By: James Bull, model and rugby star
The idea of this training programme is not to build excessive amounts of muscle but to tone what is already there and improve the overall physique, although if performed regularly and strictly the programme will inevitably lead to significant gains as your body adapts to the new strains it is being put under.
The main aim of this programme is to increase your metabolism, which is basically the rate at which your body is able to burn stored fat stores. You could have the best six-pack in the world but if it is hidden beneath a layer of subcutaneous fat then no-one is ever going to see it.
You will see that I have not given any guidelines on what weight to use. This is done so on purpose. What you need to do is concentrate on form. If you have to sacrifice your form for the purpose of shifting more weight you are simply lifting too much. The weight needs to be heavy enough so that you can feel the muscle working but not more than that.
You may think you look good with the bigger dumbbells in the gym but at the end of the day you are only cheating yourself. Focus more-so on the phenomenon known as the "mind-muscle connection". You will instinctively know if you are working properly or not. If you really want that improved physique in around six weeks and in time for summer you must focus properly.
If done with correct for then you will damage the muscles enough for them to hypertrophy (grow) at the appropriate rate. This is the crux of muscle building. Each session when performed correctly will have the effect of creating minute tears in the muscle fibres. With rest and recuperation the muscles will repair themselves by growing over these tears and in turn grow larger in order to cope with the new stresses they are being subjected to.
The exercises provided hit a different group each session with the aim of efficiently fatiguing that specific area which forces a more intense workout. Whole body workouts are fine if you merely want a generally toned physique but the general rule of thumb is that you can not devote sufficient time in one session to properly working the whole body and expect any adequate gains in muscle mass. Target sessions for target muscle groups. For example, one day you might hit back, have a day rest and then go all out hitting chest knowing that you are allowing your back to grow and not hitting it all again directly two days later.
The aim of this programme is to get in the gym, blast through the session and get out. The problem with many people is they think they have to be in the gym for hours and this hampers their motivation. This is simply not the case. You want to be in and out quick but intense. Your muscles do not grow whilst you are in the gym. You are merely triggering the biological process and creating the right muscle building atmosphere prompting their growth. They begin to grow once you are out of the gym and resting.
That is also why hitting each muscle group once a week is sufficient as any more will lead to overtraining, lack of motivation and injury. Also, if you spend too long training your body begins to produce a chemical called Cortisol (the same is released when you are stressed) and this causes muscle breakdown, which in turn will undo any good work you have done. If you have worked properly during each session they will need this time to repair and recover.
One last thing before you embark on your programme is to remind you to check in around each six week period so that the exercises in the programme can be altered using alternatives. It is around the six week mark on any new programme that people often reach what is known as training plateau (a quick steep curve of improvement followed by a levelling off). The problem is that a dramatic improvement is often experienced early on in the programme as the body reacts and is forced to change n order to deal with its new stresses. However, the body is a very adaptable machine and will soon get used to performing the new regime, and once it is used to it, will cease to change.
This is often the point where people give up and lose motivation because they are not continually improving. All that needs to be done is to alter the programme in a way that shocks the body into growing and adapting once again. The trick is to keep it guessing and never let it get too used to any one set of exercises.
Cardio & Abs
On the days you are not carrying out exercise within the resistance programme you should be looking to perform two to three 20 minute cardio sessions each week just to aid the fat burning process. There are schools of thought that say if your weights sessions are intense enough you do not need to be performing cardio although I don't think it does any harm in shifting that little bit extra excess baggage.
I do not need to instruct you on what to do for these sessions should you choose to do them. Take your pick, for example: swim, bike, run, etc. just remember that they need to be around this length or more as the body does really begin to shift stored fat until around the 15 minute mark and before it is simply using carbohydrates stores for fuel to burn.
It is entirely up to you but I tend to hit abs on my cardio days. A variety of crunches will be sufficient for your goals and at this stage I would not recommend using any extra weight with these other than that of your own body.
CHEST & SHOULDERS
Incline dumbbell press= 3 sets x 12 reps
Flat dumbbell Flyers= 3 sets x 12 reps
Dumbbell pullover= 3 sets x 12 reps
Dumbbell laterals= 3 sets x 12 reps
Seated military press= 3 sets x 12 reps
Front dumbbell raises= 3 sets x 12 reps
Leg press= 3 sets x 12 reps
Leg curl= 3 sets x 12 reps
Leg extension= 3 sets x 12 reps
Standing / seated calf raises= 3 sets x 15 reps
Seated cable rows= 3 sets x 12 reps
Alternate dumbbell rows= 3 sets x 10 reps
Hyperextensions= 3 sets x 15 reps
Seated dumbbell shrugs= 3 sets x 12 reps
Seated lat pull downs= 3 sets x 12 reps
Cable curls= 3 sets x 12 reps
Alternate dumbbell curls= 3 sets x 8 reps
Concentration curls= 3 sets x 8 reps
Triceps pushdowns= 3 sets x 12 reps
Dips= 3 sets x 12 reps
Seated overhead dumbbell extensions= 3 sets x 12 reps