Pack on Muscle Like a Pro

This simple work-out routine will help you to gain the muscle you want quickly and easily. Don't worry if you are on the skinny side because these quick exercises will have you looking buff, and feeling strong soon enough.

Four Week Plan

Perform these exercises over four weeks and concentrate on working the muscle group in focus. Do the workout three days a week, with at least one day of rest between sessions. Alternate exercises with the same number (1A and 1B, for example) until you complte all of the sets in that pairing. Only then should you move on to the next pairing.

Weeks 1 and 2

  • Perform three sets of eight to ten reps of every exercise except 1A, where you'll do three sets of six to eight reps. Rest for 60 seconds between all sets, except the hang-clean ones, after which you should rest for 90 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds between exercise pairings as well.
  • The lifting tempo for exercises 3B, 4A and 4B should be two seconds up and two down. For 1A, explode up and then go back down in two seconds. For the others, one second to go up and three to go down.

Week 1

1A) Barbell Hang Clean

Grab a bar with a shoulder-width grip and dip your knees, as if you're about to jump. Quickly pull the bar up and rise onto your toes. As the bar reaches chest height, bend your knees, swing your elbows forward and catch it at your shoulders.

1B) Dumbbell Press

Lie flat on a bench, holding dumbbells above your chest. Keeping one arm straight, lower the opposing weight to your shoulder and push it back up. Repeat with the other arm and continue alternating until you've completed all your reps.

Week 2

2A) Barbell Squat

Stand holding a barbell across the back of your shoulder with an overhand grip, your hands and feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back naturally arched, bend at the hips and knees to lower your body. Push back up to the standing position.

2B) Neutral-Grip Pull-Up

Grab the parallel bars of a pull-up-bar handle so that your hands face each other. Hang with your arms straight. Pull yourself up as high as you can, aiming to clear the bar with your chin. Then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position, at a full hang.


Weeks 3 and 4

  • Perform four sets of six to eight reps of every exercise except 1A, 3B an 4B. For 3B and 4B, do four sets of eight to 10 reps each. Use the same rest-period protocol you used in weeks one and two.
  • Your lifting tempo should be two seconds up and two down for exercise 3B. For the others, it's one second up, three seconds down.

Week 3

3A) Romanian Deadlift

Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs. Maintain the natural arch in your spine and keep the weights close to your body. Push your hips back and lower the dumbbells. Squeeze your glutes and return to the starting position.

3B) Overhead Press

Stand holding dumbbells at your sides with your palms forward. Curl them up to your shoulders. Next, rotate your wrists as you press the dumbbells overhead so your palms face forward at the top. Reverse the move as you return to the starting position.

Week 4

4A) Cable Lift with Rope

Attach a rope handle to a low pulley cable; assume a half-kneeling position, perpendicular to the weights stack. Rotate your torso towards the stack and grab the rope with both hands. Explosively rotate away, raising your arms. Return to the start.

4B) Swiss-Ball Crunch

Lie on a Swiss ball so that your back curves over it. Hold a weight plate at your chest. Curl up and slightly forward, lifting your shoulderblades off the ball. Pause at the top and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.