T Nation

Revisiting 5x5

I’ve been weight training seriously for about 8 months now and am thinking of going back to a standard 5x5 program.

I started out with Starting Strength and made great gains in all my lifts - and stalled to the point where a different program seemed in order. Since then I have made average gains using a number of different programs. I want to go back to a 5x5 due to it’s simplicity and results.

I’ve become a lot more accustomed to higher volume since my days with Starting Strength, so the program I created is basically SS with compound accessory lifts. Please tell me what you think. (My main goal is strength - size is not really a priority but I know that it will come so long as I eat right)

Day 1:
ATG Back Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
Dead 3x5 / Clean 5x3
Shrug 5x5
Chinup / Pullup 3x5-10 (after ten reps add weight and decrease reps)
GHR 5x5-10 (same as Chins/Pullups)

Day 2:
Front Squat 5x5
Strict Press 5x5
Flat Back GM 5x5 / SLDL 5x5
Pendlay Row 5x5
Dip / Heavy Tricep 3x5-10 (same as above)
Heavy Ab 5x5-10 (same as above)

Will follow 1 off 2 off 1 off 2 off 1 off 2 off etc…

Please, advice/feedback/criticism would be much appreciated!

You say you stalled on SS and you say you made no progress on sth else (meaning splits?). So maybe the reason for you lack of progress lies somewhere else? Not in the programme design?

Anyway, if you stalled on SS, why TBT again? I’d say go for split routine.

No I made gains using splits as well but they didn’t feel as productive as TBT and the gains weren’t anything like SS. Another reason I want to go back to TBT is for the metabolic effect of squatting every training day.

SS was productive because you were a beginner I think. Then, it gets more difficult. You have stalled on SS, and now going again into TBT? Also, I’d remove lower back exes from day 2.

As for metabolic effects, if you work your ass off, anything will do I guess.

Since you stalled on Starting Strength, w/ the linear progression per workout I might suggest doing a Texas Method based program.

Rippetoe wrote a book on it called practical programming. He suggest that once you have reached the limit of linear progressions per workout, meaning you stalled out and couldn’t add weight every workout, you move to a weekly progression, where you attempt to set PRs every week.

You have a volume day, recovery day, then intensity/PR day. Day 1 you do your volume, 5x5 at whatever weight, then next workout you back off intensity and do 5x5 or whatever at a lower weight. Then friday you come in and work up to a 3rm or 5rm. Next week, you increase the loads 2-3% and repeat the process.

You will probably have to cut down on your main movements, for example trying to get stronger in deadlift, squat, good morning, clean, and pendlay row, may be too much for your lower back to recovery from. You will stall out sooner. Pick a couple main upper body movements and a couple lower body movements for your 5x5, back off, then PR movements and put the rest as assistance work.

Focus on these lifts for 8 weeks, then take a week off, then pick some other big compound movements to focus on. This is just a suggestion and you can play around w/ working it for longer or throwing some deloads in the middle of it.

You may consider doing the assistance work and recovery days w/ limited rest periods/supersets/whatever to increase the metabolic effect. Or just add some sprints, C2 intervals, other stuff on a couple rest days earlier in the week.

Look at the madcows 5x5 intermediate program:


Look at how it is structured w/ the percentages. Monday you do 5x5 working up to a heavy set of 5, Wednesday is back off, then Friday you work up to a PR set of 3. The following workout, you take your PR set of 3 from Friday, and get it for a PR set of 5 on Monday. This way, you are getting stronger every week and if you set it up right, this can continue for awhile before you stall.

If you use the above link and get the excel spreadsheet, you can put in your maxes and it will do some math and calculate the loads to use w/ your workset, and you can see what weights you will start at, then where you should end up after 8 weeks. Then the only thing you have to do, is hit those numbers.

Its really not too complicated, and I think its worth considering; since you weren’t supercompensating on a per workout basis, adding more volume on more lifts, may backfire.