When I was fighting in the UFC and needed to keep my weight up and maintain my upper body power, I’d do this barbell circuit regularly
It’s amazing what 55 pullups and 165 barbell lifts can do
“Ticket to Gainzville” has a ridiculous name, yes—but it might be the perfect workout when it comes to adding strength and muscle to your upper body.
Case in point: When I was fighting in the UFC and needed to keep my weight up and maintain my upper body power, I’d do this barbell circuit regularly. That often surprises people, because the workout is done as a circuit, and many believe that circuits are solely for fat loss.
This circuit is different. It’s not a race, and the ultimate goal is perfect form.
By cranking out a total of 165 reps of three heavy, compound barbell lifts—and 55 pullups—that hit your upper body in different planes of movement, you elicit both muscle growth and fat loss. It’s a true beast maker. That’s why it’s one of my favorite workouts in my Men’s Health book Maximus Body—check it out for 99 more great routines plus a training plan that’s guaranteed to get you ripped.
I’ve done this workout in just 20 minutes, and afterward felt like I couldn’t lift my arms over my head. But after recovering I was undoubtedly stronger—both physically and mentally.
Load a barbell or two so that you can use a weight in each of the following exercises that makes it moderately difficult to complete the 10 reps. (You may want to use a heavier barbell for the bench press and a lighter one for the overhead press and bent-over row.)
Perform 10 reps of each of the following exercises as a circuit. Then do 9 reps of each exercise, then 8, then 7 and so on until you do just 1 rep of each. (Don’t change the weight on the bars.)
Try to finish the workout quickly, but stress using perfect form over speed. Rest as needed.
1. Barbell bench press
2. Pullup (if you can’t do 10 pullups, switch to inverted rows)
3. Barbell overhead press
4. Barbell row