T Nation

Exercise Variety and 5x5


A lot of people have had huge success with 5x5 3x/week training as outlined by Mark. R., Glenn P., Bill Starr, etc.

 My question is that to get the most out of these programs you really need to do prolonged cycles of the same exersises. (8+ weeks probably if you include ramp up)

I see a conflicting viewpoint between this type of setup and EC/MR's reccomendations that you should be varying exersises on a monthly basis at the very least for best results.

Thoughts on this conflict? Am I missing something?


I know that the Starr routine builds in variety. For example, Front Squats will/can be used on light or medium squat day. Likewise, incline presses/military presses can be used on some pressing days. I'm sure you can work in RDLs, High Pulls, Hang Cleans, etc. So, the opportunity for variety definitely exists.


Personally I have two routines one at 5x5 and one at 4x8, same muscle groups, but different exercises in each routine. I do the 4x8 take a day off, do the 5x5 take two days off and start over, seems to work well, real basic periodization.


You should only change something if you stop making gains. Why fix it if it ain't broke? Some people can train the same exercises for 2 or more months without stalling.


I agree. Through trial and error, one learns how long he can make gains or a certain exercise, set/rep scheme