The big five workout is the workout described in Body By Science, a book I discovered thanks to this article. It’s about a 10-12 minute workout once a week. There are five exercises involved, in order to hit all the major muscle groups, and you do each exercise slowly at about 75-80% of your maximum lifting capacity for between 60 and 90 seconds (or to muscle failure, but 60-90 seconds is the ideal target time).
I’ve been surprised so far by how effective a workout it is. I haven’t been doing it long enough to know if it’s working for strengthening–I’ve been upping the weight each week, but this is (I think) more because I hadn’t judged my own capability accurately than any strength gains. But if I’m judging it in terms of how I feel the next day, I tend to feel similarly to how I remember feeling after some of the more intense kung fu training experiences I had way back when. And those were usually at least two, and sometimes four hours a day. In terms of bang-for-your-buck, I’ll take the big five workout any day.
This whole entry is basically a long way of saying I had trouble lifting a milk carton this morning to pour Cheerios. Which sounds wholly meaningless unless you realize that one of my fondest kung fu memories is having the same difficulty after an intense workout at the school the previous day. I used to really enjoy being sore. I still do, though a bit less so now that being lethargic on account of it for a day or so is a riskier proposition. Being sore is a reminder that you’ve accomplished some shit. Which is nice.