In the Pipe, 5x5's: A Classic Workout for Beginners

Often applied, but not always understood, “5x5” training is the gold standard, when it comes to building strength and quality muscle mass. Consider this post your comprehensive guide to the 5x5.

What is 5x5 Training?

Designed to help you build quality muscle mass, make serious strength gains, and help you break through training plateaus, 5x5 training in a method that at its core requires you to train long and hard, only three times per week. In it, you are doing 5 sets, of 5 reps, of 5 specific barbell exercises, split into workout A and B. 5x5 is a full body training protocol, with proven results.

Some Basic Rules of 5x5:

Your 5 basic barbell exercises which work multiple muscle groups at once are the squat, bench press, barbell row, overhead press, and deadlift. These are split into workouts A and B:

Workout A consists of Squat, Bench Press, and Barbell Row

Workout B consists of  Squat, Overhead Press, and Deadlift

Do three workouts a week, alternating between workouts A and B

Never train on consecutive days. Always take at least one day to rest between workouts.

Never do both Workout A and Workout B in a single session. Your body needs ample time to recover.

Many opt to train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and take the weekends off.

Under this model, Workout A is to be completed Monday, B on Wednesday, and A again on Friday. The following Monday, start with B, and alternate every other day, accordingly.

In order to maximize both strength and muscle gains, ensure you are taking in enough calories.

5 x 5 training involves progressive overload, and with each exercise in each workout you are required to add 5 lbs to the bar (with the exception of deadlifts where you add 10 lbs to the bar each time). Be sure to start at the lightest weight possible, progressively increasing your lift numbers with each workout.

Start light, add weight slowly and consistently, take plenty of rest, and work hard, and you’ve got the essence of 5x5 training.

It deserves mentioning that while 5x5 is great for the beginner, a mastery of proper tempo and form is required, in order to reap maximum benefits from the program.

Why Does It Work?

5x5 training requires you to train hard, only three times a week. This protocol not only promotes consistent progress and results, but also sizeable strength gains. All you need is access to a barbell, free weights to add to the barbell, and about 45 minutes, 3 days a week, to integrate this regimen into your routine.

How to Start a 5x5 Regimen/Training Protocol

As with any training program, proceed with caution, and make sure you’ve built up the proper foundations before you embark on a 5x5 training split.

That being said, here’s a full 5x5 regimen, laid out for you:

  • Week 1: Monday - Workout A; Wednesday - Workout B; Friday - Workout A - Each Exercise is 5 Sets of 5 Reps
  • Week 2: Monday - Workout B; Wednesday - Workout A; Friday - Workout B- Each Exercise is 5 Sets of 5 Reps
  • Week 3: Monday - Workout A; Wednesday - Workout B; Friday - Workout A- Each Exercise is 5 Sets of 5 Reps
  • Week 4: Monday - Workout B; Wednesday - Workout A; Friday - Workout B- Each Exercise is 5 Sets of 5 Reps

    Peaking: You can begin this after Weeks 4 through 6, for maximum strength gains

    • Week 5:  Monday - Workout A; Wednesday - Workout B; Friday - Workout A- Each Exercise is 3 Sets of 3 Reps
    • Week 6: Monday - Workout B; Wednesday - Workout A; Friday - Workout B- Each Exercise is 3 Sets of 3 Reps

    Lather, rinse, and repeat, as needed.

    Tried and true, the 5x5 training protocol is a great way to switch things up. No matter your goals, 5x5 can help you get there, faster.

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