The 5x5x5 Workout

By: Dr. Gary Huber

Posted 12/21/2022

Great tool for engaging a QUICK workout option for those work weeks when time is limited.

This is a favorite of mine and fits into into anyone’s workout menu. The idea of the 5x5x5 is that you do:

  • 5 different exercises
  • 5 reps of each at 75 to 80% max
  • 5 days in a row

The beauty of this routine is that it is quick yet stresses the muscles in a new way that stimulates growth by virtue of its unique application. You would never do bicep curls on back to back days but in this application, you are doing just that but NOT to exhaustion. The beauty is the stress to the muscle comes in short blasts 5 days in a row. You are in the gym and out in 15 minutes or less so this helps on those weeks when your schedule is tight and you need the work but are short on time.

Here’s the rules.

Select 5 exercises that complement each other. You can do all upper or all lower or a mix. I like to select push/pull combinations such as bicep/tricep, or quad extension and ham curls and then mix in an odd ball. For example, I might select:

  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Chin ups or Lat pulls
  • Bicep curl
  • Tricep extension
  • Deadlift (my total body odd ball)

I want to perform a weight that won’t cause exhaustion as I have to do this every day for 5 days but a weight that is “significant” so select a weight that reflects 75 to 80% of your one rep max. A short warm up is advised especially if you plan to engage universal joint such as your shoulders or hips.  After a quick 3 to 5 minute warm up like kettlebell swings, elliptical or rowing then jump right in. Do 5 reps of each exercise one time through. Then repeat this same group with a second 5 rep pass but on the second pass you may reduce the weight by 10% if you like (optional). You’re DONE!!  That's it. Sound too easy? Well don’t cash that check just yet as you are coming back tomorrow and again and again for 5 days in a row.  Let me know on Thursday how easy it feels.

But quick? You bet ya. 15 minutes max from beginning to end and you feel it by Friday. In fact on Friday if you have the time extend that workout and add some sets or aerobics or leg work to round out your week if you have the time. This is not what you would naturally choose to do all the time but as a change of pace or a quick fix for challenging work weeks it is the bomb and will become a favorite “go to” if you keep it in your workout menu of options. Enjoy.

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