5x5 program
If you are looking to build a foundation of strength, power and size this workout is for you.  A 5X5 rep scheme is the perfect blend of volume and intensity to build large amounts of muscle while getting stronger.  Anyone can be successful with this program.  I have been working out for almost 20 years and this is a program I often will go back to, so it can support gains from novice to advanced lifters.

You do not want to start this program if you cannot squat properly, do not have the core strength to deadlift, or have a difficult time controlling your body.

If you have any of these issues, I would suggest starting with my Beginner’s Strength Training Program.  Hiring a personal trainer may also be a good idea if you have these kinds of issues.  Also, be sure to talk with your physician before starting any training program.

With that said….. Let’s get into it!

The workout is broken down into three, full body lifting days.  You want to have 48 hours rest in between each day.  An ideal split would be a Monday/Wednesday/Friday with weekends off, but adjust the program to your own personal schedule.

Novice 5X5 Phase (4-16 weeks)

This is the bare bones version of the program, but don’t let the simplicity of this program fool you. Anyone, especially a novice, can make major gains on this program for quite a long time.

If the volume is too much for you, begin with a 3X5 scheme and increase the number of sets every other week as your work capacity grows.  If you are a true novice I would suggest staying with this phase for at least 12 weeks before moving on to the auxiliary phase. More advanced lifters may only need to stay at this phase for 4 weeks.  It is all relative to your work capacity and fitness level.

Workout A

Main Lifts (3-5 minutes between sets)
Squat: 5X5
Barbell Bench Press: 5X5
Bent Over Barbell Row: 5X5

Core Work (1-2 minutes between sets)
Cable Crunches: 3X10
Planks: 2X Failure

Workout B

Main Lifts (3-5 minutes between sets)
*Deadlift/Squat: 5X5
Standing Over Head Barbell Press: 5X5
Bent Over Barbell Row: 5X5

Core Work (1-2 minutes between sets)
Cable Crunches: 3X10
Planks: 2X Failure

*Deadlift/Squat: This is written this way because the squat and deadlift are interchangeable on this day.  Here is a rule and a perspective tip…

Rule: Do not deadlift twice in one week. If you deadlifted on a B workout on Monday, squat on the B workout on Friday.

Perspective Tip: Deadlifts are extremely taxing on the central nervous system (CNS) and the body as a whole. If you want to perform deadlifts once every other week that may be a good idea. This is individually based and will vary depending on the person. As you train and become more experienced you will learn about your body and understand yourself better.

Alternate the workouts as follows

Week 1
Day 1: Workout A
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Workout B
Day 4: off
Day 5: Workout A
Day 6 and 7: Off

Week 2
Day 1: Workout B
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Workout A
Day 4: off
Day 5: Workout B
Day 6 and 7: Off

Repeat

 

Adding Auxiliary Exercises Phase (8 week cycles)

After a few months of training, you can begin to add auxiliary movements into the program. These auxiliary movements are carefully chosen. These are not random exercises that are simply thrown into the program. They all serve a specific purpose. The three purposes of these auxiliary movements are to…

1. Strengthen movement patterns so you can move more weight on your main 5X5 lifts
2. Add functional muscle
3. Increase joint stability to decrease the chance of injury while supporting workout longevity

Similar to the beginning stages of this program, add volume as your work capacity grows. When you first begin this phase it is okay to do less than the recommended three sets for the auxiliary exercises.  For novice lifters, start with 1 set and every other week add another set until you are doing all three sets of each auxiliary exercise.

Also, remember that auxiliary lifts are only supplemental to the bigger, main lifts.  If the volume of the auxiliary lifts is proving to be too much, you can always scale them back at any time during the program.  You can do this by dropping an exercise, performing less sets, or skipping them all together for a few days or even a week.

Be aware of how your body feels and adjust the volume accordingly.

Workout A

Main Lifts (3-5 minutes between sets)
Squat: 5X5
Barbell Bench Press: 5X5
Bent Over Barbell Row: 5X5

Aux Lifts (1.5-2 minutes between sets)
Rear Delt Raises: 1-3X10
Barbell Bicep Curl: 1-3X8-10
Tricep Extension: 1- 3X8-10

Core Work (1-2 minutes between sets)
Cable Crunches: 3X10
Planks: 2X Failure

Workout B

Main Lifts (3-5 minutes between sets)
Deadlift/Squat: 5X5
Standing Over Head Barbell Press: 5X5
Bent Over Barbell Row: 5X5

Aux Lifts (1.5-2 minutes between sets)
Side Lateral Raises: 1-3X8-10
Romanian Deadlifts: 1-3X8-10
Barbell Shrugs: 1-3X8-10

Core Work (1-2 minutes between sets)
Cable Crunches: 3X10
Planks: 2X Failure

Don’t let the simplicity of this workout fool you. This program is very grueling and taxing.  All of these lifts create high demands on your central nervous system, recruit tons of muscle outside of the prime movers, and the lifts are just flat out hard.

 

Progression and Overload

This process is simple but difficult to describe.  You will follow a linear progression by adding 5 pounds to the bar every week.  The only time you will not add 5 lbs is if you fail on a lift.  If that happens you will go back to the weight you used on your last successful 5×5 attempt and will stick with that weight for the next 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks at the same weight, you can again begin adding 5 lbs to the bar every week.

So for example…

Week 1: You complete 5×5 with 225 lbs on squat.

Week 2: You complete 5×5 with 230 lbs on squat.

Week 3: You fail on your 3rd set of 5 with 235 lbs.  At that point you are done squat for the day.  You DO NOT do a 4th or 5th set.

Week 4(or the next time you squat) and week 5: You will go back to 230 lbs, which was the last successfully completed 5×5 weight.

Week 6: You can now attempt 235 lbs again and try to successfully complete the 5×5 at that weight.  If you are successful, you again add 5 lbs to the bar every week until you fail.

Week 7: You complete 5×5 with 240 lbs on squat

Week 8: You complete 5×5 with 245 lbs on squat

Week 9: Deload

I hope that is a clear explanation and example.

Now to explain deloading…..

Deload
Constantly evaluate how your body feels. If you feel worn down, have joint pain, or stop progressing you may need a deload. There are two ways that I recommend deloading.

1. Take an entire week off (For us older folks this is a better idea and has worked best for me personally.)
or…
2. Do ONLY the main lifts at 50% of your usual working weight for 1 set of 5 reps for an entire week.

Deload Rule: Never go more than 8 weeks without a deload.

There you have it! The Shaping Yourself 5×5 program (SY 5×5) is complete! If you have any questions about the program please comment below and I will answer all of your questions.

I look forward to your gains!

Q&A and Video Tutorials

I have received a few questions about this program.  I will continue to add videos to this workout plan that go over such questions.  Be sure to watch these before contacting me.  You could get your answer a lot quicker with the video below!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube page to stay updated and informed!

More videos for this workout program to come!

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