Basic exercises seem like a nasty infomercial: Get ripped in less time! We’re conditioned to believe that jaw-dropping, body-transforming results are achieved only by fixing the hours. But if you have been adhering to the muscle-isolating back-and-bi, chest-and-tri gospel, the reality is, you’re doing it wrong.
It’s the approach Davidson takes when drawing up the regimens of Peak’s celebrity clients, including Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, and Jimmy Fallon. The time-crunched like it because it’s an efficient and effective workout—more taxing on the muscles, resulting in increased strength and a faster metabolism. Plus, you are not lost when your trainer isn’t around. “If you recognize the fundamentals, it’s incredibly simple to create your own workout,” Davidson says.
How It Works
Pick one move from each of those categories. Then do 2 sets of 12 reps. Change up the moves but repeat the plan 3 or 4 times every week. For cardio extra credit, see the add-ons below.
The Ultimate: Bench Press
Lie face-up on a bench, holding an important barbell at your sternum, hands shoulder-width apart, elbows bent into sides. Extend arms, pushing bar directly above chest. Pause, then lower the barbell to start out.
The Alternates: Push-up, dumbbell shoulder press, single-arm kettlebell press, push press
The Ultimate: Pull-up
Hang from a bar with palms facing far away from you, arms straight, knees bent so feet don’t touch the floor. Bend elbows, pulling chest toward the bar. Slowly lower yourself to start out.
The Alternates: Dumbbell row, TRX row, chin-up, cable row, lat pull-down
The Ultimate: Deadlift
Set an important barbell on the ground ahead of you. Push hips back as you bend forward, grabbing the bar with hands quite shoulder-width apart, palms facing the body. Keep back straight as you get up, lifting the bar and thrusting hips forward. Slowly lower the bar to start out.
The Alternates: Kettlebell swing, Romanian deadlift, trap-bar deadlift
The Ultimate: Split Squat
Stand on your right leg, left foot resting on a bench or box behind you, and hold an important dumbbell in each hand. Bend right knee, lowering body until left knee hovers just above the bottom. Straighten right leg, returning to start out. Complete all the reps on one side before switching legs.
The Alternates: Barbell squat, lunge, goblet squat, reverse lunge
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The Ultimate: Farmer’s Walk gets up straight holding an important dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the body. Maintain your posture as you walk 20 meters. Turn, repeat, returning to start out.
The Alternates: Plank, bird dog, side plank, suitcase carry
To check off cardio, too (and send your metabolism into even higher gear), add one among these five-minute bursts to your five-move session, suggests Davidson. “Make it the worst five minutes of your life,” he says. The results: less fat, more definition.
Do More Reps
Load a barbell with a weight that’s about 70 percent of what you’ll lift just one occasion, then choose one among the five movements and perform as many reps as you can—without breaking form.
On a rowing machine, row as many meters as possible in 5 minutes. With each workout, plan to increase that distance by one-hundredth.