Short Circuits

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

No one is ever completely satisfied with the way he looks. My clients include men who are A-list celebrities, guys who are famous for their fitness. But even men like that will always view their bodies as works in progress, and they'll always be struggling to find time to exercise. That's why they keep coming back to me: I've put together a one-hour circuit-training program that attacks the entire body. (There's nothing I ask of my clients that I don't do myself; I am my own guinea pig.) The problem with most gyms, in my opinion, is that people find them boring. There's too much standing around. By combining strength training and cardio in a single workout, you kill two birds with one stone. You also move around the gym with purpose, so your heart rate doesn't drop much; at times it will probably feel as high as an SAT score. For this workout, I typically create three weight-centric stations that target three separate muscle groups. After I've done a few sets at a given stationdoing pull-ups, plyometrics, and curls, for instanceI'll use a cardio machine for two minutes. Compared with the grind that preceded it, being on the treadmill feels like a vacation. And even though you're buying yourself a moment of rest, you're still working, which is the definition of active recovery. If you integrate this hour-long plan into your weekly fitness routine, you'll be fired up about your body.

Station A
Legs and Shoulders
Do 8 to 12 reps of each exercise for one circuit; complete four circuits. Before proceeding to Station B, spend two minutes on an Airdyne bike, a type of stationary bicycle with a fan wheel and moving hand levers.

1. Squats

2. Calf Raises
If your gym has a single-leg calf machine, use that; if not, use a step. Hold a dumbbell on the side of your working leg for an added challenge.

3. Medicine-Ball Chops
Lie on your back and hold a 10-pound medicine ball over your head. Bring it toward your waist while simultaneously bringing your left leg to meet it. Touch them together and return to starting position. Alternate sides, and do 12 reps on each side.

4. Rear Deltoid Machine
Sit facing the machine with your back straight. (If your gym doesn't have this machine, use dumbbells.) Extend your arms to grip the handles directly in front of you. Pull them away from each other until they're slightly behind your shoulders and your arms are fully extended. Return to the starting position and repeat.

5. Sit-ups
Use an A-bench, which allows you to adjust the position of your feet.

6. Stair Climbing
If possible, use a "stair climber" with two pedals instead of a "stair mill" with a revolving staircase. Do 30 steps up, then turn around and do 30 steps down.

Station B
Back and Biceps
Do 8 to 12 reps of each exercise for one circuit; complete three circuits. Before proceeding to Station C, jog on a treadmill for two minutes. Set the incline to 2 percent and maintain a pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour.

1. Gorilla Pull-Ups

Hang from a pull-up bar with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Bring your knees to your chest and invert yourself until your spine is parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Vertimax Jumps
The Vertimax is a device athletes use to improve their vertical-jumping ability. You wear a belt and attach bungee cords to the sides of your hips to provide resistance once you leave the ground. If your gym doesn't have a Vertimax, do this instead: Jump as high as you can, then drop to the ground and do a push-up.

3. Fat-Bar Curls
A fat bar, as the name implies, is a thicker bar. If your gym doesn't have one, wrap a towel around a regular bar. Doing curls with a thicker bar taps your flexors and provides more of a forearm workout.

4. Crossrobics
Many gyms still have this older piece of equipment. It's great because you sit back at a 45-degree angle and pump weighted foot pedals, so it combines cardio and strength training. If your gym doesn't have this machine, do any cardio activity that will get your heart rate up--even jumping rope. The key is to replicate this machine's intensity.

Station C
Chest and Triceps
Do 8 to 12 reps of each exercise for one circuit; complete three circuits. Then punch a heavy bag for two minutes, stretch, and take a shower.

1. Standing Cable Fly
Stand between the towers of a cable-crossover station. Pull the high-pulley attachments until they meet in front of your abdomen. Return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Standing Cable Press

Stand at a lat pull-down machine. With an overhand grip, pull the bar down to your thighs. Slowly bring the bar up to your chest and then push it back to your thighs. Repeat.

3. Standing Triceps Extensions
Hold a barbell above your head with your hands shoulder-width apart, then bend your elbows so that the barbell is behind your head and your elbows are facing upward. This is the starting position. Lift the barbell overhead, return to the starting position, and repeat.

4. Wood Chops
Firmly hold a 10-pound medicine ball in your hands. Get into the same position as if you were going to chop wood with an ax. Replicate the wood-chopping motion using the ball instead of an ax. Do 8 to 12 reps on each side.

5. Barbell Push Press
Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bring the barbell to your collarbone. Keeping your torso upright, dip your knees and use your legs to help you press the barbell over your head. Lower the bar to the starting position and repeat.

As told to Joel Weber. Gunnar Peterson, 46, owns a 5,000-square-foot gym in Los Angeles, where he trains Hugh Jackman, Bruce Willis, and Jennifer Lopez, among other high-profile clients.