You have this recurring dream: it’s the first weekend of summer. You approach the pool and remove your shirt. You hear a gasp. Is it your swollen biceps? Your wind-chime abs? Or is it the fact that you somehow forgot to wear your costume?

You wake up, happy to realise you’re not actually poolside and naked. Biceps and abs? Those, alas, also exist only in your dreams. Now you must decide which to tackle before Heritage Day, the unofficial start of vest and tight T-shirt season. Surely you can’t muscle up and whittle your middle by then. Or can you?

Scientists in Canada and the UK suggest that it’s possible to increase muscle size by up to 6% in a month – if you hit your muscles with the same moves each week.  And if your training plan also keeps your metabolism humming, you’ll lose excess baggage as well. So three days a week, work your beach muscles with this three-exercise circuit devised by Chad Waterbury, author of Huge in a Hurry.

Start with 10 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting. Then do nine reps of each, then eight, and so on until you finish with single reps. On your alternate days, complete the workout on this month’s pull-out poster. Yes, that’s a lot of exercise. To pull this off, you’ll have to work hard, eat clean and sleep well. And if it doesn’t work? Of course it will! What, you think I just dreamed this up?

Lou Schuler is an award-
winning journalist and the 
co-author (with Alwyn Cosgrove) of The New Rules 
of Lifting Supercharged.

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