More Muscle, No Waiting

With this hassle-free workout, you’ll sculpt your body faster than ever

Workout by Craig Ballantyne, M.S., C.S.C.S., Workout Photography by Beth  Bischoff

The Quickest Plan For More Muscle

A pair of dumbbells and a bench are all you need to drop unwanted fat and add eye-catching size.

The biggest obstacle between you and the body you want might come from an unexpected source: your gym. That’s because crowds can slow your workout—and your results. After all, every second you spend waiting for the chinup bar, cable station, or squat rack is less time you have for working your muscles or boosting your calorie burn. And isn’t there too much downtime built into your day already?

Don’t waste another minute in the gym. This fat-burning, muscle-building workout requires only a single set of dumbbells and an adjustable bench. The order in which you perform the exercises—along with the number of reps for each—allows the same pair of dumbbells to challenge each muscle equally. The upshot: There’s never been a simpler way to chisel a better body.

Directions

Perform each workout (A, B, and C) once a week, resting at least a day between sessions. Within each workout, alternate sets between exercises of the same number (1A and 1B, for example) until you complete all sets in that pairing. (In other words, follow a set of the first exercise with a set of the second exercise.) Rest 1 minute between 1A and 1B, but perform exercises 2A and 2B back-to-back, with no rest.

After you’ve done a set of each exercise pair, rest for 1 minute and then repeat the cycle until you’ve completed all the prescribed sets.

Workout A

1A
Dumbbell chest press (3 sets of 8 reps)
Lie on your back on a flat bench and hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight. Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, pause, and then push them back up to the starting position.

1B
Dumbbell bent-over row (3 sets of 12 reps)

With a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand and left knee on a flat bench. Keep your back flat and let your right arm hang straight down, with your palm facing in. Pull your arm up to the side of your chest by bending your elbow. Pause and return to the starting position.

2A
Dumbbell incline press (2 sets of 5 reps)

Lie on a bench with the backrest set at a 45-degree incline. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and your palms turned toward your feet. Lower the dumbbells to chest level, and then press them above your chest, back to the starting position.

2B
Dumbbell squat (2 sets of 15 reps)

Holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and squat as deeply as possible, keeping your lower back naturally arched. Push back up to the starting position without rounding your back.

Workout B

1A Dumbbell split squat (3 sets of 8 reps)

Hold dumbbells at your sides and stand with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 8 reps, switch legs, and repeat. That’s 1 set.

1B
Single-arm standing shoulder press (3 sets of 12 reps)

Stand holding a dumbbell at eye level with your arm bent, palm forward, and your other hand on your hip. Press the dumbbell straight overhead, and then lower it to the starting position. Do 12 reps on one side and repeat with your other arm. That’s 1 set.

2A
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (2 sets of 10 reps)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. With your knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, without rounding your back. Pause and then rise to the starting position.

2B
Dumbbell swings (2 sets of 20 reps)

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell’s handle with both hands. Extend your arms in front of your chest. Next, slightly bend your knees and swing the dumbbell between your legs. Bring the dumbbell back up to chest level as you rise. That’s 1 rep.

Workout C

1A
Dumbbell stepup (3 sets of 8 reps)
With a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing a bench. Place one foot on the bench and lift your body up to the standing position without letting your opposite foot touch the bench. Lower your body slowly and repeat. Complete 8 reps, switch legs, and repeat. That’s 1 set.

1B
Chest-supported incline row (3 sets of 12 reps)

Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie chest-down on a 45-degree incline bench. Let your arms hang straight down, palms facing each other. Row the dumbbells to the side of your chest by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades. Pause and lower the weights.

2A
Dumbbell curl (2 sets of 10 reps)

Grab a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and hold them at arm’s length next to your thighs. Curl the dumbbells toward your chest as far as you can without moving your upper arms. Pause, and slowly lower the weights to the starting position.

2B
Lying dumbbell triceps extension (2 sets of 12 reps)

Lie faceup on a bench, holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms extended above your chest, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and move the weights toward your ears until your forearms are past parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms back to the starting position and repeat.

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