Everybody wants to be lean, but nobody wants to train like a wuss. Doing circuit workouts with high reps and light weights can help you lose fat, but it will make you lose muscle, too. We recommend a different approach—one that's both fun and flattering to your ego, and that gets you leaner and stronger. Spend the next six weeks training like a strongman.
Strongman training provides maximum muscle fiber stimulation. That means muscles are less likely to shrink when you cut calories to lean down. Plus, having to handle odd objects provides a new stimulus and can spark growth. We've made modifications to some of the classic strongman feats that will allow you to perform them in any gym. The Swiss ball cable extension mimics the Atlas stone lift, the overhead press with grips replicates the tractor axle press, and the power clean is the best approximation we can make to the tire flip.
Time Needed: 45 min.
Frequency: Perform each workout (Day 1, 2, and 3) once per week, resting at least a day between each session.
How To Do It: Complete all the sets for one exercise before moving on.
Step under the bar and pull your shoulder blades together. Arch your back to take the bar off the rack. Set your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath and sit back, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Perform several low-rep warm-up sets until you reach a load you can perform only five reps with.
Hang from a pullup bar with your hands outside shoulder width. Pull until your chin is over the bar.
seconds (go as heavy as you can)
Attach a rope handle to the bottom pulley of a cable station and then place a Swiss ball on the floor in front of it. Reach your arms around the ball and grab an end of the rope in each hand. Hug the ball to your chest and, keeping your lower back in its natural arch, extend your hips and knees to pick the ball up as though you were lifting it from the floor onto a platform.
Pick up the heaviest dumbbell you can and hold it at chest level. Shift your weight so you're resting it on one side of your chest and walk as far as you can with it. On your next set, shift the weight to the other side of your chest.
Print Day One
Suck It Up
The higher you can jack up your heart rate, and the longer you can keep it elevated, the more calories and fat you'll burn during the workout. Rest up to two minutes between sets of the heavy lift that kicks off each session, but try to keep rest periods for the remaining exercises to about 60 seconds each.
Wrap a towel around the bar or use a
grip-thickening aid, such as Grip4orce
sleeves, as shown here. (Pick them up
at grip4orce.com.) If your gym has a fat
bar, use that. Grab the bar with your
hands at shoulder width and take it off
the rack. Press the bar overhead,
pushing your head forward after the bar
clears it. Squeeze your traps at the top. Perform several low-rep warmup sets, gradually adding weight until you reach a load you can perform only five reps with.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with one leg in front of the other. Lower yourself using your support leg until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.
Stand with the bar just in front of your shins and bend down and grab it with hands outside your knees. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, drive through your heels to lift the bar off the floor as in a deadlift. When it passes your knees, explosively extend your hips and shrug your shoulders to lift the bar to chest level. Continue pulling the bar toward the ceiling as you flip your wrists and point your elbows straight in front of you. "Catch" the momentum of the bar with a shallow squat and then put it down.
Leave the gym and go to a vacant parking lot as soon as you can (or, if you train at home, go to your driveway). Have a friend sit in the driver's seat of a car and put it in neutral—leave the engine off. Get behind the car and push it, moving as fast as you can.
Print Day Two
Set up a barbell on the safety rods of a power rack (you can also use rubber mats) so that it sits about 18 inches off the floor. Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend down, and grab the bar so your hands are just outside your knees. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, drive your heels into the floor and pull the bar up along your legs until you're standing with hips fully extended and the bar is in front of your thighs. Perform several low-rep warmup sets, gradually adding weight until you reach a load you can perform only five reps with.
Grab a dumbbell you're sure you can get at least 10 reps with in one hand and rest the other hand and knee on a bench. Let your arm hang straight down. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, row the weight until it touches your side.
Hold the heaviest dumbbell you can in each hand. Shrug your shoulders and walk as far as you can—aim for 100 feet.
Print Day Three