How much can you transform your torso in just four weeks? A lot – so long as you follow this 16-session training plan to the letter. It’s been designed to work your chest and back muscles twice a week – which means your biceps and triceps also get a double whammy of workload – to completely push these major muscle groups outside their comfort zone so your body has no option but to repair the damage by building a bigger, stronger and more defined body. You’ll also hit all your other major muscles, including your legs, to increase your fat-burning potential so you can get bigger and leaner – fast.
How the plan works
In each of the four weeks of this 28-day plan you will train your chest and back twice. Sound like a lot? It is! But in some plans you only hit each muscle group every seven days, which isn’t enough of a stimulus to force your body into making positive physique adaptations.
But in this plan, doubling up each week on chest and back exercises – and therefore also working your biceps and triceps twice a week, once directly and once indirectly – will provide all the stimulus your body needs to get bigger in less time. And fear not, your shoulders, abs and legs won’t miss out on the size and strength gains: they will still get enough dedicated time each week to allow them to grow bigger and stronger.
Simply do the workouts in order, sticking to the exercises, sets, reps, tempo (explained below) and rest periods detailed. The first workout of each week targets your chest and triceps, the second your back and biceps, the third your legs and chest, and the fourth your back and shoulders.
All four weekly workouts are made up of five moves, which you’ll perform as straight sets, so you’ll simply work through moves 1 to 5 in order. That’s it!
To get the full effect from these workouts, you need to stick to the four-digit tempo code for each exercise. The first digit indicates how long in seconds you take to lower the weight, the second how long you pause at the bottom of the move, the third how long you take to lift the weight, and the final digit how long you pause at the top. X means that part of the move should be done explosively. The accumulated time under tension increases your heart rate to burn fat and break down muscle tissue so it’s rebuilt bigger and stronger. Keep each rep smooth and controlled so your muscles – not momentum – do the work.
Even if you follow every step of the workout plan to the letter, you won’t see the results you want if you’re not backing up your work in the gym in the kitchen. The obvious first steps are to cut down on fast food, takeaways and booze, and after that it’s all about getting your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and support your training regime.
A minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is a good place to start. More than that is even better, although keep your daily fruit portions to two. You should also ensure you’re getting 30g of fibre every day. Opt for wholegrain varieties where possible with your carbs to help on the fibre front.
Adequate protein intake is also essential, because it provides the fuel you need to repair and rebuild muscles after a tough workout. When training regularly you should aim to consume about 1.4-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. You can use protein powder to help, but it’s not hard (and much tastier) to get that amount of protein from food if you’re eating the right stuff.
These will deliver meals to your door that are tailored to your exact requirements, so all you have to do is stick them in the microwave. It’s more expensive than meal planning and cooking for yourself, but less expensive than a Deliveroo habit – and it’s undoubtedly the most convenient way to support this training plan if you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet.
Before you start following the workouts below – or any kind of exercise – it’s crucial that you take the time needed to warm up correctly. Ahead of tackling any of the workouts in this plan we highly recommend trying this quick gym warm-up routine from Yasmin Saadi, director and personal trainer at the fitting rooms gym.
It involves doing seven set moves like downward dog walk-outs and lunges with rotation that warm up muscles all over the body, then going into exercises that are specific to the workout you are about to do. The simplest way to do the latter is to scan through the workouts detailed below and then do one or two warm-up sets of each exercise using either very light dumbbells or an unloaded barbell.
You’ll reap the benefits of taking five to ten minutes to warm up correctly in the form of both a reduced risk of injury and improved performance during your workout. Try it once and when you smash your first few sets instead of struggling through them, you’ll never need to be convinced of the value of a proper warm-up again.