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5X5 routine

I am gonna start a 5X5 here in a few, and was wonderin what you guys thought of this split. Thoughts appreciated.

5x5 Squat
5x5 Deads
3x5 leg ext
3x5 leg curl

5x5 DB bench
5x5 dips
5x5 pullups
5x5 bent over row

5x5 behind the neck press
5x5 shrugs or upright rows
5x5 barbell curls
5x5 skull crushers

Any ideas where i could drop in some forearm work? What are your thoughts on the 3x5 for the extra leg work? Thanks guys.

left out calves… put a 5x5 in on leg day (mon). maybe drop the extra leg work down to 2x5? thanks.

While I recommended training all muscle groups in my article (for individuals interest in improving whole body muscle tone), I normally dont do any direct calve, shoulder, trap, forearm, or bicep work when on a hypocaloric strength phase. It’s not a profitable use of my time, IMO, and you will gain close to nothing from it. The only time I would recommend training every muscle group would be if you are prepping for a contest or a photo shoot. If you are just training for strength and an overall hard look with your cutting cycle, here is what I recommend:

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. Take an off day whenever you feel like it, but no sooner than every 5th day. In other words, if you feel motivated, go ahead and train without any off days; when you feel like you need a day off, go ahead and take one. This way, the volume remains moderate because you will be working each muscle about 3 times in a two week period.

Even though the sessions are very short, I realize that some people just cant get to the gym on an everyday basis, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. If you can only work out three days a week; I’d set things up this way:

M- Upper Body

A1) Incline Bench Press
A2) Supine Grip Pull-ups

B) Dips

W- Lower Body

A1) Deadlifts
A2) Weight Decline Situps

B) Narrow Stance Squats to parallel

F- Upper Body

M- Lower Body

W- Upper Body

F- Lower Body

Casually alternate between the A exercises and then rest 3 minutes between sets of the B exercise. Just as with the above split, you’d work out the whole body 3 times over the course of 2 weeks.

looks like a pretty decent split to me. a few things you might consider though: 1. add some ab exercises if you haven’t allready. 2. instead of shrugs or upright rows you could do power cleans to add some explosiveness to the routine. they will probably work your traps better anyways also you could switch the shoulder presses with push presses if you want another explosive movement. 3. for forearm work you could just add a couple of sets of forearm curls on wednesday and forearm extensions on friday like you did with the leg ext/curls on monday. or you could do them both on wednesday and add a couple of ab exercises in the same manner on friday. hope this helps.

  • Nic

I like 5x5, but would also opt for a four-day split if you have the time.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Joel- this is most definitely NOT a hypocaloric time of year for me… winter, school… i grub like it is my job. Ya think it is still disadvantageous to train all body parts for overall strength/development?

Nic - i do an abreviated ab routine after every workout, so i am good there. And i tend to shy away from the O-type lifts because I do not have any real partner or trainer to check my form. And i have no idea if i am indeed doing them correctly because they feel so akward. thanks for the forearm ideas.

Char - what would you suggest for a 4 day split?

Thanks again guys.

if you are looking into doing 5X5 as four day split, the first thing I would look into is splitting up your legs in a knee-dominant day and a hip-dominant day. i.e. one day do back squats and the other day do deadlifts or some variations of these exercises. Then you could have one other day as Chest/Back and the fourth day as bi/tris. Or even split these up into Chest/Bis, and Back/Tris. There are so many options to choose from. But I would first focus on splitting up your leg day into two separate workouts.

When going hypercaloric, I’d add incline bicep curls and standing DB military presses (to the first split I gave above). I’d also definitly bump up the volume to 7-8x5.

Personally, I would replace the skull crushers with dips.

Switch Monday’s workout with Wednesday’s so you get more recovery time between upper body training days. Either that or go with the previously recommended 4-day split. Just go for it and kick some ass.