Gaining muscle and losing fat requires precision engineering. It should come as no surprise then that the Germans — who brought us the diesel, engine, electron microscope, and Heidi Klum — pioneered it.
According to legend, during the Cold War, an Eastern Bloc scientist defected to West Germany. Where he conducted experiments on weight training for body recomposition. His team found that pairing upper- and lower-body exercises, performing moderate rep ranges. And limiting rest between sets led to increases in muscle size and fat loss.
For a taste of GBC, try this sample routine from the Men’s Health Encyclopedia of Muscle. Alternate sets of the paired exercises (marked “A” and “B”). So you’ll do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete for the pair; then move on to the next pair.
Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each pairing. Use a 2020 tempo for each as well. Rest 60 seconds after the first exercise in each pair and rest until your heart rate recovers to 60 to 65 percent of your max heart rate after the second exercise. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, rest up to 75 seconds, maximum.
If you like, perform 30 to 60 seconds of high-intensity cardio after the second exercise in each pairing. For example, do battle rope slams after the neutral-grip bench press, inverted row, and hammer curl. Then follow the same rest protocol as outlined above before repeating.
1A Front Squat
Set a barbell in a power rack at about shoulder height. Grasp the bar with hands at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips—as long as your elbows point forward, you’ll be able to balance the bar. Step back and set your feet between hip and shoulder width with toes turned out slightly. Take a deep breath and squat as low as you can while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis aligned. Take two seconds to lower your body and two seconds to come up on each rep.
1B Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie back against a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other and elbows tucked close to your sides. Press the dumbbells from shoulder level to overhead. Take two seconds to lower the weights and two seconds to press them on each rep.
OPTIONAL: 1C Battle Rope Slam
Wrap a battle rope around a secure anchor point and stand back until the lengths of rope are extended but slack enough so each end can measure up to your waist from the floor. Take an athletic stance and brace your core. Whip the ropes into the floor as fast and as hard as possible.
2A Romanian Deadlift
Place a barbell on a rack set to hip level. Grasp the bar with hands at shoulder width and pull the bar out of the rack. Step back and set your feet at hip width. Take a deep breath and bend your hips back while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis aligned. Allow your knees to bend as needed, and go until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. On the way up, squeeze your glutes and return to a standing tall position. Take two seconds to bend your hips back and two seconds to extend them on each rep.
2B Inverted Row
Grasp onto a bar, rings, or other sturdy object that’s set to about hip level. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Walk your legs forward and hang from the bar so your body forms a straight line. Draw your ribs down and brace your core. Pull your body up to the bar until your back is fully contracted. Tuck your elbows close to your sides as you pull. Take two seconds to pull yourself up and two seconds to lower your body on each rep.
OPTIONAL: 2C Battle Rope Slam
See 1C above for instructions.
3A Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
Raise the back of an adjustable bench to 90 degrees and sit on the seat so your back is supported. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and hold them at shoulder level. Keeping your core braced (think: ribs down), press the weights straight overhead. Take two seconds to press and two seconds to lower each rep.
3B Seated Hammer Curl
Stay on the bench you used for the overhead press. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the weights with palms facing in. Take two seconds to lift and two seconds to lower on each rep.
OPTIONAL: 3C Battle Rope Slam
- Sets: 3 to 4
- Reps: Hold for 60 sec.
- Rest: 60 sec. (or 60 to 65 percent of max heart rate)
Get into pushup position and then bend your elbows to lower your forearms to the floor. Hold your body in a straight line with your core braced. Note that there is no tempo for planks. 🙂 🙂