When Million Dollar Listing New York’s Ryan Serhant steps into the Dogpound gym in Manhattan, he has no idea what workout awaits him. Upper body focus? Lower body strength building? High-intensity cardio? It’s a total toss-up, and that daily surprise is one of the reasons he gets out of bed and into the gym by 5:30 a.m. every Monday through Friday.
“It’s good that it changes all the time, and I get to do it with a bunch of other guys — [that] forces me to continue to do it,” Serhant told MensHealth.com.
When you hear Serhant’s name, your first thought probably isn’t a group of dudes slinging weights around. Instead, you’re more likely to envision crisp, tailored suits, vast New York City skylines, and his Bravo TV show about seven-figure condos. The TV star recently released his first book, Sell It Like Serhant, with the hopes of teaching beginner real estate agents how they, too, can go from living in New York’s Koreatown neighbourhood without a single suit in the closet to selling $838 million in real estate over the span of a year.
“It’s about helping people learn how to sell, knowing that selling really is a muscle,” he says. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes.
Keeping the Focus on Fitness
That type of thinking is why the 34-year-old is such a fan of the gym. Growing up overweight, Serhant says focusing on fitness helped him understand that he could take charge.
“For me it was just, ‘Oh wow, if I put in the time with these weights, my body can look different,’” he says. “I [realized] that if I ate well, cut out all the chocolate pudding and the cake, and I did workouts that I could find online or get from friends, that I would look better than I did otherwise. And that was important to me.”
Still, with a schedule like his — Serhant wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and immediately starts tackling emails — it’s a wonder his growing to-do list doesn’t get the best of him. His secret to success seems to be a no excuses attitude. “What I have to do during the day has nothing to do with whether I work out or not,” Serhant says. “Working out, to me, is synonymous with eating.”
Once he’s in the gym, Serhant prefers total-body superset routines that work a variety of muscle groups at once. “I like getting things done,” he says. “I don’t like leaving things out; I don’t like forgetting things. There’s a lot of body that I need to work out, so I want to make sure that I hit it all.”
But if he had to choose a workout to skip, he’d ditch cardio for good. “The SkiErg machine is the worst thing in the world. The assault bike is the worst thing in the world. Pushing the sled up and down Renwick street is the worst thing in the world,” he says. “I do them because I convince myself that they’re good for me, but the jury’s still out on that.” (Actually, the jury’s back — keep on keeping on, Serhant.)
Luckily, those cardio bursts are usually built into his workouts as accessory moves, so Serhant can focus on getting in heavy lifts.
That’s why he’s such a fan of the full-body workout below, designed by Reinhard Nel, senior trainer and trainer development manager at Dogpound. Serhant blasts through routines like this before slipping into that tailored suit and convincing clients that those high-ticket houses are worth every pretty penny.
Ryan Serhant’s Million Dollar Workout
To warm up, perform 2 sets each of:
- 5 Pause Goblet Squats
- 10 Banded Good Mornings
- 20 Banded Face-Pulls
- 30 Seconds Bear Hug Hold Marches
Rotate through the movements below as a full-body circuit or as straight sets, finishing all sets of one exercise before tackling the next. If strength is your focus, select a weight that is around 80 to 95 per cent of your 1 rep max, and perform 3 to 5 sets of 4 to 6 reps. To build muscle endurance, choose a weight that’s 60 to 80 per cent of your 1 rep max, and perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Kettlebell Front Rack Squats
Works: Hips, legs, glutes, core
- Start with kettlebells in each hand in a front rack position, with forearms at a 45-degree angle (avoid flaring your elbows), resting the weight between the forearm and bicep, hands touching. Engage the lats by thinking of squeezing lemons underneath the armpits.
- Lower into a squat (focus on keeping your chest up, hips back, knees out), pause for a second, then explosively drive up to full hip extension so your hips and shoulders form a straight line. Brace at the top, squeezing the glutes and abs as if someone is about to punch you in the gut.
Works: Hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, traps, upper back
- Start with a barbell in front of you, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, and toes slightly pointed out.
- Grab the bar with your hands just inside the knees. Pull your hips down so your back is straight and you feel a tension in the hamstrings. Engage the lats by imagining you’re trying to bend the bar.
- Initiate the lift by pushing your feet into the floor while pulling back on the barbell. Drive until you’re fully standing (not leaning back), and brace the legs, abs, glutes, and lats as hard as you can in the lockout position.
- Lower the bar back down in a straight line. Reset before your next rep.
Serhant makes the exercise harder by adding resistance bands to the bar. This teaches acceleration through the movement and makes the lift as hard at lockout as it is at the bottom.
Landmine Punch Press With Bands
Works: Core, shoulders, triceps, biceps, lats, grip strength
- Set the landmine by placing a barbell in a landmine anchor or propping it in a corner. Attach a resistance band around the barbell, just outside the plate or at the collar of the bar, and loop the other end around the middle of your foot.
- Start standing with the barbell at an angle, so the end of the bar meets the shoulder. Your knees should be slightly bent, with hips and shoulders facing forward. Establish a strong neutral grip, keeping the wrists straight throughout. Brace the core and glutes, and activate the lats, grip, and arms by tucking your elbow into the hip.
- Initiate the lift by punching explosively upward, extending through the hips while pressing from the lats. Be sure not to roll your shoulders forward.
- Once you’ve stabilized the bar at the lockout position, actively pull the bar back down to start position. Focus on speed on the punch up, and control on the way back down.
Landmine Towel Row
Works: Hamstrings, upper back, lats, biceps, grip strength
- Stand over the landmine and barbell with your feet right up against the plate. Loop a towel around the barbell, using it as a grip.
- To set up, start standing up straight, like you would for a deadlift. From this upright position, bend your knees slightly and hinge your hips back to create tension in the hamstring while keeping back straight. Lower until your torso is at a 45-degree angle.
- From here, initiate a row. Engage the lats, keep your torso rigid, and externally rotate the hands as you bring your elbows up and back, until your hands are about level with your torso. (Focus on rowing into the hip, not shrugging the traps and neck.)
Assault Bike Sprint
Works: Power, endurance
- Peddle, driving hard through the through the legs in an up and down fashion (don’t let your knees flare out), while pushing and pulling with the arms. If your head sways a lot, you’re using your upper body too much.
- Peddle until you’ve burned 10-20 calories. Depending on ability, a strong goal to work toward is 10 calories in under 10 to 15 seconds, or 20 calories in under 20 to 30 seconds, to develop power through the legs.
By Samantha Lefave