If rest periods to you mean resuming a conversation, searching for songs on your iPod, or ogling women doing plié squats in front of you, it’s no wonder you’re not seeing the results you’re after. A lean, muscular body comes from training at a quick pace. Cutting down on unnecessary rest time will heighten the fat burning effect of your workout as well as get you out of the gym faster. You’re about to be introduced to minute-on-the minute sets (MOTM), and the premise is simple: Beat the clock to beat your gut.

HOW IT WORKS

For your main exercise in each workout, you’ll perform each set at the start of every minute. That is, at the :00 mark, you’ll begin doing your reps. From the time you’re done until the top of the next minute is all you get to rest. Compare this with the normal procedure of resting a minute (or much more) between sets, and you can see how MOTM sets promote efficiency. So that you don’ fatigue too quickly, you‘ll perform a low number of reps, which also happens to be ideal for gaining strength and muscle. For instance, you’ll do 10 sets of three in Week 1 of our program, or 30 total reps. As your body’s work capacity improves, you’ll add weight and volume, until by Week 4 you’re doing 50 total reps with a greater load in approximately the same amount of time.

DIRECTIONS

Perform each workout (Days I, II, and III) once a week, resting at least a day between each session. The first exercise in each workout is done as straight sets in MOTM fashion: Begin each set at the start of the minute and rest for whatever remains of that minute when the reps are done. Begin your next set at the top of the next minute. Exercises marked “A,” “B,” and “C” are done as a triset: Complete one set of A, rest as directed, then one set of B, rest, then C, and rest. Repeat until all the prescribed sets are complete.

THE MOTM WORKOUT [PAGE 2]

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THE WORKOUT

DAY I

1. OVERHEAD PRESS
Sets: 10 Reps: 3 Rest: MOTM
Set the bar up in a squat rack or cage and grasp it just outside shoulder width. Take the bar off the rack and hold it at shoulder level with your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze the bar and brace your abs. Press the bar overhead, pushing your head forward and shrugging your traps as the bar passes your face. Choose a weight that will allow you six reps but perform only three.

2A. TRAP-BAR DEADLIFT
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 30 sec.
Use a trap bar and stand with feet hip width apart. Bend your hips back and grasp the handles. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, drive through your heels to stand up straight and extend your hips and knees. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10–12 reps per set.

2B. SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL ROW
Sets: 3 Reps:12 (each side) Rest: 30 sec.
Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend your hips back until your torso is parallel with the floor and your arm is hanging down with your thumb pointing forward. Draw your shoulder blade back and row the weight to your side. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10 reps per set.

2C. LEG EXTENSION
Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Rest: 30 sec.
Sit in a leg extension machine and align your knees to the machine’s axis of rotation. Extend your knees fully and flex for a moment at the top of each rep. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 15, 18, and 20 reps per set, respectively.

3A. INCLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 10–12 Rest: 30 sec.
Lie on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Press the weights over your chest. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 8–10 reps per set.

3B. WALKING LUNGE
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 30 sec.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the floor and your rear knee nearly touches down. Repeat with your rear leg to complete the rep. In Weeks 2 and 4, perform 10–12 reps per set.

3C. BARBELL ROLLOUT
Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 30 sec.
Place an empty bar on the floor and kneel down behind it. Your shoulders should be over the bar. Brace your abs and roll the bar forward, reaching in front of you until you feel your hips are about to sag. Roll yourself back. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 12, 15, and 15 reps, respectively.

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DAY II

1. SQUAT
Sets: 3 Reps: 3 Rest: MOTM
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and nudge the bar out of the rack. Step back and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath and bend your hips back, then bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. Choose a weight that you think will allow you six reps, but perform only three each set. 

2A. CHINUP
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 30 sec.
Hang from a chinup bar with hands shoulder width apart and palms facing you. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10–12 reps per set.

2B. STEPUP
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–12 (each side) Rest: 30 sec. 
Stand behind a bench or other elevated surface that will put your thigh parallel with the floor when you place your foot on it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step up onto the bench but leave your trailing leg hanging off. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10 reps per set.

2C. PUSHUP
Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Rest: 30 sec.
Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs braced and your body in a straight line, squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower your body until your chest is an inch above the floor. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 20, 25, and 30 reps, respectively.

3A. ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Sets: 3 Reps: 10–12 Rest: 30 sec. 
Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width grip and stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend your hips back as far as you can. Allow your knees to bend as needed until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your lower back arched throughout. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 8–10 reps per set.

3B. DUMBELL CURL TO OVERHEAD PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the weights. From there, press them straight overhead. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10–12 reps per set.

3C. KETTLEBELL SWING
Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a kettlebell (or dumbbell) with both hands and stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend your hips back, allowing the weight to swing between your legs. Explosively extend your hips to swing the weight up to shoulder level. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 20, 25, and 30 reps per set, respectively.

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DAY III

1. WEIGHTED PULL UP
Sets: 10 Reps: 3 Rest: MOTM
Attach a weighted belt to your waist or hold a dumbbell between your feet. Hang from a pullup bar with hands just outside shoulder width, palms facing forward. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Choose a weight that you think will allow you six reps, but perform only three each set; if you can’t complete your reps with weight, it’s OK to use body weight alone. 

2A. GOBLET SQUAT
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell vertically by one end, using both hands to support it. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Sit back and squat down as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10–12 reps per set.

2B. DUMBELL BENCH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a flat bench with hands at shoulder level. Press the weights over your chest. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10 reps per set.

2C. HANGING LEG RAISE
Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 30 sec.
Hang from a pullup bar with hands outside shoulder width and raise your legs to meet the bar. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 12, 15, and 15 reps per set, respectively.

3A. SEATED CABLE ROWS
Sets: 3 Reps: 10–12 Rest: 30 sec.
Attach a straight or lat-pulldown bar to the pulley of a seated row station. Sit on the bench with your feet against the foot plate and knees slightly bent. Grasp the bar and row it to your sternum, squeezing your shoulder blades together in the end position. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 8–10 reps per set.

3B. SINGLE-LEG RDL
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 (each side) Rest: 30 sec.
Hold dumbbells in your hands and stand on your left foot. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, push your hips back and bend your knee as needed to lower your body until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. In Weeks 2 and 4 only, perform 10–12 reps per set.

3C. HAMMER CURL
Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 30 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing yoursides. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the weights at the same time. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, perform 12, 15, and 15 reps per set, respectively.

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