You can lose weight by eating better, but building brawn requires lifting more than just a fork to your face. Follow these rules for productive training.

For bigger muscles lift bigger weights

Mechanical tension – created by loads that are taxing to your muscles, connective tissue and bones – is the most important stimulus for building muscle. But you can’t grow your guns if you lift the same amount of weight every workout. By incrementally increasing your loads over the course of the programme, you challenge your muscles to become stronger in order to handle subsequent heavier weights. It should be hard to complete the final reps on your final set with good form. For a starter workout plan, stay tuned.

Devote 80% of time to big muscles

Most guys have this flipped, investing their gym hours on their biceps, triceps and deltoids. Those muscles are important, but they’re smaller for a reason: to help larger muscles during basic actions  such as pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying and throwing. Smaller muscles also won’t grow out of proportion to the larger muscles  they’re designed to assist. On The Lean Muscle Diet workout plan, you do your heavy lifts first. And that means to see big gains, you’ll need to work the big muscles with squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, chin-ups and pull-ups.

Spend 20% of time on smaller muscles

Though you’ll devote the majority of your session targeting your back, chest and legs, you still won’t ignore your assisting muscles. As with big-muscle lifts, you’ll want to increase the amount of weight you use when necessary, but more often you’ll use the same weights with the goal of piling up more reps. This will allow you to achieve what trainers refer to as deeper muscle exhaustion, which will stimulate growth.

But here’s an important note: Make sure you’re complementing your big-muscle exercises rather than repeating a similar motion. For example, change the direction of the movement (say, from horizontal to diagonal or vertical), the tools (from a barbell to dumbbells, kettlebells, or a cable machine), and the grip (from overhand to underhand or somewhere in between). Doing this works your muscles from different directions.

Stay on your feet as you sweat

Think about it: you sit at work all day. You sit in your car. You plant your butt on the sofa to watch sports. Why would you go to the gym to do more sitting? Plus, almost any exercise you can perform sitting down is based on one we used to do standing up. So stay on your feet. You’ll not only burn kilojoules but also stay more focused and engaged in your workout. Better yet, combine multiple exercises and move quickly from one to the next with minimal rest between them (don’t sit on anything between sets either).

When possible, use one arm or leg at a time. The muscles that keep you balanced and stabilized end up doing twice as much work. All this activity will create a more efficient, more effective workout that’s more likely to produce the results you want. Now get to it!

Directions: Perform the exercises in the order shown.

1/ Dumbbell Goblet Squat – Target: Upper Thighs Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell vertically at your chest, cupping one end in both hands. (Imagine it’s a heavy goblet.) Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees (touch the insides of them with your elbows). Pause, and push back up. Do 4 sets of 6 reps


2A/ Dumbbell Single-Arm Row – Targets: Upper and Middle Back Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and place your right hand on a bench. Let the weight hang at arm’s length and spread your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your back flat, pull the bell straight up to your side and lower it back down. Do 20 reps, switching arms halfway through each set


2B/ Dumbbell Bench Press – Targets: Chest and Shoulders Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie face-up on a flat bench, holding the weights above your chest. Lower the weights to the sides of your chest, and then press them back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Do 8 to 10 reps


3A/ Barbell Glute Bridge – Target: Hips Lie on your back on the floor with a barbell across your pelvis, your knees bent, and your feet flat. Push your hips toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lower the weight and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps


3B/ Inverted Pushup – Targets: Shoulders and Triceps Assume a push-up position but place your feet on a bench and push your hips up so your upper body is as perpendicular to the floor as you can manage. Bend your elbows and lower yourself as far as you can without banging your head. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps


3C/ Single-Arm Half-Kneeling Lat Pulldown – Targets: Upper Back and Biceps Attach a handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Grab it with your left hand, using a neutral grip; then kneel on your left knee in front of the weight stack. Pull the handle to your chest as you push your chest out to meet it. Return to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps, switching sides for the second set.