If you’re a reg’ on a site like ours, we’d bet you can’t skirt past a mirror without your Johnny Bravo moment. But getting an absolutely ripped, muscular physique with low body fat (<10%) and clear definition is a far tougher battle than just lifting or just doing HIIT or just dieting.
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For 10 years I’ve helped beginners build muscle fast.
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Get ready to build a beastly, badass physique ready for summer and an obnoxious amount of gym selfies. Check out our full workout plan loaded with exercises to get a ripped body.
What Is the Ripped AF Plan?
(Do y’all dig the name, or is it too Gen Z?)
Cringe-factor aside, the Ripped AF plan is a 12-week guide to maximizing lean mass, edging closer to 10% body fat, and building an overall ripped AF (as f**k) physique.
In this intermediate-level guide, we’ve included:
- A four-day bro split built on the pillars of hypertrophy (muscle growth) & plateau-busting with special attention on notoriously stubborn muscle groups
- Two weekly HIIT workouts to maximize the calorie shred in no-B.S. 15-minute bursts
- A meal & supplement strategy customizable to your unique physique goals
Note, while yes, full body workouts can absolutely get your ripped… this program is target towards intermediates that have already passed the newbie gains phase.
We’ll talk more about this exclusive, three-part Noob Gains plan in later sections.
Ripped AF Details
OK, bro-seph, it’s time to get down to business. Follow along closely as we explain what equipment you’ll need, the upcoming schedule, the inspiration behind the split, and how to maximize those fat-burning HIIT workouts.
What You’ll Need
We designed Ripped AF to be as B.S. and excuse-free as possible (like a well-planned bodybuilding program… how about that?). It doesn’t quite have the flexibility of calisthenics, but if you’ve got a decked-out home gym, make sure it has:
- Adjustable bench
- Power rack or squat rack (with pull-up bar)
- Weight plates
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Resistance band set
- Stationary bike (or, heck, a real bike!)
Otherwise, you can customize the exercises to match your favorite gym equipment. Swap-free weights for machines, resistance bands for cables, or barbells for the Smith machine. (That last one was for those of you with Planet Fitness memberships!)
And just a reminder, this is a 12-week plan, so don’t expect great results in just 30 days.
That said, take a look at the Ripped AF schedule below:
|Day of the Week*||Workout|
|1||Chest & Biceps|
|2||Quadriceps & Hamstrings|
|3||Optional HIIT Workout|
|4||Back & Triceps|
|5||Shoulders & Calves|
|7||Rest (or optional HIIT workout)|
* “I’ll start Monday” or “Ah, beans, I work Thursday.” No, you won’t, and who cares? To take one more excuse off the table, we didn’t assign any particular day of the week to each workout. So if you have to start on Wednesday or swap days 2 & 3 for the sake of time, so be it. Your turn.
The Four-Day “Bro” Split
We based this bad boy off the power-muscle-burn training style featuring power sets (5 reps to increase power and strength), muscle sets (8–12 reps to zero in on the hypertrophic zone), and “burn” sets (a lighter-weight 40-rep rest-pause set to maximize growth).
We also squeezed in a few supersets and higher rep ranges to target muscles with a reputation for being hard-gainers and reluctant to grow.
Now, here’s a look at the four-day, moderate-volume split:
Chest & Biceps
- Medium-grip bench press – 4 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Dumbbell bench press – 3 sets x 8 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Incline bench press – 2 sets x 12 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Dumbbell fly – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Barbell curl – 3 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Hammer curl – 2 sets x 10 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Preacher curl – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Superset: Barbell wrist curl – 3 sets x 15 reps
- Superset: Reverse barbell wrist curl – 3 sets x 15 reps (60 seconds rest)*
* Are you asking, “why supersets?” or “why 15 reps?” Many fitness gurus agree that the naturally stubborn upper body forearm muscles respond best to endurance-focused higher rep ranges. We chose supersets to keep the workout relatively short without completely ignoring the forearms while also potentially “shocking” plateauing forearms into growth (2019 research).
Quadriceps & Hamstrings
- Barbell back squat – 4 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Weighted step-up – 3 sets x 8 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Bulgarian split squat – 2 sets x 12 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Goblet squat – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Stiff-legged deadlift – 3 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Dumbbell hamstring curl – 2 sets x 10 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Barbell good morning – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Superset: Weighted crunch – 3 sets x 10 reps
- Superset: Weighted Russian twist – 3 sets x 10 reps (60 seconds rest)*
* More reps are generally better for building ripped abs. Yet, the rectus abdominis and obliques are like any other muscle in that they require increased resistance to grow. Whether you’re clutching a 10-pound weight plate to your chest or a kettlebell, keep your eyes on progressive overload.
Back & Triceps
- Deadlift – 4 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Bent-over row – 3 sets x 8 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Assisted pull-up – 2 sets x 12 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Dumbbell shrug – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Standing barbell triceps extension – 3 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Partial-rep lying triceps extension – 2 sets x 10 reps (60 seconds rest)*
- Band pushdown – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Superset: Barbell wrist curl – 3 sets x 15 reps
- Superset: Reverse barbell wrist curl – 3 sets x 15 reps (60 seconds rest)
* Wait, why did we choose partial reps? It’s mostly because research from 2019 pointed to partial reps as a better trigger for muscle growth in the triceps. After eight weeks of 3×8 training, the partial-rep group increased their triceps’ cross-sectional area by 48.7% (as compared to the full-rep group’s 28.2% increase in size).
Shoulders & Calves
- Seated barbell shoulder press – 4 sets x 5 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Barbell upright row – 3 sets x 8 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Barbell front raise – 2 sets x 12 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Dumbbell lateral raise – 1 set x 40 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Standing barbell calf raise – 3 sets x 15 reps (60 seconds rest)*
- Seated barbell calf raise – 3 sets x 15 reps (60 seconds rest)*
- Superset: Dumbbell hanging leg raise – 3 sets x 155 reps
- Superset: Plank – 3 sets ALAP (60 seconds rest)
* We might sound like a broken record here, but the calves are yet another high-rep muscle. Experimenting with your foot position can also maximize calf growth. A study from 2020 concluded that pointing your foot inward during calf training is best for the lateral head of the gastrocnemius, while you can best target the medial head by turning your foot outward.
The Twice-a-Week HIIT Workouts
A huge part of getting ripped is stripping away body fat, ideally landing you in the <10% range (though you might be happier around a more-sustainable 10–15%).
We’ll be brutally honest here. As effective as HIIT is for burning calories efficiently in a shorter amount of time, with studies showing it can burn 28.5% more absolute fat mass than standard cardio, two 15-minute HIIT sessions per week won’t shed 1–2% body fat per month alone.
Though a 20/40 HIIT cycle can burn about 3.14–3.39 more calories per minute than 70% intensity on the stationary bike or treadmill for 30 minutes (2015 comparative study).
The definitive once-a-week HIIT session will require an upright bike or a real bicycle. Here’s a look at what you’ll do:
- 5–10-minute warm-up
- 20 seconds at maximum effort (higher resistance)
- 40 seconds of low-speed cycling
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 for 10–15 rounds
- 5–10-minute cool-down
Again, a single HIIT workout won’t bring you from 20% to 15% body fat. But once or twice a week, this style of training should edge you closer to a lower body fat percentage and an overall ripped instead of bulky physique.
Optional HIIT or Circuit Day
On the optional HIIT day, you can repeat the previous HIIT workout. Or, you can swap the upright bike for the stepper, elliptical, treadmill, cross-trainer, battle ropes, literally any other type of exercise that’ll boost your heart rate and the calorie-shred.
Keep in mind, you also don’t want to overdo it on HIIT day. Too much lower body cardio can turn those ripped, defined legs into thick tree trunks that won’t fit in your jeans.
If you’d prefer a high-intensity circuit instead of a second HIIT, go for it, man.
Rest days are real, genuine rest days. Use these 1–2 days per week (if you opt-out of the second HIIT workout) to either stretch, go for a leisurely walk, or do jack-s**t.
Getting Ripped AF With Diet & Supplements
We could spend literal hours explaining how to customize your diet to match this plan and your goal of a ripped physique (depending on whether you need to bulk up, cut down, or both).
Instead, we’ll leave you with these three takeaway tips for the diet & supplement pieces:
- No, you don’t necessarily need to eat 250–500 calories extra per day to build mass. In fact, studies show that eating 2.4g of protein per kilogram of body weight can build a significant amount of lean mass and still burn fat while in a caloric deficit. But we’d recommend starting with a lean bulk and cutting later (and only if necessary).
- Stick to the bodybuilder nutritional split (for now). Bodybuilders strategically split their calories between carbohydrates (55–60%), proteins (25–30%), and fats (15–20%). Stay as close to this split as possible with either a 15% calorie increase (for bulking), 15% decrease (for cutting), or your TDEE (for maintenance).
- If you try any supplements to get ripped, choose creatine and protein powder. Creatine is well-proven to increase athletic performance, lean mass, and fat loss. Protein powder isn’t any better than a nutritious diet, but if you’re struggling to hit your daily 25–30% protein goal, it’s with a shot.
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Aside from that, avoid junk as often as reasonably possible, choose healthy & nutrient-dense foods, and don’t buy into the widespread supplement myths. (No, even though fat burners can increase your caloric burn, they won’t ever replace HIIT, cardio, or a deficit.)
Ripped Body Workout FAQ
Can I workout 3 days a week and still get ripped?
Yes, you can get ripped working out out only 3 days a week, but that’s more effective for beginners and those who haven’t maxed out their newbie (noob) gains yet. If you already have some training under your belt, this 4-day split will yield faster results.