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Transition SL 5x5 to 2-Day Routine for Sports?


Hi ! I am 22, 6" (183cm), 75kg (165lbs).

I started SL 5x5 2 months ago at 71.5kg (157lbs). I usually train for running and swimming but I wanted a bit of variation with strength training.

My current stats are
Squats 90kg
Bench 65 kg
OHP 47.5kg
Pendlay Rows 62.5kg
DL 100kg
All for 5x5 but the DL, 1x5.

My question is the following :

I got stronger using SL, and I was swimming and running the days I wasn’t lifting. Swimming from 2km to 3.5km and running either hill sprints/intervals or 10km (6 miles).
Next semester I want to switch to lifting two days a week and use the extra day to either run or swim.
I am still considered a novice so I would like to keep going on the linear progression for as long as possible.

I read Dan John’s article who would use Pavel Tsatsouline template :
Day 1


Also there is a lot of high reps in this program, and hypertrophy is not what I am after.

I feel that as a novice my progress will really slow down going from squatting three times a week to just once.

Ideally I would like to Squat and Bench twice, and DL once and the additional exercices would be : Front Squats, OHP, Pendlay Rows.

Something a bit closer to what I’m looking for can be found here: "Eastern Bloc Powerlifting for the Busy Guy"

squat: 6 sets of 3 with 80%
bench press: 6 sets of 3 with 80%
Romanian deadlift: 6 sets of 5 with 60%

deadlift: 6 sets of 3 with 80%
bench press: 5 sets of 5 with 65%
front squat: 4 sets of 4 with 70%

Do you have any 2-day programs you would recommend or that you have tried out ? What were the results of training twice a week ?

My general goal is to have overall fitness, for endurance and strength.


You could just do:

Day 1: squat, bench, rows

Day 2: Deadlift, OHP, chin-ups or pull-ups.

All done for 5 x 5 or 5 x 3


Thanks for the fast reply !

Is it enough to squat once a week ? By making increments of 2.5 kg (5lbs) each week, I’m not sure I would make the 5x5 each time as it seems to be such a low frequency to just squat once a week. Though 5x3 would be ok.

Also I like the idea of benching twice a week and do OHP as an accessory, would that be an issue (shoulder heallth ?)


You could certainly both squat and bench twice a week, or once a week, it just depends how much you are willing to put into it.


I am doing fine on the 3 times a week so far and I quite enjoy putting the work ! I just want to make some time for my sport sessions from January.

The thing is I want to try to keep going on the linear progression (on the big 3) as long as possible. And by training only twice a week I feel that both squats and bench should be included to sustain this progression.

I am not sure about the rep range for DL and OHP. I might keep the 1x5 for DL.

I don’t want to try and make up my own program and make mistakes in the programming, so your advice is very welcome, thanks again.


Try this approach…


Thanks for your answer !

I have looked at 5 3 1 before, is that not an advanced program ?

I like the template, though I don’t understand what the “5’s Pro” mean ? Could you explain what those sets are ?

Thanks a lot !


No 5/3/1 is fine with your numbers.
5 progressions explained here…

Regular 5/3/1 is just fine, (maybe preferable to get the gist of it actually) point is that done 2 days a week is great for athletes. good stuff here also:


Great links !

So would you recommend doing the cycles as in the first link ?

Or follow the “normal pattern” and do

Week 1 3 x 5
Week 2 3 x 3
Week 3 3 x 5, 3, 1
without deload given that it’s just twice a week ?
With the following %

         Week 1	Week 2	Week 3	

Set 1 65% x 5 70% x 3 75% x 5
Set 2 75% x 5 80% x 3 85% x 3
Set 3 85% x 5+ 90% x 3+ 95% x 1+

Thanks again


Yeah I think good start off with the “normal pattern” for a few cycles to appreciate the value of the ‘top/+’ and the overall system, then can give the 5s a go


If you are running you will want to reduce squatting. When I was running a lot, I front squated one time per week for 4x3.


Thank you both for your answers !

I think I will try to read about 531 and into that !

@williamk8987 yeah definitely. I also cycle into uni to go to class 5 times a week so my legs take a lot every week !