Workout Routines

ROCK HARD CHALLENGE — MONTH 2

New exercises and a variety of rep ranges await you in Month 2. Just

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ROCK HARD CHALLENGE — MONTH 2

>> For a full recap of the rules, pics of all the exercises and a review of the cardio suggestions for this year's Rock Hard Challenge, pick up the August issue of M&F, on sale now.

>> Just stumbling onto the Rock Hard Challenge? It's not too late. For the PDF version of the entire Month 1 training program, click here. Looking for Month 1 of the RHC diet? Click here.

>> For a downloadable PDF of the rules, click here.

>> To interact with other Rock Hard Challenge participants, ask our staff a question, or track your progress in a web-based workout log, click here.

>> To pick up the Rock Hard Challenge workout DVD, go to musclestuff.com

Most of you reading this probably have a full month of the 2008 Rock Hard Challenge under your belts. You likely found that your body got a little stronger, a little leaner and a tad more muscular. Well, now it's time to up the ante. Having laid a solid foundation, you'll now be doing more total sets (about 18-20 for large muscle groups) and performing a calculated mix of heavier and lighter reps — as low as five, as high as 15 for large muscle groups and up to 20 for abs — to stimulate the most muscle possible.

If you haven't started yet, but would like to, simply click on the link up top for a downloadable version of Month 1 of the RHC.

Again, we wish you the best of luck. Keep to the diet and supplement guidelines to speed up your progress!

Month 2 — Exercise Descriptions

Rock Hard Bodypart Split
1	Chest, triceps
2	Legs, calves, abs
3	Shoulders, calves, abs
4	Back, biceps/forearms

>> Perform each of these workouts once over a seven-day period (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, for example).

Day 1: Chest, triceps

Incline Dumbbell Press
Start: Lie faceup on an incline bench set at about a 45-degree angle. Your torso should be fully supported from your head to your hips, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms with your palms facing forward.

Execution: Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights toward the outsides of your chest. When the dumbbells reach about chest level, forcefully extend your arms, pressing the weights back up to the starting position.

Dumbbell Press
Start: Lie back on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head, back and glutes flush on the bench. Position the dumbbells just outside your pecs with a pronated, palms-forward grip, elbows bent about 90 degrees.

Execution: Drive the weights up and together in an arc to full arm extension under control — don't clang them together at the top. Peter feels a better contraction when he turns his wrists in slightly at the top. Lower under control, smoothly reversing direction at the bottom of the rep.

Decline Dumbbell Press
Start: Lie face-up on a decline bench set at about a 45-degree angle. Your torso should be fully supported from your head to your hips, with your knees bent and feet supported. Have a partner hand you a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms to hold the dumbbells up toward the ceiling with your palms forward.

Execution: Bend your arms and slowly lower the dumbbells toward the outsides of your chest. (During the barbell version, the bar would come to your lower chest). When the dumbbells reach chest level, forcefully extend your arms, pressing the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Decline Flye
Start: Adjust a bench to a 30-45-degree decline. Hold a pair of dumbbells and carefully position yourself on the bench, securing your feet under the pads. Starting with the weights on your thighs, lie back slowly while moving the dumbbells into position at full extension above your chest, palms facing each other.

Execution: Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, take a deep breath and lower the weights out to your sides in a wide, deliberate arc until your upper arms are roughly parallel to the floor or you feel a strong stretch in your pecs. Pause briefly and reverse the motion.

Close-Grip Bench Press
Start: Lie back on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the barbell with a narrow (inside shoulder-width), overhand grip. Press the bar up slightly to un-rack it, then steady the bar above your chest with your arms extended.

Execution: Lower the bar to your lower chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Do not bounce the bar off your chest, but rather when the bar approaches an inch or so away from your chest, pause and press the bar back up to the starting position. Squeeze your triceps and chest at the top.

Bench Dip
Start: Place two benches parallel to each other about 3 to 4 feet apart. Sit in the middle of one bench and face the other bench. Place your hands on the bench by your hips, fingers cupping the edge of the bench and your elbows pointing rearward. Support your body with your arms and carefully place both heels on the bench in front of you.

Execution: Squeeze your triceps and slowly lower your glutes and upper body toward the floor until your upper arms are roughly parallel to it. Pause momentarily, then press yourself upward until you come to the starting position with your arms extended.

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Start: Sit erect on a low-back bench, feet flat on the floor or on footpads. Grasp the inner plate of a dumbbell as you hold it overhead at full arm extension. Wrap your thumbs around the bar. Keep your head straight and lower back pressed into the pad.

Execution: Bending only at your elbows and holding them in place alongside your ears, lower the weight behind your head until your arms form 90-degree angles. Hold for a brief count, then press back up to full arm extension, squeezing your triceps hard at the top.

Day 2: Legs, calves, abs

Squat
Start: Stand erect, holding a bar across your upper back with your feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and your toes turned out slightly.

Execution: Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body, as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Pause when your legs reach a 90-degree angle, then forcefully drive through your heels, extending at your hips and knees until you arrive at the standing position.

Leg Press
Start: Sit in a leg press machine with your back and hips against the pads, and place your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform. Grasp the handles and press through your heels to release the safeties. Your knees should be slightly bent at the start of the movement.

Execution: Inhale and slowly lower the weight until your knees form 90-degree angles. Pause briefly before forcefully pressing the weight back up through your heels, exhaling as you pass the midpoint of the lift.

Romanian Deadlift
Start: Stand upright, holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with a pronated (overhand) grip. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.

Execution: Keeping your chest up, abs tight and the natural arch in your lower back, lean forward from your hips, pushing them rearward until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor. As you lean forward, keep your arms straight and slide the bar down your thighs toward the floor until it reaches your shins. At the bottom, keep your back flat and head neutral, with the bar very close to your legs. Flex your hamstrings and glutes, and lift your torso while pushing your hips forward until you bring the bar back to the start position.

Leg Extension
Start: Sit in a leg extension machine so the backs of your thighs are in full contact with the seat and your back is fully supported. Place your shins behind the resistance pad. Your knees should hang just off the end of the seat, forming a 90-degree angle.

Execution: Grasp the handles, inhale deeply and contract your quads against the resistance until your knees are fully extended. Exhale as you pass the midpoint, hold the peak contraction and slowly lower back to the start.

Lying Leg Curl
Start: Lie facedown on a leg curl machine with your knees just past the end of the bench. The resistance rollers should be adjusted so they rest against the backs of your ankles. Grasp the handles and inhale deeply.

Execution: Keeping your torso still, contract your hamstrings to bring the rollers toward your glutes, exhaling as you pass the midpoint of the move. Squeeze your hams hard at the top of the movement and slowly reverse direction back to the starting position.

Weighted Crunch
Start: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight plate across your chest.

Execution: Slowly curl your upper body and shoulder blades off the floor as you raise your chest and shoulders toward the ceiling. Hold the peak-contracted position momentarily while squeezing your abs. Slowly return to the start position and repeat for reps.

Double Crunch
Start: Lie face-up on the floor with your feet together and legs extended, holding them approximately 6 inches above the floor. Support your head lightly with your hands.

Execution: Crunch upward and bring your knees in toward your chest simultaneously. Your glutes should come off the floor slightly. Exhale at the top before lowering your legs and torso to the start position at the same time.

Calf Raise
Start: Stand inside a calf raise machine with your shoulders under the pads, holding the handles near your shoulders and keeping your head straight. Place the balls of your feet on the foot platform so that your heels are free to move through a full range of motion. Straighten your legs and entire body until your feet, hips and shoulders are in alignment. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead or slightly outward. Keep your abs and lower back tight.

Execution: Lower your heels toward the floor until you feel a good stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for brief count then press through the balls of your feet, raising your heels high above your toes. Hold the peak-contracted position for a moment then slowly lower your heels back toward the floor.

Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
Start: Sit on a flat bench holding a pair of heavy dumbbells on the tops of your knees.

Execution: Press your toes into forcefully into the floor until you are fully flexed at the calf. Hold the top position for a count and return to the start.

Day 3: Shoulders, abs, calves

Upright Row
Start: Stand erect with your chest out, shoulders back and midsection tight, lower back slightly arched and knees unlocked. Grasp a bar with an overhand grip, hands 8-10 inches apart, holding the bar close to your body with your arms extended down in front.

Execution: Keeping the bar just a few inches from your body, lift it up to your chin by raising your elbows so they point out to your sides. Keep your elbows up and above the level of your hands during the move and lower under control.

Smith Machine Overhead Press
Start: Position a low-back bench directly midpoint within a Smith machine, moving it backward or forward so that the bar just clears your nose in the down position. Sit erect against the bench, feet wide for balance, chest out, and grasp the bar with an overhand grip a little wider than shoulder width. Keep your head facing forward and your elbows pointed directly down when the bar is in the bottom position.

Execution: In a powerful motion, press the bar up to just short of full arm extension, avoiding lockout to keep tension on the working muscles. Press the weight up with an explosive motion on the positive rep but control the negative. Lower the bar to your upper chest, smoothly reversing direction at the bottom without bouncing.

Seated Lateral Raise
Start: Sit on a low-back bench with your feet flat on the floor in front of you, holding a pair of dumbbells with a neutral, palms-in grip, the dumbbells hanging down at your sides. Maintain a very slight bend in your elbows at the start and keep your knees unlocked.

Execution: Lift the weights out to your sides in a wide arc to shoulder level, turning your thumbs down at the top as if you're pouring water from a jug. Keep your form strict at the beginning of the set with just a slight bend in your elbows; as you start to fatigue, increase the bend a bit to make the move easier. Lower under control to the start position and repeat.

Bent-Over Lateral Raise
Start: Grasp a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and bend at the waist, with your feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, upper torso parallel to the floor. Hold the weights directly below you with your elbows slightly bent, keeping your head aligned by looking forward to reduce tension in your neck and trap muscles.

Execution: Raise your arms out to your sides in an arc; visualize pinching your shoulders together so that they almost touch. Raise the weights as high as you can without flexing or extending at the elbows.

Weighted Crunch
Start: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight plate across your chest.

Execution: Slowly curl your upper body and shoulder blades off the floor as you raise your chest and shoulders toward the ceiling. Hold the peak-contracted position momentarily while squeezing your abs. Slowly return to the start position and repeat for reps.

Double Crunch
Start: Lie face-up on the floor with your feet together and legs extended, holding them approximately 6 inches above the floor. Support your head lightly with your hands.

Execution: Crunch upward and bring your knees in toward your chest simultaneously. Your glutes should come off the floor slightly. Exhale at the top before lowering your legs and torso to the start position at the same time.

Calf Raise
Start: Stand inside a calf raise machine with your shoulders under the pads, holding the handles near your shoulders and keeping your head straight. Place the balls of your feet on the foot platform so that your heels are free to move through a full range of motion. Straighten your legs and entire body until your feet, hips and shoulders are in alignment. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead or slightly outward. Keep your abs and lower back tight.

Execution: Lower your heels toward the floor until you feel a good stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for brief count then press through the balls of your feet, raising your heels high above your toes. Hold the peak-contracted position for a moment then slowly lower your heels back toward the floor.

Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
Start: Sit on a flat bench holding a pair of heavy dumbbells on the tops of your knees.

Execution: Press your toes into forcefully into the floor until you are fully flexed at the calf. Hold the top position for a count and return to the start.

Day 4: Back, biceps/forearms

Bent-Over Row
Start: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp a barbell with a wide, overhand grip. With your chest up, back flat and knees bent slightly, bend forward at your waist until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor and the bar hangs straight down in front of your shins. Keep your head in a neutral position and your eyes fixed on the floor in front of you.

Execution: Remain in the bent-over position and bring the bar to your upper abdomen by pulling with your back muscles. Squeeze and hold for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering the bar along the same path.

Lat Pulldown
Start: Grasp the pulldown bar with a wide, overhand grip, thumbs wrapped around the bar for safety, then sit erect with a slight arch in your low back. Fit your thighs securely under the pads with your feet flat on the floor. Fully extend your arms, keep your head straight and focus your eyes forward.

Execution: Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar down to the top of your chest in a smooth motion, keeping your elbows pointed out and down to your sides. Hold this position momentarily before slowly returning the bar to the start. Concentrate on using your back muscles to pull the weight down and avoid unnecessary swaying back and forth.

Seated Row
Start: Attach a close-grip handle to the seated row cable machine and sit upright on the bench facing the weight stack. Place your feet against the platform with your legs slightly bent. Reach forward to grasp the handle while keeping your back flat, and chest up. Pull back until your torso is erect and your arms are fully extended.

Execution: Pull the handle toward your midsection. Keep your elbows close to the sides of your body. Keep your torso erect and your head in a neutral position as you squeeze your back muscles. Hold for 1-2 seconds before slowly returning to the start position.

Straight-Arm Pulldown
Start: Stand facing a cable stack and take a shoulder-width grip on a high-pulley straight-bar attachment.

Execution: Begin with your arms extended (but not locked) out in front you and parallel to the floor. Contract your lats while keeping your arms straight to pull your hands down to your thighs.

Barbell Shrug
Start: Stand holding a barbell with a palms-down (pronated) grip, your hands spaced just outside of shoulder-with apart, the bar resting across the tops of your thighs.

Execution: Keeping your eyes forward and shoulders back, raise the weight by shrugging your shoulders toward your ears, being careful not to round your upper back or flex your neck. Hold the top position for a count and return to the start.

Standing Dumbbell Curl
Start: Grasp a barbell with an underhand, shoulder-width grip and stand erect with your feet hip-width apart and knees unlocked. The barbell should be just above your thighs with your arms fully extended and a slight bend in your elbows. Lock your upper arms by your sides.

Execution: Curl the bar by contracting your biceps, bringing it to about a shoulder-level position. Don't try to bring it all the way to your chin, which would require your upper arms to come forward from your sides and reduce overall muscle stimulation. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, and slowly reverse direction.

Hammer Curl
Start: Stand erect with your chest out and shoulders back, holding a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip at your sides, arms fully extended.

Execution: Bring your weight across your body toward the opposite shoulder. Lift the weight aiming to go past 90-degree elbow flexion in a strong motion. Hold the peak contraction for a split second and slowly lower the weight, focusing on the negative. Alternate sides.

Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Start: Lean against a preacher bench with your armpits snugly resting on top of the pads and your upper arms firmly on the bench. Hold a pair of dumbbells with a supinated (underhand) grip just short of full-arm extension.

Execution: Flex your arms to bring the weight up, but not so high that the top becomes a resting point. Use a more explosive motion on the positive portion of the rep, controlling the decent back to the starting position and keeping a slight bend in your elbow to maintain constant tension.

Wrist Curl
Start: Pick up a barbell with an underhand, narrow grip and sit on a flat bench. Hang the barbell just off of the edge of the bench, your forearms in tight and flush with the pad, elbows bent roughly 90 degrees.

Execution: Keeping your thumb under the bar and moving only at your wrists, slowly roll the weight into your fingertips as far as your strength and flexibility will allow. After reaching a full stretch, forcefully contract your fingers and wrists to roll the bar back up to full flexion. Make sure to keep your thumb under the bar for the best range of motion.

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