T Nation

Bill Starr's 5x5 for Intermediate Lifters


Hi all,

I'm debating on starting Bill Starr's 5x5 program for intermediate lifters. I mainly want to increase my strength especially in my squat and deadlift.

I've been lifting for about 5 years now and am wondering if this program would still be legit for me to do or if I should take it up a notch and do the advanced program. I can Bench about 1.6 x my body weight and squat somewhere along the linees of 1.8 x my bodyweight. My legs are my weakest body part and I really need to get them stronger.

Do you guys think I should give this program a shot or another strength oriented program?


Are you more interested in powerlifting or bodybuilding?

Your first statement suggests the former, while the second suggests the latter.

If its powerlifting, then I really don't know. BUT, if its bodybuilding (which I assume because you're in the bodybuilding section) then why MUST you deadlift/squat? Maybe those exercises aren't best suited for your body. Perhaps you should try another exercise, like front squats and Romanian deadlifts. They may work your quads and hams better than a traditional squat and deadlift. In bodybuilding, the goal is to choose the best exercises that stimulate your muscles, and get stronger at them. Just because people have espoused the benefits of a certain exercise, doesn't mean its the best exercise for you. And from the sounds of it, those exercises don't stimulate your target muscle's very well.

Heck, you can keep Bill Starr's template, just replace the squats/deadlifts with a different, more suitable exercise for you. For example, replace squats with front squats or leg press, and replace deadlifts with Romanian deadlifts or Good Mornings. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that.

Just my thoughts though.


Do Madcow's version if you're going to do one IMO.


What's the difference? never done either myself..but I always here those two thrown around


Madcow's version is a ramping version, Starr's original version is a straight set version (at least the one I've seen). Madcow's version also has a pretty reasonable progression model that works pretty well for intermediate strength levels.


Forbes thank you for your response.
I still want to focus on bodybuilding (hypertrophy), but I realize how important it is to gain strength in order to gain size.
I've been following a split routine for about 4 years with some upper body/lower body splits thrown in throughout because I like how my body reacts to a change in stimulus from big compound movements in upper/lower splits to more specialized isolation exercises in split routines.

I use a wide variety of exercises in my workouts such as the front squat (which i believe is a great quad builder) and RDLs.

I just think that my strength is really lacking, but I am not a beginner by any means.


What kind of numbers are you putting up?


bench: 230
squat: 250
dead: 275

bw: 150 height 5' 8"


I think you should do what will give you the results you want, if strength and size are important, from what I've heard 5x5 is one of the best programs for achieving both of those goals. If you want something more advanced then maybe look around at different articles by CT or some of your favorite trainers and incorporate their methods ideas into your strength program.

Good numbers, your deadlift seems somewhat low for that bench and squat. Anyways, you've been training longer than I and know more about yourself and your goals than I, so I hope whatever program you decide you have full faith in it and give it your all!



Here you go- use the spreadsheet (excel) that is provided at the end. Really helpful. Great program just be sure to eat.