You’re not by yourself if you’re wondering about the best workout routine to get ripped. It’s a lot easier to workout several times a week than it is to get ripped. Why? Because every workout routine won’t produce a shredded body.

The truth is, getting ripped is a different science than spending hours in the gym lifting weights to build muscle. The best workout routines are focused directly at body fat percentage. Why?

Because reducing body fat is the key to accentuating muscle definition.

Most common resistance workouts can create muscle mass, but not produce the muscle definition you’re looking for.

man lifting barbell weights to get ripped
You may have to change your workout routine.

Knowing what’s involved in decreasing the fat under your skin, around muscles, and between muscle fibers is the basis of sharp muscle definition.

This fully functional guide to getting ripped will help make every workout an effective piece of the puzzle. And that beats going around the gym in circles.

Read on for the essentials of reducing body fat percentage while defining and building lean muscle as fast as possible.

What is the Best Workout Routine to Get Ripped?

Most people have some sort of regular workout routine, and they hope for the best.

The truth is that building a common routine around unrealistic goals will just waste a lot of time without you getting “shredded”.

On the other hand, knowing exactly what to expect from your workouts and why you are doing what you do means results are pre-determined instead of hit and miss.

So, let’s get started with the knowledge so you will know how to build the best workout routine.

Boosting Metabolism

The fastest route to a shredded body with well-defined and cut muscle tone is critically decreasing body fat. So, most people are well versed in building muscle mass, but don’t realize the importance of focusing on reducing fat. And this fat reduction is not exactly the same as a weight loss diet.

Increase metabolism with up arrow / decrease body fat down arrow

Focusing on metabolism is the first step to decreasing body fat.

Even though it’s a key component of the process, focusing on increasing metabolism is usually overlooked.

Resistance training, whether with free weights, weight machines, resistance bands or using a shovel at work, will increase muscle mass. But it won’t necessarily decrease the fat that’s hiding muscle definition.

As long as you can keep your metabolism stoked, your body is constantly looking for energy sources. And well-informed workout routines help your body create energy from body fat.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is simply the process by which your body converts the food you eat into energy.  This is achieved by your body using calories from food with the aid of oxygen.

The higher your metabolism, the more oxygen your body requires **or vice versa**. That’s important, because the more oxygen your workout requires, the more it affects your rate of metabolism. More metabolism=more fat burn.

The fact is, your body must continuously burn calories to provide energy for it’s simplest life functions.

Proteins, carbs, and fats in your body provide the calories that are converted to energy whether you are sleeping or at the gym shredding your body.

You already know it takes more energy, therefore more calories, than normal to sustain your workouts and exercise routines.

The key now is to cause your body to continue a high rate of burn long after you are finished working out. You want your Metabolism to stay high to get your body to keep burning fat while you are resting.

Getting ripped essentially means to get to a very low body fat percentage, and keeping your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) stoked is the way to burn stored fat calories.

By increasing metabolic rate and RMR you’re helping your body burn off the calories you consume that’s not used for energy—while your sleeping or watching TV.

You are most certainly at rest more than you are working out. That means that keeping your RMR high even while at rest is vital to removing the fat that’s hiding muscle definition, and as fast as possible.

How Do You Boost Your Metabolism?

Now that you understand why boosting your metabolism and increasing your RMR is vital to shredding, the next question is “How do you boost your metabolism?”

Getting the body and the look you’re after requires:

  • intense strength training
  • intense cardiovascular exercise

You must combine the two for the results you want.

Whether it’s you working your butt off, or you are watching other people spending countless hours in the weight room without results, it’s due to the wrong workout routine.

Merely lifting weights or just running on a treadmill 3 times a week won’t do the job.

The fastest way to build lean muscle and remove muscle fat is by flooding your body with oxygen from high-intensity workouts.

Intense weight training can only build lean muscles if you are teaching your body how to use oxygen with intense cardio exercises.

You’ve got to combine intense strength training and cardio.

Muscle Fatigue for Maximum Results

So let’s talk about strength training first. So, what is “intense strength training”?

There are a number of essential components to an effective, metabolism-boosting, intense strength training program. But, workouts focused on fatiguing muscles is the magic ingredient.

Intense Strength Training

When trying to boost your metabolism through strength training you must workout in a way that allows for the recruitment of as many muscle fibers as possible. 

The way to achieve this is by performing weight resistance exercises all the way to what is known as muscle fatigue.

man lifting dumbbell to fatigue muscles for a ripped body

Muscle fatigue is the point at which your muscles can no longer complete a single exercise repetition.

This is best achieved by lifting a set of heavy weights (75 – 85% of your one rep max) for a low number of repetitions (5 to 8 repetitions).

Using this weight training technique results in maximum fatigue of as many muscle fibers as possible. 

Why is Muscle Fatigue Important? 

Complete muscle fatigue is crucial because it requires a much longer recovery time between workouts. 

It is during this recovery time that your body will burn calories to generate energy to assist in the muscle repair process.

This results in an increased RMR and faster fat burn around your muscles.

How to Choose the Right Weight for Workouts?

Choosing the right weight for each exercise you perform is very important here.

A weight that is too light will not work your target muscle to the desired point of fatigue, and a weight that is too heavy will prevent you from performing a sufficient number of reps.

You want to work with weights that fall between 75 and 85% of the max you can lift one time.

Determine this is by calculating your one-rep max for each exercise in your workout routine.  

3 steps to calculate the right weight for each routine:

  1. First determine how much weight you can lift for 10 reps of an exercise, no more, no less.
  2. Now, multiply that weight by 1.33

For example, if you can bench press 160 lbs. for 10 reps, 160 lbs. x 1.33 = approximately 213 lbs, which is your one-rep max.


Once you determine your one rep max (213 from the example), the key is to train with between 75 and 85% of that weight.

In the example above, that would be between 159 lbs. and 181 lbs. (75% of 213 = 159 & 85% of 213 = 181)

You should only be able to complete 5 to 8 reps at this weight before reaching muscle fatigue.

If you find yourself struggling with a weight early into your first set of reps, then this means you are trying to lift a weight well above your one-rep max and should choose a weight that is lighter.

As you get stronger and find you can complete reps easily, without so much as a little bit of muscle fatigue, it’s time to upgrade to a heavier weight.

Activating the Afterburn

Heading to the gym and working out for 25 – 30 minutes using weight machines is NOT an intense strength training workout. 

In order to increase your metabolism rate you must workout for a minimum of 45 minutes, preferably 60 minutes, and alternating weight workout days with cardio days.

When this type of intense strength training regime is combined with an intense cardiovascular workout regime (e.g. 30 minutes of cardio, 3 days a week) your body will experience a significant increase in metabolic rate and what is known as the Afterburn Effect!

Essentially what this means is that your body will continue to burn calories and fat long after your strength training and cardio workouts by remaining in a fat burning state. 

Once this afterburn effect starts to wear off your body will continue to burn fat due to the additional increase in your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).

Best Strength Training Exercises for Getting Ripped

Now that you understand that reaching muscle fatigue during your workouts turns on the afterburn, how long your workout is crucial.

You must strength train for a minimum of  45 minutes 3 days a week combined with intense cardio on alternating days to activate the Afterburn Effect.

The next important key is performing the right type of exercises.

Compound Strength Training Exercises

Often you will hear muscle building enthusiasts discussing two types of exercises, compound exercises and isolation exercises.

  • Compound exercises are exercises that activate multiple muscles at the same time.
  • Isolation exercises target a single muscle.

The reason it is so important to focus on compound exercises is that when trying to get ripped, you want to burn as many calories as possible to burn fat from around your muscles.

Compound exercises require more energy and calories than isolation exercises because you are working multiple muscles at the same time.

Some of the most popular compound strength training exercises include:

  • Bench Press for Chest
  • Squats for Quads
  • Deadlifts for Hamstrings
  • Bent-over Row for Back
  • Pullups for Back
  • Barbell Curls for Biceps
  • Tricep Dips for Triceps

Free Weights or Machines?

There’s a variety of workout equipment to choose from to perform these compound exercises.  We want to speak to the two most common, machines, and free weights.

1. Weight Machines

You want to avoid using weight machines.

Weight machines use an assortment of weighted plates combined with tension to work desired muscle groups.


You want to achieve maximum muscle fatigue with only a few reps to activate and recruit as many muscle fibers at one time as possible.

The problem with weight machines is that, due to their design, they provide a small amount of assistance throughout your repetitions and isolate muscles to work.

The alternative to this is what is known as:

2. Free Weights

Free weights are simply weight that you hold in your hands, such as a dumbbell or barbell.

One of the major benefits of using free weights is that your muscles are not being assisted at all like using machines.  

woman using free weights to get ripped
What is the Best Workout Routine to Get Ripped? 6

This results in the recruitment and activation of what are known as stabilizer muscles. Stabilizer muscles are deeper and jump in to assist your major muscles to help keep you steady and stable during each rep.

By activating your stabilizer muscles as well as major muscle groups, you essentially boost the “Afterburn Effect”. Now you are burning more calories both during and after your workout.

A word about form.

Regardless of the equipment you choose, please make sure you are utilizing proper form when executing reps.

An improperly executed rep is not effective to your ultimate goal of muscle building and fat burn, and results in wasted time and energy.

Bad form is also more often than not the cause of pulled muscles, ligaments, and injuries. Sometimes it’s wise to practice proper form prior to getting into heavy weights for intense training.

Intense Cardio Exercise

As we talked about earlier, combining intense strength training with intense cardio exercises is a must for burning excess fat from around muscles and building lean muscle mass.

The reason it is so important to incorporate intense cardio into your program is that high-intensity cardio will burn calories, and ultimately fat, not only during your workout but after your workout!


Because it will boost your metabolism & Resting Metabolic Rate while helping to activate the “Afterburn Effect” !

However, there is a very important difference between strength training and cardiovascular exercise that you must understand.

Fat Burn Not Glycogen Burn

When performing intense cardiovascular exercise your muscles use a chemical known as Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP for energy.

ATP is essentially the way our body stores energy. Through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation a phosphate group is released from an ATP molecule thereby releasing energy for the body to use.

Along with ATP, your body also converts carbohydrates into what is known as glycogen and uses it to fuel your strengthen training and cardio workouts.

The major difference between strength training and cardio is:

  • Strength training is an anaerobic type of exercise which simply uses glycogen fuel and ATP for energy.
  • Cardiovascular exercise is a form of aerobic exercise and therefore utilizes both glycogen and fat as fuel and ATP as energy.

Now why is this so important to understand?

Well if you want to burn fat you must perform cardiovascular exercise, which everyone knows!

But during cardiovascular exercise your body must deplete its glycogen stores before it starts to use fat as fuel.

If you simply jump on a treadmill for 25-30 minutes, run at a moderate speed and your body does not deplete its glycogen stores by the end of your run you will not have reached the point of fat burn! 

This is why you must perform intense cardiovascular exercise not simply cardiovascular exercise! 

You must push your body pass the point of glycogen burn and to the point of fat burn!

Intense Cardio=Faster Recovery=Increased Fat Burn

The second reason you need to perform intense cardiovascular exercise is because the harder you push yourself during cardio the more muscle fibers you will exhaust and fatigue. 

This will result in a longer muscle repair and recovery period post from a cardio workout.  During this recovery time your body will continue to burn calories and fat to fuel the muscle repair process.

And what does this all mean??

That’s Right!!!…..A higher metabolism, a higher Resting Metabolic Rate and a longer lasting Afterburn Effect!

Intense Cardio=HIIT Training

The best way to take part in intense cardiovascular exercise is through the use of what is known as high intensity interval training.

High Intensity Interval training is performed by doing quick bursts of cardiovascular exercises (intervals) alternated with short rest periods. 

During the initial intervals of cardio your body will utilize all of its glycogen stores quickly, ultimately resorting to fat as its fuel by the time you are midway through your cardio routine.

There are a large number of variations of interval training routines.   The most important thing to remember is that your goal here is to do quick bursts of cardio followed by short rest periods.


Most men I know, and a lot of women, would dearly love to get ripped. It’s easy enough to see people working out religiously with the dream of a lean and chiseled body-with little to no results.

Most of these people don’t have a clue that the real key to that chiseled body is getting rid of the body fat that’s hiding the muscles already there. But the truth is, it’s not the workout that’s responsible so much as the right workout routines to deal with fat around the muscles.

The fact is, a ripped body isn’t in the genes, it’s in the head. It’s knowing the right routines once you get to the gym.

The way to the body you want is with very effective workouts, not more workouts, or more weight.

I wouldn’t worry about the workouts that only work when you’re full of steroids and overhyped. I would concentrate on creating the best workout routine to get ripped that burns away fat both during the workout and long after.

Leave a Comment