When it says 5×5, many powerlifters are sure to recall something. It is a proven program for building muscle and strength. Among the bodybuilders, it was trendy in the past and Ed Coan, one of the best powerlifters of history, contributed to its promotion. The 5×5 program has many variations. Here we will explain the fundamental principle of training, and we will introduce one of the possible models that will show you how to build your muscle naturally.
The principle of training
The 5×5 workout is a training session where we practice the competition exercises (squats, bench-press and deadlift) in five series of five reps. You can also perform additional exercises with a 5×5 system, but nothing happens if we do so in a few more repetitive sequence, e.g. 3x 8-10.
The secret of the success of this training is that five repetitions are the imaginary boundary between the straightforward strength training (2 to 3 repetitions) and volume training (8 to 12 repetitions). By five repetitions with the corresponding load, we stimulate both types of muscle fibers and achieve a specific compromise between muscle building and strength. This training does not fit in just before the competition, but it is definitely appropriate to build the fundamental strength. This is 100% right approach for beginners that want to gain their muscles naturally.
Training split and proper weight selection
Because it is training with a relatively high load, it is enough to train squats and deadlift once a week. We will train Bench-press twice: once hard and easy once. I would recommend running this program on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and resting on other days.
On the first day we will train squats with other, the second day heavy bench-press, third day deadlift and fourth day light bench-press with other.
The alpha and omega of success in this training is the choice of a reasonable load. The training is based on the principle of periodization, so we need to have enough reserve to add weight. I do not know if you can determine the exact percentage. The big difference will be between the beginner who is squatting with 60 kg and he does not know what the bandages are, and the experienced jerk who squats with more than 300 kilograms and his tools allows him to add another 70 kg.
Generally speaking, for the first training, we choose the load we can do with about 10 reps. It may seem lightweight to you, but you will add every additional training. It’s about keeping you as long as possible. The load is added depending on the exercise and performance, but it is always necessary to add at least 1 kg. Either we add it systematically, or every three weeks, we include a lighter week (i.e., about 75% of the weight you practiced in the third week). By this we make a little bit of relief from the high-sensitivity workout and prepare our muscles for further increase of the intensity.
5×5 Training schedule
|1 day||series x reps||Day 2||series x reps|
|squats||5 x 5||bench-press||5 x 5|
|leg extension||3 x 10||incline dumbbell bench press||3 x 8|
|leg curl||3 x 10||push-ups||3 x 8|
|calf||3 x 20||dumbbell side rise||3 x 10|
|abs||3 x 20|
|Day 3||series x reps||Day 4||series x reps|
|deadlift||5 x 5||decline EZ bar triceps extension||3 x 8|
|pull-ups||3 x 8||cable pushdown||3 x 10|
|cable row||3 x 10||barbell curl||3 x 8|
|abs||3 x 20||dumbbell curl||3 x 10|
|standing dumbbell triceps extension||3 x 8|
|dumbbell side rise||3 x 8|
|lightweight bench-press||5 x 5|
Before performing the series, you need to limber up correctly and take care of the correct technique for all repetitions. Breaks between series will be selected for competitive exercises so that you can perform another series (for example, 3 minutes). For other exercises that will not be performed with such high intensity, shorten the breaks to 1 – 1.5 minutes.
The training is done without any specialized equipment, only with a squat and a deadlift use a belt. This workout can be kept for about 8 to 10 weeks. If you were able to add 2,5 kg each week to the bench, you will be able to raise 25 kg more in the series than in the first training session, which could mean an increase in the maximum capacity by about 10 kg. After the end of the cycle, place a week off, and then you can try another workout training.