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Changing from 5x5 and Struggling with Volume


Hey all, new to the forum so not sure if the info has been covered, or where to look.

I have been lifting for a while now, last 3 months have finally gotten the diet side thanks to a great PT.

My question is on reps, at low reps i am happy with my strength, but i fatigue rapidly once im over around the 8 rep mark, and have to drop weight significantly. I have focused mainly on a 5x5 program and am now wanting to change.

Should i slightly drop weight and slowly push up the reps, or signifigantly drop weight and hit high reps then slowly up weight?

Any thoughts appreciated


it’s not really that big of a deal either way. Simply pick a rep range and get stronger in it. The difference between doing sets of 12 vs sets of 8 will be pretty much zero in the long term.


Having done 5X5 for an extended period, due to mentioned fatigue, I also found volume to be problematic. The guy I workout with suggested the lower weight/increased volume approach and it has worked very well for me. 2 points on this philosophy though.

  1. Check your ego when starting the programming. I took 90% of a 3RM as my training max. This does 2 things, it eases you into the volume at sub-maximal stress and it allows you to see progress on that particular program longer.

  2. Regardless of number 1, the initial introduction of heavy volume can be particularly brutal the first 2 weeks. I know I walked around with DOMS for forever it seemed, lol.

Stick with it though, and you can see some good improvements as well as the added bonus of taking one of your weaknesses and kicking its a$$.


Sometimes it is good to do things because we are bad at them and should get better. My high volume weight is embarrassing low, but I still finish many of my workouts with high volume versions of the heavy weight exercises I started the work out with.


Alternate with high rep days, works great…


Thanks all for the advice. I will look at the article rampantbadger added