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Critique this 5x5 routine.

I am planning to do a few weeks of 5x5 training. Here is a routine I came up with based on exercises I enjoy performing as well as exercises that seem like they would be easy to superset in a crowded gym. This is a 3 day split that I would use either 3 or 4 times per week. Opinions?

Day 1

A1 Flat bench

A2 Barbell Curls

B1 Dip

B2 Shrugs

Day 2

A1 Power Squats

A2 Chins

B1 Rows (T-Bar or Bent Over)

B2 Calf Raises (not 5x5)

Day 3

A1 Power Cleans

A2 Reverse Curls

B1 Push Press

B2 Upright Rows

I don’t like the idea of supersetting power cleans with anything. It’s an exercise that requires a lot of coordination, and form tends to break down as you tire. I’d move the reverse curls to the end of the session.

Also, I’d get rid of either the shrugs or upright rows; you’ve got three trap exercises in there as it is.

Are you planning on doing any core work?

You’re not really supersetting in the sense that you are not resting between sets, are you?


I would personally recommend working out antagonist/protagonist muscles. For instance you have bench press then curls. I would do Chest and Back on day 1. Bi’s and Tri’s day 2 and legs and shoulders day 3.

i.e A1. Bench press, A2. Chins, rest, repeat. B1. Incline press, B2. Bent over rows, rest, repeat.
Joel has some great recommendations on 5x5 try giving him a shout.

What do you mean by “power squats”?

  1. I was planning on taking a break between each exercise, so alternating, not actually supersetting. Something along the lines of 1-2 minutes between each set so that I have a decent amount of time for recovery between each set of the same exercise

  2. I was initially thinking of alternating antagonists, but then I thought that by pairing a more taxing compound movement with an isolation or at least less demanding movement I would have more steam left to make it through the set. I understand that by working opposing muscles I may actually be able to improve performance due to successive induction. Do you think this or other principals really will offer a distinct advantage? Another reason I paired them as I did was for the practical matter of the logistics of hogging multiple pieces of equiement in the gym. My reasoning was that while using a bench or squat rack and on break between sets it is easy to walk over to the fixed weight barbells and dumbells and get in a set of something or work in with someone and then head back to the bench. Bench press and rowing together involves hogging 2 olympic bars, or a bench and a t-bar row station, or stripping down the bar and building it back up between each set. A bit more of a pain with other people around.

  3. The trap work was actually deliberate because I consider my traps a weak point. I was thinking of testing out a “more is more” approach because in the past just using a single trap movement (shrugs) hasn’t given me results that I’ve been entirely happy with.

  4. As far as core work goes, I was planning on performing ab work, a couple of sessions of gpp, and a little bit of road work, but separate from my gym time.

  5. Fair enough, power cleans are damn hard work and should demand my full attention. That’s why I stuck the least demanding exercise in with it, but that’s a good tip.

    Thanks for the feedback. More is merrier. Anything you’d add? Does these seem like a reasonable amount of volume? 20 sets per workout felt like a pretty good target to me.

    I didn’t have much luck finding other samples of 5x5 routines other than the example in Joel’s Ripped, Rugged, and Dense article. Oh, plus I found one of the original Reg Park 5x5 routines in an interview but it is actually very high volume and he worked out 6 times per week. Any other specific ones that people have liked would be great.
    I thought I read that Patricia likes 5x5. Patricia are you reading this?

i don’t like the routine, if you want a good 5x5 go to Chris T.'s forum section and check out a 5x5 program he posted. I believe you will find it better. Your program seems to be hitting to many body parts in one workout. laters pk

What’s the title of the thread that contains the workout you’re referring to? I know he posted the OVT routine in Lair of the Ice Dog, but that’s that only one based on doing things in multiples of 5’s that I noticed over there and it’s a high volume routine.