Four Up Four Down

Get big and ripped with Hany Rambod's plateau-busting program— in just eight weeks.

Four Up Four Down

For Month's, you've been training like a beast, leaving it all on the gym floor day in and day out.  And you've been rewarded with improvements like never before. But then, one day, the gains stop coming, and no matter what you do, you can't seem to make it to the next level. So, how do you shatter through the plateau and continue progressing?

Trainer and nutritionist Hany Rambod has the answer — a quick-fix program designed to tear down the wall and get you back to where you need to be. By the time you’re done with Rambod’s intense eight-week- long assault, you’ll be big, shredded and ready to put the swagger back in your step.





“Typical programs are 12-16 weeks long. This program is only four weeks, which doesn’t give the body enough time to adapt.”



“I firmly believe that a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle, so the training is a hybrid that combines elements of both powerlifting and bodybuilding.”



“Every workout, your goal is to increase either the amount of weight or the number of reps. For example, if you exceed eight reps, increase the weight so that you’re back down to five.”


Training Overview



“Free-weight, compound movements will form the core of your workouts. They incorporate several stabilizing muscles for balance, so you work multiple muscle groups with one movement to build a solid base.”


“Start with one or two high-rep warm-up sets for your first exercise, and then pyramid up in weight over three sets so that you can safely work up to your last and heaviest set.”


“This is the ideal range for building both strength and size. You can use heavy weight to stimulate enough muscle fibers for overall growth.”



Intensity Techniques

■FORCED REPS After reaching failure, have a partner help you just enough so that you can get an additional two or three reps during the last set of an exercise.

■ NEGATIVES After reaching positive failure, have a partner help you return the weight to the starting position of the movement. Lower the weight slowly, resisting the eccentric portion of the movement. Do an additional three or four reps in this fashion for the last set of an exercise.

■ PEAK-CONTRACTION REPS Hold the contracted position of an exercise for three to five seconds each. Do this for the last three or four reps of the last set of an exercise.



WHAT: The last seven sets of an exercise (isolation or very strict com- pound movements) performed with 30-45 seconds of rest in between, using the same or greater weight to increase the pump and stretch the fascia surrounding the muscle for greater growth.

WHEN: Rambod recommends the use of fascia stretch training for only one or two lagging bodypart.

Day One

Squats- “This is the big daddy of all compound movements. Keep your head level and your back as straight as possible. Your feet should be pointed straight ahead, slightly wider than shoulder width. The goal is to use maximum weight, so don’t go lower than parallel.”

Hack squats- “Keep feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed straight ahead to hit entire quad area.”


Stiff-leg deadlifts- “Arch your back to reduce strain on the lower back and contract the hams at the top of the movement.”


Standing calf raises- “There are two big mistakes with this exercise that I see
all the time: doing it too fast and not using a full range of motion. Quick, jerky half reps won’t produce results. Do slow, controlled movements and hold the contracted position for two or three seconds.”

Day 2


Flat-bench dumbbell presses- “I prefer using dumbbells on the flat bench, because you can get a greater range of motion than you can with a barbell. Bringing your hands in closer for a tight contraction, depending on the size of the dumbbells being used, is a bonus.”


Close-grip bench presses- “Place hands just inside shoulder width and keep elbows close to the body. Contract tri’s hard at the top of the movement.”

Bench dips- “This version, as opposed to the parallel bars, lets you maintain an upright body position, which puts more stress on the triceps. Make sure the distance between benches allows for full range of motion.”

Day 4

Pullups- “Start from a dead hang and go all the way up until your upper chest touches the bar; use a spotter if you can’t do full reps.”

Deadlifts- “Along with squats, no single movement hits as many muscles as the deadlift. Plant your feet shoulder width apart. Don’t try to ‘lift’ the barbell. Keep a slight arch in your back and ‘stand up’ with the weight. Keep the bar as close to the body as possible throughout the entire movement.”

Straight barbell curls- “Take a shoulder-width grip on the bar. Roll your shoulders back to keep the stress on the biceps. Even though we’re going heavy, that’s no excuse to use sloppy form, so avoid using excessive body momentum to swing the weight up.”





Day 5

Military presses- “This works the entire shoulder girdle — it doesn’t get more basic than pushing a heavy weight overhead. Use a grip slightly beyond shoulder width and press the bar up just short of lockout. Wear a belt and use a flat-backed bench for lower- back support.”

Alternating dumbbell front raises- “Raise the dumbbells no higher than eye level to avoid transitioning stress from the delts to the traps.”

Reverse pec decks-  “Keep elbows in line with delts, wrists.”

Barbell shrugs- “Use straps to handle maximum weight.”

Hammer Strength machine shrugs- “Use a full range of motion and contract traps at top.”

Weeks 1-4 Meal Plan

“We’re going for nutrient- and calorie-dense meals to fuel heavy, intense training and pack on size.”



PROTEIN: 1.5-2 grams per pound of bodyweight

CARBS: 2.5-3 g per pound of bodyweight on training days, 2-2.5 g on rest days

FATS: 20%-25% of calories from fat


Whole Eggs- Extra
and if you
use Omega
eggs [eggs
with omega-3 fatty acids], you get healthy fats.”

Blueberries- “Contain vitamins, antioxidants, fiber — all crucial for health. And the fructose increases glycogen in the liver, which helps with thyroid function to promote optimum hormone levels, enhancing growth.”


Pasta- “You get more carbs per serving than you would in the same amount of rice or potatoes, so you can eat less and still get enough nutrients and calories without feeling too full to eat your next meal.”

Glutamine-  “Decreases muscular fatigue by buffering lactic acid buildup in muscles. Helps to
repair and build muscle,
as linked to protein
synthesis, and improves
protein metabolism.”

Low-fat or fat-free Fig Newtons- “Additional insulin spike to get amino acids into muscles.”

Salmon- “Fatty fish, such as salmon, provide
healthy fats for extra calories,
heart health and, especially, the
enhancement of joint repair, which
is important when you train heavy.”

White Rice- “White rice digests quickly, further spiking insulin to get nutrients into the muscles.”

Sirloin Steak- “Saturated fats keep testosterone levels high.”


Ground beef patty, 91-93% lean- “Red meat is a slow- digesting protein, releasing a steady stream of amino acids into the muscles, making it ideal for right before bed, since you won’t be eating for up to eight hours.”


All-natural peanut butter- “Adding peanut butter will slow down absorption of whey protein to provide
a time-release effect throughout the night.”

Weeks 5-8


FOUR WEEKS TO GET RIPPED “Flipping from one extreme to the other in such a short time span forces the body to react to a whole new set of stimuli for greater progress.”



“The muscles will be saturated with as much nutrient- rich blood as possible, stretching the fascia for further growth. The pace will be faster with less rest between sets. However, due to the greater volume, workouts will be longer in duration. This combination will help burn more calories.”



“You’re doing higher reps, but the weight should still be heavy enough so that you fail at the prescribed rep range.”


Training Overview


“Although free-weight, compound movements are still part of the program, the emphasis will shift to machine and cable movements, making drop sets easier. Isolation movements will be used to focus on specific areas of the muscle to enhance shape.”


“Start with one or two warm-up sets for your first exercise. You’ll still pyramid up in weight, but you’ll do one extra working set to increase the volume.”


“Higher reps will hit additional fibers and force more blood into the muscles for greater blood volumization, helping to stretch the fascia from the inside out.”


Intensity Techniques

■ DROP SETS After reaching failure, reduce the weight by 20%-30% and crank out as many reps as possible. Do two or three drops on the last set of an exercise.

■ SUPERSETS A method of training that pairs exercises for the same or antagonist muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, and performs a set for each muscle group back-to-back with no scheduled rest between exercises.

■ GIANT SETS An intensity technique that uses four exercises for the same muscle group done back-to-back with no rest between sets.

■ PRE-EXHAUST Perform an isolation exercise to failure, and then follow that immediately with a compound movement.

■ PRELOADED FST-7 In a switch-up, 7s, which are normally reserved for the end of the workout, are hit in the beginning. “Some don’t feel the pump at the start of the workout and this solves that problem by establishing a powerful mind-muscle connection, so you get more out of the rest of the workout,” Rambod says. “Again, it’s very intensive, so reserve it for just one or two bodyparts per week.”

Day One

Incline Hammer Strength presses- “Keep your chest up and shoulders rolled back. The handles should be at upper-chest level in the start position.”

Flat Hammer Strength presses- “Make sure the handles are at the same level as the bar would be in the bottom position forbarbell bench presses.”

Machine flyes- “Adjust the height of the seat to work the desired area of the chest; set the seat high to work the lower chest, in the middle for middle chest and low for upper chest.”



Day Two

Walking lunges- “These are great for detail. Make sure to keep your back straight and don’t let your knees drift in front of your toes, because this puts a lot of stress on the knees.”

Front squats- “Keep elbows up when balancing the weight
and keep toes pointed straight ahead.”

Standing single-leg curls- “Think of this as a concentration curl, only for the other biceps muscles. Keep your quads
on the pads and hold the contraction at the top for two or three seconds. Lower all the way down to full extensions.”

Seated calf raises- “Make sure that the pads are positioned over your knees and not up high on your quads.”

Day Three


Rope pushdowns- “Take advantage of the increased range of motion by spreading the handles apart at the bottom and turning your pinkies away from your body for a superior contraction.”

One-arm overhead dumbbell extensions- “Do these seated on a bench with support to protect the lower back.”

High-cable curls- “Take advantage of the increased range of motion by spreading the handles apart at the bottom and turning your pinkies away from your body for a superior contraction.”



Day 5


Behind-the-neck pulldowns- “At the bottom of the movement, squeeze the back muscles, emulating a rear double-biceps pose.”

Seated pulley rows- “To hit the lats, pull into your lower midsection — not your chest, which will work the traps.”

One-arm dumbbell rows- “Keep your back arched and pull into your lower obliques to stress the lower lats.”

Dumbbell pullovers- “Keep your feet together and hips low. Emphasize the bottom portion of the movement by dipping your hips as you lower the dumbbell to stretch the lats fully.”

Day 6


Cable lateral raises- “Allign your upper body with the cables and raise no higher than shoulder level to keep the stress on the deltoids. The constant tension helps etch in greater details.”

Lying Hammer Strength rear delt machine- “Arms should be parallel to the floor
in the contracted position to fully stress the rear delts.”

Dumbbell shrugs- “Lean forward slightly to work more of the lower traps.”

Smith machine behind-the-back barbell shrugs- “The machine takes away the need to balance the weight, so that you can isolate your traps more effectively.”

Week 5-8 Meal Plan

“Now we start reducing carbs and overall calories
to get harder while simultaneously increasing healthy fats to keep strength and energy levels high.”


PROTEIN: 1.75-2.5 g per pound of bodyweight

CARBS: 1-1.5 g per pound of bodyweight on training days, 0.5-1 g on rest days

FATS: 20%-30% of calories
from fat


Oatmeal- “A slow-digesting carb for a more stable release of energy throughout the day.”

Sirloin steak- “A good source of creatine, which pulls more water into the muscles
to increase muscular strength and endurance.”


Tilapia- “Low-fat, quick-absorbing source of protein.”

Wild Rice- “Due to its higher fiber content, wild rice doesn’t digest as quickly as white rice, keeping you feeling fuller between meals.”

Arginine-based nitric oxide- “Increases blood flow for better fascia stretching pumps.”


Glutamine- “Helps speed up recovery by fighting the postworkout catabolic response.”

Carbs- “Spikes insulin for rapid transport of vital amino acids into the muscles for maximum recovery and growth.”

Avocado- “Healthy fat from the avocado will help keep energy levels up during lower-carb periods.”



Asparagus- “As activity winds down later in the day, the energy from starchy carbs is
more likely to be stored as bodyfat, so we’ll replace them with fibrous vegetables.”