A Total-Body Strength-Building 5×5 Workout
Those grunters in the weight room can be intimidating| but you can navigate the barbells just as confidently with this riff on a muscle-sculpting classic| the 5×5 workout. Well known in the bodybuilding community for targeting different muscles and challenging your body for big gains in strength| the idea behind the 5×5 workout is simple: five sets of exercises| each done at five repetitions per set. As the weeks progress| you increase the weight you lift and rearrange or replace exercises in order to shock your body into gaining muscle mass.
Even if you aren’t looking to perfect your biceps and max out on the bench| a modified version of this simple workout should be part of any routine. Weights are your best friend when it comes to boosting metabolism and sculpting your body| so grab a pair of 12- or 15-pound dumbbells and give this beginner-friendly 5×5 workout a whirl. The trick is to pick a weight that will challenge you| so if this workout seems too easy| try upping your weights. Be sure to rest for 90 seconds between sets.
| Squat and Bicep Curl
- Stand with your feet directly under your hips holding a dumbbell in each hand. Sit back into your squat| keeping the weight in your heels| bringing your thighs parallel to the floor without letting your knees go beyond your toes.
- Push through your heels to return to standing while bringing the weights to your shoulders| performing a bicep curl.
- Repeat five times.
| Overhead Press
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and pick up your weights| holding the dumbbells so your palms are face down. Lift up your weights until they are at your shoulders| palms facing forward| with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Raise your arms until elbows are extended| moving weights until they almost touch above your head (see picture above).
- Slowly return back to starting position (with elbows at a 90-degree angle).
- Repeat for five reps| making sure you keep your form correct.
- Remember to breathe and keep your spine neutral and core engaged while you perform this exercise. Also| don’t hunch your shoulders while you raise and lower your weights.
| Romanian Deadlift
This move is the secret to a sculpted backside; it works your hamstrings| glutes| and quads too.
- Stand upright holding a pair of medium-weight dumbbells in each hand| arms at your sides| with your knees slightly bent.
- Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent| slowly bend at the hips (not your waist) and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back| which should remain straight.
- Now squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up (don’t use your back).
Do five reps.
| Bent-Over Row
This move helps shape shoulders and back muscles.
- Lean forward and bend both knees| remembering to keep a flat back.
- Extend your arms so they are straight. Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level| squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward. Don’t arch your back.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
- Do five reps to complete a set.
| Lying Fly
Open up your chest and work those abs with a lying fly.
- Lie on your back with your hips and knees both at 90-degree angles. Using your low abs| press your lower back into the mat. Raise your arms toward the ceiling| palms facing each other| keeping the elbow joint slightly bent.
- Keeping your torso stable| open your arms out to the side until your elbows are about two inches from the floor.
- Raise your arms back to the ceiling| bringing the weights together over your chest. This completes one rep.
- Do five reps to complete a set.
Rest for at least 90 seconds| then repeat this entire circuit four more times.