If I Could Only Choose 5 Lifts.

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

By Mark Wine CSCS, PT


We often get confused with training in that… we need 100 exercises to select from. Unfortunately, this leads down a slippery slope that can create confusion, non-mastery and less athleticism.

“The theory of ‘simplification’ is allowing the athlete to become great at a few things rather than decent at many.”


The focus of the FIVE for this purpose is to highlight the importance of strength development over all else. Strength improves and will do the following:

Helps fight injuries… that’s a fact

Increases your power… 1000%

Speed… gives you much greater potential

Jump Height… force development means I can fly

With that being said, if I could only choose 5 lifts to focus on increasing my athletic performance, it would be…

Back Squats

Deadlifts

Split Squats

Dumbbell Bench

Pull Ups

In order to maximize the programming for this the variables would be as follows:

Odd weeks & Even weeks

The lift split would be 3x per week on: Monday, Wednesday and Friday… or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

100% make sure you keep track of your weights for each week

The program would last 8 weeks at most before transitioning for 1-2 weeks

Odd Weeks:

Lift 1:

Back Squats… 3 sets x 8 reps

Split Squats… 3 sets x 12 reps each side

Dumbbell Bench… 3 sets x 12 reps

Pull Ups… 3 sets x 12 reps

Lift 2:

Deadlifts… 3 sets x 8 reps

Split Squats… 3 sets x 8 reps each side

Bottom Dumbbell Bench… 3 sets x 8 reps (pause at the bottom for 2 seconds)

Pause Pull Ups… 3 sets x 8 reps (pause at the top for 2 seconds)

Lift 3:

Bottom Back Squats… 3 sets x 5 reps

Deadlifts… 3 sets x 8 reps

Dumbbell Bench… 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 8 reps

Wide Pull Ups… 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 8 reps

Even Weeks:

Lift 1:

Back Squats… 5 sets x 3 reps

Split Squats… 3 sets x 15 reps each side

Dumbbell Bench… 5 sets x 5, 4, 3, 3, 3 reps

Pull Ups… 5 sets x 5, 4, 3, 3, 3 reps

Lift 2:

Deadlifts… 5 sets x 3 reps

Split Squats… 3 sets x 12, 10, 8, 8 reps each side

Bottom Dumbbell Bench… 4 sets x 6 reps (pause at the bottom for 2 seconds)

Pause Pull Ups… 4 sets x 6 reps (pause at the top for 2 seconds)

Lift 3:

Bottom Back Squats… 3 sets x 10 reps

Deadlifts… 3 sets x 10 reps

One Arm Dumbbell Bench… 3 sets x 10 reps each side

Pull Ups… 3 sets x 8-15 reps until failure

The five movements chosen offer a full body balanced approach thus allowing for more force development overall from the athlete. In truth, strength should be focused on because much of the “velocity” work done can be handled during sprints or other high power / fast paced movements during the specific sport. I hope this helps those out there looking for something simple to do that they can accomplish each week to begin transforming their athletic career, outlook and overall prowess during sport.

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