Calisthenics pro Chris Heria regularly posts content to YouTube in which he goes into detail on the diet and workout plan he uses to support and sustain his shredded physique. In his latest video, he breaks down the workout he performs each morning to get the absolute best start to the day, using nothing but a pair of dumbbells.
“If you’re trying to build muscle every morning, the best exercises that you can do are going to be compound exercises,” he says. “Compound exercises will recruit more muscle groups and will allow you to build more muscle, which will compound muscle growth daily, as opposed to isolation work or working a single muscle which can be done during the day and with more time.”
The first move is diamond cutter pushups. If this is too challenging, Heria recommends performing it on an elevated surface. “This is a great exercise to warm up the upper body, emphasizing our abs, chest, shoulders and arms,” he says. Next up is the handstand pushup; again, Heria suggests a number of variations that can be performed for differing ability levels.
The third move is the dumbbell thruster, which Heria describes as a “full body killer” that uses a full range of motion to work everything from the legs to the shoulders. After that, he demonstrates the weighted, assisted pistol squat—and recommends trying it without the weight to begin with.
The workout also includes dumbbell bent over row deadlifts, and ends with a total-body torching classic: the burpee.
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