5-4-3-2-1 workout method is a hybrid strength training that combines several strength training methods into one comprehensive program. It is very efficient when it comes to strengthening the muscles.

This kind of hybrid workout gives excellent results since it combines the methods which complement each other by each having what the other lacks. This kind of workout program is also much more interesting way of training so you will for sure not be bored.

One of the simplest workout methods is 5-4-3-2-1 workout method and in this article we will tell you more about it and how to use it to get the best possible results.

What Is 5-4-3-2-1 Workout Method?

Numbers 5,4,3,2,1 represent the number of sets that we do and also they represent the order we do them in during the workout.

Basically, those exercises in which we do the largest number of sets are the hardest and most complex exercises.

This is the reason why they have the advantage during the workout. These are also the exercises in which we have the smallest number of reps.

As the workout progresses, we are doing less straining and less complex exercises with a smaller number of sets, but with a larger number of reps, since the weights are lighter.

Another advantage of this workout method is that it follows the natural flow of fatigue of your body as the training progresses, so the risk of injuries is diminished.

5-4-3-2-1 Workout Method And Strength

It is already known that different kinds of reps can cause different muscle reactions. In short, what we know about reps is the following:

Sets in which you can do only 5-6 reps are good for increasing strength, while the sets in which you can do 6 or more reps are good for increasing size.

Think of your body as the computer where lifting heavy weights in less than 6 reps helps you improve software (your central nervous system), and lifting weights in more than 6 reps helps you improve hardware (your whole body).

We can assume you would not buy a new computer with old software or vice versa. Both training results (strength and size) do not exclude each other. This is the reason why we use both training methods in order to get a full range of power.

fit woman holding dumbbells

Models Of 5-4-3-2-1 Workout

These are some basic models of reps and sets of 5-4-3-2-1 workout:

Five – 5 sets of 3-6 reps using mixed or explosive moves (motion range, pushing or pulling)

Four – 4 sets of 6-8 reps using mixed moves (unless you used them in set “5”)

Three – 3 sets of 8-12 reps using mixed moves, isolation exercises or exercises on the machines

Two – 2 sets of 12-20 reps using isolation exercises or exercises on the machines

One – 1 set in which reps can vary depending on what exercises you chose from 10 to 100, do some finishing exercises until cancelation such as calf exercises 

Adjusting To Your Own Needs

The beauty of this method is not only its comprehensiveness, it’s also the simplicity of performance. It can be adjusted to emphasize the sets and reps that suit your goals the best.

If your goal is to get stronger, we suggest that during the workout, you focus more on exercises in sets 5 and 4. During these exercises, more motor units get activated and they are inducing more force.

In these sets you should do several different exercises, while in the rest of the sets you can do just one exercise.

If your goal is to look visually bigger, then during the workout, you should focus on sets 4, 3 and 2. In these sets, the cells are swelling and muscle hypertrophy occurs. In this case, you should do one exercise in set 5 and several exercises in sets 4, 3 and 2.

Keep in mind that 5-4-3-2-1 workout method is the hybrid system of training and that as such it helps you increase the strength and volume no matter how you organize it. Changing the variables that we spoke about just helps you focus on achieving your goal faster.

woman dumbbell pressing on pasyou adjustable weight bench

Example Of 5-4-3-2-1 Workout Method

We will give you two examples of 5-4-3-2-1 workout method. One is focused on strength and the other one on volume. Both are based on a 3 day workout plan.

3 Day Plan For Mass

Day one: chest, shoulders, triceps

1. Bench press 4 x 6-8 reps

2. Bench press with dumbbells 4 x 6-8 reps

3. Incline dumbbell press 4 x 6-8 reps

4. Shoulder press barbell overhead 3 x 8-12  reps

5. Push ups 1 x 80-100 reps

Day two: back, traps, biceps

1. Pull ups 5 x 3-6 reps

2. Lat pull-down 4 x 6-8 reps

3. Barrbell row 4 x 6-8 reps

4. Seated row 3 x 8-12 reps

5. Shoulder shrug 3 x 8-12 reps

6. Curls 2 x 15 eps

7. Band stretch 1 x 80-100 reps

Day three: legs, glutes, calves

1. Dedalift 5 x 3-6 reps

2. Frontal squat 4 x 6-8 reps

3. Legpress 4 x 6-8 reps

4. Leg extention 3 x 8-12 reps

5. Toe raises 2 x 15 reps

6. Walking lunges 1 x 60-80 reps ( 30-40 with each leg)

3 Day Plan For Strength

Day one: upper body

1. Bench press 5 x 3-6 reps

2. Barbell press 5 x 3-6 reps

3. Incline dumbbell press 4 x 6-8 reps

4. Chest press 4 x 6-8 reps

5. Frontal lift 2 x 15 reps

6. Pushups 1 x 60-80 reps

Day two: pull for upper body

1. Pull ups 5 x 3-6 reps

2. Single dumbbell row 5 x 5-6 eps

3. Lat pull down 4 x 6-8 reps

4. T- bar row 4 x 6-8 reps

5. Band stretch 1 x 80-100 reps

Day three: lower body

1. Deadlift 5 x 3-6 reps

2. Lunges 5 x 4-6 reps

3. Legpress 4 x 6-8 reps

4. Bulgarian split squat 4 x 6-8 reps

5. Leg curl 3 x 8-12 reps

6. Toe raises 2 x 15 reps

7. Walking lunges 1 x 60-80 reps ( 30-40 with each leg)

 As you can notice there are more similarities than differences in both of the programs. Along with the differences in sets and reps main difference is the organization of each of the three workout days.

fit woman doing lunges

Pace And Rest

In sets 5 and 4, it is recommended that you lift as fast as possible, since the weights are the heaviest in these sets, the movements won’t be really fast, so we recommend you to lift explosively.

In sets 3 and 2, you should lift at the normal pace. In set 1, it is only important that you do the exercise in the correct form since that is the end of the workout, so for this set, there is no need to think about the pace.

Regarding the rest period, it is recommended that in sets 5 and 4, it lasts between two and three minutes between exercises. In sets 3 and 2, it should be sixty seconds and the last set you should finish as fast as possible.

 Conclusion

As you could notice, these principles do not favor or exclude any of the fitness methods. The point is in creating a hybrid workout program which includes the best of all nowadays known methods of training in order to enhance and better the system of training itself and help you to easier achieve your goals.

In the end, it is all up to you. Give it a try. I am sure you will be pleased with the results that you will get with 5-4-3-2-1 workout method. 

If you have any questions or need any help regarding the subject, feel free to leave us a comment in the comment section and we will be more than happy to help.