This year, Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health’s fitness director, will guide you through the MH Ultimate 10, a series of month-long training plans designed to get you the specific results we know you want, from a six-pack to arms of steel. This is the first installment—next month, we’ll give you more.
To help you recover from holiday gluttony, we turned to Sean Garner, N.S.C.A.-C.P.T., creator of Project DadBod, for a full-body session. For the past eight years, Garner has worked with hundreds of guys to help them reclaim their best bodies without turning every workout into a suffer-fest.
This program emphasizes four key ways you move: a push, a pull, a hip hinge, and a squat. You’ll also target your abs, and you will redline your heart rate with bursts of cardio. The result: awakened muscles and lubricated joints, setting you up for a great year of fitness. Let’s get started!
Do the 3-minute warmup, then do 3 rounds of the workout circuit. Do this workout 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks.
Do each drill for 60 seconds. Don’t count reps; focus on form and take your time.
1. T-Spine Rotation to Downward Dog
Start in pushup position. Keeping your left leg straight, place your right foot just outside your right hand. Hold. Lift your right arm and reach for the ceiling. Hold, then return to pushup position. Shift your feet forward slightly, then raise your hips high. Try to form a straight line from your hands through your hips while also trying to keep your legs straight. Hold, then return to the start. That’s 1 rep.
2. Toe-Touch Squat
Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart, arms held in front of you. Keeping your back flat, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at your hips until your hands touch your toes. When they do, bend at the knees so you finish in a low squat position. Reach your arms overhead. Stand back up. That’s 1 rep.
3. Sprint Buildup
Start standing. For 15 seconds, march slowly in place, lifting each knee as high as you can on each step. Then jog in place for 15 seconds. Finish by speeding up to an all-out sprint for 30 seconds, moving as quickly as you can. Aim to lift each foot up as fast as possible once it touches the floor.
Eb says: “During the march, lift each knee so it’s at least as high as your hip. Pause, balancing on your grounded foot. It’s an underrated challenge.”
Do the exercises in order. Rest for 60 seconds between rounds. Each week, on all moves except the hollow body hold, reduce the reps you do for each exercise by 1 and slightly increase the weight.
1. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Stand holding medium-weight dumbbells at your sides, feet hip-width apart, core braced, knees slightly bent. This is the start. Hinge at your hips and push your butt backward, lowering your torso. Hinge until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Pause, then stand up, squeezing your glutes. That’s 1 rep; do 12.
2. Alternating Dumbbell Row
Stand holding medium-weight dumbbells. Hinge at your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. This is the start. Squeeze your shoulder blades and row the right dumbbell to your chest. Lower it and repeat with the left dumbbell. That’s 1 rep; do 12.
Eb says: “This is great core work, too. Contract your abs hard one very rep and fight the urge to rotate your torso as you row the weight upward.”
3. Side-Plank Press
Start in a left-side plank, your left elbow on the floor and your torso and hips tight, a light dumbbell in front of you. Grasp the dumbbell with your right hand. Continue pressing your hips upward as you lift the dumbbell off the floor and pull it close to your right pec. Press it toward the ceiling, then return it to the floor. That’s 1 rep; do 12 per side.
4. Glute Bridge Floor Press
Lie on the floor holding medium-weight dumbbells, upper arms on the floor, elbows bent 90 degrees. Tighten your glutes and push your hips upward. Press the dumbbells upward. Pause, then lower them back to the start. That’s 1 rep; do 12.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
Place your right foot on a bench or box that’s about knee height, bending your knee slightly, and step your left foot about 18 inches away. Your left leg should be almost straight. Hold medium-weight dumbbell sat your shoulders. Bend your left knee, sitting back; your right knee will bend more as you do this and nearly touch the floor. Hold when your left thigh is parallel to the floor, then stand back up. That’s 1 rep; do 12 per side.
Eb says: “This move shouldn’t just build muscle; try to feel a strong stretch in your back leg’s hamstring and hip flexor.”
6. Hollow Body Hold
Start lying on your back, arms and legs extended. Tighten your abs, pressing your lower back into the floor as you do so. This should lift your legs off the floor; work to keep them straight. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor as well; keep extending your arms back as you do this. Hold for 30 seconds. That’s 1 rep; do 3 to 5.