5 x 5 in 25

When it comes to working out, last week was one of the worst I’ve had in a long, long while.  You see, since 1990, my first year in college, I’ve had this 3-Day Rule.  Simply put, I forbade myself from ever taking more than three days off from working out.  And except for maybe three or four times, I’ve made good on that promise.  No matter what– birthday, illness, holidays, even on my honeymoon as my wife would attest– when and if that fourth day hit, I made sure I did something.  Whether it was going for a quick run, doing some push-ups and sprints in the driveway, or going to the grocery store to buy gallon milk containers to use as makeshift dumbbells, I made sure I got my workout in.

Fast forward–um– a few years and I’m proud to admit that, even though I seldom break that pact with myself, I’m much less restrictive now, forgiving myself for the occasional lapse.  Even then, though, I make sure the workouts that I am able to get in make up for the ones I missed.

Which brings me to last week.  With a board meeting to prepare for, a bum shoulder and sore ankle, a car to get serviced, and my normal husband and father weekly responsibilities; it was looking more and more like I might go a whole week without working out.  If I was able to squeeze in a session, it would have to be a quick one.  And I just knew that a half hour wouldn’t be enough.  Or would it?

I decided to slip out of work one late afternoon to put that theory to the test.  Even if it was just a half hour, it would be better than nothing.  Well, being the Accounting and Finance nerd that I am, I went into it with a game plan.  I like to put things into nice little boxes whenever I can.  Checklists, spreadhseets, folders, goals, schedules.  You name it.  If I can find a way to organize it, I will.  So on the way over to the gym, I realized I’d probably miss two workout days that week.  So, I decided to group what I’d normally do in two workouts into one.  While I normally reserve Chest and Legs for Day 1, Biceps and Triceps for Day 2, and Shoulders and Back for Day 3 (not necessarily and usually not in successive days); I decided to combine Days 1 and 2.  Below is what I did.   I call it 5×5 in 25 (“Five By Five in Twenty-Five!”)

5 Sets each of:
A.  Dumbbell Chest Presses on Swiss Ball (Example at: http://www.formerfatguyblog.com/2007/08/01/swiss-ball-exercise-dumbbell-bench-press.html)
B.  Standing Dumbbell Curls (Example at: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Biceps/DBCurl.html)
C.  Dumbbell Deadlifts (Example at: http://www.building-muscle101.com/dumbbell-deadlift.html)
D.  Cable Tricep Pressdowns (Example at: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/CBPushdown.html)
E.  Russian Twists (Standing or Seated, with or without weight/medicine ball; Example at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOSt4Lg9q9k)

Easy enough.  Okay, here’s the kicker.  All five exercises equals one set.  Your goal is to do five of them in 25 minutes.  If my math serves me correctly, that’s one minute per exercise, 5 minutes per set- including transition and rest!  Needless to say, even though my workout was short, it was one of the best ones I’ve had in a long time.  Missing those few days didn’t feel nearly as bad after that!

Note: I stayed in the 8-15 repetition range for the weights I used.  Not too light; not too heavy.  And because you’re constantly moving, the cardio workout is a lot better than you’d expect!

Note2: If the links don’t work, copy and paste them into your browser.


About bbluford
I am an executive finance professional with a love for process and application development (MS Access, Excel, Quickbooks), mostly as it relates to Accounting and Business Functions. I also love to write and share ideas with other people in this world. I'm an admitted Gym Rat who works out excessively. The best summation of me is that I love to teach and to learn.

4 Responses to 5 x 5 in 25

  1. Chris says:

    That’s good stuff!! I’ve never tried those russian twists. I’ma have to check those out!

  2. Julie Manriquez says:

    Bobby, this is the theory behind the CrossFit revolution (http://www.crossfit.com/). The idea is that you shouldn’t have to work more than 30 minutes per workout, but you work at such a heightened pace and focus (on just 3-5 exercises) that you achieve more in 25-30 minutes than the average 60-minute workout. I’ve held myself to the same 3-day rule for my adult life as well. Other than falling short a few times due to illness or travel, I’ve managed to stay true to it.

    • bbluford says:

      Yes. I’m finding it will be very helpful to help me not feel so guilty. I also don’t think I could subscribe to this all of the time. I’d get too slim. I do believe there are four different methods for training. The first, for aesthetics and fitness, is perfect for this type of workout. But the other three– maximum strength and power training, maximum muscle and size/growth training, and sport-specific training–require at least some variation (slower reps, more rest in between sets, more focus and deliberate attention on individual movements) of this type of training. For the majority of the world, though, this workout method is perfect. It allows for a high level of fitness in the minimum amount of time.

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