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Stronglifts 5x5 Workout - Best Beginner Strength Training Program

Stronglifts 5x5 Workout - Best Beginner Strength Training Program

The fitness industry is rife with fad workouts that tell you what to do, how to do it, and promise incredible results. They arrive. They leave. And a new one emerges. The 5x5 workout isn't one of those passing fads. This training program, like our understanding of the overall benefits of exercise, has stood the test of time, having been developed in 1960 by the legendary bodybuilder Reg Park. It has continued to exist since then.

It has evolved over time into various versions with the assistance of experts such as Bill Starr and Mark Rippetoe. However, none of these are suitable for beginners. Enter the 5x5 Stronglifts. This is the best 5x5 variation for beginners, as well as one of the best beginner programs overall.

9 Reasons Why the 5x5 Workout Plan Is Ideal for Beginners

The 5x5 has you covered no matter what your goal is when it comes to hitting the gym. The nine most important reasons why this workout plan is great for beginners only scratch the surface of the program's benefits.

1)Constructing powerful strength

The primary tenet of this program is to add weight to each workout in order to significantly increase the lifter's strength. The basic principle of progressive overload is this. It forces you to adapt to heavy weights with each workout, gradually increasing the challenge and your strength.

In fact, the average lifter can expect to see significant strength gains in just three months of the program. Some people claim to have increased their 1 rep maxes on heavier exercises like squats and deadlifts by nearly 200 pounds!

2)Grow a strong muscle foundation quickly.

Yes, the program emphasizes strength, but don't let that fool you. It is also excellent for muscle building. Although programs and "gurus" may preach that doing a lot of different exercises or doing a lot of volume is the key to gaining muscle, they couldn't be more wrong.

What must be increased in order to gain strength? That's correct, muscle. By steadily increasing your strength, you will steadily increase your muscle mass. Indeed, if you haven't won the genetic lottery or aren't using steroids, increasing strength is the only real way to bulk up.

How much is it? It is possible to gain 4-8 lbs of muscle in the first 3 months, depending on your experience and body type. And in a year, you could gain anywhere from 12 to 30 pounds of muscle. Learn how to start pounding calories or invest in the right nutritional products to help you pack on that extra mass if you're a hard gainer.

3)Fat loss without cardio

Yes. You heard correctly. Lifting is the priority. Fat should be burned. There is no cardio. But how exactly?

Lifting weights, for starters, requires a lot of energy. Then there's the energy needed to repair and build new muscle tissue after each workout. With each workout, you increase the amount of energy expended by increasing the weight lifted.

Even if you were eating at a 500 caloric surplus when you first started the 5x5 program, by month 3 you might be eating at a caloric deficit (which is how weight loss works).

Second, because you're gaining muscle, you'll naturally have a higher basal metabolic rate. As a result, your body's natural energy requirements will rise. But don't be surprised if your overall bodyweight doesn't change much. Remember that as you lose body fat, the program will assist you in gaining muscle, which will improve your overall fitness.

4)Extremely improved endurance and conditioning

It takes less energy to do different activities now that you've grown exponentially stronger. For example, after spending my first year focusing on strength development (8 years ago), I began playing soccer for the first time. Despite never having focused on cardio, I was able to join a local league and maintain the energy to play full-on 11-on-11 games.

5)Progress as an athlete

Getting stronger will improve your athleticism no matter what sport you play. You can expect to be able to jump higher, sprint faster, run for longer periods of time, and become a more formidable competitor.

6)Three times per week, do a full-body workout.

Most generic programs require you to lift in such a way that you target each muscle group once, if not twice, per week. A full-body workout stimulates muscle growth in all muscle groups. Doing this three times a week provides the most stimulation to the entire body. Making it far more effective for muscle and strength development.

7)Ease of use and efficiency

What happens when you get rid of all the extraneous stuff and concentrate solely on what will give you the most bang for your buck? You have an extremely effective program that does not necessitate spending hours upon hours in the gym. More outcomes. There is less time. Guaranteed.

8)Become a master of the major lifts.

When you do the major lifts every single workout, you get in a lot of repetitions. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. After 3-6 months of practice, you should feel extremely confident in your ability to perform these compound exercises correctly.

9)Acquiring an understanding of what a genuine workout program entails

Maybe in 6 months or a year you'll decide to try out a new program. Your bullshit meter for determining which routines are actually effective and which are not becomes fine-tuned. Whether or not you participate in this program, we can help you be more successful.

What exactly is the Stronglifts 5x5 workout plan?

This routine entails three full-body workouts per week with a specific rep range for each exercise. The alternating "A" and "B" workouts dictate what you do each day.

Workout A consists of the following:

  • Back squats with a barbell, 5 sets of 5 reps
  • 5 sets of 5 reps of bench press with a barbell
  • 5 sets of 5 repetitions of bent-over barbell row

Workout B consists of the following:

  • Back squats with a barbell, 5 sets of 5 reps
  • 5 sets of 5 reps of overhead press with a barbell
  • 1 set of 5 deadlifts with a barbell
  • If you do Workout A on Monday, for example, you will be able to do Workout B on Tuesday.

Monday, you would rest on Tuesday and do workout B on Wednesday in week one. It continues to alternate workouts week after week.

Why are these exercises being performed?

There are no machine, dumbell, or isolation exercises, and this is for good reason. These barbell movements enable you to move the most weight possible. You will be able to produce the greatest gains in strength if each workout is a full-body workout and you move the most weight as possible.

Additional muscle is required to increase strength. As a result, it is extremely effective at increasing muscle mass. Furthermore, you are stimulating full-body muscle growth three times per week. In comparison to your typical upper/lower or body part specific workout routines, which stimulate each muscle group 1x or 2x per week. First, squat. Always.

The order in which the exercises are listed is not arbitrary.

First, you squat. Always. This is due to the fact that squatting is one of the most beneficial exercises you can perform. According to studies, increasing your squat strength increases your natural testosterone levels and can even increase your bench press 1RM!

We start with this lift because it is the most difficult, taxing, and rewarding. This is due to the fact that if you push it to second or third, you will have already expended a significant amount of energy. Making it more difficult to give it your all in order to continue progressing your weight on squats.

Rest up because each set is important!

This workout isn't intended to be a race. The goal is to complete every set and rep. As a result, it is critical to rest appropriately in between sets.

You can calculate how long you should rest based on the weight you're using. As an example:

  • If the weight is light for you, rest for 30-90 seconds in between sets.
  • Rest 90-180 seconds in between sets if the weight is difficult but not too heavy for you.
  • Rest 180-300 seconds in between sets if the weight is heavy for you and you're working at the top of your strength.

Simply resting appropriately allows your body to be fully prepared to tackle each set. The time in between allows you to take deep breaths and increase your oxygen levels. While you are sleeping, your body is working to produce more ATP in your muscles. ATP is the body's energy currency, and it is responsible for your muscles moving and contracting. The more rest you get, the more ATP you can build and the more likely you are to complete every set. After a brief overview of what this program entails, let's get into the specifics of how to get started.

How to Begin Using 5x5

Before you get into the swing of things with this program, you should figure out your one rep max (1RM). The 1RM is used to determine your starting weights for each exercise as well as how you will progress from workout to workout.

What weights should you use if you're a complete beginner?

If you aren't as experienced or comfortable with these more difficult exercises, you'll begin differently. On all five exercises, you will begin with an empty bar (the barbell is 45 lbs).

That may not sound exciting, but it is critical. It will assist you in becoming much more confident in performing these exercises before the weight begins to increase significantly. Making certain that you are not only safe, but that you can confidently continue to gain weight.

Don't be concerned about how working out with just the bar may appear. With the way the program progresses from workout to workout, you can go from squatting only the bar to squatting over 200 pounds in just three months.

What should you concentrate on when lifting?

While doing your exercises, you should concentrate on three aspects of lifting. If you can do all three, you will be able to move more weight, progress more quickly from workout to workout, and improve overall safety.

Increasing the tempo

The tempo of a rep refers to how quickly you perform the concentric and eccentric parts of the movement. The tempo can be adjusted to achieve the desired results.

You want to avoid wasting energy as a result. To avoid this, make sure you're not moving too slowly. Moving slowly increases the time your muscles are under tension and the load on them, depleting you of energy.

The other outcome is that you move with enough speed and acceleration to help you develop your explosiveness. Getting to that happy goldilocks zone allows you to have the best of both worlds.


Although it may appear simple, not breathing properly can deplete your energy and harm your form. Following the recommended breathing patterns will increase your cardiovascular fitness, performance, and safety

Before each rep, take a deep breath in and exhale. As you finish the rep, hold your breath and exhale. This will increase abdominal pressure during a rep. This strengthens your core and applies pressure to your back. Supporting your back can help prevent aches and pains and potential injuries during movements like deadlifts and squats.

When you're comfortable with this, you can start holding your breath for 2 to 3 repetitions at a time. This will keep your body tight throughout the workout and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Form is important.

The first rule of weightlifting is to never compromise proper form for anything. It takes time to ensure that you are using proper form with each exercise. You will become more comfortable and confident with the movement as you practice.

What you can do to expedite this process and keep you moving in the right direction is to videotape yourself lifting. Set up your phone to record you from the side, for example, if you're squatting. Then, to see what you need to work on, use high-quality videos and articles that cover how to properly perform these movements.

This may sound a little hazy to a complete newbie, but with the right resources and your video, seeing what's wrong becomes pretty clear. Finding solutions to these problems is as simple as a Google search.

Advancement and plateaus

You should know what the workout is, what lifts you need to do, what weights to use, and some of the important intricacies of this program by this point. But how do you progress from one workout to the next? What factors influence how you increase your weight as you go? What happens when you hit a plateau and are unable to complete all of your reps while increasing the weight?

Progress from one workout to the next

The progression of this program is determined by your ability to complete the 5 reps of your last set on an exercise. If you do, the weight for the next workout on that exercise will be increased.

For example, if you were doing Workout B and you were able to complete all 5 reps of your deadlift, you would use a weight that is 10 pounds heavier in the next B workout. Each exercise requires a different amount of increase


Increase your weight by 5 pounds (2x 2.5 lb plates)

Rows / Bench Press / Overhead Press

Increase your weight by 2.5 to 5 pounds (2x 1.25 lb plates or 2.5 lb plates). Increasing by 2.5 lbs is highly recommended because it will allow you to continue progressing for a longer period of time and reduce your chances of hitting a plateau.


Increase your weight by 10 pounds (2x 5lb plates). Because the deadlift involves several large muscles, you can add weight more quickly. However, if you find it difficult to progress as quickly, this can be reduced to 5lbs (2x 2.5 lb plates).

This progression is why it is critical to begin with lighter weights. If you start at 60, 70, or 80 percent of your 1RM, you will struggle to progress at the necessary rate. By beginning with lighter weights, you can gradually increase your strength, muscle mass, and confidence in performing each lift. lowering your chances of hitting a plateau

What is a plateau and how do you get past one?

When you begin your 5x5 journey, you will have no trouble adding weights workout after workout. You will eventually reach a plateau, which is defined as failing to hit all 5 reps on every set of an exercise for three workouts in a row.

Most people can go months without hitting one. There are a couple of straightforward approaches you can take to address a plateau. However, those methods are reserved for when you have failed three times in a row. So, before we rely on those strategies, you should consider what the potential causes of those failures are.

Failure is unavoidable, whether you like it or not. We cannot be perfect all of the time. Sometimes failing one or two workouts in a row can be reversed before we consider it a plateau. So, let's look into some of the possible causes of failure.

Failure causes that are frequently encountered

Some causes are within your control, while others are beyond your control. Regardless, knowing what these causes are may assist you in making any necessary changes. At the very least, you could understand that it is okay if you failed this time and that you will be stronger the next time.

The following are some of the most common causes of failure

Too little rest between sets: If you go from set to set too quickly, you are not giving your body enough time to recover. Adding 1-3 minutes of rest between sets can sometimes resolve the problem.

Being overly active on your "off days": Perhaps you enjoy cardio, sports, or are simply an extremely active person. It is important to be active in general on off days to aid recovery, but doing too much can leave you overworked. On your off days, try to reduce your activity level.

Excessive extra work during your workouts

Remember, the program was designed with only these exercises in mind. It is acceptable to include one or two additional assistance exercises to improve weaknesses, but you must exercise caution. Simply adding one more exercise per workout increases the load on your body. As a result, you may not be recovering quickly enough for your next workout.

Not giving your body the nutrients it requires to recover or build muscle and strength

Whether it's a lack of sleep, not drinking enough water, not eating enough, eating too much junk food, or drinking too much alcohol, failing to provide your body with what it requires can have a significant impact on your performance. You'd be surprised how simply increasing your sleep time from 7 to 8 hours per night can have a significant impact on your progress and performance.

Excessively rapid weight gain

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to a gym with 1.25lb or 2.5lb plates. As a result, sometimes the only option is to gain more weight than you should. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Purchase your own. For less than $15, you could get two 1.25-pound plates and two 2.5-pound plates. Instead of increasing the weight too quickly, which will cause you to fail repeatedly, pick up the appropriate weights and bring them to the gym with you. The issue was resolved.

Not properly warming up

Warming up is essential for activating your muscles, getting your blood flowing, and becoming acquainted with the movements. Warming up properly can be a critical factor in having a great workout. But, as with everything else, moderation is key. Warming up can become a workout in and of itself if done excessively. Depleting your muscles' energy reserves and exhausting your CNS. Get in your 2-3 warm-up sets, gradually increasing to your target weight, and prepare to roll.

Sometimes there is no obvious problem. Sometimes you just aren't mentally into your workout that day, you're stressed out, or you're even sick. However, with this list, you can be certain to reflect on and improve what you can to ensure your back is at its best for the next workout.

If you make the necessary changes and fail three times, you have officially reached a plateau. To get past this, you'll need to employ a different strategy.

What should you do when you reach a stalemate?

When you reach a plateau with an exercise, we have three different methods to help you overcome it. These methods are listed in the order in which they should be used. Keeping in mind that you should also be addressing the other common failure causes mentioned above.


If you fail the bench press three times in a row in "A" workouts, it's time to deload. This is where you take the amount of weight you're using and reduce it by 10%.

So, if you failed to bench 185 pounds three times in a row, your weight would drop by about 18 pounds (feel free to round up to 20 lbs).

Take a breather

If you failed one exercise three times in a row, some of your other lifts are struggling, and you have the occasional failure on those lifts, it may be time for a break. Taking a week off and focusing solely on actively recovering can be game changer. Allowing your body a full week of rest will allow you to return stronger.

This is a common practice among powerlifters who compete in competitions. They will do extremely light exercises for a week or so before a meet to allow their bodies to recover even more quickly.

Modify the rep scheme

When the weight starts to get heavier, it becomes far too difficult to keep increasing while still performing 5 sets of 5 reps. Of course, you can always deload, but you should expect to hit that plateau on a regular basis. Let us instead lighten the load while keeping the weight heavy.

Begin with three sets of five reps (3x5). If you reach a plateau, do three sets of three reps (3x3). You can also do less by doing 1 set of 5 reps (1x5) or 1 set of 3 reps (1x3) (1x3). This is an excellent way for you to continue on your path of increasing your strength week after week.

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