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Muscle & Fitness July 2008 Excerpt: Rock-Hard Challenge!

Get in the best shape of your life with our new muscle-building, fat-burning training, diet and supplement program. Ready to get rock hard? Get started now!


We created the Rock-Hard Challenge in 2001 with a very simple premise in mind: Help readers dramatically transform their physiques in a very short period — three months, to be exact. We not only provided a highly effective training program and diet regimen but added incentive in the form of a contest to help maximize our readers' motivation.

Seven years later, the Rock-Hard Challenge is still going strong and the premise remains unchanged: Follow our three-month training and diet plans to a T to get in the best shape of your life. And if turning your physique around 180 degrees in just three month's time isn't motivation enough, consider this — a $2,500 grand prize for both the men's and women's Rock-Hard champions. Not bad, huh?

What we offer this time that we didn't in the early years of the Challenge is a true multimedia experience: The Rock-Hard Challenge is now on DVD.

Your hosts, M&F Fitness Director Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS, and personal trainer and fitness model Linda Ruggiero, walk you through the entire three months with the help of three of the industry's most successful competitors and models — Stan McQuay, Jim Romagna and Timea Majorova — who demonstrate each exercise in the program.

Timea Majorova
Timea Majorova
IFBB Fitness Pro.

Week #87 - 11/13/2007
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Also available is the Rock-Hard Challenge Training Log, which includes the entire training program and diet plan, as well as a specifically formatted Rock-Hard Journal to record every set you do and every meal you consume. The Rock-Hard Challenge DVD ($9.99) and Training Log ($9.99) can be purchased at

That said, welcome to Month 1 of the 2008 Rock-Hard Challenge. What follows is the guide for your first four weeks of lifting and cardio (the Rock-Hard Diet begins on page 88 of the July issue, on sale June 2).

The beauty of the training regimen is that it's both simple and demanding, which is all you really need if you have the dedication to follow the program religiously. You'll also notice, especially in Months 2 and 3, that it's a progressive program — you'll push yourself more in terms of volume, intensity and cardio duration as the days, weeks and months pass.

Without a doubt, this year's installment of the Rock-Hard Challenge matches, if not exceeds, the level of past challenges, which falls right in line with your goal: to take your physique to heights never before reached. That's quite a challenge. Are you up to it?

Rock-Hard Specifics

Before you jump into the first month of lifting, here's a quick overview of the program:

arrow Training Split:

    You'll lift four days a week, training each bodypart once (with the exception of calves and abs, which you'll train twice a week) and pairing muscle groups as follows:

    Which days of the week you want to train is entirely up to you. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday always work well, but if you'd prefer to work out, say, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, or even Sunday through Wednesday, go right ahead. This training split will remain the same for all three months of the program.

arrow Exercise Selection:

    The exercises included in the Rock-Hard Challenge are basic, tried-and-true moves performed with straight sets. The intent isn't to try to reinvent the wheel but rather to emphasize compound exercises that train the most muscle to promote maximum hypertrophy and calorie-burning to lose bodyfat.

What Is The Best All Compound Workout? What Is The Best All Compound Workout?
With High Intensity Interval Training you can burn more fat while spending less time in the gym. I will explain how you can get the best results from this.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    We'll introduce different exercises in Months 2 and 3, but again, the movements are basic, core lifts that you've likely done before.

arrow Sets, Reps & Weights:

    Rock-Hard is a high-volume program, meaning you'll do a high number of sets for each bodypart (up to 30-plus total sets in a given workout). It also combines both heavy (low-rep) and light (high-rep) sets throughout the three months, which will help build muscle and burn fat during workouts as well as at rest. For example, many exercises call for 5-6 sets, and your reps will range from 6-12 in Month 1, 5-15 in Month 2 and 4-20 in Month 3.

The remainder of Month 1 of the Rock-Hard Challenge, which includes the full program, a one-month nutrition and supplements plan and a workout log, can be found in the July issue of M&F, on newsstands now.


Exercise descriptions can be found at To share your progress with other readers or ask our fitness director a question, go to

Program By: Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS