How to Build Muscle Stamina Five Minutes at a Time

A senior performs a bear crawl.
Senior Grant Wendland, a 19th Medical Support Squadron medical laboratories technician, bear-crawls during one of the squadron’s physical training sessions, July 12, 2012, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. (Airman 1st Class Rusty Frank/U.S. Air Force photo)

If you are working on muscle stamina with lighter weights or body-weight calisthenics, try this five-minute set workout with the following exercises.

Arrange in any order you prefer, with minimal rest between exercises.

  • Five-minute warmup: Jog, bike, elliptical, row, etc.
  • Five-minute burpee pyramid: Run 25 meters, one burpee; run 25 meters, two burpees; run 25 meters, three burpees ... for five minutes.
  • Five-minute sit-ups: Pace yourself. If you need to rest, do so with crunches.
  • Five-minute push-ups: If you need to rest, rest in the plank pose (keep knees from touching the floor).
  • Five-minute pull-ups: Max out, let go of the bar and shake it off. Try to get as many reps as possible.
  • Five-minute lunges
  • Five-minute military press/push press: Using dumbbells or barbells, get as many repetitions as you can, pushing the bar over your head. You can rest with your hands at your waist, but try not to set down the weight.
  • Five-minute squats (with 100 pounds): Use dumbbells or barbells. Rest with the weight on your shoulders or at your side if carrying dumbbells.
  • Five-minute bear crawls or stair crawls: Get on all fours and start crawling across the gym floor or field. Rest in the up position but keep knees off the floor. If you have a flight of stairs, go up/down bear crawling head-first going down, and feet-first going up. Rest as needed.
  • Five-minute cooldown cardio: Jog, bike, elliptical or row.

*This workout is meant to be accomplished in under an hour, but you can replace exercises with others that are movements you need to master.

Swim workout:

Repeat five times.

  • Five-minute swim (any stroke)
  • Five-minute skills and drills (tread, bounce, float or do core/abs on the pool deck)

**If you do not like to swim, you can replace it with another form of cardio for five minutes and rest with various abdominal exercises.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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