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Simple Muscle-building Fat-loss Workout

Q: Can you give me a simple muscle-building and fat-loss workout I can do at home twice a week? I’ve been lifting for three years, know the basics and have no problems with squats. Also, I’m good at chinups. I have a barbell, a bench and a power rack.

A: You asked for it! This workout consists of only one giant set and looks easy on paper (it’s not!), but it is especially effective at helping you drop fat fast while adding muscle. Even so, the exercises are extremely challenging, alternating between upper-body and lower-body movements.


A1) Barbell squats, 3/2/1/0 tempo, 5 x 8-10

Rest 60 seconds

A2) Chins, semisupinated grip, 3/0/1/2 tempo, 5 x 8-10

Rest 60 seconds

A3) Bent-knee deadlifts, 4/1/1/0 tempo, 5 x 8-10

Rest 60 seconds

A4) Flat-bench presses, 3/2/1/0 tempo, 5 x 8-10

Rest 120 seconds


Perform this workout twice a week, allowing at least two days’ rest between workouts—for example, perform it on Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Saturday. After six training sessions, change workouts. Again, this is a challenging routine. Note that your goal is to perform 50 reps of semisupinated-grip chinups; that is, chinups with your palms facing each other.

Now here’s a two-for-one offer. If your primary goal is fat loss and your secondary goal is building muscle, simply reduce the rest intervals for the first three exercises to 30 seconds. If you want to get lean—or should I say, “get lean fast”—you need to generate physiological stress to produce as much lactic acid and growth hormone as possible. Lactic acid buildup is associated with a subsequent release of growth hormone, which can significantly increase the body’s ability to burn fat for energy while turning off its fat-storage mechanisms.


Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit   IM


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