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The Symptoms Of Heart Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Would you be able to recognise all of the symptoms of heart disease? The doctors in the audience can put their hands down, this isn’t med school and you aren’t impressing anyone – especially as it appears that Joe and Jo Public hasn’t got the foggiest.

A survey commissioned by HeartFlow, a new piece of diagnostic tech that helps doctors identify coronary artery disease, found that the public weren’t that familiar with 12 symptoms listed by the venerable NHS. Of the respondents, 26% didn’t even identify chest pain.

To be fair, one of the symptoms was listed as “pain, tightness, numbness or a burning sensation in the back,” which sounds a bit like the type of pain you can get from sitting at your desk all day. To get more detailed advice, Coach spoke to Dr Timothy Fairbairn, senior cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Fairburn is keen to emphasise that it can be beneficial just to be aware of the symptoms and not hesitating to get anything alarming checked. “Any contact with the GP may be beneficial,” says Fairchild, “even if the symptom doesn’t turn out to be heart-related. You can have a full heart MOT, and have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. What we really want to do is trying to prevent these things from occuring, so getting a full check-up from your GP in terms of your cardiovascular risk factors is very important.”

Fairchild’s top three symptoms of heart disease are chest pain or tightness, breathlessness, and palpitations, but keep reading if only to put your mind at ease. Turns out chest pain doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got a bum ticker…

We’re guessing chest pain is an obvious symptom of heart disease and you should see a GP quickly. Right?

The key thing to remember is that for the majority of people, chest pain won’t be because of the heart. However, for one in four it might well be the heart so everybody should be aware of the symptoms and take it seriously. But we don’t want people to suddenly panic – they should make an appointment to see their GP. The majority of people who come to get investigated with chest pains can actually be reassured it’s not their heart – it might be muscular, it might be heartburn, it might be something else and we can treat them appropriately.

About ten years ago the NHS did a big awareness drive, with the image of a middle-aged man with a belt around his chest. That chest tightness is the most important symptom.

Chest pain is the one that we worry about the most. It’s known as angina and it’s caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart – usually caused by furring up of the heart blood vessels – which can result eventually in a heart attack, and that’s something we obviously want to prevent. So first we diagnose whether someone has coronary heart disease, and then we try to get them on the right treatments so we can reduce the risk of any heart attacks.

The symptoms listed included pain, tightness, numbness or a burning sensation in the arms, jaw, neck, back and abdomen. That encompasses a lot, so when is it indicative of heart disease?

Typically the chest tightness associated with heart disease happens when people are doing things. If it’s occurring when you’re active, and then it goes away when you stop, that’s typical of an anginal type heart symptom.

If you get any other symptoms along with it, that increases the likelihood that it’s your heart. So if you feel sick, or sweaty, or the pain goes down your left arm and to your jaw, those are classic anginal type symptoms and that should be ringing warning bells.

The majority of back pain is musculoskeletal, and related to the fact that many of us sit in poor-quality chairs for long periods of time in front of computer screens. But if you’re getting back pain on exertion and it goes away when you’re resting, you should be thinking “this could be my heart”.

Heart palpitations were another major symptom. How would you describe that feeling?

A palpitation is normally what we describe as a fluttering sensation in your chest where you can feel your heart beating quite prominently. That usually means either you can feel your heart going very very fast or you can feel that it’s irregular – going all over the place, quite chaotic.

If you’re experiencing this ask yourself if your heart rate is going erratically fast inappropriately, ie not when you’re exercising, or if it’s inappropriately high when you’re only doing a mild amount of exercise.

If you have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch or Garmin or other device that tracks the heart rate and show that it’s going extremely fast, that is helpful. And people should know their maximal age-predicted heart rate, so when they’re exercising they know where their heart rate should be going to.

Is there a way to tell if you’re breathless because you’re unfit, or if it may be heart disease?

It is often useful to try to gauge what your symptoms are in relation to what you normally can do and what your peers can do. Often people will come in with symptoms and say they thought it was just part of the aging process. If you ask the husband or wife and they say, well they’re not keeping up the pace with me and I’m the same age, often that’s a tell-tale sign. You need to see what people of a similar age and maybe previously similar fitness are doing, and if things have changed you should seek some advice.

If someone is getting breathless and decides to improve their fitness, should they get a check-up first to be on the safe side?

If people are deciding to do competitive sports, particularly if they’re in middle age, then they should probably have a physical MOT. See their GP, have an ECG, have their heart listened to, have their blood pressure checked – nothing complicated. For the majority of young people, there’s no reason to suggest that that would be required. Most cardiac events during exercise are related to relatively rare, inherited cardiomyopathy conditions. The key thing with those is if you have a family history of someone having a sudden cardiac event or cardiac death, you should make sure you get an opinion from a doctor before you do any form of competitive sport.

How can you tell when heartburn is a symptom of heart disease?

Heartburn’s probably the one that’s the most difficult. It happens most commonly before meals or after meals – but we see that with angina as well. But if they feel they’re getting it because of exertion, that’s more of a red flag. That’s why people should go and get an opinion from a GP.

How about dizziness or light-headedness?

If you’re getting a bit light-headed when you’re standing up that’s most commonly due to low blood pressure and that’s not uncommon. People can do things to address that themselves, like making sure they’re staying hydrated. And if it doesn’t get better, getting an opinion from a GP would be sensible.

Dizziness or light-headedness on exertion depends on various things – your age and how hard you’re pushing yourself, for example. As you get older the potential for heart valve disease increases, so those kind of symptoms or fainting during exercise is more concerning.



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Add Muscle To Your Upper Body With This 45-Minute Gym Session

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Working one main muscle group per workout – known as a body-part split – might have been the gold standard for the golden age of bodybuilding, but if you can only train a couple of times per week you need a more efficient approach to get maximum bang for your buck. This six-move session targets all your major upper-body muscle groups, using different angles and rep ranges to recruit and fatigue as many muscle fibres as possible, so they’re rebuilt bigger and stronger.

How to do the workout

This is a six-move session made up of two straight sets then two supersets. Do all reps of move 1, sticking to the sets, reps and rest shown, then do all sets of move 2. Then do moves 3A and 3B as a superset, and the same again for moves 4A and 4B to blitz your upper body.

Warm Up

Warm up thoroughly, starting with some shoulder, elbow and wrist movements, followed by some light bench presses and underhand lat pull-downs, interspersed with more mobility work in the rest periods between warm-up sets. Gradually increase the weight of each warm-up set while reducing the reps until you’re fully ready to go.

1 Bench press

Sets 5 Reps 8 Rest 60sec

Why The classic big lift for a bigger, stronger and wider chest.

How Lie flat on a bench holding a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Plant your heels on the floor, tense your glutes and core, then lower the bar to your chest and press it back up.

2 Chin-up

Sets 5 Reps 5-8 Rest 60sec

Why The best bodyweight move for bigger arms, and one that also works your entire upper back.

How Hang from a bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip. Engage your abs and glutes and, keeping your chest up, pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Pause in this position, then slowly lower yourself back to the start.

Superset 1

This first superset, with both moves performed on an incline bench, will work your chest, shoulders and arms from slightly different angles to recruit and fatigue even more muscle fibres. Performing slow and controlled reps through a full range of motion is more important than weight, so be smart with your dumbbell selection to work your upper body harder.

3A Incline dumbbell biceps curl

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

Why Starting with your arms behind your torso increases the range of motion.

How Lie back on a incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand and arms straight. Keeping your elbows in position, curl the weights up to shoulder height and squeeze your biceps. Slowly lower back to the start.

3B Incline dumbbell flye

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Why It works your upper and outer pecs to build a broader chest.

How Lie back on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight and palms facing. With your chest up and a slight bend in your elbows, lower the weights out to the sides until you feel a good stretch across your chest, then raise them back to the start.

Superset 2

This final superset is made up of higher-rep sets that fully fatigue your arms, shoulders and chest. Focus on form and control and if you can’t complete all 15 reps, do as many as you can, then reduce the weight and continue until you complete the set.

4A Cable rope overhead extension

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 30sec

Why It works your triceps through a full range of motion, and the cable forces your muscles to work hard in both the lifting and lowering phases.

How Stand tall, holding a double-rope handle attached to the low pulley of a cable machine. Turn to face away, bringing your hands up to your head. Keeping your elbows still and pointing up, press the handles up and forwards to straighten your arms. Flex your triceps at the top, then return to the start.

4B Cable cross-over

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Why It isolates the chest muscles and hits the inner and outer sections of the pecs.

How Stand tall in the middle of a cable machine, holding a D-handle in each hand attached to the high pulley. With a slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands down and in so they cross in front of your body. Pause for a second, then reverse the move to the start.



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Functional Training Made A Massive Difference To How Good I Look And Feel Says Cover Model Kirk Miller

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Having a cover-worthy physique is all well and good but if you want to be the healthiest, fittest and best version of you possible, you need to take a more rounded approach to fitness – and Kirk Miller would be the first to admit that. Because what use is a set of sculpted abs if you run out of puff when running for the bus?

“I did years of training purely for aesthetics, so my entire focus was building muscle and burning fat, but there’s so much more to optimal health and fitness than simply looking good,” Miller says. “I got to the point where I want to move quicker and be more explosive, and I’m now training for my first amateur boxing match. I’ve had to change my training accordingly, so there’s less of a focus on some lifts, especially isolation moves like biceps curls, and a greater emphasis on cardio, conditioning and explosive moves and drills to get me ring-ready.

“I can honestly say having a more rounded and balanced approach to training and fitness has made a massive difference to how good I look and feel. Now I’m able to turn my hand to a heavy set of squats, or some explosive Olympic lifting, or even a 10km run, I know I am looking, feeling and performing better than ever.”

Functionally Fit Circuit

Try this six-move circuit to work all your major muscle groups for a functionally fit physique. After completing the reps of each move, go straight into the next without rest. Rest for 2min after exercise 6, then repeat the circuit three times

1 Squat

Stand tall, holding a barbell across the back of your shoulders with your chest up and abs braced. Bend at the hips and knees to squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Push through your heels to stand back up. Do eight reps.

2 Lunge

Keep the barbell in place with your body tight. Take a big step forwards with your left leg, then lunge down until both knees are at 90°. Push through your front foot to return to the start. Alternate your leading leg and do four reps each side.

3 Bent-over row

Reposition the bar so you’re holding it with both hands in front of your body, arms straight. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your chest up and back straight, then row the barbell up towards your torso. Then lower back to the start. Do eight reps.

4 Overhead press

Shift the bar up to hold it the bar in both hands on the front of your shoulders. Stand tall and brace your abs, then press the bar directly up until your arms are straight. Lower back to the start. Do ten reps.

5 Pull-up

Grip a pull-up bar with a shoulder-width grip and cross your feet behind you. Brace your core and glutes, then pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower back to the start. Do five reps.

6 Triceps dip

Grip dip bars with your feet crossed behind you. Keep your chest up and your abs and glutes braced, then bend your elbows to lower yourself as far as you can. Press back up to the start. Do five reps.



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The Best Workout Plan To Transform Your Body

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If your number one health and fitness goal is to add lean muscle to your frame and transform how you look with your top off, then you’ve come to the right place. This workout plan is designed to help you get big by building muscular size across all your major muscle groups, while also chipping away at body fat stores, to enable you to build your best-ever body.

This four-week workout plan, which is made up of four gym-based training sessions each week, is based on the core training philosophies used in the New Body Plan book, which details the complete exercise and eating programme that Men’s Fitness editor-in-chief Jon Lipsey followed to go from an overweight 37-year-old to grace the cover of the July 2018 issue of Men’s Fitness. Over the course of his eight-week plan, Jon lost an incredible 10kg of fat and sculpted a six-pack for the first time in his life.

What’s special about this particular plan is that as well as adding muscular size to your chest, shoulders, back and legs, it pays particular attention to your biceps and triceps – helping you build bigger and stronger arms quicker than you ever thought possible.

When you want to add a significant amount of muscular size to your frame, what you do in the gym takes on a higher importance. Why? Because without the perfect training stimulus your body won’t have the incentive it needs to start laying down the new lean muscle tissue that will transform your physique. This four-week plan has been specifically designed to push your mind and your muscles out of their comfort zone to trigger that muscle-building response. It’s a tough plan, but hugely rewarding if you’re serious about adding size.

How to follow this workout plan

A smart approach is to train on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then Saturday or Sunday, to get the maximum amount of recovery time. 

Every workout in this plan is made up of straight sets. This means you do all the sets and reps of exercise 1, and then move on to exercise 2, and do all the sets and reps, and so on. Use a weight that allows you to only just complete the final rep of the final set for each exercise.

Tempo is the speed at which you perform one rep of an exercise, and the four-digit number is the time in seconds you take to lower and lift the weight, and pause at the bottom and the top. For example, a 2010 tempo for the bench press means you take two seconds to lower the bar to your chest, with no pause at the bottom, then take one second to lift the bar, with no pause at the top. 

You will get the best possible results by following the plan exactly. Always stick to the tempo given for each move because doing so will work your muscles harder for longer, and that’s what causes them to grow.

If, however, you are struggling to lift the same weights for the second or third set of an exercise, you can increase the rest between sets to give yourself a little bit longer to recover. Try resting for 90 seconds between sets and seeing if that allows you to hit the rep target for subsequent sets. If not, increase the rest to two minutes and try again.

Workout 1: Upper Body

1 Incline dumbbell bench press

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand at chest height. Plant your feet on the floor directly underneath your knees. Brace your core and back muscles, and press your feet into the ground. Keeping your whole body tight and your chest up, press the weights directly up until your arms are straight and the weights touch over the middle of your chest. Slowly lower the weights back to the start position under complete control.

2 Wide lat pull-down

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Position yourself on the machine with a double shoulder-width overhand grip on the bar. Keeping your chest up, abs braced and back straight, pull the bar down to chin height, leading with your elbows. Hold the bottom position for a second, squeezing your lats hard, then reverse the movement back to the start.

3 Machine overhead press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Prepare the machine, following the instructions to make the necessary adjustments so when you sit on it you’re positioned correctly and safely. In the start position you should be sitting upright with your chest up and holding the handles with a wider than shoulder-width overhand grip. Take a deep breath in, then breathe out forcefully and press the handles up until your arms are fully straight. Bend your elbows and slowly return to the start position.

4 Cable cross-over

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with a split stance in the middle of a cable machine, holding a D-handle in each hand attached to the high pulley. Keeping your chest up, core braced, and a slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands down in a smooth arc to meet in front of your hips. Hold this bottom position for one second, squeezing your chest muscles hard, then reverse the movement back to the start.

5 Cable bar biceps curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall in front of a cable machine with your chest up and core engaged, holding a bar with an underhand grip attached to the low pulley. Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, curl the bar up until your hands are at chin height. Pause and hold this top position, squeezing your biceps to keep the tension on them. Slowly return to the start position, without letting your elbows move away from your sides at any point. At the bottom position, flex your triceps.

6 Cable triceps press-down

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up in front of a cable machine, holding a bar with an overhand grip attached to the high pulley. Keeping your chest up and your elbows at your sides, press your hands down until your arms are fully straight. Pause and flex your triceps to keep the tension on them. Slowly return to the start position.

Workout 2: Legs And Abs

1 Front squat

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Hold the bar across the front of your shoulders, holding it either in your hands with elbows forwards and upper arms parallel to the ground, or with your arms crossed. Stand with your feet at least hip-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards. Keeping your elbows up, chest up and core engaged, squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. From this bottom position, drive through your heels, pushing your knees out to the sides, to return to the start.

2 Romanian deadlift

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip just outside your thighs. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forwards from the hips and lower the bar down the front of your legs until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. Reverse the movement back to the start and push your hips forwards at the top.

3 Leg extension

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Prepare the machine, following the instructions to make the necessary adjustments so when you sit on it you’re positioned correctly and safely. In the start position you should be sitting upright with your chest up and shins against the padded bar. Lift the bar by raising your feet until both legs are fully straight. Hold this top position for one second, keeping the maximum amount of tension on your quads, then slowly lower your feet back to the start position.

4 Hamstring curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Prepare the machine, following the instructions to make the necessary adjustments so you’re positioned correctly and safely. In the start position you should be sitting upright with your chest up and straight legs, with the padded bar against the back of your ankles, above your heel. Lower the bar by bending your knees and pulling your feet underneath your body. Hold this bottom position for one second, keeping the maximum amount of tension on your hamstrings, then slowly return your feet back to the start position.

5 Crunch

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 1111 Rest 60sec

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and bend your arms so your fingers touch the sides of your head. Engage your abs, then raise your torso off the floor without tensing your neck. Keep the tension on your abs as you slowly lower your torso back to the floor. You can make each rep harder by not allowing your upper back to touch the floor between reps.

6 Plank jack

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 1010 Rest 60sec

Get into plank position, supporting yourself on your forearms with your elbows underneath your shoulders. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Without letting your hips sag, jump both feet out to the sides so your toes tap the floor, then jump your feet back in. That’s one rep. Keep repeating this movement, keeping your head and neck relaxed and your breathing controlled – don’t hold your breath.

Workout 3: Upper Body

1 Bench press

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding a barbell with a wider than shoulder-width overhand grip. Plant your feet on the floor directly underneath your knees. Brace your core and back muscles, and press your feet into the ground. Keeping your whole body tight and your chest up, lower the bar until it touches your chest around nipple-level. Press the bar back up powerfully to straighten your arms and return to the start position. Don’t “bounce” the bar on your chest at the bottom of a rep.

2 Seated row

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Position yourself on the machine with your feet against the foot rest, holding a double-grip cable attachment in both hands. Keeping your chest up, back straight and core braced, row your hands towards your body, leading with your elbows. When your hands reach your body, pause for a second and squeeze your back and biceps muscles hard, then reverse the move back to the start position.

3 Dumbbell lateral raise

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up, abs braced and feet hip-width apart, holding a light dumbbell in each hand by your sides with your palms facing one another. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to the sides, no higher than shoulder height. As the weights approach shoulder height, rotate your wrists slightly so that your little fingers are pointing straight up – this will contract your side delts harder. Pause and hold this top position for a second, then slowly lower the weights back to the start under complete control.

4 Hammer curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up, core braced and shoulders back, holding dumbbells with your palms facing your sides. Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up towards shoulder height. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of the rep, then slowly lower the weights back to the start under complete control. Straighten your arms fully at the bottom and flex your triceps hard before you start the next rep.

5 Cable triceps extension

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your back to a cable machine, holding a double rope handle in both hands behind your head attached to the low pulley, with your chest up and core engaged. Lean forwards slightly from your hips, but keep your chest up and back straight. Keeping your elbows locked in position and pointing straight up, press your hands up and forwards to straighten your arms. When your arms are straight, pause and flex your triceps for one second. Slowly return to the start position and squeeze your biceps hard before the next rep.

6 Press-up

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Get on all fours with your legs and arms straight, your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Raise your hips and brace your core to keep your entire body stable. Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor, but don’t let them flare out to the sides – they should stay tight to your sides. Go as low as you can, then press back up to straighten your arms and return to the start position.

Workout 4: Biceps And Triceps

1 EZ-bar biceps curl

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up, abs braced and elbows by your sides, using an underhand grip to hold an EZ-bar with your hands just outside your hips. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the bar up, stopping just before your forearms reach vertical. Pause in this top position for one second, squeezing your biceps hard. Slowly lower the bar back to the start position.

2 EZ-bar triceps extension

Sets 4 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding an EZ-bar above your chest with straight arms. Keeping your elbows locked in position pointing to the ceiling, slowly lower the bar towards the top of your head by bending your elbows. Without arching your back, slowly return the bar to the start position by straightening your arms.

3 EZ-bar triceps press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding an EZ-bar above your chest with straight arms. Slowly lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and not allowing them to flare out. Once the bar touches your chest, press it back up to the start powerfully, without bouncing it back up off your chest.

4 Dumbbell biceps curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up and core braced, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight and your elbows by your sides with your palms facing away from you. Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up towards shoulder height. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of the rep, then slowly lower the weights back to the start under complete control. Straighten your arms fully at the bottom, flexing your triceps hard before you start the next rep.

5 Cable triceps press-down

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your chest up in front of a cable machine, holding a bar with an overhand grip attached to the high pulley. Keeping your chest up and your elbows at your sides, press your hands down until your arms are fully straight. Pause and flex your triceps to keep the tension on them. Slowly return to the start position.

6 Cable bar biceps curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall in front of a cable machine with your chest up and core engaged, using both hands to hold a bar handle attached to the low pulley. Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, curl the bar up until your hands are at chin height. Pause and hold this top position, squeezing your biceps to keep the tension on them. Slowly return to the start position without letting your elbows move away from your sides at any point. At the bottom position, flex your triceps.

Weeks 2, 3, And 4

The second, third and fourth weeks of the plan are similar to the first. You’ll perform the same sessions containing the same moves in the same order, but with two key changes each week to keep your muscles growing bigger and stronger. In the second week you’ll do two extra reps per set of every move, so 12 per set instead of 10 in week 1. This might not sound like a big increase, but just wait until you try it! In the third week, the reps per set drops back down to 10, but you’ll do an extra set of every move. In the fourth and final week, you’ll increase the reps back up to 12 with the higher set count, ending the plan with the hardest week.



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