Men's Health's Muscle-Building Workout Plan

This fat-burning, muscle-building plan—from the new book, The Men's Health Diet—is exactly what you need to transform your body. It's designed with minimum equipment requirements and maximum efficiency in mind: 10 exercises performed in a high-intensity circuit that works every muscle in your body.

But this isn't your traditional program filled with the routine three sets of 10 reps. Those are arbitrary goals set by some gym teacher back in sixth grade. This plan works based on time—the ultimate motivator—and it allows you to challenge your body and push your fitness to new levels. Instead of worrying about a goal number of reps, each set is timed so you can push yourself to reach a new personal record with each workout. This approach allows you to choose if you want to perform more reps or add more weight, putting you in control of your goals. You'll be changing your body, strengthening your heart, and doing everything you need to supercharge your metabolism and look and live healthier than ever.


Do this circuit three days a week. Perform one set of each exercise in succession.

Each set consists of doing the exercise as many times as you can in 30 seconds. Use only perfect form—it doesn't count if you cheat, Mr. McGwire—and when your 30 seconds are up, give yourself 15 seconds to rest before moving on to the next exercise. Rest for two minutes after you've completed the entire sequence. Then repeat the whole process two more times for a total of three circuits per workout.

If you get tired and can't continue exercising for the entire 30 seconds, stop and rest for a few seconds, and then resume performing reps until the time is up. For each exercise, you should start with a weight that you can use for 10 to 12 perfect reps.

Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them in front of your thighs, arms hanging straight down. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position.

Pay attention to your legs and you can build a ripped new body from the ground up.

Dumbbell Plank and Row

Grab a pair of hex dumbbells with an overhand grip and assume a pushup position, your arms straight. Keeping your core stiff, balance your weight on your left arm as you pull the dumbbell in your right hand up to the side of your chest, bending your arm as you pull it upward. Pause, and then quickly lower the dumbbell. Repeat with your left arm.

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