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Additional Exercises to Add to SL 5x5?


Hi all.
I have been on Strong lifts program for 6months.
Really enjoying it. I would like to continue on with this program for another few months, then possible switch to 5,3,1. after I build up more strength

I'm back from vacation now, going to delaod a little & continue.

Can you guys suggest some additional exercise to add to the strong lifts routine, I would particularly like to work on my upper chest upper arms

as per the below quote from when I joined, contains my stats and a reply that got me thinking about adding to my current program


People will give you suggestions. You're wise to attempt to build on your strengths by addressing your weaknesses (and upper body seems to be the largest weakness). However, what is important is that you try exercises, to find ones that
a) you can feel the target muscle(s) working
b) you can progress with, on reps and/or weight
c) does not injure you.

E.g. if someone recommended upright rows to me to improve delts:
a) yep, can feel delts and traps
b) yep, can progress
c) this exercise will injure MY shoulders and/or wrist bones. So I don't do it. So make sure that you only take people's suggestions as ideas, for you to experiment with over time.

My suggestions:
strict lying side lateral raises, incline DB bench press, face pulls with a cable pulley (in lat pulldown station maybe) with neutral grip, very close grip decline bench press, DB shrugs, strict form standing DB curls


Shoulders - lateral raises (standing and bent over), arnold presses
Triceps - cable extensions, close grip bench, dips, skullcrushers
Biceps - seated incline curls (these will humble you), ez-bar curls (a lot of variations), cable curls
Chest - pec deck, cable crossover, dumbell fly

These are just some off the top of the head that you could add.


thanks for the advice and exercise suggestions, I will try them out and see what works for me.
I wont be able to do the anything the needs cable machines as I train at home with a squat rack,bench,Olympic set.

thanks again, more info and suggestions are welcome


I will be adding some of the above exercises to my routine tonight.

I assume I should do them in 5x5 starting with low weight and progressively build it up, same as I have with the other SL 5X5 exercises?



That's a method. Also, you could do higher reps, still ramping; or straight sets with a given weight. I use all methods (not to say that you have to), but don't think rigidly.


for squat,bench & Row day

I added

*Close grip bench 30kg 5x5 - really felt this working my triceps, but not much my chest.

*incline dumbbell bench with 20kg in each hand 5x5- really felt this working my chest and Triceps, so I will definitely keep this in my routine for a while

*shrugs with 20kg in each hand 5x5 - felt this working my traps a little.

will add other exercise as suggested to my squat,pres & deadlift day.

I decided to do it in the same way I do my other SL 5x5 exercise, starting each weight off 20kg and add 2.5kg every session.

I will see how it goes for a month or so and then maybe change things bit if I dont feel like its working for me

thanks again for all input & opinions


Close grip bench is primarily a tricepsmovement, so that's okay. I feel that some exercises lend themselves better to higher/lower reps, this is a result of thrial and error. I think CGBP is a good low-rep exercise.

Incline DB bench, for me, works best in higher reps, e.g. 6-12 reps. It can get harder to get the heavy DBs up to your chest to press, and I feel chest better with higher reps.

You will probably find that these exercises will not progress at 2.5kgs per week/session for very long. That's why 'add a rep' or 'add a lb' sort of progression will be fine, and will add up over time.

AND, very important, add in some back movements. Scapular retraction. Since you like stronglifts, look into 'pendlay rows'. These are a must. Bench, CGBP, Incline DB bench and no back-specific exercises: rounded shoulders and a shoulder injury waiting to happen.


I don't think going 5x5 for all exercises is a good idea. Just practically speaking. For example, 5RM shoulder lateral raises are going to be nasty. Consistently doing 5 rep curls and tricep extensions will probably blow out your wrists and elbows. 5 rep leg extensions - good bye knee cap. stuff like this


thanks for the additional opinions guys.

so as an alternative to doing the add on exercise in 5x5, I could keep a lower weight on these and do more reps?


Yep. Simple, for now. Choose a rep range (eg 6-10 reps). That's a good starting point for most 'auxiliary' exercises.
For example start CGBP for 30kg for 6 reps. Next week add 2 reps to get 8. The next week, you can do 11 reps, so add 2.5kg for the next session, and that week you get maybe 7 with 32.5kg. Keep on like that.

Obviously, for smaller exercises (e.g. lateral raises) progression will be smaller/ slower, but these exercises are still important to keep from any particular areas of your body becoming weaknesses.


great - that clears a few things up.