Chest Focus with 5x5?

Posted on here at the start of my off season that I wanted to greatly improve my arm size this off season and one member suggested throwing in some 5x5 work on bigger arm lifts like barbell curls and my arms have really improved in size and strength gains have been stupid in a little over a month.

I’m seeing great results all over in size and strength in my current approach except for chest in the strength category. I’ve got great genetics for chest and IMO a strong mind/muscle connection which has helped chest always be a strong point but my strength isn’t improving like I want and not nearly as much as everything else. Deadlifts/squats/overhead press are increasing week by week but bench press is barely moving.

Here’s my current chest workout approach
1st exercise: heavy training on compound for strength - 4-6 rep range and 1 working set to failure
2nd/3rd exercise: goal here is primarily to increased TUT and hypertrophy 8-12 reps throwing in drop sets, 1.5 reps etc to stimulate growth.

So my question is how would I implement say 5x5 into chest or possibly a variation to increase stength without doing too much volume and overtraining. Saw an article on here about doing 2 ramp sets then 3x5 for a compound lift so maybe that’s a good option?


To control volume and not overtrain or overreach you could use a simple 3 week wave with a deload.


Week 1: 2 warm ups sets, ramping to a “Good” third set of 5. Leave a rep or 2 in the tank. Then do 2 back off sets, lighter.

Week 2: 2 sets working up to the same “good” third set of 5. Then make the back off sets harder than last week.

Week 3: 2 sets ramping up to the same “good” third set of 5. Then make the back off sets harder than last week. They might not even be “back offs” anymore. Maybe you’re using the same weight for the last 3 sets of 5. Maybe the 4th set of 5 even uses a heavier weight that the 3rd set. Just don’t let it get too ugly.

It doesn’t super matter. The important thing is that you do “more” than you did the previous week. Increase the workload.

Now for week 4, do 2 sets working up to a new “good” third set of 5. Again, leave a rep or 2 in the tank, but make this heavier than what you did way back in week 1. Now “back off” with 2 kinda easy back off sets. This will decrease the workload from last week. Like a nice little deload. But you get to do that 1 heavier set of 5 so it doesn’t feel like a vacation or a lack of progress.

Then increase the workload during weeks 5 and 6 by making the two back off sets heavier or more intense.