The World’s Most Efficient Workout

By: Greg Presto

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Muscles are funny things. They respond to just about any type of training, as long as it’s hard and as long as it’s not the same damn thing you’ve always done. That’s the beauty of density training: It’s a whole lot of stuff you haven’t tried yet. And best of all, it’ll hit your major muscles in a fraction of the time. Instead of counting reps and sets, you’ll focus on the total amount of work you can accomplish in a fixed amount of time. As you progress, you’ll naturally increase your sets and reps, be able to use more weight, and perform exercises that are more challenging. Try this plan, created by David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, Massachusetts, to increase the intensity of your workouts. In only 4 weeks, you’ll create a lean physique that looks like the product of hours at the gym.

Unsure what exercises you should focus on? Men’s Health Personal Trainer not only has experts to guide you through your program, but a variety of instructional videos you can download and take with you to the gym. Check it out.

THE PLAN: Do three density workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between. Start with the first workout, and each day move on to the next option. At the end of 4 weeks, you’ll have completed all 12 workouts.

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Basic Workout

Perform each workout as a circuit, completing one exercise after another and resting as indicated.

Do three workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between.

Weeks 1 and 2
Do 5 reps of each exercise, going from move to move without any rest. For weighted exercises, select a weight that you can lift 10 times. Keep repeating all four exercises until the workout time is up.

Workout 1
Perform for 10 minutes.

Workout 2
Perform for 15 minutes.

Week 3
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.

Workout 7
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Week 4
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Complete 4 sets, rest 1 to 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise. Advance to the more difficult versions after you can complete at least 8 reps of each exercise in 20 seconds.

Workout 10

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Pushup

Assume a pushup position, with your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart, feet together, and body in a straight line from head to ankles. Lower your chest until it’s an inch above the floor, and then push back up. That’s 1 rep.

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Reverse Lunge and 1-Arm Press

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders. Step back with your right leg (as shown). Then press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Lower it, and stand back up. Now repeat with your left side. That’s 1 rep.

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Inverted Row

Lie underneath a secured bar. Grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, your arms and body completely straight, and heels on the floor. Pull your body up (as shown), and return to the starting position.

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Prisoner Squat

Place your fingers on the back of your head, pull your elbows and shoulders back, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can (as shown). Pause, and return to the starting position.

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Advanced Workout

Perform each workout as a circuit, completing one exercise after another and resting as indicated.

Do three workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between.

Weeks 1 and 2
Do 5 reps of each exercise, going from move to move without any rest. For weighted exercises, select a weight that you can lift 10 times. Keep repeating all four exercises until the workout time is up.

Workout 3
Perform for 10 minutes.

Workout 4
Perform for 15 minutes.

Week 3
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.

Workout 8
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Week 4
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Complete 4 sets, rest 1 to 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise. Advance to the more difficult versions after you can complete at least 8 reps of each exercise in 20 seconds.

Workout 11

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Explosive Pushup

Perform a basic pushup. After lowering your body, push back up with enough force that your hands leave the floor.

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Reverse Lunge with 1-Arm Press

Perform a reverse lunge with your right leg as you simultaneously press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Stand, and then lower the weight. Repeat the move with your left side. That’s 1 rep.

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Elevated-Feet Inverted Row

Perform an inverted row, but first place your feet on a box or bench.

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Goblet Squat

Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands. Keep your elbows pointed down toward the floor, and perform a squat. Then push back up.

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Expert Workout

Perform each workout as a circuit, completing one exercise after another and resting as indicated.

Do three workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between.

Weeks 1 and 2
Do 5 reps of each exercise, going from move to move without any rest. For weighted exercises, select a weight that you can lift 10 times. Keep repeating all four exercises until the workout time is up.

Workout 5
Perform for 10 minutes.

Workout 6
Perform for 15 minutes.

Week 3
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.

Workout 9
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Week 4
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Complete 4 sets, rest 1 to 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise. Advance to the more difficult versions after you can complete at least 8 reps of each exercise in 20 seconds.

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Isometric Explosive Pushup

Perform a pushup, but hold your body in the down position for 3 seconds and then push your body back up explosively.

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Isometric Reverse Lunge and Press

Do a reverse lunge, but after you lower your body, pause for 3 seconds. Then press both dumbbells above your shoulders. Lower them and return to a standing position, and repeat with your other leg. That’s 1 rep.

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Isometric Elevated-Feet Inverted Row

Perform an elevated-feet inverted row. But after you pull your chest to the bar, pause for 3 seconds at the highest point. Lower your body and repeat.

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Isometric Goblet Squat

Perform a goblet squat, but pause for 3 seconds at the lowest point of your squat. Then push back up to the starting position and repeat.

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