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5X5 Training Splits; Attn: Joel Marion and others

Hey, guys. Since you seem to be very familiar with the 5X5 protocol, what sorts of splits do you use? How many days a week, etc. Just curious as to what you have found to be the most effective set-up for you. Thanks in advance!

It will obviously depend on your goals, but I have used it in a M,W,F setup and gotten great results. I split it up into Chest/Back, Legs/Abs, Arms/Shoulders.

A M,W,F split works well. As for exercise selection, it depends on what your needs are and what is a priority. Pick 2-3 big exercises to form the foundation and you can do a few extra work sets at the end if you need to. Just don’t go nuts on the extra sets.

Here is my current split that I'll be doing for 5 weeks.

Monday
Power Cleans 5x3
Squats 5x5
Push Press 5x5

Wednesday
Bench Press 5x5
Supine Chins ladders
Bent Press 6x5 (3 Left, 3 Right)

Friday
Power Snatch 5x3
Leg Press Calf Raises 5x5
Rack Pulls 5x5

As you can see, it is a little different, but it is suited to my goals. I'll aslo be doing about 6 sets of ab work at the end of each of those workouts. I'm also doing aerobic and anaerobic interval training at different times or at the end of the workouts. But those are also suited to my needs. Just experiment a bit and find what works for you.

For a three day split with ~25 reps per body part (i.e. one exercise):

M- Arms and Forearms

W- Legs, Back Extensors, Shoulders

F- Chest, Lats, Traps

For a four day split with ~50 reps per body part (i.e. two exercises)

M- Chest, Biceps

T- Legs, Back Extensors

R- Shoulders, Triceps

F- Forearms, Lats

You can train the 6-pack and obliques at any time. I like to do this at my house when I just need a break from my studies.

hey, i’m thinking about giving the 5x5 a try too here in a few weeks. do you guys think it would be necessary to do squats if i did full olympic cleans where i go all the way down? i would think that it would take care of my quad domn exercise because standing up with the weight is always my weak point on olympic cleans and it works the hell out of my quads. thanks, - Nic

ok this is what i don’t get about the 5x5-maybe joel or one of the other learned posters can answer this…isn’t two exercises per body part (let’s say for chest it’s incline d/b and flat bench~that’d be 50 reps total for chest) pretty low in terms of volume? i’m still pretty much a beginner in terms of training, and i’m of the general mindset that increased volume=increased gains…i understand that 5x5 uses your 5RM, but still…if i were to implement a 5x5 routine with my current split (which is one body part a day), i’d go to the gym to do 50 reps and that’d be it…while currently, chest day means incline d/b, flat bench, dips, cables, and some push ups…i dunno, 5x5 just seems a bit, uh, lacking compared to most workouts

I am writing in regard of the 5x5 method.I was first introduced to this method by the great Stuart Mcrobert in 95, and I fully belive that it is one of the best ways for a beginer or a hardgainer to pack on mass and gain strengh effectivley. I use four differnt styles of this method. 2xworm-up, 3x5 heavy, 2-3xworm-up then 1x5, 1x4, 1x3, 1x2, 1x1, also choise a three day split (every other day), and do the basic powerlifting type lifts, like squats, bench, barbell row, barbell curl, military press, cleans, shrugs, deadlifts, close grip bench, hang cleans, snatches, clean and press, stiff leg deadlifts, and any thing in the power rack. Done all for 5x5. I also will do 2-3 worm-up sets then 5x5 with a progressivley heavier weight each set. The key is to worm up with a light weight first then blast away with HEAVY weight for sets of five. Please respond with comments. knowledge is power!

you’d be surprised on how good a high intensity low volume routine will work in stimulating growth. If you want to go for hypertrophy use slower eccentrics. I usually do 6X6 instead of 5X5 for 2 body parts per workout. laters pk

First of all, I never prescribe more than 2 exercises per body part, ever. I’ll up the reps to around 100 per body part when bulking, but doing four and five exercises per body part is a juvenile mistake…it’s just not neccesary. (Oh yea, cable crossovers are worthless…other than that nice little burn you feel, they aren’t doing much)

Now, as far as 5x5 is concerned, we are prescribing it for a cutting phase. All the reasons can be found on the Alessi thread started by Jason Norcross. The volume is kept relatively low for the fact that 5x5 is very time consuming and you just don't need any more than this to experience the benefits of the program. High volume and cutting don't go well together...again, check out the Alessi thread. I certainly wouldn't go anything more than 50 reps...that is actually considered high volume for the 5x5 program.

Another thing you have to look at is the fact that we are utilizing mostly compound movements for this program. Take for example the upper leg, back extensor and shoulder day...Sumo Squat, Deadlift, and Dumbbell Clean and Press. Now, that's only 3 exercises, but look at what is happening. Sumo Squats work the hams, as do deadlifts, as do cleans...that's 75 reps for the hams. All 3 exercises also work the glutes and quads to some degree...another 75 reps. Cleans and Deads work the back extensors, and Squats hit the lower back...another 75 reps. Being the smaller muscle group, the shoulders get about 25, but this is no kiddy movement; dumbell clean and presses are very demanding and trust me, your shoulders will get quite the workout.

I hope you see where I'm getting with this...as long as you pick the right exercises you'll get plenty of volume without actually having to pump out a very glycogen demanding 100 reps per body part. I hope this helps buddy; let me know if you have any more questions.

After a long routine (14 or so weeks) focusing on hypertrophy, I started 5x5 this week. With the help of one of the trainers at my gym we put together the following plan, hitting each muscle group twice per week:

M - Incline Bench Press, Squats, Pull-ups

T - Shrugs, Barbell curls, Pushdowns

W - Off

T - Repeat Monday's workout

F - Repeat Tuesday's workout, substituting Front Delt shoulder press instead of shrugs

Note: I am not doing any auxilliary sets. Each body part is getting the 5x5 and that's it, especially since I'm hitting the muscles twice per week.

The strength gains should be pretty amazing. For example, I was doing 170 pounds at 4 sets of 10 for incline bench, but I did 185 for 5 sets of 5 without too much trouble. By the end I'm hoping to do 225 for the five sets.

I was squatting 275 for 4 sets of 10, but 295 at 5 sets of 5 was easier than I thought it would be. 335 is my goal for squats by the end.

The list goes on, but the one thing I've noticed is a much deeper soreness that takes longer to develop than with hypertrophy training. That's a good thing, since it lets me know that cell damage is occuring, even with the lighter set load. Since I'm on Myostat, muscle damage is KEY no matter what your routine.

thanks a lot Joel, that clarifies pretty much everything…i just have so much time on my hands between now and june (graduating college senior) i feel like i should be takin advantage of it trainingwise…and in my beginner’s mind i assumed higher volume would mean higher gains. but 5x5 seems the way to go while cutting…