The August 2011 issue of Men’s Health magazine is packed with cool workouts (including a full 4- week program from Eric Cressey and a push-up routine from yours truly).

However, what really stands out are the nutrition articles. There’s a full diet plan and an article on 5 big nutrition myths.

I’m not going to cover the nutrition in this review, or Eric’s workout, so I suggest you get the magazine. It’s perfect summer reading…and the “Permanent Vacation” article will make you think.

But here’s a rundown on the coolest training tips from Men’s Health, August 2011.

1) 3 sets are better than 1 – but not 3x’s better

Scientists in Japan found that men got more results by doing 3 sets of biceps curls for 10 repetitions compared to just 1 set. It was a well-designed study, because the subjects trained one arm for 3 sets, and the other arm for 1 set. That way, all the genetic between-subjects variation was removed. That type of study design strengthens the accuracy of the results.

However, the results were not 3x’s better with the 3 sets. In fact, the 3 sets resulted in a 13% increase in muscle growth and 32% increase in strength compared to only 8% and 20% respectively with 1 set.

So another way to look at it is that if you only have time for 1 set per exercise, you’ll still get 50-60% of the results of 3 sets.

2) Exercise of the Month: The Renegade Crawl

You’ll need hexagonal dumbbells or kettlebells for this. Place two of them (same size) slightly wider than shoulder width apart on the floor. Start in a pushup position, grasping the weights.

Keep your abs braced, and row one of the weights up to your abs, then set it down a few inches in front of where it started. Follow that with a staggered stance pushup.

Now repeat the row with your other arm, and then set the weight down a few inches ahead of the other one. Drag your feet forward as you progress so the weight always ends up under your shoulder. Do another pushup and repeat this for a total of 4 rows per side and 8 pushups.

3) A Craig Ballantyne Push-up Routine (featured in the Belly-Off Plan on page 54)

Pair each exercise with a rowing or pulling exercise, such as pullups, db rows, and TRX rows.

1A) Spiderman Pushup – As you descend, swing your right knee up to your right elbow. Pushup, and repeat with  the other side. Do 8 reps per side.

1B) Pullups – 8 reps

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

2A) Decline Pushup – Put your feet on a bench. Go 2 reps short of failure on each set.

2B) DB Row – 8 reps per side

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

3A) Close-Grip Pushup – Place your hands shoulder-width apart and keep your elbows tucked in to your sides. Go to failure.

3B) TRX Row – 15 reps

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

4) Where to Start with a Kettlebell

Start with a 35lb (16kg) and learn how to do the swing, squat, snatch, and clean and press. For videos, check out

5) How to Reduce Stress

Breathe using the 4-8-8 method.

Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 8, and exhale for a count of 8. Do this for 2 minutes. It will calm you down and lower your blood pressure.

That will keep you strong, fit, and healthy until you can get your copy of the magazine.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Certified Turbulence Trainer

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at

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