T Nation

Tom's 5x5 Training Log

I began lifting in August of 07. I wasted a whole bunch to time on split routines, gaining no real muscle (though I did loose 20lbs). Around the beginning of 2008, I got my diet in order, but my training was still lacking.


I finally decided that in order to get bigger, I have to get a lot stronger first. I have been following the Stronglifts 5x5 Beginner program for almost a month, and I have to say, I love the simplicity of the program.

Today, I decided to start posting my workouts, just for the hell of it. I don’t really need any motivation, adding more weight to the bar is plenty, but I thought I might as well share what I’m doing with the forum.


  • Glute activation work with the warmup, for anterior pelvic tilt. I have trouble feeling my glutes in the squat, and this helps me get the form down.
  • Grip work is added to the end of B days, to help my grip for pull-ups/chin-ups.

Workout for 4-17:
B day

Weight: 170.8

Squats: 5@45, 3@95, 2@115, 1@135
Floor Bridge: 1x25

ATG Squats, Shoulder width stance: 5/5/5/5/5 @ 165
OH Press: 5/5/5/5/5 @ 65
DL: 5 @ 165
Pull-ups: 4/4/4

Supplemental grip work (superset with minimal rest)

DB walk: 3xshort* @ 40’s
BB wrist extensions: 3x8 @ 20

*There are two pillars by the rock wall in my uni’s gym, it is roughly 50ft from the DB rack to the first one (“short”), and 75 to the second (“long”). My plan is to progress from short to long, then up the weight.

I did the first three exercises barefoot for the first time today, got some weird looks, but I don’t give a fsck, it felt amazing.

I will be doing squats and pulls, at least, without shoes from now on. Probably OH Press as well, since I don’t see any reason to put my shoes back on. Possibly BB Rows as well.

Squats felt light today, but not easy, if that makes any sense… I still sometimes forget to push the weight through my heels, and will sometimes push through the balls of my feet as well. By the end of all five sets, I felt it some in my back, probably because I’m not squeezing my glutes hard enough. I am very excited about squatting my bodyweight next workout, that’s a big step for me.

OH Press felt good, I have a little trouble pulling my head back and nicked the tip of my nose with the knurling in the middle of the bar. Didn’t struggle on any sets, so I did a 10 second iso hold after the last set.

Pulls felt good, a little heavy, but I think that was just because the squats took so much out of me.

I always struggle with Pull-ups, thus the supplemental grip work. Held the last rep of the last set for 10 seconds and focused on squeezing my glutes hard.

Music today was Deloused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta.

Happy 4-20 everyone!

Today was an A day

weight: 170.0

I’m not happy with my weight, its been 170 +/- 1 for about 2 weeks now. I’m eating 3800kcal/day, so I doubt its my diet… I think its the end of semester stress. I’ve been getting a lot less sleep that usual, so I’m going to wait a week or two after school is over and see what it does before making adjustments.

Squats: 5@45, 3@95, 2@115, 1@135
Floor Bridge: 1x25

Squats: 5x5@170
BP: 5x5@110
BB Row: 5x5@95
Dips: 5x5@10

I squatted my bodyweight for 5x5! I’m so pumped. Next goal is two plates. It was not easy, I noticed myself leaning forward a little on a few reps in set 2, so I really focused on using my glutes for the rest of the sets.

As a warmup for bench I did:
Flyes: 1x10@15
BP: 1x5@45

I’ve found that if I focus on using my pecs to control the eccentric phase, I have much more success recruiting them in the concentric phase. I am otherwise a very triceps dominant presser. These felt very good. Did several iso holds and focused on feeling my pecs.

I will restart BB Rows with the bar in the next A session. My form is atrocious, I feel like I’m flinging the weight up, and my hamstrings feel very tight. I will try to do the squat-to-stand hamstring stretch daily and see if I notice a difference. If anyone has pointers on form, I would appreciate it.

Dips felt good. I was pissed off that I didn’t make 5x5 last session, so I really pushed myself on these.

My girlfriend is watching some reality show on Bravo about personal trainers… they appear to be idiots. I have yet to see a single barbell.

I’m signing off, I can hear the people in the apartment above mine having sex, and I’m going to eat a whole roasted chicken.

Workout B

weight: 172.4

Squats: 5@45, 3@95, 2@115, 1@135
Floor Bridge: 1x25

Squats: 5/5/4/3 @ 175, 5 @ 155
OH Press: 5/5/5/5/5 @ 70
DL: 5 @ 175
Chin-ups: 7/4/4

DB walk: 3xlong @ 40’s
BB wrist extensions: 3x8 @ 30

I stalled on squats today. It pissed me off so much that I’m sure I’ll make it next time, I think the problem here is sleep: I know I haven’t been getting enough, but its the end of the semester and there’s not much I can do. On both sets I got stuck at the bottom. By the 5th set, I didn’t feel like dropping the bar anymore and just dropped the weight. After two sets to failure, 155 was much harder than it should have been.

Felt the pulls in my hamstrings today, my glutes were completely fried from squatting, I felt them some, but had to really concentrate.

I was so worn out by the time I got to chins that I wasn’t able to put in a really good effort here, I’ve done much better in the past and that pisses me off.

I need to find a new wrist extension exercise, holding the bar out in front of my is hard on my shoulders and my elbows, and I don’t really feel my wrist extensors working.

I’m off to Target, since my blender self-destructed while I was making my shake this morning.

A Workout

Weight: 171.2

Floor Bridge: 1x25
Squats: 5@45, 3@95, 2@115, 1@135

Squats: 5x5@175
BP: 5/5/5/5/4@115
BB Row: 5x5@45
Pull-throughs: 3x10@50
Dips: 5x5@15

I got all my squat reps today, I was really struggling by the fourth and fifth sets, though. The last rep took forever to come up, I was straining really hard, clenching my jaw and bearing my teeth. Some guy at the preacher curl stand made a comment, so I must have looked pretty hard up.

I think I’m going to do a soft deload on squats, I felt them a lot in my lower back today, and my p. chain isn’t kicking in like it used to.

Bench felt good, didn’t make 5x5, but I will next time.

I really feel like I got the form down on the rows, I will be adding 10lbs per workout until they get hard.

Dips felt good, but I’m never sure what kind of depth I need to hit. Right now, I’m going slightly below parallel, but I like to go deeper because I feel like it hits my chest more.

I added pull-throughs today to help strengthen my glutes, I think I will continue to do these on A days. I will also be adding glute activation and stretching back into my daily routine, I had to drop it because school was getting so busy, but I can definitely tell that my squat is suffering because of it.

Since you’re supposed to increase every lifting day, and since you are so early in this, I would do the same weight next time. You probably overshot on Tuesday.

I take that back, you only increased 5 lbs from your workout before. Still, either go up 5 and have the mental fortitude that you will get the reps, or stay the same. Its just too early to start deloading.

Yeah, wth? Deload when you stall. By stall, I mean when you make no progress after a few times of trying to. That means no additional reps, sets, or weight was able to be used despite trying.

So quit quitting, and try. :wink: It’s supposed to be hard. It always will be hard. You simply cannot progress otherwise. :slight_smile:

I’m not trying to make it easier on myself, at least not consciously. My form is breaking down and I don’t want to add weight when I’m lifting it with my back. A soft deload only sets me back a week anyway.

Of course, now they you’ve posted here, I can’t do that or I’ll be publicly humiliated :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll be staying at 175 and getting plenty of sleep and food until my next session.

Anyway you could take and post a video of your last squat workset?

[quote]goochadamg wrote:
Anyway you could take and post a video of your last squat workset? [/quote]

Yes. I can’t believe I didn’t think to do this sooner. I’ll take my camera tomorrow.

I just got Rippetoe’s Starting Strength today. I was reading about form on the squat, and I started to get concerned, because the pictures of his squatters looked really different from the squats I’ve been doing…

Normally, it wouldn’t bother me, I know that differences in limb and torso lengths change how a picture of a squat looks, but my mental picture of my squat just seemed totally out of whack. So I broke out my camera. Suffice to say, my form has not been correct for a low-bar squat.

Figure 2-46 on page 44 pretty much sums it up. My foot angle tends to be (much) less than the recommended 30 degrees, so my knees don’t travel as far out (laterally) as they need to in order to keep them over instead of far in front of my toes, and my torso was much closer to erect (almost like a front squat) than the 45 degrees or so that Rippetoe recommends.

After trying bodyweight squats with his cues, I can already feel my adductors and glutes better during the movement.

I wish I’d bought the book sooner.

Oh wow. Post video!

I got that book too… it definitly helped with my deadlift & military press… and my squat eventually (I read that a bit later).

Workout B

Weight: 172.8

Floor Bridge 1x25
Squat 2x5@45, 1x3@95, 1x2@115, 1x1@135

Squat: 5/4@180, 5/5/5@155
OH Press: 5x5@75
DL: 1x5@185
Pull-ups: 4/4/4
DB walk: 3xshort @ 45
Reverse Wrist Curls: 3x10@40

I started off too heavy on squats with the change in form… I will definitely be going all the way back to 135 next time, and progressing by 10’s until that gets hard. This is the only way I feel confident that I will ‘get’ the right form. I’m kinda pissed about it, actually.

Videos will come as soon as I can figure out how to get them off my camera, I have one of 4 reps at 180, with a bonus track of me dropping the bar on the pins, and one of 5 reps at 155.

OH Press was fine, my right trap is a little sore as I type this, but I really like this exercise.

DL felt good, I tried to use Rippetoe’s cues, and felt it a little in my lats for the first time ever. I will have to work on this, but 185 still feels pretty easy.

180lbs, 4 reps

155lbs, 5 reps

Squats are nice and deep but to me it looks like you lean forward ALOT which looks like its putting alot of stress on your lower back. Id say just try to keep your chest up. Just my 2cents.

It looks like my lower back rounds a little bit at the bottom.

Dammit, this is really frustrating.

I will be taking video tomorrow too, hopefully it will be easier to get the form right with a lighter weight.

Nice depth. On the 180 lb reps, it does look like your hip rise before the bar starting with the 2nd rep… weak abs, maybe?

Workout A

Weight: 174.6

My weight is way up today. I ‘cheated’ and had two huge slices of pizza and a big-ass sandwich yesterday, and another sandwich today. Not ideal, but eating out is by far the easiest way to get all of my calories in during finals. I was easily 500kcal over my normal intake yesterday, all those extra carbs probably added the two pounds of water weight.

Squat: 5x5@155
BP: 5x5@115
BB Row: 5x5@65
Dips: 5x5@20
Pull-throughs 10/10/1@60

My squat form was completely off today. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t seem to get in the groove, and my lower back really took a beating. I think what happened is that I was pushing my chest up too high and putting myself in lumbar hyperextension, which made it really uncomfortable to get any depth.

At the advice of a friend, I dropped the weight to 155 instead of 135, I will be keeping it there until I am comfortable with my form.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve grown fond my lower back, and would like to keep it healthy, especially since my poorly functioning glutes are already overloading it.

Bench felt OK, I struggled on a few reps. I read Rippetoe’s analysis of the bench when I got home today, and there are a few things I need to work on. Foremost is back tightness.

Rows are spectacularly easy at such low weight, but I feel like I’m getting them down.

I felt the dips more in my chest by tucking my chin and leaning forward a bit. I am concerned that I may have cheated on the ROM of some reps in the fourth and fifth sets. I’ll be staying at 20 next time and making sure I can actually do 5x5.

I managed two sets of pull-throughs without any trouble, but when I started the third set, my back hurt so much I couldn’t do more than one rep… that really pissed me off.

All told, not a terribly productive session. I wish I hadn’t forgotten my camera, maybe I’ll post a video of some bodyweight squats later tonight.

I forgot to mention, I decided on a new strategy for pull-ups/chin-ups during my last B session. Doing three sets to failure is just not working, I get totally burnt out on the first set and can’t do jack for the next two.

Instead, I’m going to choose a number of reps I know I can complete (it was 4 pull-ups last time, next time will be 6 chin-ups) and do that many reps for all three sets. The next session I will try to add a rep to each set.

I really want to get to 10 so I can do them weighted, and I have a feeling once I can do weighted chins, my pull-up progress will really speed up.