July 07, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
I know, you’ve heard it before: “You can build muscle and lose fat, and all it takes is 20 minutes a week!” I’m sure there’s an infomercial on right now making the same claim, but the program I’m about to reveal really does deliver. Honest!
Here it is, but don’t blink because it’ll go by pretty quick…
1. Back Squat
3. Bent-Knee Deadlift
4. Parallel-Bar Dip
Loading parameters: 1 set, 20 reps, 2-0-1-0 tempo, 5-minute rest interval
Now on screen this little routine doesn’t look too daunting, especially when you’re doing only 1 set of each exercise with 5 minutes of rest in between, but here’s the catch: Each set is conducted with a 10 repetition maximum (RM) load. In plain English, that means that you’ll perform 20 reps with a load that you’ll normally max out with at 10 reps!
How’s that possible?
It’s called rest-pause training: You take a set to failure (which in this case is 10 reps), rest for 5-10 seconds, then squeeze out another rep or two, rest again for 5-10 seconds, and keep going in this manner until you reach 20 reps. At that point, you’ll probably collapse! By the time you regain consciousness, 5 minutes should have elapsed and it’s time for the next exercise.
The “20 reps with a 10RM load” method is not new by any means. Randall Strossen’s classic book, Super Squats, was based on this age-old concept. What’s new, however, is applying this method to other exercises besides the squat and arranging them in a specific manner for maximum effect.
Now although this concept has been around for ages and it works, it does require some serious mental and physical fortitude. When both your body and mind say “STOP”, you’ve got to keep going. The human body prefers homeostasis – it likes to retain the status quo – you need to force it outside of its “comfort zone” in order to adapt. What’s comforting, though, is that you’ll have a full week to recover before your next workout.
A word of warning: Don’t start with your true 10RM right off the bat. You won’t last long! Use about 75% of that weight for squats and deadlifts and just go with body weight for chins and dips. Make sure to warm-up thoroughly beforehand and increase the load slightly each workout (i.e., 5-10 pounds on the chin/dip belt and 5-10 pounds a side on the barbell).
Back in the ‘80s, the 20 Minute Workout television program was very popular – the women loved it because they thought they were getting a great “aerobic” workout, and the guys loved it because of the attractive ladies! (Actually, I trained one of the producers of the show and he told me that it’s still popular today in many prisons.)
This 20-minute “strength” workout will not be quite as popular. Trust me, you’ll dread it, but if you train hard and eat right, you’ll finally get to spend more time outside of the gym than inside it… and you’ll get results!