A 3 x 5 x 5 Workout: Keeping It Short and Easy-to-Follow

Working out, for us normal people, is unpleasant. Yes, you feel amazing after, but the getting there: the dragging yourself in the gym, the second, third, and that last set, these are all a different levels of excruciating. So you want to make it as easy, short and sweet as possible.


My version is a 3 x 5 x 5. The 5 x 5 means that you do 5 sets of 5 repetitions, where a set means finishing the repetitions of that set right after the other without any rest, and in between sets, you take a rest. 

The workout is 2 days per week, and each of those days has different workouts:


  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Row


  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead Press

Each of these work outs get the 5 by 5, except the deadlift, which is just 1 set of 5 repetitions. Alternating the workouts lets your muscle groups rest.

  • Squats targets the butt, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, calves
  • Bench Press targets the chest and a bit of the triceps/ biceps depending on the width
  • Row targets the traps, and the back
  • Deadlift targets the back, butt, quadriceps, and hamstrings
  • Overhead Press targets the shoulders, triceps, traps, and abs

You’ll notice that most of these exercises are compound exercises. For example, squats also engage the shoulders, abs, and back. And this is by design, so you don’t need to perform many exercises as the exercises already target many muscle groups.

Finally, an important part of this workout is increasing your weights every workout day. It’s for this reason that I bought fractional weights. I load .75kg over the last weight for a workout. So this means that if my bench press is at 5kilos on one Tuesday, the next Tuesday (which is the next time I do a bench press, I will do it at 5.75kg. You’ll notice that squats are done every workout day, so these get loaded the fastest.

Inevitably, you’ll run into failures, in which case, you are supposed to deload 2 steps down.


It's a short workout that’s easy to follow; this is the biggest advantage. In building habits, you usually start with very easy smaller habits, but the effects are profound because you’re likely to keep on track. Daunting workouts feel like dragging your feet, and this is not a once-in-a-while battle, but a regular one. I have on occasion done isolated-muscle workouts (and this is very legit like when I went through ACL surgery that affected only one side) but you have to care for how many exercises this is adding to your workout. It's personally easier for me to have less exercises in a workout.

The second benefit of this workout is that it doesn't require a lot of equipment, and it's easy to setup a home gym for it. You will only need a rack that can be adjusted for both the squat and the bench press, a bench, and an olympic bar and weights set. So for me, it's a workout I do at home, and this adds to how consistent I am.

Finally, it's a very effective workout. Squats help me lose weight, and along with the many compound exercises in the workout, hits all the major muscle groups. Add to that the fact progressive loading has long been proven to increase muscle mass, and you have a workout that's intrinsically effective. So when you combine that with how easy it is to be consistent due to how short and simple it is, you have an overall effective workout. 


There are two disadvantages to this workout. First, it will not help with problem areas, or areas that need catch-up. For these, isolation work outs are needed.

Second, this is a no cardio workout, though it's simple to add it before the workout, or in between workout days.


■■■■ Short and easy to do

This is a workout that doesn't take more than an hour (I average 30 minutes), doesn't require many pieces of equipment, and is effective. It suits my goals really well.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post