The Fastest Way to Get Ripped

What do you need to sculpt a body like this? Six simple but effective muscle-building, fat-burning moves.

December 2012 / Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Blame steroids. Or cut-off tees. Or The Situation. Whatever, or whoever, the culprit is, the weight room has fallen out of vogue, replaced by supposedly more sophisticated body-sculpting methods. And while spinning classes, boot camps, and yoga deserve to be front and center in the minds of educated fitness buffs, if you want to get in the best shape of your life, experts say, you can't ignore the basics. You need to add six classic total-body exercises to your weekly regimen—the pull-up, bench press, squat, farmer's walk, military press, and deadlift.

"These six are beneficial because they involve functional movements you use in everyday life and they work multiple muscles at once," says Melanie Piccolo, a private trainer at Reebok Sports Club/NY. But just because you know the moves doesn't mean you know how to get the most out of them.

"You can't just saunter into the gym, pick up a few weights, and expect to morph into Ryan Gosling," says Jason Ferruggia, a strength coach and the author of Muscle Gaining Secrets, who designed this plan. But do them right and there's a big payoff. "When you perform these moves with a heavy weight, you gain strength and add muscle everywhere," Ferruggia says. That new muscle, in turn, increases your resting metabolism rate, the key to getting rid of stubborn fat and revealing muscle tone—just promise to keep your shirt on in the bar.

GETTING STARTED

GROUP these six moves into two mini-workouts: Workout A (pull-up, squat, military press) and Workout B (bench press, farmer's walk, deadlift).

EACH WEEK you'll want to work out three times in all, alternating between the A and B regimens, with at least a day's rest in between. For example, if you do Workout A on Monday and Friday and Workout B on Wednesday one week, the following week you'll do Workout B on Monday and Friday and Workout A on Wednesday.

BEFORE the first set of each exercise, warm up with a few reps using a light weight. Then start with the bar (most weigh around 45 pounds) and add or subtract 5 to 10 pounds at a time until you determine a load heavy enough that you're able to perform the minimum prescribed repetitions—and no more.

ONCE you've found that weight, use it every week until you can reach the higher end of the rep range of each exercise, then add five pounds and repeat the process.

PULL-UP (Workout A)
Targets: Traps, lats, biceps
Hang from a pull-up bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull your chest to the bar, pause, then lower back down. That's one rep. Do 4 sets of as many as you can, stopping one rep shy of failure. Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Grooming by Anna Bernabe with Exclusive Artists using Clarins. Casting by Edward Kim at The Edit Desk. Photographed at Reebok Sports Club/N.Y.
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