It only takes five minutes to build full-body muscle — here's how

Strengthen your whole body without weights using this quick equipment-free, five-move routine

Man performing push-ups
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even if you're a dedicated gym-goer, there will be days that you're short on time and can't fit in an extended workout. Fortunately, you can still work your muscles and develop strength, whether you're at home or traveling, with this five-minute, five-move bodyweight workout. 

You need a set of the best adjustable dumbbells or other weights for most resistance training routines, but weights aren't essential if you want to strengthen your whole body, as bodyweight exercises can be just as effective.

Chris Heria, the trainer behind THENX's five-move routine, specializes in equipment-free workouts, using a technique known as calisthenics. This training style focuses on building functional muscle using gymnastic-style exercises, like lunges and push-ups. These two moves form the foundation for this five-move workout.

Across the five minutes, you'll do push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and dips. Rather than aim for a specific amount of repetitions of each exercise, you'll do as many reps as you can in one minute. As you can take things at your own pace, this makes it ideal for beginners and experienced exercisers. 

Watch THENX's five-move bodyweight workout

It's a training style known as an AMRAP workout, where you do As Many Reps As Possible in a given time. The only thing you need to focus on is your form across each exercise, although you can follow Heria's demonstrations for guidance before you start if you want a refresher. 

And if you've got enough time for a slightly longer session, you can repeat this five-move circuit for an extended full-body workout. Another reason THENX's routine is so effective, despite taking just five minutes, is the type of moves Heria has included. Push-ups, lunges, and dips are all examples of compound exercises. 

These are activities that work multiple muscles simultaneously, improving the efficiency of your workout. Push-ups, for instance, utilize your shoulders, arms, chest, and core, while lunges also require core strength alongside leg muscles like your glutes and hamstrings. 

This is why if you've ever explored bodyweight vs free weights for building muscle, you'll have found that equipment-free workouts can be an effective and low-cost way to develop strength.

That's especially true if you couple your training with a post-workout shake using the best protein powders for weight loss to promote muscle growth and repair the tiny tears in your muscle fibers.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.