Multiply your gains 5 X 5!!!

One of most notorious training systems which has stood the test of time is the 5 X 5 training programme! This training protocol was originally used by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mentor, Reg Park who was a 3 time Mr. Universe champion. However, it has since been used by a host of other elite athletes and coaches, and it is held responsible for developing just under 100 national champion weight lifters from ONE trainer alone! This workout system could be perfect for you, if it is size, strength and endurance you are after!

5 X 5 is a very basic workout system which focuses on compound lifts using a barbell. As the name suggests, you perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions per exercise. However, you don’t train until failure as usual, as it goes against its principles. The reason you don’t go to failure is because it believes it causes excessive levels of fatigue. To form a workout, you perform a circuit of 3 compound lifts every other day, alternating several separate workouts with each gym session. As an example of a typical 5 X 5 workout, see below.

Workout 1 –

Squat  5 X 5

Bench Press 5 X 5

Barbell rows 5 X 5

Workout 2 –

Squat 5 X 5

Standing Military Press 5 X 5

Deadlift 5 X 5

Workout 3 –

Incline Bench Press 5 X 5

Weighted Pull-Ups 5 X 5

Close Grip Bench Press 5 X 5

As you can see these workouts don’t isolate specific muscle groups for the sake of adding size, instead they target muscle groups for strength. This is just a sample workout, but you could do this, by doing workout 1 Monday, workout 2 Wednesday and workout 3 on Friday.

The secret to making 5 X 5 increase your strength levels is to be progressive! The rule is that you must add at least 2.5kg to every set, each week. This may not sound like a lot, but in 4 weeks time you have added 10kg to every set of every lift you do in the week. Go another 4 weeks down the line and the resistance is mounting up! This is where 5 X 5 gets very tough and this is where it also stimulates new strength levels, by forcing your body to adapt to constantly heavier weights! It is a very simple and basic approach but it is also very effective! It is very important to use a very light weight on your first sets, so by set 5 it is heavy, but manageable. Remember, every week you will be adding 2.5kg to every set! This will quickly add up!

So how would I rate 5 X 5? Personally, I think that training to failure is a good thing but if it is just strength you want to stimulate more than size, it is a great workout! Just looking at its history and the results people have enjoyed tells you it works! Overall, 5 X 5 is a fantastic way to bump up your strength levels in a fast and controlled way!

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