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[WOTM, 01/2014] Torch Fat & Spark Muscle Growth With Lean It UP’s 2014 Body Reconstruction Workout Gauntlet

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Twenty-fourteen is the year of reconstruction. Recomposition. Using exercise to build a superior, enhanced, efficient, lean machine — one that emphasizes cutting BODY FAT and constructing lean muscle mass; not just losing/gaining weight.

January’s WOTM — Lean It UP’s 2014 Body Reconstruction Workout Gauntlet — kicks the training game up a stratosphere with a high-powered workout split that’s designed to challenge your body across new movement patterns, amplify the intensity, and provide a potent impetus to spark fresh new muscle growth.

Using a hybrid of heavy, uber-intense, compound exercises and fat-incinerating HIIT cardio, the body is able to shred muscle fibers (both type I & II), surge and optimize beneficial hormones (think hGH and testosterone), and ultimately cultivate a system that’s concurrently building muscle, knocking off calories, and torching body fat.

And if a chiseled-out set of abs is your chief concern, you’ll grind those out too. High-impact ab exercises are baked in — including cable crunches and the Lower Abs Trifecta (LAT) — as a way to push your core into the “growth zone;” directly after it’s already been demolished by squats, deadlifts, and other exercises that leverage the abs for anchor strength.

Jump in ASAP and run the gauntlet for the next 8 weeks. You’ll feel energized, reconstruct your body, and arrive at a stronger, leaner, more functional you come spring.

[WOTM, 01/2014] Lean It UP’s 2014 Body Reconstruction Workout Gauntlet

workout plans, gym workout routines, gym workout routine, weight loss workout plan, full body workouts, total body workout, upper body workout routine, lower body workout routine, workout plan, workout split, workout routine, full body workout, full body workout routine, 2014 workout, 2014 workout plan, 2014 workout routine, 2014 workout split, 2014 full body workout, 2014 abs workout

Lean It UP’s 2014 Body Reconstruction Workout Gauntlet is split into two different workout plans — lower body + abs (A); upper body + HIIT cardio (B) — each of which is set-up to be completed 2x per week. That’s a total of 4 workouts per week, minimum.

Here’s our recommended cadence, attached to days of the week (but feel free to shift it depending on your own schedule):

  • Monday: Workout A — Legs + Abs
  • Tuesday: Workout B — Upper Body + HIIT Cardio
  • Wednesday: OFF
  • Thursday: Workout A — Legs + Abs
  • Friday: Workout B — Upper Body + HIIT Cardio
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: OFF

For a more advanced, rigorous schedule that’ll produce quicker results, follow a 4-2-4 cadence. This won’t align consistently with the same weekdays; simply cycle depending on where you last left off.

  • Monday: Workout A — Legs + Abs
  • Tuesday: Workout B — Upper Body + HIIT Cardio
  • Wednesday: Workout A — Legs + Abs
  • Thursday: Workout B — Upper Body + HIIT Cardio
  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: Workout A — Legs + Abs

Use a weight that allows you to complete the given # of reps, but that’s also challenging enough so that you can’t do many more. Gradually increase the weight over time as you gain strength.

Rest 60-90s between sets, with the exception of super sets (zero rest).

*Click each exercise name for a video demo. A printable recap is available here.


1. WARM-UP — Low-Intensity Cardio

Protocol: 5 minutes of light cardio

Start with 5 minutes of low-intensity cardio. Pick your favorite method – the treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bike, elliptical, arc trainer, etc. are all great options to warm up your muscles and increase blood flow. Jumping rope works well, too.


2. Barbell Squats

Barbell Squats

Protocol: 4 sets, 12 reps

Target Muscle(s): Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Butt)

Stand shoulder-width apart with a barbell across your traps (1).

Stick out your butt, maintain a flat back, and lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (2). Drive up through your heels and return back up to start (1).

Keep your abs tight throughout the entire movement.


3. Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian Deadlifts

Protocol: 3 sets, 12 reps

Target Muscle(s): Legs (Hamstrings, Butt)

Stand upright and hold a barbell in front of your body at thigh height (1). Place a slight bend in your knees, maintain a flat back, bend at the waist, and slowly slide the weight along the front of your legs until it reaches your shins (2).

Hold the stretch for 1s, powerfully contract your butt, and accelerate back up to starting position (1).

Unlike a traditional deadlift, your hips/butt don’t move vertically — keep them stationary and emphasize the stretch behind your knees during the downward part of the motion.


4. Barbell Reverse Lunges

Barbell Reverse Lunges

Protocol: 3 sets, 12 reps/leg

Target Muscle(s): Legs (Hamstrings, Quads, Butt)

Stand tall with a barbell loaded on your back. Tighten your core, draw your shoulders back, and stagger your feet so that your left leg is in front of your right (1). Take a step backwards with your right foot and lunge down until your knee is slightly above the floor/left quad is parallel to the ground (2).

Powerfully press through your heel and glutes, and explosively ascend back up to starting position (1). Repeat a full set with your right side and then switch to the left.

For more info, refer to our full how-to write up here – UberExercise: Barbell Lunges.


5. Ab Planks

Ab Plank

Protocol: 2 sets, 120 seconds (or as long as you can)

Target Muscle(s): Abs (Transverse Abdominis, Rectus Abdominis)

Extend out into push up position, but with your elbows on the floor — they should sit directly under your shoulder joint, forming a 90°angle with the ground. Maintain a flat back and neutral spine, keep your core tight, and don’t let your butt droop.


6. Goblet Squats

Goblet Squats

Protocol: 3 sets, 12 reps

Primary Muscles: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Butt)

Stand upright and hold a dumbbell/kettlebell with two hands so that it’s in line with your collarbone (1). Keep it at this height throughout the movement to simultaneously hit the shouldersbiceps, and triceps, while maintaining strong posture.

With your chest puffed out and your abs tight, slowly drop down until your quads are BELOW parallel (2), hold .5s, and explode upwards through your glutes. Ascend through your heels, not your toes.


7. Cable Crunches

Kneeling Cable Crunches

Protocol: 2 sets, 12 reps center + 10 reps left + 10 reps right

Primary Muscles: Abs (Rectus Abdominis, Obliques)

Attach a rope handle attachment to the top of a cable pulley station. Grab the rope with both hands and lower your body down onto both knees. Stick your butt out, set your hips back, and form a 45° angle with your torso.

Tighten your abs, puff out your chest, and slowly — WITHOUT moving your hips — crunch your abs down towards the floor. Once your chest is roughly parallel with the floor, SQUEEEEEZE the life out of your abs for 1.5 seconds.

Slowly extend your back, stretch out your abs and spine, and return to the starting position. Increase the weight as your abs strengthen.


8. Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian Split Squats

Protocol: 2 sets, 10 reps/leg

Target Muscle(s): Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Butt)

Stand perpendicular to a flat bench with the laces of one foot on top, with the opposite foot split out on the ground in front. With a light dumbbell in each hand, slowly squat downward until your front quad is parallel with the floor.

Maintain strong posture throughout the movement and keep your front toe in line with your front knee. Your foot shouldn’t extend further out or fall short of your knee cap.

Complete 10 reps, switch legs, and repeat with the other side.


9. The Lower Abs Trifecta (LAT)

The Lower Abs Trifecta (LAT)

Protocol: 2 sets

Primary Muscle(s): Abs (Lower Abs, Obliques)

The Lower Abs Trifecta (LAT) is a strategic superset that hypertargets and blasts the lower abs. It involves three exercises — Pulse Ups, Reverse Crunches, and Ab V Holds — performed in succession. Check out our full walkthrough guide here.

Here’s a summary of how to do it:

  • 1. Find an open floor space or grab a flat weight-lifting bench — that’s all you’ll need to start.
  • 2. Complete 15 Ab Pulse Ups. Once this gets too easy, hold a dumbbell in between your feet as you pulse upwards.
  • 3. Without resting, immediately do 12 Reverse Crunches. Once this gets too easy, hold a dumbbell in between your feet as you crunch inward.
  • 4. Without resting, immediately do an Ab V Hold for 60 seconds, or for as long as you can.


10. Stability Ball Crunches

Stability Ball Crunches

Protocol: 2 sets, 12 reps center + 10 reps left + 10 reps right

Target Muscle(s): Abs (Rectus Abdominis, Obliques)

With your lower-middle back firmly against the top of a Swiss ball and your hands behind your head, slowly extend backwards beyond 180º (A). Powerfully crunch upwards, holding the contraction for 1 second (B). The movement should be slow and deliberate, with your back remaining in contact with the ball throughout.

Once your abs get stronger, increase the difficulty by holding a medicine ball or dumbbell behind your head and/or increase the number of reps.

Pages: Workout A | Workout BPrintable Recap

Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

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  • Ndub

    I know the cardio in this program is HIIT only and for short durations. Would you suggest any additional cardio for endurance? When would you suggest it be added?

    • You probably don’t realize it, but HIIT is actually extremely effective at building up endurance, even though you’re not physically doing cardio for a long duration.

      The high intensity/spiked heart rate helps build up your body’s aerobic capacity (what’s known as VO2 max) at an accelerated rate — that directly translates into cardiovascular endurance.

      Effectively, you’re building up cardiovascular fitness AND burning more calories/fat at a higher rate than steady-state cardio can.

      That said, I have no problem with you adding in additional steady-state cardio. Do it after Workout A, or convert one of the 3 off-days into a full cardio day.

  • Allison

    Could you do a lower amount of reps with a heavier weight instead of the higher amount of reps? I am doing a workout program now that has me squatting and deadlifting heavy for a low amount of reps but will a lighter weight with more reps yield better/faster results?

    • Totally — customize it however you want to fit your training. It really all depends on where you are now and what your main goal is. Lower rep ranges typically prioritize strength, whereas 10-12 rep schemes are geared towards a balance of muscle size/strength/endurance. As you get stronger though, I usually advocate dropping the reps down for BIG lifts like squats and deadlifts — it’s just hard to maintain perfect form beyond 5-6 reps while keeping the weight heavy.

      I’d recommend doing lower reps only for the bigger lifts here. Squats, Goblet squats, Romanian deadlifts, Deadlifts, Dumbbell chest press, Clean & press, Bent-over rows, Snatches, & Dips all apply.

      Keep all ab work as it is.


      • Allison

        Thanks so much for the response. Very helpful!

  • Kim

    Thank you for the great workouts!! Somehow I ran across this website and I love it- very informative and motivating
    My problem is with the printable recaps.. I can rarely print them. The recap comes up but no link to print. What am I missing?

    • Thanks a ton Kim, so glad you found us!

      Just click any of the recaps, save it as an image, and then hit print. You can also right click it and hit the print button as well.


  • Carlos Lopez

    your website is cool but there are a lot of pop up, that’s annoying, and the photo with the bulgarian squat has a bad form, just saying.

    • Agreed, the foot was way too far in. I’ve swapped out the picture for a better demo.

  • Jahna Montague

    Bryan- I am trying to cut body fat and cant decide between this program and the The 4-Day Muscle Thrashing Workout Program. Any suggestion on where to start?

    • Hey Jahna — The 4DMTW is a little bit more rigorous and time-consuming, but you’ll see results slightly quicker. It’s more of a conventional bodybuilding split in the sense that it hits individual muscles a bit more.

      Either way, you’ll progress quickly on both if you put in the work and your diet is on point. My best reco would be to follow one program for 8 weeks, and then switch to the other, that way you’re avoiding plateaus and keeping things fresh.

      If you ever have any questions, feel free to drop them on our message boards:

  • veeru jat

    I am 16 years old …… Are this exercise helpful to me