T Nation

My Variation of Bill Starr's 5x5


I was thinking of using a variation of Bill Starr's 5x5 program that I came up with myself

Workout 1

Squat 5x5 Ascending Sets
Pull Ups 5x5 Ascending Sets
Over head Press 5x5 Ascending Sets
Deadlifts 3 sets of 8 reps rest 3 minute between sets
Bench Press 3 sets of 8 reps rest 1.5 minute between sets
Rows 3 Sets of 8 reps rest 1.5 minutes between sets

Workout 2

Deadlifts 5 sets of 5 Ascending Sets
Bench Press 5 sets of 5 Ascending Sets
Rows 5 sets of 5 Ascending Sets
Squat 3 sets of 8 reps
Pull Ups 3 sets of 8 reps
Over head Press 3 sets of 8 reps

Currently I weigh about 55 kg and my maxes for my squat and deadlift is 82.5 and 92.5 respectively.

Do you think this program will work for me ?


Tjun Kiat


I guess you're training for strength and mass. Your program could work for a little, but, IMHO, the volume is too much. You've better (for long term gains) stick with a "normal" Bill Starr program, probably the beginner/linear progression one.

If you really want to work with higher reps, and keep the same exercises, choose a day, let's say Friday, and do 3x8 on it. It would look like this:

Mon 1: Squat, Pull Ups, Over head Press 5x5 Ascending Sets

Wed 1: Deadlifts, Bench Press, Rows 5 sets of 5 Ascending Sets

Fri 1: Squat, Pull Ups, Over head Press 3 sets of 8 reps

Mon 2: Dead, Bench, Row 5x5

Wed 2: Squat, pull-up, OH press 5x5

Fri 2: Dead, bench, row 3x8

But, once again, stick to true and proven programs. And don't forget to eat a LOT!


Why not just go with Bill Starr's 5x5?


Well personally I like to to do each exercise twice per week. I think training frequency is important.



I dont' see the problem with volume. Shieko has very high volume and it works just fine


It's not the same, trust me. Sheiko utilizes periodization; weight %'s were chosen to avoid too much fatigue. You've not thought of any of that, I'm sure.

Your program is poor; it is too much volume. Follow something like madcow's linear 5x5 (search the web for it; pay particular attention to the built in progression and follow it.)


And additionally, you've apparently been lifting for 2 years (that's when your account was created). You've NO idea what works, or your body weight & lifts would not be so low.


I did think of that. And last night I did realize that if I did 2x8 instead of 3x8 my volume would not that much be higher than Korte's 3x3 or Bill Starr's 5x5



You've not mentioned any sort of periodization used with your program. I can only assume you're going to attempt yor max RM's from day 1, and simply go from there. What you've conjured up is nothing like Korte's 3x3 OR a Starr 5x5.

Could your program work? Probably, but you need to be way more specific about it and provide some details on loading %'s. & progression. Otherwise, what you have here is pretty poor.

All this aside, given your lifts there's really no way you should be following any sort of program you've come up with, unless you're female. Why do I say that? Because if you knew what worked for you, you wouldn't be so small and weak.


My periodization plan is like

From week 1 to week 4, slowly increase the weight weekly till I reach my 5 rep max. Week 5 deload. Week 6, 7, and 8 go for personal best each week. I dont' disagree with Bill Starr's linear periodization. I just like having a wide variety assistance exercises like they used in Westside.



This is not a variation of Starr's 5x5. This is your own thing.

Starr's program is periodization. Meant to progress on mainly the main lifts: Deadlift, squat, bench, row, etc.

I don't see how you can continually build strength when you do pretty much every compound movment in 1 workout. This may work for a few months if your a beginner, but it's going to become to much in 1 session when the weights start climbing up.

My recommendation, use his program and don't change it. Eat and lift big.


What is your goal?

You should try reading the particulars about the program anyway. I took two portions I thought you should read...

Substituting Exercises:
Don't fuck with this. Every bodybuilder seems to have Attention Deficit Disorder and an overwhelming desire to customize everything. The bottom line is that these are all the most effective exercises and just about anything one does will result in less gains. As a rule those people who want to change it don't know enough to make proper alterations - those who do know enough, don't have much to change. The guy who is responsible for this program is of the best on the planet at bulking lifters and making people stronger. It's kind of like Sesame Street's Elmo offering neurosurgery advice at NYU. Anyway, it's absolutely essential not to screw with the squats, they are the foundation of this program. If you want to sub inclines or push presses for military that's okay. Do not sub machines - don't even think about it, hit yourself with a plate if you must. For arms choose a single biceps and triceps exercise and perform them at the end once per week for 3 sets of whatever - your arms will take a beating from all the pulling and pressing anyway. If you want to chin on Wednesday or do a few sets of pulldowns/ups that's fine (avoid the machines if you can use bodyweight). Core work is always fine. Cardio is fine - interval training is the best for this I'll just throw out. If this is just too much mental strain, take solace in the fact that it's just a few weeks, you'll gain a ton of muscle and strength and then you can spend the next 4 weeks adding the minute detail to refine the gained mass (like most care anyway - I have yet to meet a guy on this board who will trade 20lbs of muscle for a bit of added detail somewhere). In a nutshell, put your trust in some of the better coaches on the planet and enjoy the results.

New or Beginner Lifters:
This is not a beginner program. You will make faster progress with less workload on a true beginner program. I really recommend Rippetoe's Starting Strength for beginners or novices. It's so critical to learn the lifts correctly and get started on a good program (i.e. not what one typically finds on bodybuilding sites). Rippetoe is the man at coaching beginners and putting muscle on them with 30-40lbs in 4-6 months being quite normal. The book will handle teaching you all the lifts. It's written for coaches and no, given what I see in commercial gyms, the internet and Joe Schmoe at your local gym are not capable of instructing you properly - they will screw you up and make you look like a moron or possibly get you hurt. On top of that the book covers everything to get you set up on a program that is time proven as one of if not the best beginner programs available.


Preach on, brother, preach on.