T Nation

My Stonglift's 5x5 Log


My bench has always responded well to 5x5 routines, so I am going to try Stronglift's 5x5 in preparation for my next two meets (the first meet will be a "token" meet, since I haven't been on the platform in a little over a year). If I don't feel I am making good enough progress, I will have time to reassess before NASA's Unequipped Nationals.

I have made some slight changes to the program to suite my personal needs. My reasoning is that doing too many Dead's and Power Cleans will take it's toll on my legs. I can not let my routine be detrimental to my squat (too much dl'ing KILLS my lower back). Instead of standard dl's, I will be doing deficit dl's and rack pulls (alternately). I will sub Hanging cleans for Power Cleans, to alleviate a little more lower back tension. I will be doing Single-Arm Rows instead of Bent-Over rows just to hit my stabilizers. And lastly, I will be hitting my abs daily and calf work has been added.

After the first couple of weeks, I will make changes as needed; i.e. cut down on extra work or add weight reps to extra work.

Today was pretty quick. I wanted to get in and out as fast as possible, just to get my heart rate up. The session went as such:

Squat 5x5 w/147.3kg
Bench 1x5 93kg
1x5 95kg
1x5 102kg
1x5 108kg
1x5 116kg
Hanging Cleans 1x5 52kg
1x5 56.7kg
1x5 61.2kg
1x5 63.5kg
1x5 68kg
Weighted Dips 1x5 6.8kg
1x5 11.3kg
1x5 18kg

After doing Smolov for 5 months, it's an odd feeling of not being done for the day after I squat.

Squat- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szehhTygxpM&feature=channel_page
Bench- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6aEBm6poFE


Today, was kind of odd. The weights were really light for squat, so I was getting a little lazy. I tried working on my technique a little, but without the stress of heavier weight on my back, it was difficult to stay focused.

It was pretty much the same thing with DL's, I wanted to stay focused on getting my hips down and locking out as 1-unit, not knees-then-back. It didn't go so well, but hopefully will be easier on me mentally once the weight increases.

Overall, it just felt like a warmup night and I just have to keep my chin up and work thru the slow beginning of this 5x5, cause the intensity goes way up on the 4th week.

squat- 5x5 133.8kg
overhead press- 5x5 61.2kg
DL- 5x5 120kg
Pullups- 3x5

I just did bw on the pullups, cause adding 1.2kg, 2.3kg, and 3.5kg is just ridiculous. I really don't do pullups or chins, so I can't add a lot of weight. Yes, I suck.

Squat- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_JSZKTszT8&feature=channel_page

Deadlifting- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgNvYB8OnTk&feature=channel


Nice to see you got a new log going. Will be following.

I think from Week 5 you may have to keep readjusting the routine to maximize recovery. My experience with the 5 X 5 is that heavy squatting and heavy deadlift within 2/3 days of each other, week after week, is really tough.

Good luck man!


Thanks DoubleF.

And the recovery is the catalyst behind my adjustments. I have become a Sqaut-Nazi... Is it possible to become a black Squat-Nazi? (j/k, of course it is!). I will do everything possible to keep my numbers moving up. Simply because my squat helps my dead numbers, but my dead never improves my squat numbers by nearly the same amount. For week5 and beyond, I am thinking of switching to heavy rack pulls. That way, my grip will be solid enough.

I have not found my personal key to training dead's. I have tried on of Cressey's programs with a 30kg improvement over 12-weeks, which was great. The issue was my squat was stagnant. I usually pull my best when I don't train dead's for a while, and my lower back is much happier for that.

Man, that was longer than I intended. Working 14-18hour days really makes me babble.


First week of Stronglift's 5x5 completed. At least the weights will be better. Coming off of Smolov, I am hungry to push myself. In the coming weeks, I know that wish will be fulfilled.

Tonight's session was pretty smooth. I have a twinge in my quad that I will work on this weekend with the foam roller and massage, but that's about it.

1x5 120kg
1x5 131kg
1x5 140kg
1x5 150kg
1x5 159kg

Bench Press
1x5 106.6kg
1x5 106.6kg
1x5 106.6kg
1x5 106.6kg
1x5 106.6kg

Power Clean
1x5 61.2kg
1x5 61.2kg
1x5 61.2kg
1x5 61.2kg
1x5 61.2kg

SA Rows
1x5 7.3kg
1x5 14.5kg
1x5 21.8kg

(SA Rows will be substituted with SA T-Bar rows next week)

Squat- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK33URqNWsM&feature=channel_page

Bench- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9LzarOaNJU


Well, I guess I should shut my friggin' pie talking about how easy this has been so far. I didn't eat very well Friday and Saturday due to working a 20+hr shift and sleeping for 15hours. I didn't drink ANY water at all Saturday. And I wasn't mentally prepared for today's session. That was the HEAVIEST 167kgs I have EVER felt! The first 3 sets were cool, but during the fourth, I broke into a cold sweat.

Before the 5th, I thought I was going to puke the whole time. I actually stood under the bar burping as hard as I could so that I didn't have another "sneaky-puke" in the middle of the set. After squats, I had to take a 10 minute break so that I could bench. It wasn't heavy weight, but I really was not in the condition I need to be in to do these workouts. Lesson learned!

Workout went as follows:
5x5 167.8kg

Bench Press
1x5 102kg
1x5 106.5kg
1x5 115.6kg
1x5 124.7kg
1x5 130.6kg

Power Clean
1x5 128 61.2kg
1x5 138 61.2kg
1x5 148 65.7kg
1x5 159 72.5kg
1x5 169 77kg

Weighted Dips
1x5 6.8kg
1x5 13.6kg
1x5 20.4kg

Squat- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEPPB1rGfRE&feature=channel_page

Bench- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk7XdWO2o5U&feature=channel_page


I worked 20hours on 3hours sleep, and I felt like crap. And to top it all off, I have some discomfort in my right knee. It really just feels like it needs to "pop". After my squats, it started popping every time I moved, but it is still not the "pop" I need. So, I dropped Dead's from today's schedule.

After this week, the next 6 sessions will be quite taxing. Squats are the priority. I can drop reps anywhere but squats.

Today's session went as follows:

5x5 145kg

Overhead Press
5x5 70.3kg

Weighed Pull-ups
1x5 3kg
1x5 6kg
1x5 9kg


Instead of working out Thursday, I slept. I left work at 10:30am after a 17hr shift and got out of bed at 18:30, just in time to go to my daughter's recital. After that, the wife and I did some yard work. Friday was golf day and we replaced our water line, refilling the trench was a BLAST in the rain. So, the 3rd workout of week 2 was a "wash".

Today was the start of two weeks of hell. It took all I had to get through the squats. Unfortunately, that was only 1/6th of the workout. I might adjust my bench 1rm for the next rotation of 5x5 that I do, but the question is "is it more important to hit reps, or put more stress on the muscles with more weight than one can do 5set of 5reps?". I'm not sure at this time. I will judge that off of the results of my meet in August.

Anyway, today's session was as such:

5x5 184.6kg

1x5 111.1kg
1x5 120.2kg
1x5 129.3kg
1x4 136.1kg
1x2 145kg

Power Clean
1x5 63.5kg
1x5 70.3kg
1x5 74.8kg
1x5 79.8kg
1x5 83.9kg

1x5 6.8kg
1x5 15.9kg
1x5 22.6kg

Squat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_fkmS20jvk&feature=channel

Bench: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsNfqaaXlao&feature=channel_page


I have read where Glenn Pendlay says in the volume or accumulation phase it is most important to get the reps in. So if you have to drop the weight on something that is okay. But do not lift too heavy that you can't get in the reps. In the intensity or peaking phase (3x3 and 1x3) the idea is to lift heavy weights. So it is better to lift the weights you have planned for fewer reps than to drop the weights. If you want I could probably dig up his quotation.

I love your work ethic.



Thanks Matt. It makes a lot of sense to hit the reps. It just makes it tough to guess the right weight. It's my first run with this program, so making the personal adjustments is somewhat tough. No huge ordeal. I will get it right on the second run.


I have read that 80% of your max usually works for 5x5 at straight weight. And 85% of your 1 rep max for a set of 5. Those numbers seem to work really well for me and I've heard them multiple times. Anyways, are you trying to progress in weights each week? There is a 9 week Bill Starr 5x5 program that I could send you a spreadsheet of. You type in your maxes and it tells you what to do. I made some alterations to it (started heavier on squats than they suggested) and by week 7 I started to fizzle out.


I already have the star spreadsheet. The progression for the one I am using now is fairly harsh on the weekly jumps, but I like it that way. It has the 5x5 max as 82%(Sunday session) and one's 5RM is 88%(Thursday session) of the 1RM. Those numbers are hit on week 3 and week 4 is a PB week, 5x5 attempt at 86% and 1x5 attempt 93%. The first and second sessions of the week are straight sets of 5, with the third session making roughly 6% jumps for the 5 sets.


Okay, yeah that progression makes a lot of sense. My first week I started with a shade less than 80% for my 5x5, and about 84% for my 5RM, and then progressed from there.


I did stumble across a 5x5 that was very similar in weight progression as Bill Starr's, but it was for single lifts. It left the rest of the workout "to be determined". I almost started doing it when I was doing Smolov, just to keep my bench active (and the percentages were low enough that I felt I could tolerate the extra work). In the end, I decided to not do it, because ALL of my attention needed to be focused on my squat.

Now, I am trying to get to a decent level on my bench (165-175kg). The meet I was planning on doing at the beginning of August got bumped to the end of July, so I am hoping to hit a really good groove.


I think you'd have better luck if you started lifting in lbs and left all that metric stuff to the foreigners. :wink:


The friggin smart asses around here... I use metric cause in my first meet, I gave all my lifts in lbs and the guys looked at me and said "uh, I don't think so". So, every since then I use metric. Cause on this forum they don't load you up with a 900lb opener.

I really think you need to take a break after you finish Smolov, Modi. I think a good 6 month rest will be perfect :wink:


Haha! My second meet was all metric. You've never seen more meat heads standing around scratching their heads trying to figure out their warmups.

Eventually we just decided that 20's were 45's, 10's were 25's, and 15's were useless. I think the theme of the day was "umm, looks good enough to me, I guess I'll take this one."

I've only had one other meet in kilos. The rest have been in lbs. I'm sure the Nationals will be in kilos, but I'll worry about that later.

[ignoring the part about taking a break...] :wink:


All I can say is it's a good thing cell phones have calculators on them. Who would have ever thought that my elementary school teacher would be right that I should pay attention to her talking about the metric system.


Week3 Day2 was a fun day. My hips were super-tight after Sunday's session (I have to do more stretching on my off days). So, the first work set was a little slower paced that I would have liked and I got pretty winded after the third set. Maybe I should rest a little more between sets, but I doubt if I will. The over head presses made my upper chest burn after squats, so I dropped the weight slightly and used better form. Rack pulls were ok, but I was having issues with my grip. I will be adding rack pulls to my Tuesday sessions, but I won't be going 5x5, maybe 2x3's.

5x5 158.8kg

Overhead Press
1x3 77.5kg
4x5 72.5kg

Rack Pulls
2x5 183.7kg

Weighed Pull-ups

Squat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3UGXx-bKuc


Week3 came to a close with a whimper. I was "nervous" about the squats, working up to 200kg. With all of the talk about losing the kg/lbs gained from Smolov, I was hoping I wouldn't suffer the same fate. I got to the gym a little late, because I had to eat quite a bit after I woke up this afternoon. And, after some slight throwing up during Sunday's session, I didn't want a repeat performance. The squats went very well.

Unfortunately, in my rush to get to the gym, I didn't grab my camera, so I had to record to my phone. I haven't used it for recording very often and I ended up deleting the last set, which pisses me off. I am trying to find a recovery tool for SIMS cards, but it's not easy to find. What sucks is the fact I was hitting really good depth on all sets and I need that vid to prove to myself that I can do it EVERY time.

After squats, I realized that I only had 1hr 30min to shat/shower/shave/and visit with my wife and kids before I headed back to the office, so I cut the benching short and left out the rest of the workout. As long as my squat keeps going up and my bench is fairly stagnant, I'm ok with leaving early every once in a while.


1x5 151.9kg
1x5 163.3kg
1x5 175kg
1x5 188.2kg
1x5 200kg


2x5 133.8kg

Squat- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW-e_GXA2OQ&feature=channel_page