In the health and fitness world, over the last decade or so, bodybuilding and strength training in general, have both become more popular than ever before, and that trend is increasing on a daily basis.
Everywhere you look, you seem to be bombarded by bodybuilders and fitness athletes, all with ripped and muscular physiques and single digit body fat percentages.
If you’re looking to step up your training frequency and intensity, however, you need to find the right training routine based upon your goals and targets.
This is where people find themselves going wrong when it comes to their training because everybody trains for a different reason.
For example, if you are training to enter a strongman competition, obviously you aren’t going to be following the same diet and training routine as somebody dieting down for a fitness show, and vice versa.
If, however, you are looking to increase your lean muscle mass, burn off excess body fat, and become bigger and stronger than ever before, you may wish to consider 5 x 5 training.
5 x 5 training is a tried and tested method of training that has been utilized by bodybuilders and strength athletes for a number of decades now, and it is just as effective as it was back then.
Here we’ll be looking at how to make a 5 x 5 routine work for you, what a 5 x 5 training routine is, why it is beneficial, and much more besides. So, without any further hesitation, let’s begin by taking a look at 5 x 5 training.
What Is 5 x 5 Training?
5 x 5 training is one of the most effective, yet basic workout routines for anybody looking to get stronger, get bigger, get leaner, and burn off more excess body fat in the process.
5 x 5 training has been used by athletes from all walks of life, for a number of decades now, and the results speak for themselves.
The program is incredibly basic to follow, and what’s more, you only need to perform 3 workouts per week, not to mention the fact that workouts last an average of just 45 minutes.
One thing you will notice with this training protocol, however, is that you will perform barbell squats every time you exercise and workout. Oh, and by the way, just so you know, the 5 x 5 title basically refers to the fact that you perform 5 sets of 5 reps per exercise.
Which Exercises Do You Perform?
The great thing about this workout is the fact that it is so simple to do. The routine is nothing fancy, it is basic at its core. As you probably know, simplicity is the key to success with this routine.
You will basically perform just five separate free weight exercises, all of which are compounded lifts. Compound lifts are basically exercises which incorporate more than one separate body part at a time.
For example, if you’re training chest with a chest press machine, the machine will isolate the pectoral muscles, meaning that you train your chest and only your chest.
With barbell bench presses, however, you also target your chest as a primary muscle group, but on top of that, you also train your triceps, your core, and even a little of your deltoids. With this routine, the exercises that you perform consist of:
- Barbell bench press;
- Barbell squats;
- Overhead press;
- Barbell rows.
During each workout, you will perform 3 of the five exercises, with squats being performed every single workout. As mentioned, with each exercise, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps.
EXCEPT that deadlifts will be performed in just one single set of five reps. The reason for this is simply down to the fact that deadlifts are so brutal, and doing any more would result in you feeling absolutely exhausted.
If you’re worried about your deadlift suffering, however, the idea behind squatting three times per week, is that you are utilizing similar muscles, so your deadlift, along with your squat, will actually improve a great deal.
To Fail Or Not To Fail?
With most bodybuilding routines, the idea is to train to failure so that you can exhaust your muscles and therefore stimulate more muscle growth.
However, with 5 x 5 training program, the idea is not to reach failure, or to get a great pump, or to train until you puke.
The basic goal is to simply add more weight with each workout. You should begin relatively light to assess your strength, and then gradually increase the weight by around 2.5kg for each following workout.
You should do this as much as you can, although obviously there will be a time when you simply can’t add any more weight and will hit a natural plateau.
5 x 5 Workouts
Basically, this program consists of two separate workouts, both of which are full-body orientated. These are:
Workout 1: Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Rows.
Workout 2: Squats, Overhead Press, Deadlifts.
You will alternate between Workout 1 and Workout 2, three times per week, making sure that you will rest for at least one full day between workouts.
The main reason for this is the fact that because the workout is so brutal and testing, you will need a full day to recover, as that is where your increase in strength will come from.
Generally, most people will train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, although you can alternate as you want, as long as you make sure that you never train for two full days in a row. So, you may opt for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
When you begin the program, you begin with Workout 1, and two days later, you will perform Workout 2. So that will be Workout 1/2/1, and the second week would be 2/1/2, then 1/2/1 etc…
Main Benefits Of 5 x 5 Training
There are a number of benefits associated with 5 x 5 routines, with some of the main benefits including the following:
1. Increases In Strength
One of the biggest benefits associated with 5 x 5 training is the fact that the program is designed to provide substantial increases in strength. The basic idea is that you increase your weights during each workout, so every session you should, theoretically at least, be able to lift more weight than your previous workout.
Obviously, you will plateau after a while, but the routine should provide some substantial increases in strength, especially for the first few weeks of the routine.
2. More Muscle
Another benefit of 5 x 5 is the fact that it provides some very impressive muscle gains as well, so for anybody looking to increase their muscle mass, the routine is perfect.
3. Less Training Days
For people who may not be blessed with a great deal of free time on their hands, 5 x 5 training is perfect for several reasons. The first reason is the fact that you only train for 3 days per week, leaving you with 4 days to yourself.
Not only that, but workouts only last for around 45 minutes, so you can be in and out of the gym in less than an hour, and you can still have one heck of a workout in the process.
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