Exercises To Get You Ripped Fast

Chest Press
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What’s your reason for renewing your gym membership? Whether it’s to pack on muscle mass, lose excess body fat, strengthen your muscles for other pursuits, or improve how healthy you feel, establishing a solid muscle base and lowering your body fat percentage will aid your mission. Finding the best regime for you, your body shape and lifestyle is the hard part, along with the patience and determination required to succeed.

But before you begin, you need to realise that some of the things you thought you knew about exercise are completely wrong. Want big biceps? Do biceps curls! Nope, that’s not the best way to bigger arms. Want a six-pack? Do crunches! Again, that’s not the fastest or best approach. This sort of blanket statement has formed the basis of many training programmes – but it’s inadequate at best and plain wrong at worst.

Exercises involving multiple muscles and multi-joint movements, such as squats and chin-ups, are far better for increasing muscular size and strength, as well as providing you with sessions that get your heart and lungs working so you burn fat too – helping you achieve those twin aims of building muscle and losing fat.

Adjustments to classic, familiar moves can also cause rapid improvements by forcing the muscle fibres to grow to deal with the change. Here are effective variations on some of the most common gym moves for all the major muscle groups below.



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The move: Crunches The swap: Barbell rollouts

Using your abs to control the movement, roll out slowly as far as you can go, then carefully roll back in. “Your abs have to aid in flexion of the spine and control spine extension to stabilise the body throughout this tough move,' says Ben McDonald of Premier Training International.


Shoulder press

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The move: Seated shoulder press

The swap: Standing alternating shoulder press

Keep your core braced as you press a dumbbell straight up from your shoulder, alternating arms. “This brings more muscles into play to act as stabilisers and allows you to use twice as much effort, channelling all your strength into each lift,” says McDonald.



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The move: Leg press

The swap: Squats

Bracing your core, lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then drive back up through your heels. “Training your legs produces lots of testosterone, which benefits the entire body, not just your lower limbs,” says McDonald. “Squatting is a highly functional movement that’s useful for everyday life.”


Bent over rows

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The move: Lat pulldowns

The swap: Bent-over rows

Pull the bar up with a straight back and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the move.
 “This will hit your mid-traps, lats and rhomboids to open up your shoulder girdle while testing your core strength,” says McDonald.


Chest press

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The move: Bench press

The swap: Ballistic press

Press the bar away from your chest as explosively as possible. Release the bar at the top and catch it, then lower it. Make sure you have a spotter and use a smith machine for extra stability.
 “The explosive change in tempo coupled with the deceleration of the movement will fire up your fast-twitch muscle fibres and lead to greater power gains,” says McDonald.


Triceps workout

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The move: Tricep kick-backs

The swap: Dips

Lower yourself until your elbows are at 90˚, then push back up. “Just like the chin-up, this compound move will fire up your central nervous system,” says McDonald. “It does this much more effectively than isolation moves, resulting in greater strength and muscle growth.”


Chin up

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The move: Bicep curls

The swap: Chin-ups

With an underhand grip, lift your chin over the bar and slowly lower yourself until your arms are straight. “This compound move works your arms and lats, allowing you to lift more weight and thus increasing testosterone production,” says McDonald.

Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.