This 5-minute workout will bring you to your knees.
Unlike the average strength training session where you spend about 15-30 seconds working at a time, this routine requires you to work 5 minutes straight. That’s why I call it a “Death Set.”
Think I’m crazy to make you work that long?
Granted, I am a bit mentally unstable, but my 5-Minute Death Sets have a lot of merit to them.
Here’s why: the method extends the time your muscle fibres are under tension. This builds mental fortitude, increases muscular endurance, boosts fat loss and sparks new muscle growth.
It also improves exercise mechanics and joint positioning. You’re basically burning a movement pattern into your memory by doing it 5-10 times longer than you normally would. You become a pro.
Follow the directions below to try a Death Set for yourself.
The Death Set Protocol
Select an exercise. Now do as many quality reps of the move as you can in 5 minutes.
Choose a load or exercise variation that you can do at least 20 reps in a row. If the load is too heavy or the movement is too intense, you won’t be able to do enough reps to stimulate a fat-burning and metabolism-boosting response.
Initially, you’ll have trouble performing the exercise for 5 minutes straight without resting several times. But the goal is to increase your work time and decrease your rest time from session to session until you hit 5 minutes with zero rest.
For loaded moves, I recommend shooting for a rep-per-minute total – like 10 reps per minute. Each time you do the workout, bump up the reps per minute by one or two. This will lead to a gradual and progressive overload that will change your body!
Below are some of my favourite exercises to slot into a death set:
1. Goblet squat
6. Bear crawl
7. Bulgarian split squat
How to Prolong Death
Want to make it longer? Perform one exercise for 5 minutes, and then rest one minute. Then choose another movement to do for 5 minutes.
You can do this for as many moves as you want based on your fitness level and how much time you have to train. I suggest alternating between upper- and lower-body exercises so you can keep your intensity high without fatiguing. (If you worked your upper-body muscles every round, you wouldn’t be able to complete as many reps or go as long.)
I admit, doing a single move for 5 minutes straight can get boring. If you want, you can break up the 5 minutes by doing a new variation of the same exercise every minute.
Take the lunge, for example. The minute-by-minute breakdown in the Death Set could look like this:
Minute 1: Reverse lunge
Minute 2: Forward lunge
Minute 3: Lateral (side) lunge
Minute 4: Rotational lunge
Minute 5: Levitating lunge
You can even have some fun with it. One of my 5-Minute Death Sets is called “Gorilla”. Check it out in the video above.
Minute 1: Gorilla squat
Minute 2: Gorilla pushup
Minute 3: Gorilla walk
Minute 4: King Kong
Minute 5: Gorilla lateral walk
Why in the world would I ask you to perform these moves continuously for 5 straight minutes?
To start, gorilla squats build hip, knee and ankle mobility, and serve as kind of a built-in warm-up to the mini-workout.
Then, gorilla push-ups build shoulder and core stability. Thumping your chest is also scientifically proven to boost testosterone by 50 per cent. (Don’t quote me on that.)
Next, the gorilla walk involves a locomotion pattern that is driven through the arms instead of the legs. This builds big-time upper-body strength, and challenges your body in all-new way.
Then come King Kongs – or, a dumbbell sumo deadlift to curl to press. However, you kind of resemble King Kong when he enthusiastically celebrates storming a skyscraper. It hits every muscle in your body from head to toe. At this point, you’ll be raining metabolic tears.
Finally, you return to the gorilla walk, but you’ll perform it side-to-side this time. Traveling laterally hits a new plane of movement and changes the stimulus a bit.
In the end, what you get with the Gorilla Death Set is possibly the most productive 5-minute fitness experiences of your life.
And all you need is your bodyweight and a pair of dumbbells to reach a truly primal level of perspiration.