Ricardo Lategan, 29, might look like he’s always been in fighting form. But the physique you see here was the result of some serious hard work. Not only did he have to clock in major reps and make massive sacrifices, but he also had to battle inner demons to rise above. Bottom line: full-body power is always attainable with regular strength training—no matter your situation.
Lategan is our cover guy for the May/June issue of Men’s Health, and he’s a great example of the work ethic and commitment to fitness we espouse here at the mag. For his full story and workouts, you still have a week left to grab a copy of the current issue which is on shelves right now.
For a sneak peek, we’ve compiled some of the power moves Lategan used to overhaul his body in just three months. With a dogged commitment to logging daily sessions (and tapping into these versatile exercises that target every part of your body) he was able to drop down to 10% body fat and add inches (not just centimetres) to his arms.
Now, it’s your turn to do the same. Read up, memorise and hit the gym: this is your new total-body battleplan:
These will tucker you out fast, but every rep will mainline exertion to your abdominal muscles. Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your fingers on your forehead. Raise your head and shoulders, and crunch your rib cage towards your pelvis. Ricardo likes to bring up his knees with each rep, too.
2. Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press
Sit on the bench holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Return slowly to the start position. Ricardo smashes out three sets of 15, 12 and 10 reps respectively, ramping up the weight with each set.
3. Tire Flips
A staple in many HIIT sessions, hunkering down to flip a tire is a full-body workout that can supercharge your hamstrings and glutes. Just make sure you keep your back straight to avoid any injuries. Most tires—like those at Virgin Active—weigh in at around 90kg, so be prepared for some hefty heaving. Bonus: a 20-minute stint of tire flips can burn upwards of 400 calories.
4. Lat Pulldowns
Kneel in front of the cable machine and face away. Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you, shoulder-width apart. Lean back slightly and push your chest out. Pull the bar down to your chest, then return slowly to the start position. Your torso should remain still throughout.
5. Hammer Curls
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let the weights hang at arm’s length at your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the weight toward your shoulders. This tweak on the classic curl won’t just hit the outer parts of your biceps, but will also engage your back and chest muscles. Plus, research has shown that hammer curls can ramp up grip strength.