4-Hour Body: The Unofficial Review Guide

4-Hour Body: The Unofficial Review Guide

Working Out

Adding Muscle (p.157)

Building the Perfect Posterior (or Losing 100+ Pounds) (p.158)

Author's Kettlebell Swing Workout (p.162)

  • DAY 1 (MONDAY)
    • High-rep kettlebell (53 pounds) swings to at least 75 reps
    • Slow myotatic crunch (p.176) with max weight x 10 - 15 slow reps
    • I alternated these two exercises for a total of 3 sets × 5 reps for each. I took two minutes between all sets and therefore had at least four minutes between the same exercise (e.g., dumbbell [DB] press, wait two minutes, row, wait two minutes, DB press, etc.):
      • Iso-lateral dumbbell incline bench press
      • "Yates" bent rows with EZ bar (palms-up grip and bent at the waist about 20 - 30 degrees)
    • Then:
      • Reverse "drag" curls using a thick bar twice the diameter of a standard Olympic bar (I put plates on metal piping I bought from Home Depot, secured with $5 pinch clamps): 2 sets of 6 reps, three minutes' rest between sets
  • DAY 3 (FRIDAY)
    • High-rep kettlebell (53 pounds) swings to 75-rep minimum
    • Slow myotatic crunch (p.176) with max weight x 12 - 15 reps
    • Every other week: single-arm kettlebell swings to 25 minimum reps each side

Guidelines for Kettleball Swing: (p.162)

  • Stand with your feet 6 - 12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.
  • Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.
  • The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting-down movement.
  • Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.
  • Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more. If your dog's head gets in the way, it should be lights out for Fido.

How to Lose 3% Body Fat in One Hour a Month (p.163)

  • This is the plan Tim created for Fleur B. used to lose 1 pound per week and 3% body fat in one month.
    • She switched her breakfast to a high-protein meal (at least 30% protein) à la the Slow-Carb Diet.
    • Three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), she performed a simple sequence of three exercises prior to breakfast, all of which are illustrated on pages 165-167:
      • One set: 20 two-legged glute activation raises from the floor
      • One set: 15 flying dogs, one set each side
      • One set: 50 kettlebell swings (For you: start with a weight that allows you to do 20 perfect repetitions but no more than 30.

The Kiwi's Complete A/B Workout (p.169)

  • To mimic The Kiwi, perform A on Monday and B on Friday, and glute activation raises (p.167) before each.
  • WORKOUT A - All exercises, except for kettlebell swings, are performed for 10 repetitions using a 13-Repetition Max2 (RM) weight.
    • Heavy dumbbell front squat to press (ass to heels) - squeeze glutes at bottom for one second before rising
    • One-arm, one-leg DB row
    • Walking lunges with sprinter knee raise
    • Wide-grip push-ups3
    • Two-arm kettlebell swings × 20 - 25
    • Repeat sequence 2 - 4 times.
    • One-leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL)4 (10 - 12 reps each side)
    • Chin-up (four-second negative lowering portion only) × 10 or until you cannot control descent5
    • One-leg hamstring curls on a Swiss ball - 6 - 12 reps each leg
    • Plank for abs (and gluteus medius on sides) → Progression: start with 30 seconds front, 30 seconds each side, working up to 90 seconds maximum
    • Reverse hyper × 15 - 25

The T-Handle (p.172)

  • Page 172 contains Tim's plan to build an inexpensive alternative to kettleballs from home center parts for about $10.

Six-Minute Abs: Two Exercises That Actually Work (p.174)

  • Movement #1: The Myotatic Crunch (p.175)
    • Leverages the fully stretched position and the resultant reflex (myotatic reflex or stretch reflex) for a stronger contraction than otherwise possible.
    • Using a BOSU or Swiss ball, ensure your ass is close to the floor, usually no more than 6″ off the ground. Then follow these steps (page 176 has a photo):
      • Start with arms stretched overhead as high as possible (I overlap my extended hands as if in a diving position). Keep your arms behind or next to your ears for the entire exercise.
      • Lower under control for 4 seconds until your fingers touch the floor, the entire time attempting to extend your hands further away from the ball.
      • Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, aiming for maximum elongation (picture 3).
      • Rise under control and pause in the upper, fully contracted position for 2 seconds. The arms should not pass perpendicular with the ground.
      • Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Once you can complete 10 repetitions, add weight to your hands.
  • Movement #2: The Cat Vomit Exercise (p.177)
    • Works your transverse abdominus (TVA). See page 178 for a photo.
    • Get on all fours and keep your gaze focused either directly under your head or slightly in front of you. Don't arch your back or strain your neck.
    • Forcefully exhale from your mouth until all air is fully expelled. Your abs should be contracted from this forceful exhale. Full exhalation is necessary to contract the transverse abdominals, and you'll use gravity to provide resistance.
    • Hold your breath and pull your belly button upward toward your spine as hard as you can for a target of 8 - 12 seconds.
    • Inhale fully through the nose after the 8 - 12 second hold.
    • Take one breath cycle of rest (exhale slowly out the mouth, inhale slowly through the nose), then repeat the above for a total of 10 repetitions.
    • Preserving the hourglass - for additional abdominal exercises that will help women preserve their hourglass shape, add the side plank as shown on page 179.
    • Eliminating the female potbelly - add hip flexor stretches as shown on page 179.

From Geek to Freak: How to Gain 34 Pounds in 28 Days (p.181)

  • Details how the author gained 34 pounds of fat-free mass in 28 days.
  • Women can reduce the rest periods to 30 seconds and follow the slow-carb diet to lose 10-20 pounds instead.

Supplement Routine (p.186)

  • Morning: NO-Xplode11 (2 scoops), Slo-Niacin (or timed-release niacinamide, 500 mg)
  • Each meal: ChromeMate (chromium polynicotinate, not picolinate, 200 mcg), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg)
  • Pre-workout: BodyQUICK (2 capsules 30 mins. prior)
  • Post-workout: Micellean (30 g micellar casein protein)
  • Prior to bed: policosanol (23 mg), ChromeMate (200 mcg), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg), Slo-Niacin (500 mg)

Training Principles (p.186)

  • PERFORM ONE-SET-TO-FAILURE FOR EACH EXERCISE. Follow Arthur Jones's general recommendation of one-set-to-failure (i.e., reaching the point where you can no longer move the weight) for 80 - 120 seconds of total time under tension per exercise. Take at least three minutes of rest between exercises.
  • USE A 5/5 REP CADENCE. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (five seconds up, five seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.
  • FOCUS ON 2 - 10 EXERCISES PER WORKOUT, NO MORE. Focus on 2 - 10 exercises per workout (including at least one multi-joint exercise for pressing, pulling, and leg movements).
  • INCREASE RECOVERY TIME ALONG WITH SIZE. This is described at length in Occam's Protocol (found on page 193).

The Sequence of Exercises Used (p.187)

  • Pullover + Yates's bent row
  • Shoulder-width leg press
  • Pec-deck + weighted dips
  • Leg curl
  • Reverse thick-bar curl
  • Seated calf raises
  • Manual neck resistance
  • Machine crunches
  • See http://www.fourhourbody.com/geek-to-freak to see these exercises.

The Colorado Experiment Workout (p.188)

  • Leg press × 20 reps
  • Leg extension × 20 reps
  • Squats × 20 reps (increase weight 20 lbs once you hit 20, then work back up to 20)
  • (Two-minute rest)
  • Leg curl × 12 reps
  • Calf raises 3 × 15
  • Behind-neck pull-down × 10
  • Row × 10
  • Behind-neck pull-down × 10
  • (Two-minute rest)
  • Lateral raise × 8
  • Press behind-the-neck × 10
  • (Two-minute rest)
  • Curl × 8
  • Underhand chin plus weight for reps
  • (Two-minute rest)
  • Tricep extension × 22
  • Dips × 2213

The Myth of 30 grams (p.191)

  • It is a misconception that the body can only absorb 30g of protein at a time.
  • Science has shown that daily total protein is more important than when you get it.
  • 0.8 - 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is recommended.

Occam's Protocol I: A Minimalist Approach to Mass (p.193)

  • This is a variation of the consolidation routine used by the late Mike Mentzer, who won the heavyweight class of the Mr. Olympia competition in 1979.
  • A and B workouts are alternated, whether you choose the machine or free weight option.
  • Perform only one set, no more, with the objective of failing.
  • Use a 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down cadence (except the abdominal and kettleball swing).
  • See the specified pages for photos of exercises.

    • Close-grip supinated (palms facing you) pull-down × 7 reps (5/5 count)
    • Machine shoulder press × 7 reps (5/5 count) (Optional: Abdominal exercises from "Six-Minute Abs")


    • Slight incline/decline bench press × 7 (5/5 count)
    • Leg press × 10 (5/5 count) (Optional: Kettlebell or T-bar swings from "Building the Perfect Posterior" × 50)
    • Stationary bike × 3 minutes at 85+ rpm (to minimize subsequent leg soreness)


    • Yates row with EZ bar (ideal) or barbell × 7 (5/5 count) (see pictures in the sidebar later this chapter)
    • Shoulder-width barbell overhead press × 7 repetitions (5/5 cadence) (Optional: Abdominal exercises from "Six-Minute Abs")


    • Slight incline bench press with shoulder-width grip × 7 (5/5 count) (If no Power Rack is available, use dumbbells, but you'll often run into problems with adding weight in small increments.)
    • Squat × 10 (5/5 count) (Optional: Kettlebell or T-bar swings from "Building the Perfect Posterior" × 50)
    • Stationary bike × 3 minutes (to minimize subsequent leg soreness)

Rules to Lift By (p.202)

  • If you complete the minimal target number of reps for all exercises (excluding abs and kettlebell swing), increase the weight the next workout at least 10 pounds for that exercise. If the additional 10 pounds feels easy after two to three reps, stop, wait five minutes, increase the weight an additional 5 to 10 pounds, then do your single set to failure.
  • Do not just drop the weight when you hit failure. Attempt to move it, millimeter by millimeter, and then hold it at the limit for five seconds. Only after that should you slowly (take five to ten seconds) lower the weight. The biggest mistake novice trainees make is underestimating the severity of complete failure. "Failure" is not dropping the weight after your last moderately strenuous rep. If you feel like you could do another set of the same exercise a minute later, you didn't reach failure as we are defining it. Remember that the last repetition, the point of failure, is the rep that matters. The rest of the repetitions are just a warm-up for that moment.
  • Do not pause at the top or bottom of any movements (except the bench press, as noted), and take three minutes of rest between all exercises. Time three minutes exactly with a wall clock or a stopwatch. Keep rest periods standardized so you don't mistake rest changes for strength changes.
  • The weight and repetitions used will change as you progress, but all other variables need to be identical from one workout to the next: rep speed, exercise form, and rest intervals. This is a laboratory experiment. To accurately gauge progress and tweak as needed, you must ensure that you control your variables.

Occam's Frequency (p.203)

  • You must increase recovery time as your size and strength grows.

Getting Started (p.204)

  • STEP ONE: Take 7 days off of training that causes muscular damage.
  • STEP TWO: Start with 2 days rest between A and B. After 2 rounds of A and B, increase to 3 days rest, then keep adding rest days each time you plateau.

Occam's Feeding (p.205)

  • Eat 4 meals per day for fat loss and muscle gain. This can be tweaked, but you must eat big or eat often.
  • Add starch (brown rice or quinoa) to non-shake meals.
  • If you must skip breakfast, try this blender breakfast:
    • 24 oz (3 cups) 2% or whole organic milk
    • 30 g whey protein isolate (chocolate tends to work best)
    • 1 banana
    • 3 heaping tbsp almond butter with no added sugar, maltodextrin, or syrups
    • 5 ice cubes
    • Caloric and protein profile with 2% milk (approximate): 970 cal, 75 g protein
  • If you're gaining less than 2.5 pounds per week, add 1L of 2% organic milk between meals for a total of 4L (1 gallon) daily.

Occam's Prescriptions (p.208)

  • Occam's Protocol works without supplements, but here are 4 you could add:
  • Cissus quadrangularis (2,400 mg, three times per day)
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (300 mg, 30 minutes before each whole-food meal)
  • L-glutamine (80 grams of L-glutamine during the first five days of Occam's Protocol)
  • Creatine Monohydrate (take 3.5 grams upon waking and before bed for the entire 28-day duration) (optional loading period of 5-7 days at 10-30g per day)

For Men: Three Exercises for Developed Biceps (p.211)

  • The Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing - 50+ reps
  • The "Yates" Bent Row (p.211 photo)
  • The Reverse Drag Curl (p.211 photo)

Occam's Protocol II: The Finer Points (p.214)

  • Most trainers could use just the first two exercises of the following groups, though Tim used them all:
  • Push:
    • Incline bench press
    • Dips (add weight when possible)
    • Shoulder-width grip shoulder press (never behind the neck)
  • Pull
    • Pullover
    • Bent row
    • Close-grip supinated (palms facing you) pull-downs
    • Slow shrugs with dumbbells (pause for two seconds at the top)
  • Legs
    • Leg press with feet shoulder width (do higher reps on this; at least 120 seconds before failure)
    • Adduction machine (bringing the legs together as if using the Thighmaster)
    • Hamstring curl
    • Leg extension
    • Seated calf raises

4-Hour Body: Recommended Products

Yerba Mate Tea
Fat Reducing Tea
Yerba Mate Tea
Kettlebell Workout Ball
ChromeMate Supplements
ChromeMate supplement
ChromeMate Supplements

4-Hour Body, By Tim Ferris - Review Guides