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Thoughts on this 5X5 Routine


Hello everyone,

I just finished the first 12 weeks of Stronglifts and I am simply amazed at how strong I am and look compared to three months ago (Not very impressive, but it's a start).

I've been training on and off for the past five years or so, and have read several books and internet articles on fitness. In any case, I want to be a bodybuilder and my goal is to compete in about three years. I don't know if that goal is realistic or not, or if I can compete sooner or if it'll take me more time. Guess that's part of the reason I'm here: There's still a lot of shit I don't know but am very eager to learn.

Ok, my numbers:

Height: 6'
Bodyweight: 286 lbs. (Started with 282 lbs).
% bodyfat: 27% (Started with 33%).

And my current strenght levels (All are 5RM, since all I've been doing for the past 3 months has been Stronglifts):

Back Squat: 185
Bench Press: 185
Barbell Back Row: 145
Overhead Press: 120
Deadlift: 210

I know those numbers are a bit low. The reason is I had two discal hernias a couple of years ago so I'm very VERY careful with my back (I think they're L4-S1 and S1-S2). Rather than considering them a reason to hold back, I consider them my best friends, since they tell me when I'm fucking up my form. The squat has been my biggest challenge since I have problems hitting parallel.

Funny thing is, the DL doesn't nag my low back since I got the form right even though it's supposed to impact my lower back more. My guess is I have some problems with hip mobility since I did a couple of hip mobility drills the past week and my low back felt so much better when squatting.

I also have a habit of doing 45 min steady state cardio right after my workouts either on a stair master or a funny looking elliptical machine. I use the elliptical because the treadmills in my gym stop when I get on them and walk for about 5-10 minutes. Shit used to surprise me until I learned from the gym owner that those buggers have a weight limit of 250.

Ok, so now I'm done with Stronglifts and I'm moving on to a program more leaned towards BB. I'm a fan of Arnold, so since I'm too lazy to reinvent the wheel, I figured I'd start the same way he started: Following Reg Park's routines to lay down a strong base from where I can build a winning physique. Also, I like the idea of not only looking strong but being strong as well. So after doing some research I found this article here in T-Nation:


I also need to do more mobility drills so I can improve my form on all exercises.

And inspired by that I put up the following program which I'm gonna follow for the next three months:

Train Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri.

Mon-Thu Routine (Lower Body):
Warmup (Mobility Drills and Dynamic Stretching).
Goodmornings 3x10
Back Squat 5x5
Front Squat 5x5
Standing Barbell Calf Raise 5x25
Deadlift 3x5
Reverse Crunch 3x10
45 min. SS cardio.

Tue-Fri Routine (Upper Body):
Warmup (Mobility Drills and Dynamic Stretching).
Goodmornings 3x10
Bench Press 5x5
High Pull 5x5
Overhead Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5
Reverse Crunch 3x10
45 min. SS cardio.

True to the 5X5 system, I'll be adding 5lbs to each exercise if I can execute all five sets. If not, I stay on that weight for the next session. If on a third attempt I still fail, I'll deload and build my way up again. I loved this technique on Stronglifts, it helped me when I plateaud on Squats and Overhead Press.

On Goodmornings I'll be starting with an empty barbell and add 5lbs each week.

I'll be starting this program next week since I'm taking this week off from training and do some deep tissue work on my glutes and legs, along with more mobility exercises to help recovery since I'm still quite banged up from last week.

My goals:

Bodyweight: Don't really care, I like being a big boy.
Bodyfat: Since I lowered it 6% in three months, I think lowering it another 5-6% would be acceptable.

Backsquat: 250+.
Frontsquat: 200+.
Calf Raise: 250+.
Deadlift: 300+.
Benchpress: 250+.
Highpull: 150+.
Overhead Press: 200+.
Barbell Row: 250+.

Current Diet:

Here is where I'm probably gonna need a shitload of tweaking. I realize I may be missing some info, but I'm just putting what I think has to be here. Any other details that I missed please ask me.

I eat the same thing almost everyday. I drink mostly water, but I do throw in the occasional can of Diet Coke:

7am: 3 whole egg omelette with spinach, onions and mushrooms, and a cup of coffee.

11am: Whatever is served in the factory. I have no idea the balance of this meal but I just stick to a regular sized meal.

3:30pm: Either a chicken breast or a can of tuna, with an apple or pear.

My evening meal varies if it's training day or not.
Training day (Post workout) 8:30pm: Protein powder (50 gr. protein, 20 gr. carbs) with six strawberries.
Non-Training day 8:30pm: Chicken breast or lean meat, half a cup of mashed beans and half a cup of rice.

10pm: two slices of toast with non-fat mermelade (Makes for a very healthy bowel movement in the morning :stuck_out_tongue: )

Like I said, I'll be starting my training next week while I give my body a vacation this week. Will only be doing mobility drills and some tissue work in the evenings. Any thoughts will be welcome, even those calling me 'stupid' or 'dumb' as long as they have some form of critique or advise.


Your goals need to be more clearly defined. You say you want to be a BB'er, but you're at 27% BF and only think you need to lose another 5-6%. You need to focus on getting your strength up and losing a lot more fat if you have goals to compete.

If you have been making progress on Stronglifts, and only have been on it for 12 weeks, it doesn't make sense to drastically change your routine just yet. Possibly tweak it slightly by adding some assistance work, but don't stop if it's still working. You have a long way to go before you need to worry about doing a BB'er workout.


Hi pcdude,

Yeah, those goals are for the next 12 weeks, by early to mid February. Short term.

Obviously my long term goals are much greater than that:

Long-Term BF Goal: Single digit.

Deadlift: 700.
Backsquat: 600.
Bench: 500.

I realize it is a big routine change from this:

Routine A:
Barbell Row

Routine B:
Overhead Press

Alternating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I started it because at first I didn't have tuesdays and thursdays free and could only workout those three days. Now they've been free since a couple of weeks ago, so that's why I want to change to training 4 days, but squatting two days in a row would be crazy. Plus I feel I wasn't getting enough recovery, so that routine I posted I work lowerbody one day, and rest it two days (three when weekends come across) since the next day I work on upperbody, and I work both two times a week.

That was my reasoning when making that routine. But I'm open to suggestions from more experienced lifters, BB's and the like.



Do another 12 weeks of SL 5x5. Add conditioning on your off days. Clean your diet.

See you in 12 weeks.


damn, you actually know where you want to take yourself. good hunting mate!



I appreciate the suggestion, and it IS something I have considered. I'd like your reasoning on suggesting another 12 weeks of SL 5X5. Also (And I risk sounding like a retarded newb), any pointers would you give me on cleaning up my diet? I see that you're a chef and your feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm already cutting out as much processed food as I can (Convincing my mom of cleaning up the grocery list was QUITE a debate at my house the other day) and I'm also starting to cook my own meals (Which ended up with some chicken breasts tasting like... I don't know... old shoe boxes... hehehe, guess I need to practice this too). Figured I'd start with that and move on from there to counting calories.

Thanks for the reply! Stay strong


Thanks man! Gotta know where you're going before you ask for directions. Good hunting to you too, buddy!


OP - i like your attitude.

keep it up and continue to consider the advice you hear from experienced posters here.

the only thing that works 100% of the time is consistency. eventually you will find what works for you. when you do, stick to it.


Because it's working and you are overweight.

Keep it simple. Learn what your body can do and tolerate.

As for your diet, lots of articles on this site to get you started.

Consistency is key.



Short and to the point. Thanks JFG! Looking for nutrition articles as we speak. Liked the one last week on the Hierarchy of nutrition, I'll start from there.


hey man, just a diet suggestion. cut out the late night carbs. eat a protein source instead. keep the carbs pwo, but theres no need for 2 slices of toast as 10pm. youd be better off with,, casein/eggs/meat. something with protein.

another idea. more cals/protein with breakfast. its the first meal of the day, your body hasnt eaten all night, might be a good idea to fill it up with protein.

just some ideas/suggestions. goodluck with training, keep going.


Alfranglez, The additional exercises, and frequency, you plan to add to Stronglifts is a bit much! If you going to follow Stronglift, follow it as written. Don't try to modify it. However, I would add calf work. I've use for it for several months and have lowered the volume.

Train Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri.

Mon-Thu Routine (Lower Body):
Warmup (Mobility Drills and Dynamic Stretching).
Goodmornings 3x10
Back Squat 5x5
Front Squat 5x5
Standing Barbell Calf Raise 5x25
Deadlift 3x5
Reverse Crunch 3x10
45 min. SS cardio.

Tue-Fri Routine (Upper Body):
Warmup (Mobility Drills and Dynamic Stretching).
Goodmornings 3x10
Bench Press 5x5
High Pull 5x5
Overhead Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5
Reverse Crunch 3x10
45 min. SS cardio.


No, just no.

Lots of programs here. Pick one.

If you want to know why, its bad from A to Z.