When the clocks fall back, your gym discipline tends to go with them. It’s tough to muster the discipline for leg day, followed by plain rice and boiled chicken, when it’s dark by 5pm. Especially because all the hard work has a counterintuitive effect – when you have to layer up, bulk from muscle just looks like bulk from fat. But that’s no reason to let attendance slip. As the old saying goes, summer bodies are built in winter. Graft now and you can ease off in January, when your gym festers with people who haven’t yet learned to wipe their sweat off the benches.

In fact, now’s the time to embrace both your gym’s comparative emptiness and all that extra fabric. By focusing less on your six-pack and more on developing all the muscles around it, you’ll build functional strength – and pack on more size – that will look even better after next year’s last-minute, pre-beach shred.

These three moves from Dylan Jones, founder of P4Body, will lay the sun lounger groundwork and reinvigorate any stale routines by offering your body a new challenge. They say a change is as good as a rest. Well, you’ll need one after these.

Sled Push

Why It Works

The sled hits every muscle that you neglected while pursuing a better reflection. “It’s great for building leg strength and it works your core and builds power,” says Jones. You won’t get much of a pump, but you will curse every yard.

Bodybuilders avoid sleds because they only work your muscles in one plane – it’s the eccentric phase (or lowering) of any exercise that causes damage and builds bulk. “That’s why they’re not used as a cosmetic exercise,” says Jones. But they’re a go-to for sportsmen because they offer unrivalled strength gains. Which translates to more weight on your squat and explosive growth when you do get back to the aesthetics.

How To Do It

Load a sled with weight then grab the handles and push it to the end of the track as quickly as possible. Use quick steps and drive your legs forward explosively. “Push for 20-25 metres, rest for 20 seconds, then repeat up to four times,” says Jones.

If your gym doesn’t have a sled, you can get the same effect from a turned-off treadmill.

Bodyweight Rope Pull-Up

Why It Works

Any extra timber you’re carrying right now has one big benefit. “The off-season is a good time to build upper body strength because you’re heavier,” says Jones. In other words, your muscles have to work harder to lift you up. “When you get back to the ‘cut’ in the summer, you’ll find it a lot easier to lift your lighter frame.”

Consider this the best way to finally hit 10 (unaided) pull-ups.

How To Do It

Drape a rope over a pull-up bar, grab it with both hands and slowly lower yourself down. “Keep your body straight until you’re sitting on the floor, then pull yourself back up,” says Jones. Go hand-over-hand until you’re back to standing, then repeat for 6-10 reps total.

If you’ve not yet swapped salads for stuffed crusts, wear a weighted vest to up the difficulty.

Wall Sit

Why It Works

There’s one muscle you ignore even more than your glutes, but which is even more important to your performance. “This move doesn’t just strengthen your body, but also your mind,” says Jones.

The agonies of this slow and shattering move don’t just build iron legs; they also bulletproof your willpower. So you won’t crap out on your #leaneating in the week before take-off.

How To Do It

Sit against a wall with your back flat and your thighs at 90 degrees. “Keep your arms out in line with your shoulders and press your weight through your heels,” says Jones. Hold the position for as long as you can stand the burn. Then try and beat your time the next day.

You won’t like it tomorrow, but you’ll be grateful six months down the line.