I have always been a huge fan of using “simple” exercises and modifying the acute variables to achieve a client’s goals. These are your “basic” squats, rows, deadlifts, presses, pullups, curls, and tricep extensions. They are demanding exercises that burn calories, build muscle, stimulate a favorable hormonal response, and many are complex exercises to master.
Exercises like the squat and deadlift can take years for many people to get comfortable with, so they are not as “simple” as many think. They may not look as fancy and “complex” as say a Turkish Get Up, but I guarantee you will be much more exhausted after a hard leg day that includes big lifts like squats than a kettle bell workout. This is not to say I don’t use kettlebells or “functional” exercises in my programs. I quite frequently include them, but 50-90% of the exercises I choose for my clients are the basic tried and true ones.
- Choose 2 exercises per muscle group (up to 3 for legs)
- Do 5 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, for a total of 10 sets (10-15 for legs)
- Work 1-2 muscle groups in a workout session
- Work legs on a separate day
All exercises are 5x10 and are stable, compound lifts. Arm exercises are an exception being a single joint movement by nature.
- Chest: Bench Press 5x10, incline bench press 5x10
- Back: Pullups, barbell Rows
- Legs: Barbell squats, leg Press, leg curls
- Shoulders: Barbell military press, DB lateral raises
- Biceps: Barbell curls, DB hammer curls
- Triceps: Close grip bench, lying DB tricep extensions.
This workout benefits the following, but limited to:
- Intermediate to advanced lifters
- Those seeking muscle gain
- Men with any goal
- Women adhering to a fat loss nutrition protocol
- Ages 18-45
- Those who are injury free
A Word on Intensity
This workout is meant for each set be tough and near impossible by the 5th set while maintaining good lifting form. The ability to push yourself is key here. 10 sets done with 50% the effort will feel like nothing. While giving 100% effort will make your arms feel like wet noodles and your legs barely able to carry you out the gym door. This workout is meant for basic lifts with high intensity at 10 reps.
A High Volume Phase
My 2x5x10 workout will provide great results, but it is meant as a phase to cycle in your training program. Do 3 weeks of this phase, then take a “deloading” week to let your body fully recover. Doing this workout for more than 3-4 weeks will typically lead to overtraining. If you weight train consistently, you should have many different phases in your training program.