T Nation

Bill Starr 5x5 or WSSB

bump, in about 4weeks I might try the bill star 5x5 routine for 8-12wks. Wondering what everyone thought about it… is it really going to pack on size like it says it will?

Hey DH! How would one progress week to week using the 5x5 method? Would you continue adding sets? each week? increase density, intensity? I was wondering if going a total body approach 3 times a week with 5x5, using different loads each workout, would be acceptable.
Example
Mon: All 80% Load
Bench 5x5
Rows 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Wed: 70% load?
Military 5x5
Pull ups 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Fri:?%
Dips 5x5
Low Rows 5x5
Legs? 5x5
Posterior? 5x5

Do you think this would be a sufficent approach for 4 weeks for size and strength? What would you alter to this? Would you add any different arm work? Would it be optimal to use 3x3 following? Your input and help is very much appreciated.

You could use this scheme for a 4-8 week cycle with good results. After this I’d cycle in some varying rep ranges to keep your body adapting. Then you could come right back to 5x5.

If size is your primary goal, I’d add a rep each week eventually getting to 5x6 or doing the following to make it a 4 week cycle.

Week 1: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
5x5

Week 2: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
Set 1: 6 reps
Set 2-5: 5 reps

Week 3: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
Set 1 & 2: 6 reps
Set 3-5: 5 reps

Week 4: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
5x6

At this point, you’d either take a week off, do a reduced loading cycle (about 60% of previous volume, but same top weight), or go into a scheme like DFH (Diversity for Hypertrophy by Waterbury) or maybe TBT. If you wish to progress beyond this first four weeks and things are going well with no stagnation, then keep going, but bump weight 5% or so and return down to 5x5. You’d be ascending upward in rep numbers for the first 4 weeks or so, then you’d bump the weight and drop back down to 5x5 and ascend once again.

As far as arm work, with doing dips, close grips, military presses and benches, I’d leave out any direct tricep work. Really, the above under many circumstances are considered compound triceps focused exercises (dips, close grips of 15" spacing). If you’d like you could throw in a few sets of 10,12, or 15 on a curl motion. Say 3x10 on one day, and 2x15 on another. The heavy back work will provide plenty of tension so trust me that you don’t need any more than this at most. For abs, I’d do about 3x3-5 reps on one day and 2x12 on another. You could even go both days at low reps as we don’t want growth per se in the ab region, but rather resting tension for a hard midsection. That is plenty with all the stimlulation they will receive on the compound lifts. Trust me. Put 95% of your effort into 3/4 big motions, use perfect form, and do no more than the above for supplemental work and you’ll do well provided you are eating 6x per day and getting a surplus of cals.

On the loads, do as I laid out in 5x5 a la Hoss. You’ll use 3 weight ranges (functional hyper, general hyper, and some sarco hyper). I laid out 80%, 70%-75%, and about 65%. Do them in a heavy-light-medium order only. All concentric motions are fast, all eccentrics are controlled. Just make sure you aren’t bouncing the weights. Keep tension on the muscle if you want to grow. Let ego fall by the wayside.

On using 3x3 afterwards, you’d be best to incorporate this with some higher volume work too in a conjugated full body scheme. Say a 3x3 day, a 2x12 day, and a 4x8 day for 3x per week. This way two of your days should provide enough stimulation for growth while the 3x day will allow you to “solidify” your gains and accumulate any lagging strength adaptations from the 5x5. You could also cut down frequency for a few weeks and go like so: 8x3 (heavy) and 5x10 on the second workout on a 2x per week scheme.

Best,
DH

the weight[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Hey DH! How would one progress week to week using the 5x5 method? Would you continue adding sets? each week? increase density, intensity? I was wondering if going a total body approach 3 times a week with 5x5, using different loads each workout, would be acceptable.
Example
Mon: All 80% Load
Bench 5x5
Rows 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Wed: 70% load?
Military 5x5
Pull ups 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Fri:?%
Dips 5x5
Low Rows 5x5
Legs? 5x5
Posterior? 5x5

Do you think this would be a sufficent approach for 4 weeks for size and strength? What would you alter to this? Would you add any different arm work? Would it be optimal to use 3x3 following? Your input and help is very much appreciated.
[/quote]

Hey DH. Thanks for the response. I will do as follows. Just in your opinion, what do you think about adding a set every week? Would this be too taxing? So at the end of 4 weeks, I will be doing 9x5 for all. Which way would you recommend?

What you are talking about for the 3x3,2x12,4x8, would be the intensification phase? What loads would you recommend for 3x3, 2x12, 4x8? Isn’t this phase focused on strength? it seems that 2x12 and 4x8 are more focused on hypertrophy, but then again, I don’t know much about this, unlike you!

As for the 8x3 and 5x10, would this be a full body approach? with these rep schemes for all body parts? and does this follow directly after the 3x3 phase?

Thanks!

[quote]Disc Hoss wrote:
You could use this scheme for a 4-8 week cycle with good results. After this I’d cycle in some varying rep ranges to keep your body adapting. Then you could come right back to 5x5.

If size is your primary goal, I’d add a rep each week eventually getting to 5x6 or doing the following to make it a 4 week cycle.

Week 1: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
5x5

Week 2: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
Set 1: 6 reps
Set 2-5: 5 reps

Week 3: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
Set 1 & 2: 6 reps
Set 3-5: 5 reps

Week 4: (80% mon/@65% wed/ @72% on fri)
5x6

At this point, you’d either take a week off, do a reduced loading cycle (about 60% of previous volume, but same top weight), or go into a scheme like DFH (Diversity for Hypertrophy by Waterbury) or maybe TBT. If you wish to progress beyond this first four weeks and things are going well with no stagnation, then keep going, but bump weight 5% or so and return down to 5x5. You’d be ascending upward in rep numbers for the first 4 weeks or so, then you’d bump the weight and drop back down to 5x5 and ascend once again.

As far as arm work, with doing dips, close grips, military presses and benches, I’d leave out any direct tricep work. Really, the above under many circumstances are considered compound triceps focused exercises (dips, close grips of 15" spacing). If you’d like you could throw in a few sets of 10,12, or 15 on a curl motion. Say 3x10 on one day, and 2x15 on another. The heavy back work will provide plenty of tension so trust me that you don’t need any more than this at most. For abs, I’d do about 3x3-5 reps on one day and 2x12 on another. You could even go both days at low reps as we don’t want growth per se in the ab region, but rather resting tension for a hard midsection. That is plenty with all the stimlulation they will receive on the compound lifts. Trust me. Put 95% of your effort into 3/4 big motions, use perfect form, and do no more than the above for supplemental work and you’ll do well provided you are eating 6x per day and getting a surplus of cals.

On the loads, do as I laid out in 5x5 a la Hoss. You’ll use 3 weight ranges (functional hyper, general hyper, and some sarco hyper). I laid out 80%, 70%-75%, and about 65%. Do them in a heavy-light-medium order only. All concentric motions are fast, all eccentrics are controlled. Just make sure you aren’t bouncing the weights. Keep tension on the muscle if you want to grow. Let ego fall by the wayside.

On using 3x3 afterwards, you’d be best to incorporate this with some higher volume work too in a conjugated full body scheme. Say a 3x3 day, a 2x12 day, and a 4x8 day for 3x per week. This way two of your days should provide enough stimulation for growth while the 3x day will allow you to “solidify” your gains and accumulate any lagging strength adaptations from the 5x5. You could also cut down frequency for a few weeks and go like so: 8x3 (heavy) and 5x10 on the second workout on a 2x per week scheme.

Best,
DH

the weightXfactor88 wrote:
Hey DH! How would one progress week to week using the 5x5 method? Would you continue adding sets? each week? increase density, intensity? I was wondering if going a total body approach 3 times a week with 5x5, using different loads each workout, would be acceptable.
Example
Mon: All 80% Load
Bench 5x5
Rows 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Wed: 70% load?
Military 5x5
Pull ups 5x5
Squats 5x5
Good Morning 5x5

Fri:?%
Dips 5x5
Low Rows 5x5
Legs? 5x5
Posterior? 5x5

Do you think this would be a sufficent approach for 4 weeks for size and strength? What would you alter to this? Would you add any different arm work? Would it be optimal to use 3x3 following? Your input and help is very much appreciated.

[/quote]
Disc As someone who has lifted for 38 years (I will be 52 in 2 weeks) I am always impressed by your answers they almost sound like I would answer them or some Old School lifter everything you mentioned was in my humble opinion excellant that someone can ALWAYS use.But for some variety EDT as I have found over the last 15 months is a great add on to EVERYTHING you spelled out.
Keep up the good advice :slight_smile:

Awesome stuff - thanks Disc Hoss.

What rest periods (between sets) would you suggest for 5x5 a la Hoss?

Thanks.

[quote]Disc Hoss wrote:

Pick big three. For Bill, who focused on football players, this was the bench, squat, and power clean. For size I’d go with a bent bb row cycled with pullup and chinups. Ditch the cleans.
[/quote]

Hey Disc Hoss, your post on 5x5 a la Hoss was very useful. I just have a couple questions.

  1. When you say for size 'I’d go with a bent bb row cycled with pullup and chinup do you mean this:

Mon 5x5 @ 80%RM
Bench Press
Squat
Bent BB Row

Wed 5x5 @ 65%RM
Bench Press
Squat
Chin-up

Fri 5x5 @ 70%RM
Bench Press
Squat
Pull-up

or do we simply do bent bb rows for all 3 days and change it to chins / pull-ups after 3 weeks?

[quote]Disc Hoss wrote:

Also we should not use a movement for more than a few weeks before changing it. I also like push press, pullups, deadlifts, and dips as a grouping. I wouldn’t exceed 4 large movements or you’ll likely overtrain.

[/quote]

  1. So every 4 week cycle, all 3 exercises should be changed? You recommend grouping the push press, pullups, deadlifts, and dips.

So we do those four exercises 3 days a week at the same parameters as posted above?

Wouldn’t doing overhead presses 3x a week be too straining on the shoulders?

  1. Oh last question, are the exercises done in straight sets or can we super-set them?

Thanks for all the useful info!

any comment, any one? :slight_smile:

loctite_zexel

1)I would change the exercise every 1-2 weeks.

2)See above
( E.G Bench, then Incline, then dips)

  1. I would suggest doing

    Bench, Rows, Squats, Good Mornings
    and maybe some additional arm work

Maybe you could subsistute overhead press with Upright rows, as your tricpes are getting a lot of focus with Bench already.

  1. Yeah, you could superset say Bench and Rows. Aim for antagonist supersets

Hope this helps!