T Nation

Regarding a 5x5 Program


I have always done a 4 day/one muscle per week split, since I started 2 years ago. I went from 155lbs 12% BF to now about 220lbs 16& BF (currently cutting), while remaining the same height. Anyways ive made good progress obviously, but want to do bill starr 5x5 at the start of my next bulk. My only worry is that since my body is so used to doing 12-16 sets per bodypart, would bill starr in any way possibly make any bodyparts lose muscle? As the volume is significantly lower.


Why change what has worked so well? That's pretty damn good progress...




Why the change? Seems like you were doing fine with the routine you have. Bored?

In the end no one is going to know exactly how your body will react until you experiment and try it for yourself. If you find the results to be subpar, switch back or adjust your workout until it works well for you.


because everyone harps how important the compounds are. And I figured bill starr 5x5 would get me stronger faster than any split could right? Then after 3 months of it id switch back to 3 or so months of my split with reps 3-8 for power/size, then switch the reps to 8-12 to finish the bulk off with size/conditioning.

I just want to know if bill starr 5x5 can cause certrain muscles to shrink for the more intermediate/advanced lifter who actually has developed shoulders/back/arms


If you stop training them directly, less often and with less volume than before (what made them grow) then yes they'd shrink, or at most maintain in size.

Yes, the big 5 compound movements are important, but that doesn't mean that you drop everything else lol. As a bodybuilder, you put just as much emphasis on biceps curls or triceps extensions as you do squats - they're not just an after-thought or just an "accessory" movement like many power-lifting/bodybuilding morphed programs make out.

I still find it hard to believe why a person would want to take a 180 deg turn when they've just gained close to 50lbs of muscle in 2 years (depending on how accurate your bf measurements were).

Post your routine (the one you did to get to where you are)...


Just to add, if you follow the "all you need is the big 5 crowd", you will usually eventually find that:

  • Your ass is huge
  • Your shoulders aren't fully developed or big
  • Your arms sub-optimal
  • Big lower chest, small upper chest (giving a boob like appearance)

There is more, and those are just the common problems


Great progress, especially at staying the same height. Ever since I started lifting my heads been slamming off the top of door ways.


Lucky bastard, I keep shrinking


Well the reason I was thinking of changing was for something different, also I hear the progress and amazing things a 5x5 is supposed to do. My goal is arnolds size one day, and I read that even arnold built the majority of his mass and started out doing a similar 5x5 (reg park 5x5). I believe its more of just dedication than my split, when I decide to do something I kind of obsess over it and my life is one dimensional and completely focused on one thing.

Anyway ive only ever had 2 splits: chest/back/off/shoulders/arms/off/off (neglected legs when starting, and I remember adding them in and it felt like to much workload so I took them out again)

And currently: back/chest/off/legs&bi/off/shoulders&tri/off
I only started doing legs one month ago on a cut after a bad knee injury, so for the most of that split it was a bicep only day. My lifts are also pretty shitty and I probably look stronger than i am.

Squat=235x8 ATG (just started them again)
Deadlift= 275x5 (just started them again a month ago)
Seated OHP= 185x3

My main flaw is my chest is my chest is very small and underdeveloped in comparison so I was hoping the addded frequency might help from bill starr


If you need to bring up a bodypart, simply give it more volume/frequency, like another day for it. So you may focus on upper chest one workout (e.g. 2 "big" exercises), and lower chest on the other day (or something like that). No need to completely change everything.

As for Arnold, apart from the fact that he was a genetic freak and nothing to compare to (lol), he did do powerlifting to start with, but moved onto splits/bodybuilding when he came on the scene (i.e. the time he "blew up").

There's no reason why you cannot incorporate the big moves into your routine (which it should have had anyway). Example:

Back: Pullups, Rows and 1 or 2 other exercises
Chest: Incline press, flat press, and 1 other exercise
Legs: deadlift variation, squat variation, 2 other upper leg exercises
Shoulders: Over-head press, and ~3 other delt exercises


I was thinking about the added chest frequency you have any idea of a split that would allow that without too much of a workload?


Well, if you want the workload to be reasonable, I'd suggest condensing a few days:

Day 1: Upper Chest & Triceps
Day 2: Back & Biceps
Day 3: off
Day 4: Legs
Day 5: Lower Chest & shoulders
Day 6: off
Day 7: off


Something like that. Can re-arrange the leg day (so could put it on day 5 if you wanted, and move chest & shoulders to day 4).

Also, if you wanted, you could reduce the volume a little (say cut out one exercise per bodypart) and only have 2 days off/week (so you'd train on day 7 for example)...this would increase the frequency a little which is good for strength gains:

Example (higher frequency, lessor volume and legs swapped):

Day 1: Upper Chest & Triceps
Day 2: Back & Biceps
Day 3: off
Day 4: Lower Chest & Shoulders
Day 5: legs
Day 6: off
Day 7: Repeat

For either split, you'd do more volume for chest over-all because of the extra training days for it.

Most bodyparts would have around 3 or 4 exercises (closer to 3 on the higher frequency split).