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5 Day Workout Routine Builds Whole-Body Fitness

Two fitness trainers completing a 5 day workout routine.

This 5 day workout routine has been crafted to promote whole-body conditioning. Because each day involves a different training methodology, you’ll be able to develop the main components of fitness.

But there’s more than a week’s worth of exercise here. The workouts can be used as a framework for your training routine going forward. With each new week, you could change the exercises and scheduled sets, reps, distances and durations.

In addition to fanning the flames of training motivation, reshuffling the exercises frequently also helps engage our muscles in different ways. As Arnold Schwarzenegger observes, changing around our routines is important because it keeps us ‘from getting bored,’ and helps ‘shock the body into further growth.’

5 day workout routine benefits

If you decide to have a go at this 5 day workout routine, you stand to gain a broad range of benefits. But, by way of a caveat, the soon-to-be-discussed benefits will only be brought about if the routine is implemented for four or more consecutive weeks.

In addition, the health and fitness benefits can be compounded if healthy dietary practices and other positive lifestyle factors are observed. This would include, for example, transitioning to a plant-based diet while reducing or ceasing toxic lifestyle habits such as smoking/vaping, alcohol consumption and sedentarism.

With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s have a look at what’s on offer.

Improved fitness conditioning

A common mistake many people make is to focus on just one training method. If you’ll excuse the generalisation, men typically favour resistance while women prefer cardio.

Narrowing your training focus results in the neglect of other components of fitness and the underdevelopment of related physiological systems. For example, following the logic of the above generalisation, men that limit their training to resistance may boast bulging biceps and a broad chest. But they also may be carrying an unhealthy amount of visceral fat. Also, though their skeletal muscles are strong, their cardio-respiratory muscles are weak.

For the cardio-loving woman, the outcomes are almost the exact opposite; other than, of course, the worrisome health concerns of excessive internal fat and an underpowered engine. Yet the stick-thin runner that lacks physical robustness may be prone to injury risk.

Also, people ‘who train solely for endurance maintain low blood pressure and develop large, elastic hearts that are better able to handle high volumes of blood flow but that don’t cope well with the high pressures needed to lift heavy weights,’ (Exercised : The Science of Physical Activity, Rest & Health).

As with all things, balance is best. Building a body that is both strong and conditioned is eminently possible. And doing so can also confer a broader range of health and fitness benefits.

The chief aim of this 5 day workout routine is to support you on this journey to physical ideal.

Weight loss and improved cardio-respiratory function

In the brilliant book Exercised, Daniel Liberman crowns cardio king of the fat burners. If you want to lose weight and trim up, Liberman prescribes a life-long course of cardio for those ailments.

Well, we’ve heeded this sage advice. This explains why cardio features consistently throughout the 5 day routine. Not only does each workout have a dash of cardio in it, but one day is given up entirely to aerobics.

Why? Well, Dr Kenneth Cooper – who is widely regarded as the father of cardio – identifies ‘aerobic exercise’ as a ‘basic need.’ One that, if performed regularly, ‘enhances the ability of the body to move air into and out of the lungs’ as well as increasing the ‘total blood volume,’ (The Aerobics Program For Total Well-Being).

Enhanced muscle tonality

While the cardio is taking care of body fat the resistance exercises are building muscle. This is by far the most potent tag team if you’re battling to improve your body composition.

You can lift weights until the cows come home but if you’re carrying a conspicuous layer of subcutaneous fat, your labour will bear scant fruit. To reveal the masterpiece that is your sculpted form, you must remove the veil of fat that’s currently covering it.

The resistance element of the routine includes a mix of multi-joint movements and functional exercises. So, as well as developing definition, the workouts can enhance strength and muscular endurance – and a bit of power.

5 day workout routine troubleshooting

Before we venture into the workouts, I thought it would be wise to pre-empt possible problems that could arise with implementing the routine. Thus, in anticipation of the ‘hows’, ‘whys’, and ‘whats’, I’ve answered three likely questions.

If I’ve overlooked or incompletely answered your question, pop it in the comments box below.

How should I start the 5 day workout routine?

This is not one of those rigid routines that you’ve got to reconfigure your life around: Monday back ‘n bis, Tuesday trap ‘n tris . . . No thanks.

The routine has been designed to integrate seamlessly into your lifestyle. Moreover, the workouts have been organised to support you achieve your fitness goals.

Ideally, you would complete the workouts in order across the week. But how you do this is entirely up to you. Because each plan targets a specific component of fitness, you may wish to prioritise the plan most reflective of your training aim over the others.

Furthermore, there’s no saying that you couldn’t focus on one workout for 5 days before changing. Of course, if you applied this option, you would change the exercises each time.

Alternatively, if you prefer a more militaristic regime, you can fix the workouts to a designated day of the week. For example:

Monday: Workout 1: Strength
Tuesday: Workout 2: Muscle endurance
Wednesday: Workout 3: Cardio conditioning
Thursday: Workout 4: Circuit training
Friday: Workout 5: Fitness challenges

Why is it a 5 day workout routine

Arguably, a 5 day workout routine straddles the training version of the Goldilocks zone. Fewer than five days is not quite enough. Furthermore, a shorter routine makes it more challenging to target the major components of fitness. Engaging them all would require cramming a lot of exercise into a few workouts.

In contrast, more than five days may be a bit daunting for many trainers. This is especially so for beginners or those just embarking on an exercise routine for the first time.

Additionally, because many of us lead hectic lives, it may be impractical for most people to commit to a six- or seven-day training schedule. Few things sabotage motivation like failing to achieve a goal.

So, when weighed against the other options, a 5 day workout routine seemed to hit that sweet spot. But, as mentioned above, if you want to do more (or less) repeat (or reduce) the workouts.

What if I can’t do some of the exercises?

First, don’t panic! It’s not a problem. Think of the 5 day workout routine as a training framework. It provides structure, guidance, and a method to follow. But, unlike the 10 Commandments or the teachings of the Talmud, the routine is not set in stone. What do I mean by this?

Suppose for a minute that you’re a beginner and you’re yet to graduate from machines to free weights. There’s no shame in that. Even legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Lee started on the basics.

What you would do when encountering a barbell exercise is substitute it for a fixed resistance equivalent. Note the word ‘equivalent.’ The replacement exercise doesn’t have to be a replica.

While we’re on the subject, the same can be said for complex lifts such as hang cleans and kettlebell snatches. If you’re not entirely confident at performing these exercises simply swap them for similar ones that you are confident at performing.

5 day workout routine

We’ve now arrived at the 5 day routine. What follows is a brief outline of the workouts. Though self-explanatory, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the organisation of the session plans. This way you’ll be able to dive straight into the workouts without stumbling over the structure.

The plans are numbered one through to five. Days of the week have not been included for the reasons outlined above. You should implement the workouts however best suits your schedule and training commitments.

Workout process

The 5 workout routines observe the standard training process. That is, they are comprised of four distinct phases: warm-up, main session, cool-down, and stretch. Phases shouldn’t be skipped or shortened, and the ordering should remain the same. Below I’ve outlined a few justifications for this process.

To reduce injury risk and improve exercise performance, it’s important to warm up before a workout. A 10-minute warm-up comprised of cardio and light resistance exercises is more than sufficient. This all-purpose gym warm-up ticks all the right boxes.

All workouts should conclude with a 5- to 10-minute cool-down and stretch. These elementary training processes can reduce post-exercise DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and speed up recovery.

Because it’s not feasible to squeeze the four phases into a single session plan, a generic outline has been provided below. You can use the plan as a blueprint for the 5 workout routines and your training sessions going forward.

A fitness trainer running on a treadmill as part of a 5 day workout routine.


The 5-day workout routines

A fitness trainer performing deadlifts as part of a 5-day workout routine.


A fitness trainer completing resistance exercises as part of a 5 day workout routine.


A fitness trainer running as part of a 5-day workout routine.


A fitness trainer performing kettlebell exercises as part of a 5 day workout routine.


A fitness trainer completing a fitness challenge as part of a 5-day workout routine.


Enjoyed this 5 day workout routine?

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The author bio to blog: 5 day workout routine.

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