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Stuck at 5X5 Need New Program

Hi guys, been using stronglift 5x5 for 4 Months now, i am not getting any results.

I will be going to a Powerlifting competition on August or September(Date not confirmed) 2016 competing in Junior Class(Asked for Sub Junior but they don’t have any competitors.)

Can anyone recommend me a powerlifting program to gain strength? Recently been reading Programming to Win, any good result?, I’ve also been wondering if i should try Full Sumo Or Modified Sumo for Deadlift

Body Weight:
62.1 KG

Squat: 80 KG 5x5 but last set i failed with 4 reps.

45 KG 5x5

102.5 1x5

How tall are you, if your over like 5’ 2" you’d probably gain strength just going up and filling out the 148 class

You could try something like 3x5 with Starting Strength. It’s generally better suited for longer term strength gains than 5x5. Bill Starr’s 5x5 where you ramp up the weight each set or GreySkull LP are also viable options. Powerlifting To Win also offers a very good free beginner program specifically meant for novice powerlifters.

If you have been pulling conventional until now, keep pulling like it until your first meet. You can experiment with other stances after that.

Male 14 Year Old, 5 Feet 6 Inches, yeah i’m filling up the 148 class but can’t find any program that gains strength in these three lifts: Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift

You’re only 14. You have plenty of time so take your time if you plan on competing for a long time. Do yourself a favor and TAKE YOUR TIME!

Find out a 1RM whether an actual or theoretical using the formula: (weight x reps x .0333 + weight).

Once you’ve established a 1RM take 90% of that and use that as your training max.

Take your training max and base a 12 week cycle off of that number adding 2.5kg per week.

For example: Let’s say you can squat 120kg for a single. Start your training max at 105kg.

Start week 1 at 50kg for two worksets. Don’t focus in on a predetermined number of reps for those two worksets. The goal is to have the weight in your hands and hit whatever reps you can do that day with good form. By the time you get to 105kg, you should be on your 12th week.

You can do one of two things on your 12th week.

  1. Max out reps on your work sets and establish a new theoretical 1RM and take week 13 off to rest.

  2. Test a new actual 1RM on week 13.

This programming will get you 4 cycles per year.

Always make sure you get plenty of rest/sleep and good nutrition. You won’t gain if you don’t do them both as well as you train.

The great thing about this program is you won’t feel as beat up as with other programs that tend to keep the percentages much higher more often. This type of programming should give you good gains over a lifetime.


Hey Osu, what you suggested is good but i need some clarification :grinning:

I use this program for Squat, Deadlift, Bench-Press?

Squat 2 Sets x the most Reps i could do or max out at a certain rep?

Also the formula would i use it in KG or LBS

And would i just stick to Stronglifts 5x5 exercises(Over Head Press and also Barbell Row)

Then do i rest for one day: Monday(Gym),Tuesday(Rest),Wednesday(Gym),etc.

Thanks for your time Osu.

IMO heavy singles, doubles and triples build strength. 5x5 is trying to kill 2 birds with one stone so to speak, size and strength. Don’t fall for the half assed start light and “progress slowly” bullshit.

2 articles i would look over.


High intensity works really well for strength gains. I put well over 25lbs on my main lifts a number of times in 4-8 weeks using singles and doubles. After 4-8 weeks try to get more reps in for the same load. IE increase your heaviest double to a set of 5.


Deadlift - 135x5, 225x5, 245x3, 265x2, 285x2, 305x2

After a month or so with heavy doubles you will start to add a rep to each set or drop to singles to peak your strength.

135x5, 225x5, 245x3, 265x3, 285x3, 305x3, 315x3

Since your strength is low i would use a A-B split. Deadlift/OHP day and Squat/Bench press with some assistance excercises. Alternate 3 or 4 days a weeks.

IE mon/wed/fri or mon/wed/fri/sun etc

Sounds logical,
Which assistance exercise do you recommend? (Home gym with leg press, lats pulldown but no fancy equipments lol)

So i also need some clarification lol:
How many sets do i do, so i can deadlift 102.5 KG for 5 rep, do i then try to deadlift 110 KG for 2 reps?

Also is it okay if I deadlift for reps but then my grip is lost and i have to put the bar to the ground to reset my hand grip?(Question is how many seconds in between reps is too much)

I’m just going to disagree with this flat out; starting light and progressing slowly (or at least not too quickly) are the keys to success with 5x5. If you’ve never tried that approach you might not realize that it works so well, but it does work, seemingly every time (for at least the first couple of months of doing it, but often 6+ in beginners).

5x5 with straight weight across is one of the least “half-ass”-able methods imaginable… That much volume gets extremely tough when the weights get heavy.

In my opinion, 5x5 (or Starting Strength if you prefer) will be fine. Focus on finding a technique that makes the lifts feel stable and as if they are working the muscles; when muscular fatigue rather than form breakdown is what stops your set, you know you’re doing things pretty well.

However, as you feel you need a change, I suggest 5x5 like this, on a two week rotation:


Squat: 5 x 5 (same weight across sets)

Bench: 8 x 3 (DE)


Rest / Other


Squat: 4 x 3 (keep it fairly light, <85%)

Push Press: 5 x 5 (same weight across sets; I like behind the neck, but front rack position is fine)


Deadlift: 10 x 3 (ramp to about 80%, then back off and do more triples - all fast)

  • extra cardio work if you want (short sprints, strongman carries, etc. would be ideal)


Front Squat: 4 x 3

Bench: 5 x 5 (same weight across sets)


Rest / Other


Squat: 5 x 5 (same weight across sets)

Bench: 8 x 3 (DE)


Rest / Other


Squat: 4 x 3 (keep it fairly light, <85%)

Push Press: 5 x 5 (same weight across sets; I like behind the neck, but front rack position is fine)


Deadlift: 10 x 3 (ramp to about 80%, then back off and do more triples - all fast)

  • extra cardio work if you want (short sprints, strongman carries, etc. would be ideal)


Rest / Other


Squat: 5 x 5 RAMP (build to near 5RM)


Bench: 5 x 5 RAMP (build to near 5RM)

Front Squat: 4 x 3



Just ramp up to a heavy double. Start with about %60 of your 1RM. Once you have a solid double you can do a number of things. Read the 22 proven rep schemes for some ideas - its one the best articles on t-nation. Personally i usually keep it simple and backoff and do another solid double or use the max double that day twice but i’m playing around with waves - 3/2/1 - a little now. Find what you enjoy, honestly i’ve done a lot more training with heavy singles its what i like and it works really well - i worked up to a 450lb deadlift in 3 months using singles training. Thats when i knew 5x5 was BS for pure strength and way overrated. My successful really old school powerlifting uncle - 2x bodyweight bench press, 2.8x bodyweight squat and 3.3x bodyweight deadlift all drug free - only knew heavy triples, doubles and singles. When i mentioned 5’s he thought something was wrong with me lol

Do what you have to do for the deadlift. If your reseting iits almost a cluster type set. Which is a really good way to get strong. Personally i always reset the deadlift i don’t bounce the weight off the floor.

half ass has in 5x5 is not optimal for absolute strength. Its a middle of the road protocol that builds decent strength - relatively slow - with hypertrophy,

Its way overrated IMHO. Of course 5x5 sets across with ~85% 1RM is really tough but i wouldn’t waste my time and most of the programs out there would have you start with way less then your true ~85% 1RM so they tell you to waste 2 or 3 months and “build up” to it - thats suppose to be progress . And I really dislike using the same weight for more then 2-3 sets, its boring.

Take the same weight you are doing right now and do 5x3 and continue to add the same amount of weight. When you stall at that weight do 3x3, and when you stall at that do Candito’s Six Week program.

Not a bad idea you can even take it a step further since your meet is close. Once you stalled on 3x3 take its down to 3x2 until you stall and then 5x1.

1-3 reps is what you want to build strength quickly and if your going to compete you really need to practice heavy singles. Pretty simple. :slight_smile:

Heck run the singles training i posted for the 3 powerlifts. Mon/wed/fri. It will be demanding but your young it will probably work wonders.

IMO alot of programs take the fun out of training - i like training “on my feet” so to speak. Read those 2 articles and start to train for yourself. But remember high intensity - 90% of 1RM or better - is time tested for 1RM lifts, its not magic. I haven’t tried some of pavel’s grease the groove stuff which seems to work also - i think however its better suited after using high intensity.

I once took my bench with legs raised from 120kg to 155kg in around 8 weeks of straight 5x5 with gradual weight progression, albeit training 4-5 times a week. I started off at 100kg for 5x5, and ended at 135kg for 5x5. Added weight when I got every rep, no sooner. This was with a paused bench PR of 130kg at the start, and got me to 160kg for the first time. It works.

More importantly, for a young and underweight powerlifter, higher reps and volume at lighter weight are necessary for optimal development. I love high intensity and singles etc., but it’s nothing like sets of 5 for building strength and size for those without a sufficient strength base to benefit from very high intensity, low rep lifting.

The best place to look for support for this idea is Olympic weightlifting; low reps (often singles) are the focus of virtually all top lifters, but even those training in ultra-specific styles use sets of more than 3 reps on the squat for beginners.

This is vital for young lifters and beginners, as they do not have the neural efficiency to activate sufficient muscle fibres during their first rep, and will thus never receive sufficient growth stimulus if confined to singles.

Why train to express a greater percentage of your current muscular strength potential when said muscular strength potential is virtually nothing? 5x5 provides far greater stimulus for growth in terms of muscle and efficiency, and, for a beginner, sacrifices nothing in terms of max strength development, as their efficiency / coordination still has room to improve with lower intensity training. Win-win.

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A ton of good points really. However the poster wants to compete in 3 or 4 months. So i think he needs to start lifting singles. He can do lots of volume work after that to build some thickness or better add some high rep assistance excercises, the 3 powerlifts should be trained with high intensity most of the time.

Louie had it right when he described the main 3 training zones. ME, RE, DE. This guy needs a lot of ME right now.

Yes, for squat, bench and DL

2 worksets for “whatever” reps you want to do per set - the only requirement is using good form on each rep. The idea is to handle the weight for two sets. Don’t make it a rigid program by putting a certain amount of reps on each work set.

It looks like you use kg so use that.

Let the main work (sq, bp DL) dictate the volume and intensity of the accessory work. If it was a tough workout, back off the accessories and if it was easy hit the accessories hard. You’ll find as you progress from week to week the accessory work will become less as the heavy weights get tough - so early on you can hit it hard if you feel up to it.

And for the record, 5x5 works great if you plan it correctly. Problem is everyone is looking to add more weight too quickly. I have a friend who totaled 2600 SHW single ply and still does 5x5 on a regular basis.

Good suggestion adding 10 pounds every set(I added 5 KG because there’s no 4.5 KG here)

I mistakenly added 10% every single set LOL but i manged to finish 2 waves with almost 3 failing at 2 rep at 100KG


Don’t really think i can get to 120KG Squat in 2 months/3 months time.

Also, for some reason i am so used to squatting ass to grass i can’t seem to make it parallel which i think should be easier to squat up.

You don’t add 10lbs per set, you add 10lbs per week.

You do the least amount of warm up you’ll need to feel like you’re ready for the two top work sets of the day for that particular week.

I love programs like these, so simple and effective.
People still have a hard time is believing that reps build strength, Kirk,Kazmaier,Coan all built strength with programs similar to this.