Captain Awesome. That’s the name for Ryan McPartlin’s character on NBC’s spy show Chuck because he does everything so awesomely. In this case, art definitely imitates life. McPartlin is a natural athlete who excels at wake boarding, golf, and every other sport he tries. A former tight end at the University of Illinois, McPartlin says fitness has always played a major role in his life. “When I was a kid, my grandfather showed me how to do curls,” he says. “I remember I got into a fight when I was in sixth grade, and I was thinking that the curls I did two days before would make me look big and scary.” (McPartlin recalls, “The other kid looked worse than I did the next day.”)
It wasn’t until high school that he got serious about lifting and found a gym that helped him pack on size for football. “I showed up at Yeager’s [gym], and [former MLB players] Carlton Fisk, Scott Sanderson, and Joe Girardi were now my workout partners,” he says. “The training was at a whole other level. I put on 35 pounds of muscle in one year.” Now 36, the 6’4″, 215-pound actor no longer lifts like a football player but strives for a more lean and fit look. He’s since hooked up with Jordan Yuam—the trainer who helped whip Twilight teen wolf Taylor Lautner into howlingly good shape. “Jordan introduced me to abbreviated movements, so I get the full pump without taking an exercise through the full range of motion,” he says. “I’ve been able to get stronger without busting out of my suits on Chuck.”
Of course, whether you’re following a grueling production schedule and raising two boys (like McPartlin), working 16-hour days, going to school, or just trying to live life to the fullest, it can be hard to find time for a full 45-minute workout. That’s why we’ve put together these three routines, designed by Yuam. Use them based on however much time you have available on any given today and we’ll have you in awesome shape in no time.
How It Works:
Each of the following routines runs either 10, 20, or 45 minutes. The longest workout is meant to be done in a gym, but the shorter workouts can be performed almost anywhere with just a resistance band and light dumbbells. The routines are designed to not only give you a full-body workout but also strengthen weak points—and pump up your trophy muscles. Yuam wrote the program as if he were training you under strict time constraints to play a shirtless hero in an upcoming movie. You’ll notice that the range of motion on several exercises is limited. This keeps the focus on the main muscle group, preventing the stabilizers or other “helper” muscles from taking over. It’s not as functional as using a full range of motion, but it will lead to the kind of muscles that light up the screen.
Perform the appropriate workout (10-Min., 20-Min., 45-Min.) whenever time allows.
How to Do IT:
Perform the exercises as straight sets, completing all the given sets for one move before going on to the next.