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Big-5 Resistance Exercises

Big-5 Resistance Exercise

Train to exhaustion


To summarize: Do a warm-up of the muscle group but only 1 'serious-set' to exhaustion

  • Do a full-body warm up on a treadmill, stepper or a rowing machine--- for say 10 minutes. First 5 minutes low-medium pace and last 5 minutes at a higher pace that is comfortable for you. You should have a sweat on your brow at the end of this warm-up.
  • Go to a weight machine or free-weights 
  • Warm up the muscle group you are going to exercise with a light and very comfortable weight that is very easy to lift. Do 20-30 reps for all the reasons mentioned above.
  • Next increase the weight to enable you to reach exhaustion withing 90 seconds to prevent the Type-1's and lower intermediate muscle fibres 'kicking-in' again. Then move onto your next exercicse.
  • Remember, you will only do 1 serious rep to exhaustion per muscle group and then rest this group for the rest of the week.

The Big-5 Exercises: click to see the benefits

  1. The Chest Press
  2. The Pulldown
  3. The Leg Press
  4. Seated Row
  5. Overhead Press

Suitable for

  • The beginner - a trainer's input is advised
  • Anyone wanting to decrease body fat percentage
  • Body-tone or body-sculpt
  • Build strength
  • Maintain muscle mass through life

1. The Chest Press

  • Involves the pectoralis major and minor [the chest muscles], the deltoids and the triceps muscles.


2. The Pulldown

  • Try to also use an 'underhand' grip not just the overhand grip as shown in the image.

  • Keep the hands a little narrower than the shoulders for the best results.
  • Exhaust the muscles within 90 seconds
  • Involves back and front muscles of the torso, the abdominals in the slumping position [lowering the shoulders towards the hips when performing this exercise], the biceps, the triceps, the rhomboids, strongly activates the clavicular portion of the pectoralis muscle, the lattisimus dorsi and strong activation of the forearm flexors.

3. The Leg Press

  • Involves the entire lower body from the waist down
  • Strongly involves the Hamstrings and Quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh
  • The Gastrocnemius [calf] muscle is also recruited
  • Involves the hip and buttock muscles

4. Seated Row

  • Activates the lattisimus dorsi muscles of the back, the rhomboids [muscles between the shoulder blades], the spinal extensor muscles [these run all the way from the lower to the upper spine], the flexor forearm muscles, biceps and brachioradialis muscles.

5. Overhead press

  • The triceps mucles [on the back of the upper arm] are strongly involved, the deltoids the pectoral [chest] muscles are also involved with this exercise.

Link to Exercise Topic References

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Exercise-Sports-References