I stand by every routine I’ve ever made for Men's Health. They are all super effective. That being said, I don’t think there exists a more perfect workout than this one for rapid fat loss and muscle gain. The metabolic stress and muscle pumps are just off the charts.
It’s simple: select 6 movements that collectively work your whole body. Then perform each move for as many quality reps as you can in 60 seconds with 60 seconds of rest between moves. You’ll perform this circuit 3 to 5 times based on your schedule and fitness level.
But it’s not easy. In fact, it will test your mind and body to the max.
Here's a sample 6-move circuit:
1a. Single-arm dumbbell front squat (switch arms halfway)
1b. Hammer-grip pullup
1c. Kettlebell swing
1e. Single-arm dumbbell alternating reverse lunge (switch arms halfway)
1f. Assault AirBike sprint*
*If you don’t have access to an Assault AirBike or another fan bike, you can modify with a spin bike, rowing machine, treadmill, or even battle ropes. This will seriously ramp up the cardio work!
The secret sauce to this workout is the 60-60 interval.
The 60-second work periods provide an ideal time under tension to stimulate muscle growth. They also completely exhaust your anaerobic/glycolytic energy system which maximally depletes the sugar stored in your muscles. You’ll know this is happening if your muscles are getting pumped up like balloons and are burning like hell. The result is an enhanced total body fat loss during rest periods and post-workout, especially when combined with a diet that is lower in carbohydrates (mostly veggies and a little fruit with very limited starches and sugars).
The 60-second rest periods also allow for maximum intensity on each work period. Yes, we’re alternating between non-competitive exercises, but when you’re pushing this hard there is a systemic and cumulative fatigue that builds and quickly impairs exercise performance when the rest periods are too short. I’ve found that 60 seconds is the ideal length to be able to empty the tank each work period without impairing performance on the next exercise.
If you’re someone who typically panics when the rest periods are longer than 30 seconds, please understand that if you’re pushing yourself hard enough you will absolutely need that 60-seconds of rest to survive this routine.
In terms of loading and target rep ranges, you can use heavier loads for slower tempos in the 6 to 12 rep range or use lighter loads for 15 reps or more at a faster tempo. Both options will burn fat and build muscle, but the former is better for stimulating muscle growth and strength gains and the latter is better for burning fat and improving cardiovascular conditioning. Either mix between these tempo/loading options from session to session or even within the same training session for the best results. And if you don’t have the ability to adjust loads, then just keep getting more reps within each 60-second work period.
Looking for more total body fat loss workouts like this that you can do at home or one the road when traveling? Then check out my 21-Day MetaShred program from Men's Health! Want to build more muscle? Try my MetaShred Extreme from Men's Health for some serious gains!
As if this routine wasn’t already challenging enough, there’s another way to melt your face off even more! Perform a drop set by using a heavier weight for the first 30 seconds and then immediately moving to a lighter weight for final 30 seconds. You could also use a more advanced exercise variation for the first 30 seconds (like squat jumps) and then move to an easier exercise variation for the final 30 seconds (like squats).
Either way, the drop set technique will completely exhaust your fast and slow twitch muscle fibres and ramp up the fat-burning and muscle-building response. Please note that this is an advanced technique so hold off on adding it in until you get your bearings with the regular setup. And when you do add it in, save it for the final cycle or two so that you don’t conk out to early in the session.
This article originally appeared on Menshealth.com.