Leave the crunching to the accountants this tax season. "If you want to reveal your six-pack, you need to blast your abs and strip away the fat that covers them," says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., metabolic training expert and creator of The Incredible 82-Day Speed Shred. One of the best ways to do that: mountain climbers, which strengthen your entire core and send your metabolism through the roof. That’s why today's Train For Life challenge includes five -- yes, five! -- demanding variations of the the exercise. Each version is harder than the next. Will you make it to the summit of Mount Metabolism?

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Here's how it works: You'll perform 20 reps of a mountain climber variation, and then move on to the next variation. Continue like this until you’ve finished all five variations.

1. Mountain Climber
Assume a standard pushup position. In one smooth motion, bring your right knee toward the right side of your chest. Then bring your left leg forward while extending your right leg back. Avoid any lower back movement throughout the exercise. Continue alternating your knees to your chest. Do 20 reps.

2. Spider Climber
Assume a standard pushup position. In one smooth motion, bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Then bring your left foot forward next to your left hand while extending your right leg back. Continue to in an alternating fashion for 20 reps.

3. Diagonal Mountain Climber
Perform a standard mountain climber, but bring your knees to your left elbow with each rep. Do 10 reps. Repeat with the right elbow.

4. Cross-Body Climber
Perform a standard mountain climber, but bring your right knee toward your opposite (left) elbow. Then bring your left knee toward your right elbow while extending your right leg back. Continue alternating for 20 reps.

5. Side-to-Side Climber
Get down on your hands and knees. With your back straight, fully extend your right leg to your side until it is forms a 45-degree angle to your body. Lift your left knee a couple inches off the ground. This is the starting position. In one smooth movement, switch your leg positions so your right knee is hovering above the floor and your left leg is extended to your side. That's 1 rep. Continue to alternate back and forth for 20 reps.

Ready to climb Mount Metabolism? Watch the video above to see BJ and Jill demonstrate all five mountain climber variations.

BJ finished the challenge in 1 minute and 21 seconds, and Jill completed it in 2 minutes and 9 seconds. What was your time? Let us know in the comments below.

(Need more of a challenge? Follow along with Gaddour in the new DVD series from Men's Health, Speed Shred.)

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If you sit in front of keyboard all day, you should start doing an exercise called the wall slide immediately. Why? Because it helps undo the damage caused by slumping forward all day. After all, a hunched posture can leave you with the rounded shoulders look of a caveman. Worse, it can also lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. So use the wall slide to beat back bad posture for good. In fact, for best results, do this exercise up to three times a day. (It's easy to do in your office.) 



Yes, it looks simple -- and it is. But you’ll love how good it makes your shoulders and upper back feel, says David Jack, performance coach who instructs you in the all-new Men's Health Spartacus Workout DVD

Watch the video below to see how to do the wall slide with perfect form.

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If you're hunched over a computer right now, get up and try The Antidote to Sitting All Day.

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The cost of low back pain totals more than $100 billion every year in the United States. Staggering, right? Especially when you consider that the solution is often completely free. Core stability exercises -- like planks and bird dogs -- can significantly decrease low back pain, a new meta-analysis in the prestigious journal PLOS One confirms. They're also a great way to strengthen your core and sculpt six-pack abs.



One of our favorite core stability exercises is the side plank with rotation. Watch the video below to see how it's done:



To perform the exercise, lift your body into a side plank, and then rotate your torso as you reach underneath your body with your free arm. “The rotation adds a whole other dimension of stability and range of motion to the side plank. When you reach under, you’re going to want to fall over, so you have to lock in your core and really engage your obliques,” says Jeremy Frisch, U.S.A.W., owner of Achieve Performance Training and creator of the 24-Hour Arms Workout, now available on Men’s Health Personal Trainer. (Click here to try the online diet and fitness tool free for 30 days!)

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Moments after he slices off a man's face, Spartacus stops amid the battle and shouts to his fellow warriors.

"Enough!" he yells. "Is this what you are? Animals?"

Some of the time, yeah -- they have to be. In this violent television series with the ratcheted-up subtitles (the third season, premiering Friday, Jan. 25, is Spartacus: War of the Damned), Spartacus must encourage a certain level of beastly brutality just so his band of rebels can survive.

As Spartacus, the Australian actor Liam McIntyre -- dirtied, bloodied, steely of body and jawline -- implores his men to do battle for their cause; they bang their swords against their shields in assent. It's clear he's a leader, the strongest of the strong.

As one warrior declares, "I ... follow ... Spartacus!"

Which leads to our question for you: Do you follow Spartacus?

We know you don't carry a sword or go to work nearly naked. (Please say you don't.) We mean: Is your body strong and functional so you can kick life's butt in whatever way is necessary?

In Men's Health's new installment of The Spartacus Workout, we're providing you with a total-body battle plan that can lay waste to fat while building strip-to-the-waist muscle. The principles and exercises are the same ones used by McIntyre and his not-so-merry men.

McIntyre, who turned 30 last year, is in his second season as the title character. (The original Spartacus from season one, Andy Whitfield, died of cancer in 2011.) McIntyre shows a lot of skin -- hence the devotion to fitness.

"As a younger actor, my motivation may have been 'Do you want that job or don't you?'" McIntyre says. "Now it's 'Do you want to look like crap on film?'"

Women certainly appreciate the view, but this is television made for men: Lots of fighting and other stuff that starts with f (it's premium cable, after all -- the Starz network). McIntyre and his cast-mates spend much of each episode twisting, lunging, thrusting. And then there are the fight scenes: Add stabbing, swinging, and kicking.

He recalls seeing the playback of a scene in which he astounded himself with a two-legged leap. "That's why we do such a full-body regimen," he says.

To prepare for shooting, McIntyre and the cast went through a "gladiator boot camp" -- several weeks of overall fitness and conditioning workouts, along with training in the skills they would need on set. (During the season, because of the long days of shooting, McIntyre's workouts focus more on strength and size than on conditioning.)

"At first we needed to get up to speed with fighting ability, gymnastics, and body coordination," says Tyrone Bell, a stunt performer for the show and McIntyre's personal trainer.

All of that training changed McIntyre's physique, which took some getting used to. (Revolutionize your own body! Build muscle and blast away body-fat with The Spartacus Workout.)

"Now he's learned his body," Bell says. "He knows his body, and he's growing, he's agile, he's got it down pat. When last season finished up, he continued to work in the off-season, and he came back all ready -- and definitely one of our fittest guys."

Bell says McIntyre's attitude helps: "He's very, very competitive. Whatever I lift, he attempts to lift," says Bell, who is also the head trainer and nutrition consultant for the entire cast. "He won't back down from anything."

Which is a good thing, being that Spartacus is the leader of a rebellion and all.

When the producers of the show first saw McIntyre, he had dropped a lot of weight for a previous film role. Still, they plucked him from the relative obscurity of mostly Australian TV and movies before they started shooting the second season, Spartacus: Vengeance.

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Sports fans can use Twitter to follow the big game, trash talk opposing fans, interact with their favorite athletes and, apparently, even lose weight.

That's right. The results of a recently published study in Translational Behavioral Medicine suggest that people who tweet and re-tweet can have an easier time shedding extra pounds.

For their study, researchers at the University of South Carolina divided 96 overweight and obese adults into two groups. Both groups received biweekly podcasts with tips on how to lose weight, and one group downloaded a weight-loss app as well as Twitter. These participants received messages from a weight-loss counselor and responses from fellow participants.

During the six months of the study the two groups each collectively lost weight, but the group using Twitter lost more weight. What's more, the researchers found that those who posted the most messages to Twitter lost the most weight. Brie Turner-McGrievy, one of the lead authors of the study, said she and her team found that every 10 tweets corresponded with roughly 0.5 percent weight loss.

The key? Tweeting about your weight loss or gain and your exercise routine.

"No one wants to talk about their weight online. One of the things we asked people to do was post how many pounds they lost on Friday of every week," Turner-McGrievy told Wired. "Some people still didn’t want to post how many pounds they had lost, even with the anonymous Twitter account. That's very sensitive."

But that's also apparently why it worked. The researchers posited that Twitter might even be a more effective weight loss tool than other social networks, like Facebook, because Twitter users don't have to use their real name or identity.

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If you're looking to lose weight these days, you're not short on options. In fact, the quandary for many people can oftentimes be in determining which avenue is the most effective.

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology should help gym-goers decide whether to hit the treadmill or the dumbells.

Researchers at Duke divided more than 100 overweight or obese adults into three groups: A section of people who did resistance training, another that did aerobic exercise and a group that did both. The participants worked out for between two and three hours each week.

Those in the aerobic and the mixed group lost the most weight, followed by the resistance group. From these results, researchers concluded that cardio should be the main (but not only) focus of people looking to cut pounds

"If you’re overweight, it’s good to lose fat and body weight,” said Dr. Leslie Willis, lead author of the study and an exercise physiologist at Duke. "Spend time doing cardio training if that’s your main goal."

It should be noted, however, that resistance training is still valuable, especially for people looking to build toned muscles.

(H/T to Wired)

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Jumping jacks are a great calisthenic, but they hardly scream, "This is going to be a brutal workout!" That's about to change. For this weekend's Train for Life challenge, kick up the intensity of this old-school exercise by performing a terrible trifecta of push-up jacks, squat jacks, and seal jacks. "These variations of the classic jumping jack will get your muscles burning and your heart pumping in no time," says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., metabolic training expert who designed the Men's Health Speed Shred DVD Series and owner of StreamFit.com.

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DO THIS

Perform 11 push-up jacks, 22 squat jacks and 33 seal jacks in a row. Then repeat. Test yourself by doing two rounds as fast as you can. Rest whenever you want, but keep the clock running the whole time. If that’s too difficult, try the modified challenge by removing the push-up from the pushup jack. Make sure your pushup form is correct for the best results. Click here to find out Are You Doing Push-Ups Wrong?

Push-Up Jack

Assume a pushup position, your hands slightly beyond shoulder width. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Jump your hands and feet out a few inches wider, while bending your elbows and lowering your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Then push up with enough force for your hands and feet to come off the floor. Land in the starting position. That is 1 rep. Do 11.

Squat Jack

Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. This is your starting position. Jump your feet out to shoulder-width apart and lower down into a squat, reaching your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level. Immediately jump back up to the starting position. That's 1 rep. Do 22 total. For more new exercises from the country’s leading experts, sign up for the Exercise of the Week newsletter.

Seal Jack

Stand with your feet together. Your arms should be straight out in front of your body at shoulder level and your palms together. Simultaneously squeeze your shoulder blades together, pull your arms out to your sides (they should still be parallel to the floor), and jump up just enough to kick your feet out wide. Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement and repeat. That's 1 rep. Do 33 reps.

Are you fit enough to beat BJ or Jill? Watch the video above to see them perform the Get Jacked Up challenge.

BJ finished 2 advanced rounds in 2 minutes and 14 seconds, and Jill completed 2 modified rounds in 2:09 seconds. What was your time? Let us know in the comments below, and click here for more FREE workouts from the experts at Men's Health!

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If the most exercise you did today was walking from your office to the cafeteria to get lunch, you're not alone: According to a survey from the United Health Foundation, 26.2 percent of Americans haven't gotten off their butts outside of going to work in the past month -- up from 23.9 percent a year ago.

There's no sugarcoating it: That's bad. Being inactive kills as many people a year -- by increasing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer -- as cigarette smoking, according to a 2012 study in The Lancet.

We understand if you're pressed for time and can't afford a daily trek to the gym, but here's the thing: A good workout doesn't have to be an hour long. In fact, the majority of gains from exercise come in the first 20 to 30 minutes, and at the right intensity, they come within the first 10, BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., metabolic training expert and creator of the Speed Shred DVD series, tells MensHealth.com.

And if all you've got is 4 minutes to spare? That's OK, too. Follow these three routines for optimal results -- no matter how much time you have:

4 Minutes
Follow the Tabata protocol, an interval routine developed for the Japanese Olympic speed skating team. Do 20 seconds of maximal effort in one muscle group (think: pushups) and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat with a non-competitive exercise (like squats) and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 4 minutes. According to a study by Japanese researchers, this 4-minute workout can boost your aerobic fitness by 14 percent.

What's more: It could also boost your anaerobic capacity -- a measure of how long you can exercise at your highest intensity -- by 28 percent. Pro tip: Minimize cross-fatigue by alternating between non-competitive muscle groups like upper and lower body, Gaddour suggests. (Need more of a challenge? Follow along with Gaddour in the new DVD series from Men's Health, Speed Shred.)

10 Minutes

Blast through a bodyweight circuit before breakfast, but keep it short: Ten minutes of intense circuit training provides the same all-day fat-burning results as a 30-minute-long circuit of the same intensity, Gaddour says.

Do this:
20 Jumping Jacks
12 Prisoner Squats: Stand with your hands behind your head, your chest out, and your elbows back. Sit back at your hips and bend your knees to lower your body as far as possible without losing the natural arch of your spine. Squeeze your glutes and push yourself back up to the starting position with your legs.
15 Pushups
12 Forward Lunges with each leg
10 Stickups: Stand with your back to the wall and feet about 4 inches from the wall. Place the back of your arms against the wall, with upper arms parallel to floor and forearms at 90 degrees. Raise your arms overhead while keeping them against the wall at all times. Slowly return to below the starting position, tucking your elbows into your sides and bringing shoulder blades together.

Rest for one minute between sets, and repeat as many times as you can before the time's up. For more new exercises from the country’s leading experts, sign up for the Men's Health Exercise of the Week newsletter.

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15 Minutes
Tweak four muscle-building standards to carve your core. According to research published in The Lancet, 15 minutes of exercise five times a week can add three years to your life by cutting your risk of developing cancer. Try this quick upper-body workout that also really hits your abs.

Do 10 reps of each of the following moves, rest for a minute in between sets, and repeat for a total of three sets.

Chinups with Knee Raises: Hang from a chinup bar using a shoulder-width, underhand grip. Pull your chest to the bar while also raising your knees to your chest. Pause, and slowly lower your body while also lowering your knees. If you can't complete a chinup, simply raise your knees while hanging from the bar.
Standing Single-Arm Shoulder Presses: Stand holding a dumbbell just outside your shoulder, with your palm facing you. Set your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Raise the weight until your arm is completely straight, and then lower it to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions with each arm.
Pushups with Row: Start in a pushup position as you grip a pair of hex dumbbells placed shoulder-width apart, your palms facing in. Lower your body, pause, and push yourself back up. Now pull the dumbbell in your right hand straight up to the side of your chest. Pause, and lower it. Repeat the move with your left arm.
Lying Tricep Extensions: Lie faceup on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length above your head, your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows to lower the weights until your forearms are past parallel to the floor. Pause, then lift back to the starting position.

For more get-fit-quick workouts, test yourself with one of the Men's Health Train for Life Challenges.

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