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StrongLifts 5x5

Posted by Chari HENSLER on

StrongLifts 5×5: Get Stronger Lifting Weights 3x/Week

The StrongLifts 5×5 strength training program consists of two workouts…

  • Workout A: Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row
  • Workout B: Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift

Do three workouts per week. Never train two days in a row or do two workouts in a day. Wait one day before doing your next workout. This gives your body time to recover, get stronger and build muscle so you can lift heavier next workout. Alternate workout A and B each time you train.

Most people train Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This gives you one recovery day between each workout, and two recovery days before your next workout on Monday. What also works is to train Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday… or Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Start StrongLifts 5×5 by doing workout A. Go home, eat and sleep. Two days later do workout B. Another two days later do workout A. Your first week will look like this if you train Mo/We/Fr…

StrongLifts 5x5 Week 1
Monday - workout A Wednesday - workout B Friday - workout A
Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5
Bench Press 5x5 Overhead Press 5x5 Bench Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5 Deadlift 1x5 Barbell Row 5x5

Start week two with workout B because you finished week one with workout A. Then keep alternating the workouts each time you go to the gym. Your second week will look like this if you train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday like most people…

StrongLifts 5x5 Week 2
Monday Wednesday Friday
Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5
Overhead Press 5x5 Bench Press 5x5 Overhead Press 5x5
Deadlift 1x5 Barbell Row 5x5 Deadlift 1x5

Keep alternating workouts A and B. Week three and five will look like week one. Week four and six will look like week two. 

Start light so your body can get used to Squatting, pressing and pulling three times a week. If you’ve done these exercises before, with proper form, start with 50% of your five rep max. 

If you’ve never done these exercises before, haven’t done them in years, or you’re intimidated by free weights then start with the lowest weights possible. This way you can build up your confidence and practice proper form. Here are the recommended starting weights if you’re new to lifting…

  • Squat, Bench Press, Overhead Press: 20kg/45lb (the empty Olympic barbell)
  • Deadlift: 40kg/95lb (the empty bar with a plate of 10kg/25lb on each side)
  • Barbell Row: 30kg/65lb (the empty bar with 5kg/10lb on each side)

5×5 means you do five sets of five reps with the same weight. Squat 20kg five times, rack the weight, and rest 90 seconds. Then Squat 20kg for five reps again. Repeat until you’ve done five sets of five (5×5). Then move to the next exercise.

Note that Deadlifts is only one set of five reps (1×5). This is because you’re doing Squats 3x/week with increasing weights. Most people find that 5×5 Deadlifts after 5×5 Squats is too hard once the weights get heavy, and that Deadlift increase fine doing only 1×5.

If you want to do more than 1×5 Deadlift, better is to warmup by doing sets of five reps. This gives you more Deadlift volume without the intensity of doing several sets of five with the same weight.

Increase the weight every workout on each exercise where you completed five reps on each set. Add 2,5kg/5lb on those exercises. On Deadlift add 5kg/10lb. So if you’re new to lifting and started with the recommended starting weights, your first two weeks will look like this…

StrongLifts 5x5 Week 1
Monday - A Wednesday - B Friday - A
Squat
5x5 20kg/45lb
Squat
5x5 22.5kg/50lb
Squat
5x5 25kg/55lb
Bench Press
5x5 20kg/45lb
Overhead Press
5x5 20kg/45lb
Bench Press
5x5 22.5kg/50lb
Barbell Row
5x5 30kg/65lb
Deadlift
1x5 40kg/95lb
Barbell Row
5x5 32.5kg/70lb
StrongLifts 5x5 Week 2
Monday - B Wednesday - A Friday - B
Squat 
5x5 27.5kg/60lb
Squat 
5x5 30kg/65lb
Squat 
5x5 32.5kg/70lb
Overhead Press 
5x5 22.5kg/50lb
Bench Press 
5x5 25kg/55lb
Overhead Press 
5x5 25kg/55lb
Deadlift
1x5 45kg/105lb
Barbell Row 
5x5 35kg/75lb
Deadlift 
1x5 50kg/115lb

All weights include the bar because you lift it. So Squat 5×5 27.5kg/60lb means you put 3.75kg/7.5lb on each side of the 20kg/45lb Olympic bar. You need small plates of 1.25kg/2.5lb to do this.

The first weeks will feel easy. But the weight will increase fast. Within four weeks you’ll be Squatting 30kg/60lb more, pressing 15kg/30lb more and Deadlifting 30kg/60lb more. Start with the bar and you could be Squatting 100kg/220lb for 5×5 in 12 weeks. That’s more than most people.

Your goal is to add weight every workout for as long as you can. You won’t be able to do this forever. Eventually you’ll struggle to get five reps and fail (there are ways to get around that). But most people are surprised by how long they can add weight each workout with such a simple program.

Overview

Typical Results

Your results depend on your age, gender, weight, technique, nutrition, sleep, experience, consistency, effort, etc. Many people have doubled their Squat to 300lb, gained 24lb and lost 12lb in a year on this program. But these results are atypical for older lifters or females with less testosterone.

The typical result you can expect if you do StrongLifts 5×5 as laid out is an increase in strength and muscle mass. The magnitude of the gains and time it takes varies. But I’ve never met someone who didn’t improve with this program. Do it by the book and here’s what you can expect…

  • More Strength. You’ll gain strength on every StrongLifts 5×5 exercise. You’ll quickly lift more than other people. Your strength will transfer to physical activities outside the gym. Picking up heavy objects, carrying groceries or walking up stairs will be easier.
  • More Muscle. Your muscles will become stronger and bigger to lift the weights. If you’ve never done a proper training program like this one before, you can gain up to 24lb of lean muscle in a year. You’ll also regain lost muscle and stop muscle loss from aging/dieting.
  • Less Fat. The heavier the weights, the more energy you’ll burn. You’ll also burn more energy post-workout for muscle recovery. Your metabolism will be higher. Eat right on top of lifting weights and you’ll lose fat. Your waist and body-fat will decrease – without doing cardio.
  • More Sex. A muscular body is more attractive than a fat one. Your clothes will fit better. Your posture will improve. Your testosterone levels will increase. You’ll look and feel better, and this will increase your success with the opposite sex. You’ll get laid more. Really.
  • More Endurance. Your muscles will last longer before they get tired because they’re stronger. It will take them less effort to do things like walking or running. Many people have been surprised to find out they can suddenly run three miles despite never actually running.
  • More Power. Stronger muscles can do more work in the same amount of time. Increasing your strength will therefore make you more powerful and explosive for sports. You’ll be faster on the field, harder to tackle and hit harder. You’ll be tougher to beat.
  • More Fitness. Your heart muscle will get stronger like every other muscle. Daily activities will take less effort because they’ll put less demand on your stronger heart. Your blood pressure and heart rate will decrease. Your cardiovascular fitness will increase.
  • More Flexibility. Your hip mobility will increase because Squatting three times a week moves your legs through a full range of motion. Your shoulder flexibility will increase from holding the bar on your upper-back – this opens your chest and improves your posture.
  • More Health. Your testosterone will increase. Your cholesterol, blood pressure and stress will decrease. Your glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity will improve. And so on. All of this will make you feel healthier and younger. You’ll have more energy than before.
  • Less Injuries. Your bone density will increase and balance improve. Your joints, spine and the muscles around them will get stronger. They’ll give them more support and protection. This makes you less likely to get injured and may even eliminate nagging pains.
  • More Confidence. People will notice your new body and strength. Some will compliment you. A few might ask for advice. This positive feedback, the respect you’ll get, and the changes you’ll make will make you believe in yourself more. You’ll become more confident.
  • More Toughness. Adding weight every workout is hard work. But this strengthens your mind as well as your body. It increases your pain tolerance, pain treshold and mental toughness. This makes it easier for you to work hard because you become tougher.
  • More Time. Only three workouts per week. Each takes 45 mins the first 12 weeks, max 80mins after that. So you’ll spend max four hours in the gym each week. The other 164 hours you can spend-guilt-free on family, friends, hobbies, etc. You’ll have a life outside the gym.
  • More Money. You won’t need expensive supplements to get results (most don’t work anyway). You also won’t need a lot of equipment. You can easily build a home gym and train from your garage as I did for ten years. This saves money on gym fees.

For best results guys need to increase the main lifts to 140kg/300lb Squat, 100kg/220lb Bench and 180kg/400lb Deadlift. Anything below that isn’t enough to see dramatic improvements. Your focus should therefore be to increase the weight until you reach these minimum targets.

Warning: this program looks easy, but isn’t. You’re adding weight every workout. This triggers your body to gain strength and muscle to lift heavier the next workout. It’s the most effective way to train but it’s hard work. Some people don’t have the mental fortitude for it. If you do, you’ll gain.


Read more here.

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Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.

Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition.

You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting and its affiliates from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown.


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