take your mind of your hunger. Nearly a quarter of an almond’s calories come from belly-filling fiber and protein. That’s why when researchers at Purdue fed subjects nuts or rice cakes, those who ate the nuts felt full for a full hour and a half longer than the rice cake group. Substitutes: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds

Swiss Chard

Most fruits and vegetables are role players, supplying us with a monster dose of a single nutrient. But Swiss chard is nature’s ultimate multivitamin, delivering substantial amounts of 16 vitamins and vital nutrients, and it does so at a rock bottom caloric cost. For a mere 35 calories worth of cooked chard, you get more than 300% of your recommended daily intake of bone–strengthening vitamin K, 100% of your day’s vitamin A, shown to help defend against cancer and bolster vision, and 16% of hard-to-get vitamin E, which studies have shown may help sharpen mental acuity. Plus, emerging research suggests that the combination of phytonutrients and fiber in chard may provide an effective defense against colon cancer. Substitutes: Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, watercress, arugula, romaine lettuce

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A lanky actor transformed himself into Spartacus. The good news: You can do it, too
By Jill Yaworski, Photographs by Cody Pickens

WHEN LIAM MCINTYRE AUDITIONED FOR THE television drama Spartacus: Vengeance, he couldn’t have looked less fit for the title role. He was fresh off a movie called Frozen Moments, playing a man who had awakened from a coma. Skinny made sense for that. For Spartacus? Not so much.
But McIntyre is a good actor, so the Starz network put him at the top of its list, with one major caveat: At go time, he’d better look the part of a rebel warrior.

So he set out to rebuild his musculature. “It was a combination of mental and physical effort,” he says. “The body can do incredible things as long as the mind supports it.”
We’re providing McIntyre’s fitness advice and our own Spartacus workout. Put them both to work, and when you reach go time—beach vacation, high school reunion, first date—you’ll be sure to look the part, too.

CREATE A NO-FAIL PLAN McIntyre wanted a body like Hugh Jackman’s in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It would have been a challenge anyway, but especially so given McIntyre’s 13-hour workdays. His strategy: Never miss a planned workout.

Make it work for you: Focus on the means, not the end. University of Iowa scientists found that people are more likely to stick with a weight-loss plan when they concentrate on specific actions instead of the desired result.
“Break your goal into habits that will help you achieve it,” says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. For example, you might set a goal of completing the 2012 Spartacus Workout 12 times a month. That’s just three workouts a week. But if you reach your 12-workout goal every month, by the end of the year you’ll have logged 144 high-intensity workouts. How many gut-busting workouts did you complete last year?

MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS McIntyre had never been a gym rat before Spartacus. “I didn’t treat my body as well as I should have,” he says. But with his new role, he needed to perform intense weight workouts 4 days a week—every week, for months. Now McIntyre is stronger and fitter than he’s ever been. “When I look back at the photo the Spartacus producers took at the start, I think, ‘Oh, God,’ ” he says. “I didn’t realize how much weight I’d lost for Frozen Moments.” Which is a good reminder: Amazing results don’t happen overnight, but they do happen over time.

Make it work for you: Since you’re not likely to notice a change in the mirror right away, focus on what you can measure: Your performance. “You should be able to do more every workout; lift more weight, do more reps, add more sets,” says Cosgrove. “You can bet that if your numbers are improving, so is your body.”

FUEL YOUR MUSCLES “You can lift all the time,” says McIntyre, “but if you don’t eat the right foods, you won’t have the body you want.” The key ingredient for any diet is protein. It provides the nutrients you need for muscle growth and also keeps you satisfied between meals.

Make it work for you: To grow larger and speed fat loss, Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist in Thousand Oaks, California, recommends eating 1 gram of protein per pound of your target weight. So if you want to weigh 180 pounds, you should eat 180 grams of protein a day.
But some guys say it’s too expensive; others say they feel like they have to force-feed themselves. So shoot for 0.7 gram of protein for every pound, says Aragon. It’s still a highly effective dose for your muscles. The only downside: You may find that you’re hungrier and more at risk of binge snacking.

FIND A PARTNER McIntyre rarely goes to the gym alone. “There are tons of benefits to working out with someone else. You can do a better range of exercises if someone’s there to spot you,” he says. Plus, others push you outside your comfort zone. “They’ll yell at me when I’m not working hard enough, and compliment me when I am.”

Make it work for you: Find a workout partner or join a boot-camp class at a local gym, says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., a leading boot-camp expert. “The more people we have training together, the more energy, sweat, and encouragement are in the room.”

THINK BEYOND YOURSELF McIntyre inherited his role as Spartacus from the actor Andy Whitfield, who recently passed away after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Andy was amazing at his job,” McIntyre says. “I want to do justice to the character he already created. I think of Andy and remind myself that no day is too hard.”

Make it work for you: Not in the mood for a sweat session? Keep moving for the people who can’t. Says Cosgrove, whose husband is a stage IV cancer survivor and the co-owner of their gym, “Put it in perspective. It’s not chemo. When you think about people fighting for their lives, it makes a workout seem like nothing.” Honor them by making yourself better. “We owe it to people like Andy to bring our best to everything we do,” says Cosgrove. “And that includes taking care of our health.”

Want to try it? The 2012 Spartacus Workout is available  on Men’s Health Personal Trainer. There you’ll find the complete  four-week plan with exclusive exercise videos, and have access to our customizable nutrition  program—which will help you create the best diet for your goals,  lifestyle, and preferences. Click here to learn more!

THE 2012 SPARTACUS WORKOUT

This year, give your body the ultimate fitness challenge
Two years ago we teamed with Starz to create the official Spartacus Workout. Its popularity surprised even us: Readers told us it was their favorite Men’s Health workout ever. So to kick off the new season of Spartacus: Vengeance, we asked Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.—the fat-loss expert who created the routine—to design an all-new version that’s even more intense, challenging, and effective. Like the original, the 2012 Spartacus Workout requires only a pair of dumbbells, a stopwatch, and, well, some serious grit. But try Cosgrove’s plan just once and you’ll quickly understand why it burns fat, sculpts muscle, and leads to fantastic results.

Directions Do this workout 3 days a week. Perform the exercises—or “stations”—as a circuit, doing one movement after another. At each station, perform as many repetitions as you can in 40 seconds using perfect form. Rest for 20 seconds as you transition to the next exercise. After you’ve done all 10 exercises, catch your breath for 2 minutes. Then repeat the entire circuit two more times. If you find you can’t keep working for the entire 40 seconds, use a lighter weight. If you feel as if you could keep going hard for an additional 15 seconds, progress to a heavier weight.

1. DUMBBELL SQUAT TO ALTERNATING SHOULDER PRESS AND TWIST

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing in [A]. Push your hips back and squat deeply [B]. Push back up, rotating your torso to the right and pivoting on your left foot as you press the dumbbell in your left hand above your shoulder [C]. Lower the weight and rotate back to center. Repeat, rotating to the left and pressing up the dumbbell in your right hand.

2. MOUNTAIN CLIMBER AND PUSHUP

Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles [A]. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. That’s a mountain climber. Now do a pushup [C].

3. DUMBBELL SIDE LUNGE AND CURL

Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides [A]. Take a big step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee. As you lower your body, bend forward at your hips and try to touch the dumbbells to the floor [B]. (Note: Go only as low as you can without rounding your lower back.) Then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can. Perform arm curls [C]. Alternate back and forth, doing a lunge to your left and then a lunge to your right.

4. PLANK WALKUP WITH DUMBBELL DRAG

Start in a pushup position with a dumbbell on the floor next to your right hand. Lower your body into a plank so you’re resting your weight on your forearms instead of your palms [A]. “Walk” back up to a pushup position [B]. Without leaving this position, grasp the dumbbell with your left hand [C] and drag it underneath your chest until it rests on your left side [D]. Repeat, this time dragging the weight with your right hand.

5. DUMBBELL STEPOVER

Stand holding dumbbells at your sides [A]. Step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [B]. In one motion, push back up and take a long step back with your left foot into a reverse lunge [C]. Keep shifting between forward and backward lunges with the same leg for 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

6. DUMBBELL SINGLE-ARM ALTERNATING CLEAN

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell between your feet on the floor. Push your hips back, squat, and grab the dumbbell with one hand [A]. Pull the dumbbell up and “catch” it at shoulder height as you rise to a standing position; keep your knees slightly bent [B]. Pause, lower the dumbbell to the floor, grab it with your other hand [C], and repeat on the other side [D].

7. PUSHUP-POSITION ROW AND SQUAT THRUST

Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and assume a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbells [A]. Pull the right dumbbell up to the side of your chest [B]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell; repeat the move with your left arm [C]. While holding the dumbbells, quickly bring your legs toward your torso [D], and then jump up [E]. Once you land, squat and kick your legs back into a pushup.

8. GOBLET SQUAT AND ALTERNATING REVERSE LUNGE

Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands [A]. Keep your elbows pointed toward the floor and perform a squat [B]. Then push back up to the starting position [C]. Now step back with one leg—into a reverse lunge—and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [D]. Pause, and then push up quickly. Alternate your lunging leg with each rep.

9. DUMBBELL RUSSIAN TWIST

Sit holding a dumbbell in front of your chest. Lean your torso back slightly and raise your feet off the floor [A]. Without moving your torso, rotate the weight to your left [B] and then to your right [C]. Move back and forth quickly.

10. DUMBBELL STRAIGHT-LEG DEADLIFT AND ROW

Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length in front of your thighs [A]. Without rounding your lower back or changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor [B]. Without moving your torso, pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your chest [C]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbells. Raise your torso back to the starting position.

Want to try it? The 2012 Spartacus Workout is available  on Men’s Health Personal Trainer. There you’ll find the complete  four-week plan with exclusive exercise videos, and have access to our customizable nutrition  program—which will help you create the best diet for your goals,  lifestyle, and preferences. Click here to learn more!

http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/skinny-spartacus

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