T Nation

Beginner 5x5

Hey all,

I’ve posted a few times on here, and still am very green behind the ears when it comes to weightlifting, and I had a question.

I’ve done a few of the programs on here, and really not seeing any progress, and I’m starting to think that the programs posted by some of the writers are to break through plateau’s at a higher level. I realize now that I just need a simple 5x5 program to build a ton of strength before I really try to get into some of the others on the site.

My question, is how to put together a 5x5 program? I’ve tried searching, and maybe I’m not using the correct keywords, but I’m not seeing any type of basis to build a program on. I figured you incorporate the big lifts (deadlift, front/back squat, bench, etc), but wouldn’t know where to start when picking the smaller exercises to accompany those lifts.

My schedule allows for M/W/F lifting, so I would like for it to be a 3 day a week program. I also figure that I will continue on the 5x5 for possibly at least one year, switching the exercises (except the big ones) every 6 weeks or so.

Any suggestions on articles to read, books to look at, or just somewhere I can get the information to build a solid program?

Basically right now I’m 6’0, 162 lbs, and tired of being scrawny.

I eat extremely clean, but I don’t think I eat enough, so I will be stepping that up as well.

Thanks for any help.

I’m not saying you’re a perfect candidate, but you are. Here are some 5x5’s to get you started.

Stronglifts

Stronglifts II

Bill Starr
http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm

Texas Method

and the ever popular

Rippetoe’s Starting Strength

I would suggest Rippetoe’s Starting Strength:

It’s 3x5, not 5x5, but its a basic beginner strength program. If you eat right and train hard, you could easily add 20+ lbs in a few months.

The Stronglifts Beginner 5x5 is also a good choice, very similar to Starting Strength but with slightly more volume (more growth potential, but you might stall faster).

Bill Star’s, Texas Method, and Stronglifts Intermediate 5x5 are intermediate programs, you will make progress, but not as fast as with SS or Stronglifts Beginner. I would suggest starting with a beginner program and moving on to an intermediate program when you can no longer make progress.

I started Rippetoe’s SS two weeks ago and I like the program.

Don’t forget to eat ALOT!

Starting Strength is great; my girlfriend just started it a few weeks ago.

Here is something simple that will last you the first six weeks.
Weeks 1 and 2
Mon-Wed-Fri
Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
Power Cleans 5x5

Weeks 3 and 4
Mon Wed Fri
Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5 Squat5x5
Bench 5x5 Military Press 5x5 Incline5x5
High Pulls 5x5 Power Cleans 5x5 HiPulls5x5

Weeks 5 and 6
Mon Wed Fri
Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5 Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5 MP 5X5 Inc 5x5
DL 5X5 PwrCln5x5 HiPull5x5

First two weeks don’t worry about changing weights too much, work on form.
Weeks three through six use a heavy light medium format. Don’t try to add a bunch of auxillary work. At the most, 4 sets of max pullups on one day and 4 sets of max dips on another. I have used this program a few times when I have been out of lifting for awhile and it gives you a good base for whatever you want to do next. I got all of it from stuff I read by Bill Starr.

[quote]B rocK wrote:
Don’t forget to eat ALOT!

Starting Strength is great; my girlfriend just started it a few weeks ago.[/quote]

OP, if his girlfriend just started this, you better get on the bandwagon. You don’t want him posting pics of his girl in a couple months showing her progress that makes you look like a scrawny little bastard.

If she can do it, so can you.

I’m doing the 5x5 ala Reg Park that was discussed a few weeks back. Pretty much as written 3 days a weeks with the exception of the 3 sets of reverse hypers to start with.

^ I looked into that, but can’t afford 2-3 hours in the gym on my schedule

I go before work (from about 5-6 am)

The program i was talking about was the one Mike Mahler designed about three weeks ago.

I may be doing it wrong by cutting the rest time down between sets, but it seems to work for me. 1 to 1/2 minutes between each superset, then 2 between each squat or dead lift set.

I’m done in under an hour easy.

Well, i’ve been sticking with starting strength for a while, and I’m finally to the point where I’m hitting walls and it’s taking me a workout or two to push through them.

I have a quick question though.

I’m now squatting about 215 or so (I know, not much at all, but it is for me, lol), and this is the first weight that I am really struggling to get all 15 (3x5 on SS) reps complete. I’m noticing that usually by the end, when i’m pushing up from the bottom of my squat my left knee is slightly dipping in to help me push. I’m doing my best to mentally push my knees out, and today I only had it happen on my very last rep, but I’m wondering how that affects the lift.

I usually use a slightly wider than shoulder width stance, toes forward and come down just below 90 degrees. I’m wondering if my stance should be closer? I may have to move down in weight to successfully lift with a close stance, but would that help develop my legs more?

I will say, I’ve been doing all of the other programs on here for a while, never really seeing many results, but after being on this program for almost a month, I feel much stronger than I ever have before. I knew I should stick to the basics and just gain some dirty strength.

For the next 2-3 workouts aim for a couple of reps less and really focus on keeping your form strict.

Or just deload for a week-ie halve the sets and reps

monday

deadlift 5x5
stiff leg deadlift 5x5
bent over row 3x5
lying leg curl 3x5
calve work 5x10

tuesday rest

wednesday

bench press 5x5
incline bench press 5x5
over head barbell press 3x5
close grip bench press 3x5
calve work 5x10

thursday rest

friday

squat 5x5
front squat 5x5
lunges 3x5
calve work 5x10

[quote]cgsaunde wrote:

I usually use a slightly wider than shoulder width stance, toes forward and come down just below 90 degrees. I’m wondering if my stance should be closer? [/quote]

Try turning your toes out some, instead of pointing them straight forward.

Being at the level I am at, shouldn’t I be seeing noticeable gains after a month or so of these big lifts?

I went in weighting about 162 lbs, and right now I’m hovering at about 165 lbs. A shift that small could simply be because of something I have been eating lately, and nothing to do with muscle mass.

I understand that weightlifting is not a hobby, and it’s not something that gives immediate results, I just thought that finally by doing these big lifts I would see some quick gains.

As a side note, here is a typical meal plan for the day:

wake up 4:30
1/2 protein shake (2 scoops whey, PB, fruit, milk)
gym
1/2 protein shake
bfast: 2 eggs, 3-4 egg beaters, 3 pieces turkey bacon, shredded wheat/real oatmeal on days I lift
snack: protein bar or muscle milk lite shake
lunch: chicken or fish + veggies from dinner night before, apple/banana/other fruit
snack: handful nuts, large chunk of cheese
dinner: chicken or fish, generous helping of veggies, salad w/ EVOO + vinegar as dressing
snack: nuts, meat

I know this isn’t a meal plan thread, but it’s more of a beginning workout thread, so hopefully I could get a little guidance.

My strength is going up weekly in the gym, but it’s not seeming to transition into actual body size.

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
B rocK wrote:
Don’t forget to eat ALOT!

Starting Strength is great; my girlfriend just started it a few weeks ago.

OP, if his girlfriend just started this, you better get on the bandwagon. You don’t want him posting pics of his girl in a couple months showing her progress that makes you look like a scrawny little bastard.

If she can do it, so can you.

[/quote]

Reminds of the poster

“Squat! - Because somewhere a girl is warming up with your max”

bill stars 5x5 is the absolute best

I am new to weightlifting too and I have a similar build to yours. I have seen gains from following the nutritional advice in Berardi’s Scrawny to Brawny and combining it with starting strength. Berardi’s nutritional advice is practical. He even provides a grocery list for your first grocery shop. It will give you an idea of how big you should be eating if you want to see gains.

[quote]cgsaunde wrote:
Being at the level I am at, shouldn’t I be seeing noticeable gains after a month or so of these big lifts?

I went in weighting about 162 lbs, and right now I’m hovering at about 165 lbs. A shift that small could simply be because of something I have been eating lately, and nothing to do with muscle mass.

I understand that weightlifting is not a hobby, and it’s not something that gives immediate results, I just thought that finally by doing these big lifts I would see some quick gains.

As a side note, here is a typical meal plan for the day:

wake up 4:30
1/2 protein shake (2 scoops whey, PB, fruit, milk)
gym
1/2 protein shake
bfast: 2 eggs, 3-4 egg beaters, 3 pieces turkey bacon, shredded wheat/real oatmeal on days I lift
snack: protein bar or muscle milk lite shake
lunch: chicken or fish + veggies from dinner night before, apple/banana/other fruit
snack: handful nuts, large chunk of cheese
dinner: chicken or fish, generous helping of veggies, salad w/ EVOO + vinegar as dressing
snack: nuts, meat

I know this isn’t a meal plan thread, but it’s more of a beginning workout thread, so hopefully I could get a little guidance.

My strength is going up weekly in the gym, but it’s not seeming to transition into actual body size.[/quote]

I’m not going to add up all your macro’s for you, but it doesn’t look like you’re eating enough.

What were your beginning and current 3x5 strength maxes?

Sorry it took me so long to respond.

^ I agree, I’m sure I’m not eating enough, but I guess my question is where are realistic places that I can increase my calorie intake? I am an Engineer that works between 40-50 hours a week, and the wife is a Graphic Designer working the same number of hours. We are not paid to look like some of the front page athletes on this site, so doubling our grocery bill every week for the potential to look like that isn’t always feasible. What are some easy, healthy ways to ramp up calorie intake without breaking the bank?

And here are my starting strength numbers:
Squat: 225
Bench: 135
Deadlift: 225
Military Press: 85
Power Cleans: 115

Ending numbers:
Squat: 260
Bench: 140
Deadlift: 255
Military Press: 90
Power Cleans: 130

I feel like my bench and military press should have increased more than they did, and I’m wondering if my squat and dead went up so much because this is one of the first programs that has focused so much on the big lifts, so I may have started a little lighter than I could have.

I just feel like I’m always banging my head against a wall with the gains I want to make, and I can never seen to actually achieve anything.