When it comes to packing more into less time Optimum Nutrition athlete Shaun Stafford wrote the book – here’s Part One of his exclusive RISING plan for building new muscle with just three workouts a week
Why You Don’t Need A Perfect Start
So, another year is upon us, and with it another chance to start building a new body. Shaun Stafford is one of the UK’s top fitness models, and personal trainers – he also has a two-year old son so he knows all about fitting training into a busy schedule. He says a lot of people never start a workout programme because they think the preparation needs to be perfect for it to work. ‘My advice is it doesn't have to be perfect; you just have to do it. So you don't need that eight hours' sleep, you don't need that meal prep. You just get in there and get your hands dirty. Roll up your sleeves and just go at it; you'll be fine!’
‘That extra level of intensity is actually a key factor in what really makes your body change’
The other thing you should know is that workout consistency will have more effect on changing your body than workout frequency. Blasting yourself with five workouts in one week but none for the next three isn’t going to do anything for your long-term goals. Even if you just get three workouts a week, every week, then you’re going to see progress. ‘Because you're only doing it three times a week, you know that you've got to put it all in. I think that extra level of intensity that you can put to a workout when you're training less regularly is actually a key factor in what really makes your body change.’
To stick with it, Stafford recommends setting a personal goal that’s actually meaningful. ‘To set an effective goal, you've really got to ask yourself why you want to do it. That ‘why’ becomes intrinsic to you, something that motivates you from within rather than just, “I want to look good” because that, at the end of the day, won't be that important to you. So, when push comes to shove and you've got to make that decision of doing something to take you closer to your goal, or doing something that's going to take you further away, you make the right choice.’
New Muscle & Strength Workout One
How To Do It: After a 10-15 minute warm up, do these exercises in order, with 90 seconds rest in between each set and two minutes between each exercise. (If you have not done the exercises before ask a PT to demonstrate and monitor your form.) Add this workout into your exercise plan in preparation for Part Two’s workout next week.
1. Bench Press
Reps: 6-8 Sets: 4
Slowly lower the bar as far as is comfortable with feet flat on the floor
Drive the bar upwards as you exhale but don’t lock out your arms
Use a spotter and keep control of the bar at all times.
2. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
Reps: 6-8 Sets: 4
Keep your back neutral as you lower, bend at the hips and slightly bend your knees
Drive through your legs and hips to lift
Do not let your back round out, or your shoulders slump down.
3. Incline Dumb-bell Press
Reps: 8-10 Sets: 3
Use the ‘palms almost facing’ grip as shown to put your shoulders in a good position
Drive the dumb-bells straight up without locking out your elbows
Briefly pause to control the weight before lowering for a three-count.
4. Swiss Ball Bridge And Roll
Reps: 8-10 Sets: 3
Brace your core and keep a straight line between shoulders and knees
Keeping that straight line, bend the knees to roll the ball back under your feet
Pause for a one-second isometric hold before rolling back.
5. SUPERSET: Press-up/ Dumb-bell Swing
Reps: 10-12 of each Supersets: 3
Do the set of press-ups then go straight into the dumb-bell swings
Straighten at the hips to lift the weight up with a slightly bent arm
Aim to keep the weight at shoulder-level at its highest point.
WHAT NEXT? Done the workout? Then make sure you fuel your post-session recovery with a meal or shake containing 30-40g of protein and carbs – don’t forget to put your feet up too! And look out for Workout Two of this plan, coming soon…
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your Doctor before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.
Workout images ©Matt Ray
Follow the writer @mattfitnessray