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5x5 for size and strength

This question is primarily addressed to Joel Marion but anyone can answer. I intend to do 5x5 training for the next 5 weeks and a hyper caloric diet. I’ll stay above maintenance but only by a small amount.

I would like to gain as much strength as possible and wouldn’t mind gaining some mass while I am at it. What would be the best split for 5x5 training while keeping with a 4 day split?

If strength and size is your primary concern, dont do ANY little exercise or train muscles such as the biceps, calves, upper traps, etc directly. Stick mainly to compound movements. Also, I’d bump the volume up to 8x5. Here is the routine I would suggest:

Day 1 (Quad Dominant Legs)

Narrow Stance Squats to parallel

Day 2 (Chest and Triceps)

A1) Incline Bench Press
A2) Dips

Day 3 (Back and Abs)

A1) Supine Grip Pullups
A2) Weighted Decline Sit-ups

Day 4 (Hip Dominant Legs)


On days in which there are two exercises; casually alternate back and forth between them. On the leg days, rest three minutes between sets.

Hope that helps,


Hey, thanks for the quick reply! So is this four days a week then or are these days supposed to be consecutive? Also since the volume is getting bumped up is it okay for me to go up in weight before I hit 8x5 reps? Perhaps going up when I hit lets say 35 total reps so as not to get bored as hell at the same weight for a long period.

Just for variety’s sake, here’s another option:

Day 1: Chest and Biceps
A1) Incline Presses
A2) Scott Curls
B1) Dips
B2) Hammer Curls

Day 2: Quad-Dominant
A1) Squats (Ass-to-the-Grass)
A2) Seated Heel Raises
B1) Hack Squats or Leg Press
B2) Standing or Donkey Heel Raises

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back and Triceps
A1) Chins or Pullups
A2) Lying Extensions
B1) Barbell or T-Bar Rows
B2) Cable Pushdowns

Day 5: Hip-Dominant
A1) Deadlifts (Bent-knee)
A2) Russian Twists
B1) Stiff-Leg DLs or Lunges or Leg Curls
B2) Cable Crunches

This just provides some variation. In a hypercaloric state, this type of heavy training worked outstanding for me. You’re going to be building “real” muscle.

The only thing I would add is that you could concievably go to an ultra-simple route.

I.E. Day One:
Deadlift, Weighted Pullup/Chinup

Day Two:
Squat, Military Press, Bench Press.

Shake, Stir, Serve. Basics are best for mass building. Also, you could bump your sets all the way up to 10-20 as long as you aren’t training for failure. You could hit the first 2-3 sets as strength sets–with heavier weight, 2 minute rest intervals, then strip down and keep your rest intervals on the short side, ~30 seconds.

Strength and Mass in a single cycle.


If going with a consecutive approach, then just do 5x5; if going with a 4 day weekly split, then do 8x5. Bump up the weight if you get 5 reps on the first 5 sets.


Note: I’m talking about a quad dominant Oly-style squat… not the hip dominant Power Squat.

Interesting thread-

To Dogchild- Is this a routine you’ve tried? Looks primeval and I’m sure would bring good results. What was your training split/week, and were you performing 5x5 or more than that?

To Timbo- Are you still talking about a 5x5 for this routine. i.e. supersets of 5x5? Thanks guys for the clarifications.SRS

SRS: Good to see you around again, buddy. Yep, I’m talking about five-by-fivin’ it. You shouldn’t have any problem getting this done in your time constraints. I actually do a very similar program–which I’ll be more than happy to post–but rather than 5x5, I do 4x6.

Dogchild that sounds very similar to the 5x5 program I’ve just started messing around with.

Day 1:

Pull ups, Deadlift, Bent Over Rows, ???

Day 2:

Bench Press, Squat, Military Press, Dips

Day 3 rest, then repeat 1 on day 4 and 2 on day 5. Rest on 6 and 7 then repeat.

Quite wary of overtraining here so I use a weight which keeps the total reps just under 25 and only increase weight after the second time I hit the full 25 reps. I also try to avoid increasing weights on more than 2 exercises per day.

Still unsure about a 4th exercise for day 1 … toyed with chins or various shoulder exercises but everything I try feels out of place somehow.

Hey Timbo- I’m glad to BE back! I was having some real probs posting on the new forum. Had all this great stuff to say, and nobody was able to listen!

Anyway, sure, post your routine. I’m all for seeing what everybody’s into currently, in case I might be missing something!

I saw your photo on the photo forum- looking good dude. Credit for having the balls to post and risk the wrath of the T-wolves. Some of us have yet to get there :-).

To Mookjong- routine looks fairly sound. In answer to your dilemma, I don’t think I would add another exercise on what looks like a fairly tough day (for 5x5 principles). However, have you thought about doing 5x5 pullup/chinup alternating between the 2 variations. e.g. set 1 p/u, 2 c/u, 3 p/u etc to 5. The next workout switch it around, starting with the c/u first. Just an idea. SRS

SRS: The forum seems to have the kinks worked out. Props to the guys at T-Mag. We’re all here to hear you out now, big man…No Excuses!!!

Here’s the Current P-L-A-N:
Day 1: Chest and Biceps
A1) Incline Press 4x6
A2) Preacher Curls 4x6
B1) Dips 4x6
B2) Cable Curls 4x6
C) DB Flyes 3x8
Evening: Cardio

Day 2: Quads and Calves
A1) Squats (Ass to the Grass) 4x6
A2) Seated Heel Raise 4x8
B1) Hack Squats 4x6
B2) Standing Heel Raise 4x8
C1) Leg Extension 3x8
C2) Russian Twists 3x10

Day 3: Recovery and Cardio

Day 4: Back and Triceps
A1) Supinated Chins 4x6
A2) Lying Extensions 4x6
B1) T-Bar Rows 4x6
B2) Cable Pushdown 4x6
C1) One-Arm Rows 3x8
C2) Back Extensions 3x10
Evening: Cardio

Day 5: Shoulders and Hammies
A1) Seated Military Press 4x6
A2) Leg Curls 4x8
B1) Explosive Shrugs 4x6
B2) Stiff-Leg Deadlifts or Bent-Leg 4x6
C1) Seated Laterals 3x8
C2) Russian Twists 3x10

Day 6: Recovery and Cardio

Day 7: Repeat