Cable Row
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine

Workout #1: Opposing Muscle Groups

Time: 15 Minutes

Charles Staley’s Escalating Density Training (EDT) is a favorite around the Muscle & Fitness office for two simple reasons: 1, it’s quick and 2, it works! The idea here is to work opposing muscle groups for a given amount of time, rather than simply measuring sets and reps. When one muscle group is resting from the set, you’re working the other – continually building the intensity.

SEE ALSO: The Push-Pull Upper Body Workout

Choose a weight that’s roughly your 20 rep max and start with sets of ten. This may seem easy, but remember that you’re doing this for 15 minutes with as little rest as possible so you’ll definitely feel the lactic acid building. When you’re done with one set, move right into the exercise for the opposing body part, and continue in this manner until the time is up. The key is to count the total reps done within that time frame and then increase it the next week. In this manner you’re constantly improving, which is the key to building muscle.

Sets: as many as it takes in the allotted time
Reps: 10
Rest: minimal, taken as needed
Opposing Muscle Groups

Day 1 – Front Squat/Seated Cable Row
Day 2 – Dumbbell Bench Press/Seated Cable Row
Day 3 – Deadlift/Chinup
Day 4 – Pullup/Pushup

hang clean

Workout #2: Compound Exercises

Time: 15 Minutes

For this training session you’ll be performing complex moves that involve the combination of several exercises into one. If done correctly, by the time 15 minutes is up you’ll find muscles that you didn’t even know you had. Start with the exercise known as the bear, which uses a barbell and follows this sequence without putting it down: power clean the bar to your shoulders, front squat right into push press. But rather than just dropping the bar to your chest, from the fully extended portion of the push press you’ll lower the bar behind your head onto the back of your shoulders. From this position perform a back squat. Move right into a behind-the-neck press, and finish at the starting position with the bar in front of you at upper chest level. That’s one rep.

SEE ALSO: 3 Compound Combination Moves for Total Body Fitness

After 2 consecutive reps of the bear, set the bar down and move right into chinups supersetted with pushups. Start with sets of 12 reps each, and increase the number as your training progresses. Together, this bear-chin-pushup combination will constitute one set. Rest 30 seconds after each set and move into the next sequence.

Sets: 5
Reps: 1
Frequency: 2-3 days/week


Workout #3: HIIT Cardio

Time: 15 Minutes

Did you know that a short cardio session can be an effective workout for building muscle? At least it can be when it’s high intensity interval training (HIIT). Research from the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK) has shown that less than 20 minutes of training on a cycle ergometer can improve lean muscle mass in as little as 3 weeks. The trick is that you have to use HIIT with beta alanine supplementation. 6.4g/d (in 2 divided doses) of the latter and a bike are all you need. After your warmup, start with 2 minutes of high intensity cycling and 1 minute of lower intensity recovery (a 2:1 work:rest ratio). Continue in this manner until all sets are completed.

SEE ALSO: HIIT 100s: Carve Up Your Physique in 6 Weeks

Sets: 5
Intensity Interval: 2:1 Work:Rest
Frequency: 3 days/week