For 9 months, your physique has enjoyed plausible deniability, hidden beneath layers of dissembling fabric. But the arrival of summer exposes the truth. Lucky for you, these workouts can reverse a winter of neglect — in just 30 days. They employ density training, a technique that allows you to do more work in less time. You'll sweat enough to raise sea levels, while you burnish your muscles and torch fat. (Uncover the 6 mistakes that keep you fat.)
Complete these workouts 4 days a week. Do workout A the first day and workout B the next, and then take a day off. Repeat A and then B over the next 2 days; take 2 days off, and start again the next week. For instance, do workout A on Monday and workout B on Tuesday; then rest on Wednesday and complete the workouts again on Thursday and Friday. Restart the program the following Monday. And after 4 weeks? Find the next phase of this plan at MensHealth.com/download.
For each exercise pairing (1A and 1B, for example), alternate back and forth between sets of the two exercises, completing as many sets as possible in 10 minutes and resting only as needed. After you finish, rest for 2 to 3 minutes and then move on to the next pair of exercises. On each exercise, perform only 5 reps per set, but use a weight you can lift 10 times. Increase your rest, if needed, to complete all 5 reps.
1A. Goblet squat
Hold a dumbbell vertically next to your chest, with both hands cupping the dumbbell head. Your elbows should point toward the floor. Brace your abs, and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, and then push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Grab a chinup bar with a shoulder-width, underhand grip, and hang at arm's length. Then pull your chest to the bar. Don't allow your body to swing as you pull your weight up. Once the top of your chest touches the bar, pause, and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders with your elbows bent and your palms facing each other. Dip your knees, and push up with your legs as you press the dumbbells over your head. Keep your upper arms in line with your head as you raise the dumbbells. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
2B. Single-arm dumbbell row
Place your left hand and knee on a bench, and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Let the dumbbell hang straight down from your shoulder. Row the weight by raising your elbow straight up. Keep your torso parallel to the floor and your back naturally arched. Lower to the starting position. Do 5 reps, switch sides, and repeat.
3A. Alternating dumbbell bench press
Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a flat bench, holding the dumbbells over your chest with arms straight. Lower one dumbbell to the side of your chest, and then press the weight back to the starting position. Switch arms and repeat. That's 1 rep.
3B. Jump squat
Stand as tall as you can with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips and arms back. Pause, and jump as high as you can. Throw your hands into the air explosively to help you jump higher. When you land, immediately squat down and jump again.
Perform these six exercises as a circuit, doing one after another until all the exercises have been completed. That's 1 round. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise and rest 30 seconds before moving to the next one. Try to increase the weight you use each week. Complete a total of 3 rounds.
1. Dumbbell hang pull
Hold a pair of dumbbells just below your knees with your hips pushed back and knees slightly bent. Pull both dumbbells to shoulder height by thrusting your hips forward and standing up on your toes. Keep your lower back slightly arched, and don't round it. Return to the starting position, pause, and repeat.
2. Dumbbell pushup and row
Place a pair of hex dumbbells on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Grab the handles and set yourself in pushup position. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart to help stabilize your body as you row the dumbbell. Do a pushup, and then row one dumbbell to the right side of your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side. That's 1 rep. (To upgrade your routine, try these 14 smart pushup improvements.)
3. Reverse lunge and swing
Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest. Lunge back with your right leg as you rotate to your right and swing the dumbbell to your right hip. Then push back to a standing position as you swing the dumbbell to eye level. Repeat to the left. That's 1 rep.
4. High-knee run
Stand tall and run in place as fast as you can. Drive through the balls of your feet and try to bring your heels up under your backside so that your knees go high. Keep your hands relaxed, elbows bent, and shoulders down, and swing your arms back and forth.
5. Dumbbell swing
Hold a dumbbell with both hands at arm's length, bend at your hips and knees, and swing the dumbbell between your legs. Then thrust your hips forward and swing the dumbbell to chest level. That's 1 rep. Continue to swing back and forth.
6. Cross-body mountain climber
Assume a pushup position with your arms straight. Lift your left foot off the floor and raise your left knee toward your right elbow. Return to the starting position and raise your right knee to your left elbow. That's 1 rep. Keep your hips level and don't pause during the motion. (Learn 4 more core-carving moves.)