Week 4 of the New Year Workout: Favorite 5x5x5 Workout with TRX

A Marine does lunges with the TRX suspension system.
Pfc. Taylor Ish with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, does lunges at the TRX workout competition between the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard on Marina Green, Oct. 6, during the San Francisco Fleet Week 2012. (Sgt. Kevin Okamura/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

There is a classic weightlifting routine called 5x5, which means five sets of five repetitions of moderately heavy weight. Typically, athletes will lift 75% to 80% of their one-repetition max lift (1RM) for the 5x5 workout.

As a trainer and longtime lifter and runner, I enjoy adding a short segment of five minutes of cardio to each set as a recovery exercise for more lifting. If you are serious about your 1RM, you can eliminate or limit the cardio option for this workout. But if running, rucking or other events are part of your training, you may want to add these cardio events, either during the lift phase or at least after the lift as a cooldown and maintenance piece.

Here is a workout that replaces the barbell lifts with the TRX and weight vests. You can make the TRX tougher by wearing a weight vest during the leg and full-body exercises if you prefer. You may find five repetitions is too easy. You either can add more weight or more repetitions.

The original 5x5x5 workout consists of a five-minute cardio interval, squats, bench presses, deadlifts, abs or plank pose, and weight pull-ups arranged in a circuit. The TRX version looks like this:

"5x5x5 Minute Workout"

Repeat five times.

Skip triceps extensions if going heavy.

*Five-minute cardio of choice -- Bike, row, run or elliptical, but each minute gets harder than the previous minute in speed, resistance or incline.

** Wt. means wearing a weight vest. The typical weight of a weight vest is 15-25 pounds, but this is optional for beginners. For advanced, you can add more to make your five repetitions challenging.

As you can see, you can make a heavy resistance workout still happen with a weight vest, a suspension training like the TRX and a few dumbbells. Enjoy.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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