Golden 5 Exercises – The Only 5 Exercises You Will Ever Need

Golden 5 exercises the only 5 exercises you need

What Are The Golden 5 Exercises?

If you have been working out or training for a while you may have heard about the golden five, or the golden five exercises, maybe even the golden 5 workout. 

You may have also wondered what are the golden 5 exercises? The golden 5 exercises are the 5 exercises that train your entire body the hardest and most effectively. They are the only five exercises you need to build muscle overall.

What Exercises Make Up The Golden 5?


The deadlift is a compound lift that works your entire body targeting the back, traps, hamstrings and glutes even more so.

It is usually done with a barbell at a very heavy weight since your whole body is in on it. Although you can pretty much deadlift anything.

Since deadlifts make so many of your muscles from all different groups work it is often seen as the golden exercise even out of the other golden 4 exercises.


The squat is a compound exercise that focuses on the lower half of your body, your legs. Squats work your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, calves. Squats work every part of your leg and damn good too.

Squats are most commonly done with barbells but can be done with other pieces of workout equipment in the gym like dumbbells or kettlebells they can even be done with no weights or equipment at all.

Bench Press

Often the first thing people use to compare strength the bench press is probably the most popular exercise in the gym and not without good reason.

Bench pressing is not just a lift used to show off one’s strength or boost a gym bros ego it is a very effective compound movement.

The bench press is a compound exercise that focuses on all the pushing muscles from your upper body. Muscles from your chest, shoulders and triceps will all get worked to the limit together.

Bench presses are done while laying down on a bench hence the name. It is usually done on a flat bench although benches with different levels of incline or decline can be used in order to further target certain muscles.

Bench press is another exercise where you can use a wide variety of equipment to perform. Even if you don’t have a bench you can always lay on the floor although your range of motion will be limited.

If you have no equipment at all you can do push ups which are a great substitute for the bench press.

Barbell Row

Very underappreciated and often overshadowed by the bench press although it is arguably more important then it, the barbell row is a compound exercise that focuses on the pulling muscles from your upper body such as your back, traps and biceps.

I say it is arguably more important than the bench press because your back as a muscle group is the second largest muscle group on your body next to your legs.

Also due to the bench press being so popular it is common for ones pushing muscles to overpower their pulling muscles and that is definitely a problem everyone should try to avoid.

The barbell row is performed with a barbell usually while bent over at an angle of at the very least 45 degrees.

The more parallel you start to become with the ground the harder the exercise will start to feel but the greater the results just remember to ensure good form.

Rows can be performed with other pieces of equipment but the barbell row allows for the most potential for muscle overload.

If you have no equipment you can always substitute rows for pull ups which also target your pulling muscles to the same high degree.

Military Press

The military press also known as the shoulder press is a compound movement that works your arms and shoulders as a whole.

The military press is performed by pressing weight overhead this is why you may also hear it be called an overhead press. 

The exercise can be done with dumbbells or barbells while sitting or standing although using a barbell and standing usually allows for more weight to be used..

Why Are They Called The Golden Five Exercises?

These 5 exercises are called the golden 5 exercises because they are 5 exercises that are of the highest value when it comes to building all around muscle and strength for your entire body.

There is no muscle left behind with these 5 exercises and all of these exercises allow for great overload and range of motion working every muscle fiber to its full potential.

Like gold these exercises are valuable and desirable. Everyone wants gold and likewise everyone should want to include these exercises in their workouts if not make them the entire workout in order to build all around muscle and strength.

How Often Should You Do The Golden 5 Exercises?

The golden five exercises are larger compound movements and therefore you should wait at least 48 hours before repeating them. 

Waiting 48 hours ensures that every muscle in your body has recovered adequately no matter the muscle size (see What Muscles Recover The Fastest?) and waiting no longer than 48 hours will produce the fastest results.

Doing the golden 5 exercises every 48 hours is ideal for training but it is not a law.

If you are under the weather, do physically strenuous work or encounter any other obstacle in your recovery time do not be scared to give yourself the extra rest time you feel needed.

Golden 5 Workout Routines

Since these 5 exercises are so valuable it is not uncommon to have an entire workout schedule based only on these 5 exercises this is known as a golden 5 workout.

Golden 5 workout routines are simple and straightforward. You can do these exercises in pretty much any order and in any way you want and have an effective workout but with that said some ways are still more effective than others.

I have put together a couple examples of  an effective golden five workout routine.

The first one is an example of what is known as a pull push legs split but using only the golden five exercises. 

The second one is an example of an upper lower body split even utilizing a day to do all 5 golden exercises in order to maximize frequency and take full advantage of a week of training.

The deadlift is a exercise in the golden 5 that hits the most of your body’s muscles working both upper and lower body

If you are aiming more for strength I recommend you do each exercise for 5 sets of 5 repetitions. If you are aiming more towards muscle hypertrophy or growth I recommend doing each exercise for 4 sets of 8 reps.

Monday-Push (Bench press and shoulder press)

Tuesday-Pull (Deadlifts and barbell rows) 

Wednesday-Legas (Squats)




Sunday-Rest (No workout)

Monday-Full Body (All 5 exercises)

Tuesday-Rest (No workout)

Wednesday-Upper Body (Bench press barbell row and military press)

Thursday-Lower Body (Deadlift and squat)

Friday-Upper Body

Saturday-Lower Body

Sunday-Rest (No workout)

What Are The Benefits Of A Golden 5 Workout?

Hits Every Major Muscle Group

A golden 5 workout allows for every muscle group and the muscles within that muscle group to be activated and put to work.

The deadlift pretty much works your whole body, the squat works your lower body and the combination of bench press, shoulder press and barbell rows work your entire upper body.

Allows For Heavier Weight 

Since the golden 5 exercises are all compound movements this means they are exercises that require multiple muscle groups in order to perform.

Because these exercises require multiple muscle groups a greater force is produced while performing them so you can up the weight and lift heavy.

Raises Workout Frequency

The less exercises you do the less time on average you will need to recover from your workouts. 

Because of this using only the golden 5 exercises to workout you should easily be able to train each muscle group 2 or 3 times a week without any trouble.

Saves Time

Another benefit that comes from only having less exercises in your workout plan is you will save a lot of time.

Workouts that are 60 to 90 minutes can be unappealing to a lot of people or seem impossible to fit into the schedule.

A golden 5 workout should have your workouts at no longer then 45 minutes leaving you precious time to use for other things.

Minimal Equipment Needed

If you have a barbell with any amount of weight you can easily do any exercise here and that’s all you need.

You can also do all these exercises in one form or another with no weights whatsoever with the exception of the deadlift.

This sheds light on the next great benefit of these exercises the variations.

Lots Of Room For Variation

All five of these exercises are extremely versatile leaving plenty room for variations and exercise modifications.

A barbell row variation known as a T- bar row

Whether it is to change the exercise in order to accommodate for the equipment you have or in order to hit a more specific part of the muscle group you are working.

There will always be some way to get the job done with just these five base exercises.

Who Should Do The Golden 5 Exercises?

If you are for some reason still wondering if you should be doing the golden five exercises wonder no more. Who should be doing the golden 5 exercises? Absolutely everybody.

This article was created to ensure everyone knows they should be doing these 5 exercises and the benefits talked about tell why.

Even if you do not intend to have a whole workout routine revolving around them.The golden five exercises should be incorporated into your weekly training program in one way or another.

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