In this article, I will show you a variety of simple-but-not-easy workout protocols, each guaranteed to inflate your muscles like a float at the Macy’s Day Parade! Each of the workout protocols I’ve provided here take only one minute to complete, (hence the reason I’ve named them one-minute muscle builders).
Just in case your spider senses are giving off the “gimmick alert” signal, take heed: These workouts have all been battle-tested and certified as effective with the athletes here at Performance U in Baltimore, MD.
If you’re ready to discover how to get better results in 60 seconds than most guys get from their 60-minute strength workout sessions, then read on!
What is a One-Minute Muscle Builder?
These are a series of high intensity, high volume protocols consisting of multiple exercises performed back-to-back without rest, all targeting the same group of muscles.
In the practical exercise section below, I’ve included one-minute muscle building protocols for legs, glutes/hamstring, chest, back, and arms.
The following can be performed in conjunction with other more traditional training concepts, or they can each be performed as a stand-alone workout (more on that in the program design section provided later in this article).
Here’s a list of the most popular One-Minute Muscle Building Protocols I use here at Performance U to help my athletes break through plateaus and put on insane amounts of muscle without losing performance. Each of the protocols featured takes roughly one minute to complete if performed at the proper speed and intensity.
I owe my good friend and mentor, Coach JC Santana, for the creative inspiration behind many of these protocols.
Be warned: Don’t let the one-minute time frame fool you! These workouts can crush even the most elite level athlete, plus these workouts will also give you the best pump you’ve ever felt. To prevent overtraining when using these workouts, be sure to follow the progressions I describe below.
One-Minute Chest Blaster
I learned this protocol from my good friend and mentor, Coach JC Santana. This workout will actually crush both your chest and triceps!
You’ll need a medicine ball or small box for this one. Perform as a circuit with speed:
- 5 – 10 medicine ball lock-offs on each side
- 5 – 10 medicine ball crossover push-ups on each side (alternate sides)
- 5 – 10 medicine ball close-grip push-ups
- 5 – 10 medicine ball drop and returns
Six-Week Chest Blaster Workout Progression
Here’s how you can gradually progress with the Chest Blaster workout over a six-week period. The goal is not just to complete all the reps, it’s to complete all the reps, back-to-back, with controlled speed.
- Week #1 – 5 reps of each exercise
- Week #2 – 6 reps of each exercise
- Week #3 – 7 reps of each exercise
- Week #4 – 8 reps of each exercise
- Week #5 – 9 reps of each exercise
- Week #6 – 10 reps of each exercise
One-Minute Back Builder
As with most pulling workouts, this protocol will smash both your back and biceps. You’ll need a heavy-duty band and a medicine ball for this one. Bands allow you to move under load at high speeds without building momentum. My band of choice is the JC Band All-Purpose Band.
Perform as a circuit with speed:
- 10 – 15 Chin-ups
- 20 – 30 Speed rows on each arm (alternate arms)
- 10 – 15 Compound rows (see video below)
- 5 – 10 Medicine ball slams (see video below)
Six-Week Back Builder Workout Progression
Here’s how to gradually progress with the Back Builder workout over a six-week period. You want to be able to complete the workout each work in roughly the same amount of time, which means you’ll get more work done in the same time frame.
- Week #1 – 10 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps
- Week #2 – 11 reps, 22 reps, 11 reps, 6 reps
- Week #3 – 12 reps, 24 reps, 12 reps, 7 reps
- Week #4 – 13 reps, 26 reps, 13 reps, 8 reps
- Week #5 – 14 reps, 28 reps, 14 reps, 9 reps
- Week #6 – 15 reps, 30 reps, 15 reps, 10 reps
One-Minute Arm Sweller
This workout is a combination of two 30-second Band protocols I’ve named the 60/30 arm workouts. After doing both of these 60/30 arm exercises back-to-back, you will have an arm pump like you’ve never felt before…guaranteed!
Again, I recommend using Super Bands for this protocol (check out the JC Band All-Purpose Band) .
Step 1- Perform the 60/30 Triceps Extension
The 60/30 Triceps Extension – Grab a heavy-duty band and tie it up at the top of a squat rack or cable column. Try to bang out 60 triceps extensions in 30 seconds without using too much extra body momentum. You must move as fast as possible but under control!
Step 2 – Without resting, immediately perform the 60/30 Biceps Curl
The 60/30 Biceps Curl – Anchor the same band under your feet, holding the other end in your hands. As with the triceps extension, perform 60 reps in 30 seconds, moving as fast as you can go.
Step 3 – Rest and watch your arms inflate!
Six-Week Arm Sweller Workout Progression
Here’s my suggestion for how you can progress with the Arm Sweller workout over a six-week time frame. You can also progress by simply using a heavier (stronger) resistance band. If you can’t complete all 60 reps in the given time frame of 30 seconds, then the band is too heavy.
- Weeks 1-2: perform 2 sets
- Weeks 3-4: perform 3 sets
- Weeks 5-6: perform 4 sets
60-Second Super Legs
If you’re looking for a serious leg workout that gets BIG results in a little time, look no further because here it is!
The Super Legs circuit was originally developed by legendary coach Vern Gambetta.
Perform as a circuit with speed:
- 20-24 Speed squats
- 20-24 Alternating lunges or reverse lunges (go fast!)
- 20-24 Alternating split squat jumps or bench split jumps
- 10-12 Squat jumps or box jumps (jump as high as possible)
Six-Week Super Legs Workout Progression
No one knows how to progress this workout better than the man who invented it: Vern Gambetta. Go here to Vern’s Blog and discover his 6-Week Super Legs circuit progression.
1-Minute Hamstring Hattrick
Are you ready to feel your hamstring and calves like you’ve never felt them before? Grab yourself a Swiss ball and try this workout!
Perform as circuit with optimal form and a controlled tempo:
- 15-20 Swiss ball leg curl
- 15-20 Swiss ball bent-leg bridge
- 15-20 Swiss ball straight-leg bridge (toes only on ball)
Six-Week Hamstring Hattrick Workout Progression
As with the rest of these One-Minute muscle-building protocols, the Hamstring Hattrick needs to be progressed each week to ensure maximal safety and effectiveness. Here’s how I recommend increasing the intensity of this workout over six weeks.
- Week #1 – 15 reps of each exercise
- Week #2 – 16 reps of each exercise
- Week #3 – 17 reps of each exercise
- Week #4 – 18 reps of each exercise
- Week #5 – 19 reps of each exercise
- Week #6 – 20 reps of each exercise
Additional Notes on All of the One-Minute Workouts
- Move at a pace that allows you to perform 1 rep per second during all the above exercises.
- Try to finish each of the above protocols in as close to 60 seconds as possible.
- Some protocols will take slightly less than one minute and others will take slightly longer. Always try to match or beat your previous time.
- As you progressively add repetitions, the length of the protocol will become slightly longer. Try to reduce your best time with each workout.
Program Design Tips for Using these One-Minute Muscle Builders
There are two primary ways to integrate these One Minute Muscle protocols into your workouts:
As a finisher – After you’ve completed your traditional workout, you can throw in one or two sets of the One-Minute Muscle protocol that target the same muscles emphasized in your workout for that particular day. For example, perform the One-Minute Chest Blaster workout at the end of your chest day. Alternatively, at the end of your lower-body day, do 1-2 sets of the Super Legs workout.
As a stand-alone workout – Any of these One-Minute Muscle protocols can make for a quick but super intense workout. If you’re looking for a new training challenge and just want to “hit it hard” and go home, then try performing 4-5 sets of the particular One-Minute protocol that complements the muscles trained that day in the gym. For example, on leg day, perform five sets of Super Legs and four sets of the Hamstring Hattrick.
Choosing Your Rest Intervals
When using these One-Minute Muscle Building Protocols, there are two ways to deal with your rest periods:
Use a Designated Rest Interval – Due to their highly intense nature, I recommend using at least a 1:3 work-to-rest ratio when first starting out with any of these One-Minute protocols. In other words, do 1 minute of work, then rest 3 minutes before starting your next set.
Example: Perform 1 set of Super Legs, rest 3 minutes. Perform next set of Super Legs, rest 3 minutes.
Perform for Time – One of my favorite methods for using multiple sets of One-Minute Muscle builders is to record the total amount of time it takes to complete a given number of rounds of a specific One-Minute Muscle protocol.
Example: Record the amount of time it takes you to complete three total rounds of the Back Builder workout. Then, for each subsequent workout, attempt to reduce the length of time it took you to complete the workout the prior week.
The Ultimate 10-Minute Fitness Challenge
Here’s a killer total-body workout/fitness challenge you can try if you’d like to test your physical fitness and mental toughness:
Perform all of the One-Minute protocols for the reps indicated in 10 minutes or less:
- 1 set of Super Legs x20/20/20/10
- 1 set of the Chest Blaster x5/5/5/5
- 1 set of the Back Builder x10/20/10/5
- 1 set of the Hamstring Hattrick x20/20/20
- 1 set of the Arm Sweller x60/30 + 60/30
After this workout, you won’t want to just sit down and rest, you’ll want to go home and take a long nap!
The traditional exercises we all know and love are still just as great and effective as ever before, but what happens when those exercise staples no longer work? To get a stubborn body part to respond, you sometimes need to think outside of your everyday training toolbox and get a little creative.
These One-Minute Muscle Building Protocols are just what the doctor ordered for blasting through training plateau and sparking some new muscle growth. They’re also a great way to push yourself both mental and physically to new limits!
Written by Nick Tumminello
Discuss, comment or ask a question
If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – Fast-Track Your Muscle Growth: One-Minute Muscle Builders discussion thread.
About Nick Tumminello
Nick Tumminello, the director of Performance University, is a nationally recognized coach and educator who works with a select group of athletes, physique competitors, and exercise enthusiasts in Baltimore, Maryland.
Nick is rapidly establishing himself as a leader in the field for his innovative techniques and “smarter” approach to training. As a coach, Nick works in the trenches testing, developing and refining his innovative techniques with clients and athletes of all ages and levels.
Go to his website NickTumminello.com to get your free “Smarter & Stronger” video course.