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28 Comments

  1. Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness
    June 24, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    Great post. I’ve loved the 5×5 format.

    Have you found any research on doing higher reps in the 5 sets?
    At home I just can’t afford to keep growing my kettlebell collection to keep the reps that low. I’m often doing 5×8-12 instead. Not sure if that is still accomplishing the same goals, or not. Any thoughts?

    Reply

    • Kevin
      July 22, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

      You know what Troy that’s a good question. I really haven’t looked deeply into that so I’d hate to give an inaccurate answer, but …

      My thoughts are that by training in the higher rep range you sacrifice a little by way of strength and definition gains but get a little more size out of the workout.

      As far as accomplishing the same goals as a 5×5 you’d be better off increasing the sets instead of the reps if that’s what you’re going for. Sound good? 😀

      Reply

      • Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness
        August 5, 2011 @ 9:06 am

        Kevin,

        It also matters that I’m just in it to stay in shape for life. I’m not bent on highly specific goals. Many people who take on a 5×5 protocol are doing so for specific gains. I’m just fine if “my mileage may vary”.

        -Troy

        Reply

        • Kevin
          August 5, 2011 @ 9:09 am

          Right on Troy, I think that’s right where you should be! I’ve seen a lot of guys (myself included) that go all out in their training but then slowly let it slip away. Stay in shape for life — that’s where it’s at!

          Reply

    • DesralBarriere
      September 7, 2012 @ 6:56 am

      Im 22, weight 150, and 5″6 and have a fast metabolism and have a hard times gaining weight what should i do?

      Reply

  2. The Underwear Body
    June 28, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    Nice variations on the 5×5 routine. It’s a good example that a workout really doesn’t need to be that complicated in order to work.

    Michael

    Reply

    • Kevin
      May 4, 2012 @ 8:19 am

      Thanks Michael … yeah, good ole’ 5×5 rocks!

      Reply

  3. Fitness Guy
    July 20, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    I really like this concept. I think getting away from workouts that isolate each muscle is the way to go also. Pure bodybuilding just doesn’t seem right when the muscles are meant to work together.

    Reply

    • Kevin
      May 4, 2012 @ 8:20 am

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, there are times when isolation exercises are beneficial, but overall, more compound exercises are going to produce great results.

      Reply

  4. Jakobi Gordon
    September 1, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    I was wondering how long should I keep doing the 5×5 until it’s time to switch up ad I’m sure you know if you keep doing the same routine you tend to stay at your current level? And when I do switch it up what should be my new routine? Thanks and amazing site btw 🙂

    Reply

    • Kevin
      September 5, 2011 @ 7:32 am

      I feel as long as you are pushing yourself, whether in the amount of weight or the intensity in which you lift you shouldn’t really stay the same. Having said that though, I usually switch things up a bit after about two months.

      Where you go from there is really up to you. If you want to concentrate more on getting ripped, then lower the amount of sets & reps to about 3×3, add in a bit more HIIT and watch your diet. If you want to concentrate on adding some size increase the rep range to somewhere around 3×12 with shorter rests.

      Reply

  5. Frank
    November 23, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    Hey Kevin, I’m currently starting Strong Lifts 5×5, i feel it’s more geared toward beginners in the lifting game and i don’t think i’m getting very much out of it. Soo my question is: what weight should i start off at? SL5x5 has me starting at 50% of my 5rep max and adding 5 lbs per workout but the starting weights feel too light, i’m afraid i’m losing valuable time, any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Kevin
      December 6, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

      I’m honestly not familiar with Strong Lift’s workout … I’ve heard of it and I’ve heard good about it but I’ve just never tried it so I can’t say for sure what their workout is aiming to do.

      For me, I like to pick a weight that I can do 7-8 reps but stop at 5. I find this works well for creating dense muscles because I’m not failing at the end of the sets. Also, with a slightly less weight you can give 100% focus on form and contracting the appropriate muscle … of course, as you go your weight will increase over time because you are getting stronger. Hope that helps.

      Reply

  6. charles
    February 23, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    i just started working out i been taking syntha 6 and kre alkalyn 1500 mgs i want to know if that is good to be taking i would like to know what workouts i should be doing i am overwight my weight is 267 i been going to the gym for 1 week now i would like to get some suggustion

    Reply

    • Kevin
      May 4, 2012 @ 8:18 am

      Charles,
      I’ve never taken either of those two and I honestly don’t know much about them … generally I’m not too huge on supplements. I do know that Prograde is a quality product and they have a very popular weight loss supplement you might consider as an alternative. Overall though, the most important aspect in losing weight is your diet, not supplements. Keep your weekly calories in check and you should be well on your way.

      As far as a workout goes, I suggest strength training along with cardio. Checkout this post with my 1,2,3 combo to get in shape quick: https://fitnessblackandwhite.com/1-2-3-combo-to-get-fit/

      Reply

  7. Taetafe Naea
    March 28, 2012 @ 5:39 am

    This sounds like a great workout. I have read that it targets strength, mass, and cardio.

    The amount of reps seems about right and the fact that it has the split gives ample time for the mody to recover.

    What difference does it make if I don’t take protein or supplements?

    Reply

    • Kevin
      March 29, 2012 @ 10:34 am

      It doesn’t make much difference at all. Really, supplements are not going to make or break you … they’re just a supplement. I do drink protein shakes to help me keep my total protein for the day up without raising calories, but definitely not necessary.

      Reply

  8. Hilal Shams
    April 30, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    its been al over d blogs .v shudn b doin 5×5 for arms n dats too much stress..what do u think??

    Reply

    • Kevin
      May 4, 2012 @ 8:26 am

      I personally like 5×5 for arms. It is important that you use proper form no matter what exercise you choose to do.

      What is important to remember though, you can lift 5×5 for pecs, 4×15 for shoulders and 3×10 for arms … you’re not tied to doing only one set and rep scheme for your entire body. You can checkout this post to see what different set and rep schemes work: https://fitnessblackandwhite.com/how-many-reps-to-build-muscle/

      Reply

  9. Adam Denmark
    June 11, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    If I can’t put stress on my back (putting weights above my head and deadlifts) what should I do instead?

    Reply

  10. Simon
    July 30, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    This seems like a very good approach! Just wondering if you should do HIIT after each workout?

    Reply

  11. David - The Natural Health Service
    September 29, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    Funnily enough I’ve just started doing Rusty Moore’s version of 5X5 as you describe it, but I’ve never read his book. I’ve always trained as heavy as possible, but now I realise that’s not the best way. Use about your 8 rep max as you say, and keep the rest periods short, so each set gets more difficult. This is great for strength and size. But more importantly it doesn’t overtax the CNS so you can keep making progress for longer. Great article.
    P.S. I thought Reg Park stated using 5X5 as early as the late 1940’s

    Reply

  12. dave
    November 27, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    Im currently doing a 5×5 work out now but im not switching up body parts. im doing 4 chest workouts flat incline decline dumbbell flys flat then some abs. 3 back work outs barbell deads weighted pull ups bent over rows and abs. off on wed 3 shoulders barbell military press shoulder dumbbell side swings barbell lateral raises and i do legs this day also. Friday 4 arm work outswith abs as well then im off for the weekend only cardio. should i be doing something a little different with this work out?

    Reply

    • David - The Natural Health Service
      November 29, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

      Personally I would use 5X5 for you compound exercises and 3X8 or something like that for your assistance work. Also make sure you train each body part more than once per week (but with different exercises).

      Reply

  13. jacob c
    February 2, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

    Hey man good info but I have a few questions. I’ve always done cardio. Push ups, pullups, jogging, exedra. I’m 6ft1″ tall at 183lbs. Not much bf at all. So I’m in college now and want to rly add some size to my riped frame. I never had to strong of lifts so I rly want to incorporate heavy compund lifts to achieve the maximum size I can build. How should I go about this? I bought over 200.00 dollars worth of protiene and creatine. I eat verg well to.

    Reply

  14. zach
    June 26, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    Hi. Im ore of a beginner and just tried day 1 of this program, but have a few questions. First, how should I feel now that im done? I’ve always done more reps and 3 sets and have felt much more of a burn. Second, is three exercises enough? I was only in the gym for about 45 min. Thanks.

    Reply

  15. Scott
    July 12, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    Nice article and nice website. I love how clean and simple your site is. Great job!
    I like the simple Reg Park 5×5. Once I think about adding the extras it just loses its zen appeal for me.
    I couple the 5×5 with HIIT sprints 3x week. Is this a good combo?
    Thanks,
    Scott

    Reply

  16. Gav
    November 15, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

    Interesting article….

    I actually do my reps like that – heavy, light, medium. I wonder if I’ve subconsciously discovered this and didn’t realize it. Most people I explain it to find it odd, but now I’ll be able to justify it!

    Reply

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