T Nation

Looking For A Good 5x5


I've been doing mostly CW stuff for the last several months, and am now looking for a good 5x5. Anyone have any suggestions or links?


A specific workout or exercises?
If exercises just pick major movements and do full body workouts 2-3 times a week depending on your schedule/recovery abilities.

Squat, clean, deadlift, snatch, jerk, push press, overhead press, bench, incline bench, weighted chins, rows, front squats, RDLS, Good Mornings, high pulls, etc.

Pick 3 exercises per workout and push it hard each workout. If you are feeling sluggish or sore, back off of the intensity but still workout. You can alternate the intensity of workouts, say heavy monday, light or medium wed, heavy again on friday or whatever you need to make it work for you.

Thats a super generic outline, but it doesnt take much more than that to see gains. Not every workout program has to be super specific and complex.

If you do a search for names like Randell Strossen or Bill Starr, possibly even Westside Barbell, power lifting or olympic lifting sites, you can find plenty of similar workouts


i believe this a Dan John question, check his articles, my 2 cents-- try th one lift a day program..good luck


I'm currently doing CT's OVT (Optimized Volume Training) and it's sort of like a 5X5 routine, but with another light weight, 5 reps of a similar exersize right after each set of 5. In a way it's a 10X10 (like GVT), but you super set with heavy weight (5X5) and very light weight (for another 5X5).

His article explains it a lot better than me.

It's a little higher in overall volume than what I've been doing, but I don't feel like I'm overtraining.

It's working out good so far, and is worth a look.


im doing the lift fast get big by CW...it has 6x3 5x5 and 4x6 which mixes it a little...its fun!!!!


Dan John - "5x5 variations."

Everything you need to know about 5x5 is right there.


Thanks for the suggestions guys.
I've also read some of the 5x5 variations on elitefitness (madcow) and honestly, the SF and DF seem really complicated.

As far as 5x5 load progression, do you think doing something like 80% 1RM 5x5 for Bench, Squat, Row, Dead, then adding 2.5% weekly would work?

I'm a beginner, and am afaid of using inadequate weight (or too much) if I just start picking weights and ramping up.


You will learn rather quickly if it is too much weight. Better to start light and finish all your sets. You can always add weight.


If you're a beginner, then you should completely avoid Madcow's dual factor 5x5. The single factor is probaby too much also (although I don't understand why it's complicated).

Try this program for a few months before you get into some of the more advanced stuff. It's a post of mine from another site, but the program is by Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength, probably the best book I know of for beginners to lifting. Rippetoe is known for putting 30-40 lbs of muscular bodyweight on his athletes in their first 4-6 months of training.

[i]Here's a routine for beginners suggested by Mark Rippetoe, who specializes in getting beginners big and strong. A 30-40 lb increase in muscular bodyweight over a 6 month period is pretty standard with his athletes.

Workout A

3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift

Workout B

3x5 Squat
3x5 Military Press
3x5 Power Clean

Warm up using several sets before doing the 3 work sets (or 1 for the deadlift). If you're using 175, for example, it would look like this:

Warm up sets

2x5xbar (sets x reps x weight)

Work sets


You alternate workout A and B, 3 non-consecutive days per week. So you might do:

Week 1


Workout A


Workout B


Workout A

Week 2


Workout B


Workout A


Workout B

Add weight to the bar whenever possible. If you're very new to lifting weights, or if most of your lifting has focused on curls and other isolation movements, you'll probably be able to add some weight each workout. Maybe 5-10 lbs each time in the squat and deadlift, and about 5 lbs in the other three lifts. Eventually you won't be able to sustain such progress, and you'll have to get microplates so you can increase by smaller increments.

And eat a lot of food. A whole lot.

It's fine to add some assistance work such as abs, hypers, or maybe some direct biceps and triceps work, but don't overdo it. For direct arm work, 3 sets of 8 of one lift for each muscle at the end of your last workout of the week will be plenty. Your arms are getting hit hard all week on this routine, so you don't want to blast them with iso stuff as well.

The part about food is important. You MUST eat big to get big. Rippetoe recommends 4 meals per day, plus a gallon of milk spread throughout the day. That seems to be working well for me. Make the meals big. For instance, I might have an 8 oz steak, large baked potato, a big salad with olive oil and vinegar, and a large glass of milk. This is around 1000 calories for this one meal. A lot, yes, but you need a surplus to grow. You may gain some fat, but it's much easier to lose fat and preserve muscle mass than it is to gain muscle without gaining fat.[/i]


Good program. Just like the stuff from Hardgainer. This stuff works. Especially for beginners.

Basics, 'Breviated, Best.