T Nation

Progression with 5 x 5?

I remember reading a post by Meat once where he said that when using set/rep schemes like 5 x 5, he used a weight where he reached 5 repetitions for only the first 3 sets for example, i.e. 5,5,5,4,3. I believe he said something along the lines of, to paraphrase “people often go too light on 5x5, 3x3 and so on. You should be getting 1 or 2 reps less on the last set if you used the correct weight.”

I could be completely wrong and misread what he put, but I can’t remember where I saw the post so as to re-read it and was hoping somebody could point in the right direction of a) Has anyone heard of anything similar? and b) Does it have any advantages over say doing 5 x 5 with a weight that feels marginally ‘too easy’.


Yes, that is one variation of 5x5 and one that I enjoyed myself.

I for one always pushed to near-failure or failure by set #3. With that in mind, my first few sets hit their target 5 reps relatively “easily”, gradually getting harder by set 3, and the last 2 usually fell off at 4 and 3 reps respectively (*sometimes 2 reps depending on length of my rests periods). I’d add weight when I could get 5 reps in all sets (okay, honestly I’d add weight even if I only got 4 on my last set). :wink:

For me, the advantages were just the simple fact that I felt that I was working hard this way, rather than using a lighter weight just to get 5 reps relatively easy on the last set (and the previous sets were TOO easy). Higher load, bigger muscles.

Sorry if I’m not wording this clearly. I just returned from the gym and feel a little foggy.

The general idea is that once you’re able to get 5 sets of 5 with a given weight, you add 5-10 lbs, rinse and repeat. The main difference is that some people use the same weight all 5 sets, others increase weight each set, others increase weight the first couple sets but maybe the last 3 sets use the same weight. That’s up to you to decide.

at the end of the day,as the two gentlemen alreday wrote,choose a way of progression (60% on 1st set,65% on 2nd,70& on 3d,80ish on4th,60% on 5th or just ramp-up to two mains set using less reps on ramping or just a linear progression=same load for all 5 sets),
progression is the key,
also ,very imo, squeeze the bar between hands and try to accelerate it at maximum speed (after warming up)…accelerate the concentric forces your SNC to recruit the higher percentage of muscle fibers (as every trhowers knows)