Stronglifts 5x5

Teaman1

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Wondering if any of you guys have tried this program. Curious on how far people can make it before they plateau?
I decided to reset and try it today as I’m not in that great of shape.
I will say the pride takes a hit when you are working out with the bar and a 110 pound girl is benching more.....
 

Trr15

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This program is a great way to get into strength training by focusing on the "big" lifts. I like the prioritization of squats and I think you'll find that (if you're new to strength training) you'll make huge gains in this particular lift, relatively quickly. This can be great motivation to keep you going and give you incentive to push through with some of the other lifts that you may struggle with more. The incremental approach to adding weight really does work if you're consistent. Eventually, you'll probably end up bored with the 5x5 approach, but it will take a while and along the way you really will improve your overall strength and be better prepared to incorporate isolation exercises if that's the direction you want to go.
 
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Teaman1

Teaman1

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I used to do 5x5 on bench press and got to 275 for a workout weight. Trying to get back into weightlifting is discouraging sometimes when you realize how much strength you’ve lost. One reason I really like the light weight approach, you don’t really know how weak you are haha
 

deerhunt1988

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I did a 5x5 scheme (not the straight up Stronglifts template, I added extra volume) after a few years of non-programized lifting. I wasn't worried about anything but getting strong. And I wasn't weak when I started. It got me beyond an 1,100lb total for the first time at ~180lbs. You can go further with it than what a lot of folks think, the key is consistency and slightly increasing volume. That was nearly a decade ago for me and I still occasionally will do a 5x5 scheme just to switch things up for a few months. But I always add a little more volume and don't take as many rest days as programmed. One key a lot of people miss is tailoring the 5x5 to YOU once you get beyond the beginner stage.
 
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Teaman1

Teaman1

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Got day two done, and the light weights are nice because I’m not sore and I can really focus on perfecting my form. I do a little additional work, but not much. Hopefully I stick to it for a year and can post my personal results
 

Sam's dad

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It’s a great program primarily designed for new weightlifters. However, you can stick to this program for a while (I know one guy who has been in this program for a few years) and still make progress, using the reset formula in the program (deload and work back up). It will definitely get you stronger and bigger. Like the above poster, I got a bit bored with the program after a while but your mileage may vary.

One thing I did to mix it up is add in pull-ups (3 sets max reps) on A days and dips (again, 3 sets max reps) on B days.
 

thinhorn_AK

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I first used it ~ 10 years ago and was able to break 1000lbs at my first meet, these days I use one of tactical barbells templates because they fit in with my other workouts better but over the years I’ve used the StrongLifts approach to get back to lifting after injuries or long hunting seasons where I haven’t been consistently lifting, I find it’s a good way to get back towards the 1000lb club for me.
 
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Teaman1

Teaman1

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I am using it as I get easily discouraged when I can’t lift anywhere near what I used to. Hoping the basic plan will lead to consistency
 

mtwarden

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I really liked it and saw consistent gains for several months. I eventually quit it and went to Wendler's "5/3/1"- that program seems to suit me even better- very similar in that it concentrates on four lifts- squats/bench/deadlifts/overhead press, starts with lower weights and gradually builds

as I run/hike several days a week, I've come up w/ a bastardized version that works for me- lift just two days (vs the four they call for), but combine bench/squats and deadlifts/overhead press- it's really worked well for me

I'd say either will serve you well, the key is consistency and slowly bump up the weights
 

Jet-Tac

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I started with a 3x5 3 lifts 3 days a week plateaued after about 6 months of that and went to a 5x5 2 lifts 3 days a week and added some more. Still same basic lifts and rep principals just started incorporating bands and other resistance/assistance items into it. Also started incorporating some cleans, power cleans, and snatch work at this point. Every time i have stalled I just change up the exercise a little or add assistance to get more weight. The only thing I haven't changed in all of it is the rep of 5 and that has always seem to be the lynch pin for me in strength gains, when I did more reps I started going backwards so to speak. I don't think there is a one size fits all formula for all of us but the strongest folks in the world seem to agree on the rep structure so I stick with that.
 

mtwarden

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Ya, my plan is to eventually try the 5/3/1 program. Do you still see strength gains just working 2 days a week?
I do; I’m still getting in the four lifts, but in two days instead of four. If I plateau for a couple weeks, I’ll “reset” and move the weight back and start in again. Also found it useful to purchase two 1.25 lb weights, can’t tell you how many times they’ve come in handy :)
 

Poser

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5x5 is intermediate volume. If you are new to serious strength training, training at all or off the couch from a layoff, you’d be better served to run Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression, which is 3x5 focused with the exception of deadlifts which are 1x5. You just don’t need that much volume as a novice to progress by 5 to 10 lbs on each lift 3x a week. 5x5 comes after 3x5 has been exhausted and is no longer enough stimulation. If you’re over 40, you may never need to squat for 5x5, though you’ll likely have to press and bench press for 5x5 eventually.

I’ve seen guys start SSNLP squatting the empty barbell day 1 and run seamlessly to squatting 350# for 3x5 over the course of 4-6 months.

Though I have long been an intermediate lifter, since I experience dramatic losses of strength during Mtn Bike season, again during hunting season and once more during snowboard season, I still run short cycles of SSNLP for for 3-6 weeks between season and can run my strength back up very quickly doing so. I came back from an elk hunt last year 20 lbs lighter and feeling very weak. My first squat session back was 230# for 3x5 and it felt “heavy” AF. Between late October and mid December, I ran my squat back up over 100# to mid 300’s for 3x5 just in time to start snowboarding seriously. While numbers vary widely from one person to next, most men under 60 years old can reasonably expect to squat around 300# on an extremely basic 3x5 program.

Also, Starting Strength has a tremendous amount of resources available for running the program including books, videos, seminars and coaching. Stronglifts comparatively has very few of those resources available.
 
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Teaman1

Teaman1

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I’ll just have to see where I end up struggling to add more weight. Hunting season is the only thing keeping me from serious weightlifting throughout the year so I think I’ll make good progress if a keep being consistent. I’m only 28
 

thinhorn_AK

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5x5 is intermediate volume. If you are new to serious strength training, training at all or off the couch from a layoff, you’d be better served to run Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression, which is 3x5 focused with the exception of deadlifts which are 1x5. You just don’t need that much volume as a novice to progress by 5 to 10 lbs on each lift 3x a week. 5x5 comes after 3x5 has been exhausted and is no longer enough stimulation. If you’re over 40, you may never need to squat for 5x5, though you’ll likely have to press and bench press for 5x5 eventually.

I’ve seen guys start SSNLP squatting the empty barbell day 1 and run seamlessly to squatting 350# for 3x5 over the course of 4-6 months.

Though I have long been an intermediate lifter, since I experience dramatic losses of strength during Mtn Bike season, again during hunting season and once more during snowboard season, I still run short cycles of SSNLP for for 3-6 weeks between season and can run my strength back up very quickly doing so. I came back from an elk hunt last year 20 lbs lighter and feeling very weak. My first squat session back was 230# for 3x5 and it felt “heavy” AF. Between late October and mid December, I ran my squat back up over 100# to mid 300’s for 3x5 just in time to start snowboarding seriously. While numbers vary widely from one person to next, most men under 60 years old can reasonably expect to squat around 300# on an extremely basic 3x5 program.

Also, Starting Strength has a tremendous amount of resources available for running the program including books, videos, seminars and coaching. Stronglifts comparatively has very few of those resources available.
I disagree with this, the whole thing with the 5x5 is that in the early stages before weights start really getting heavy the 5x5 is manageable, once weight really gets up then it’s time to go to 3x5 and 3x3 etc.

At least that’s how I’ve been doing it with good results for a long time now. Nothing wrong with starting strength but I never really liked how it worked, always liked the simplicity of 5x5 then 3x5 once things really pile up.
 

Poser

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I disagree with this, the whole thing with the 5x5 is that in the early stages before weights start really getting heavy the 5x5 is manageable, once weight really gets up then it’s time to go to 3x5 and 3x3 etc.

At least that’s how I’ve been doing it with good results for a long time now. Nothing wrong with starting strength but I never really liked how it worked, always liked the simplicity of 5x5 then 3x5 once things really pile up.
1. Yeah, but if you don’t need 5x5 to have enough stress to increase 5# on your next workout, why would you do those 2 extra sets? If 3x5 is sufficient volume, then 5x5 is just overkill and potentially impeding progress overall with excessive stress.

2. The fact that Stronglifts drops to 3x5 once the intensity hits a wall is admission that 3x5 is sufficient volume.

3. Doing 5x5 out of the gate as a novice, or as a person off the couch etc, will desensitize you to the stress and benefits of 5x5 once you need that actual dose of volume. If you start with 3x5 and run that volume until you can no longer make progress, a trainee would then potentially reset and start intermediate programming such as a HLM variation, Texas Method variation etc where 5x5 is employed as the primary volume. If you shoot your wad on 5x5 during the novice phase and exhaust the effects of that dose of volume, you’ll have to move to something more complex and with more volume as an intermediate.

Stronglifts suggests that an intermediate move to Madcow, but Madcow employs 5x5 as the volume dose, which is an admission that 5x5 is intermediate programming. It would appear that the Stronglifts program inherently admits that 3x5 is sufficient to drive progress for a novice because it eventually drops to 3x5 and also inherently admits that 5x5 is intermediate volume because it prescribes that same volume for intermediates. So, what is the rationale for a novice doing 5x5 when it’s already established that 3x5 is entirely sufficient?

My experience is that 5x5 squats take forever to complete. If you have, say, 5x5 at 335# today, go in the gym, warm up with a couple of sets with an empty bar and start packing on plates to work up from 135# to 305# or so, that’s easily 20 minutes. Assuming 335# is heavy to very heavy (85-92%) where you’re going to be grinding, resting at least 5 minutes between sets, but some times longer especially towards the end, you just spent 40-60 minutes in the squat rack. (And if you’re resting only 2-3 minutes then The weight is not yet “heavy”)

The other thing is that novices really haven’t learned how to grind yet. They just don’t have enough experience under the bar with heavy weight. A heavy set of 5 is a brutal and an extremely taxing affair and doing that 5x is quite a bit more taxing than doing it 3x. Learning how to grind and adjusting to the volume and intensity of 3 maximal sets of 5 reps, where, after your 3rd set, you have zero interest in getting back under the bar is how you cut your teeth. Presumably, since you can do that with more weight for 3 sets than you can with 5, the trainee will also be experiencing the grind of heavier weight on 3x5.

I realize that the whole Stronglifts vs SS is a played out argument and there are two firm camps and people tend to dig In Their heels, but I just don’t see what an untrained person has to gain from 5x5 out of the gate when its firmly established that 3x5 is sufficient. It’s very average for a trainee running SSNLP to squat ~300# for 3x5 and deadlift ~350# for 1x5 before needing intermediate programming and, it’s well documented that young guys can go as far as squatting 500# or more on that same program so, if we have an 18 year old kid and we know we can have him squatting 450# for 3x5 in 7 months, why would we use 5x5? And, the same, if we have a 60 year old Novice and we know that we can have him squatting 295# for 3x5 in 5 months, why would we use 5x5? Especially since a 60 year old will likely never need to squat 5x5. We have such a large sampling of trainee with proven records of progress that It just doesn’t make any sense -reserve 5x5 until you need it.
 

RTBUCKSHOT

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Poser knows his stuff. From studying Rip and from plenty of time under the bar I suppose.
If you are trying to get your meet total up, your on the wrong forum.
What he has posted above is more than enough to periodize your strength training around mountain hunting in the fall.
It is sound advice to keep the volume in check and have enough energy to live the rest of your life outside the gym productively and enjoyably.
5x5 across above 80% is extremely taxing and hard to recover from if your over 30 years old.



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