Simple Way To Get Stronger With 5 x 5 Workout

What is the 5×5 Training Routine? The 5 × 5..

Simple Way To Get Stronger With 5 x 5 Workout

What is the 5×5 Training Routine?

The 5 × 5  Workout routine is actually very simple in its approach.

All you do is pick an exercise, generally compound movements, and perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions.

This is interspersed with 90 seconds of rest in between sets, and a full 3 minute break in between exercises.

That’s it. Sounds easy right?

Think again!

During those sets you want to be using weights that challenge you and tests your limits to the point of failure.

Traditionally you would perform the first two sets at the lower end (65% and 75%) of your weight range, and perform your last 3 sets at the higher end (85%) of your maximum weight range.

In this way you’re preparing the body with progressively heavier lifts versus risking injury by jumping right into the heaviest weight.


It’s a good idea to split your routine like this due to the intensity of the training, and the stress it puts on your body.

Ensure you have plenty of time for recovery (i.e. you can sleep for a good 8 hours each night) and that you can adequately nourish your muscles throughout the day.

In fact, if you’re not tracking your macros, you should consider doing this throughout the time that you use this training protocol.

You’ll want to be sure you are at the very least at maintenance (or more likely in a surplus if you’re looking to build muscle) – you definitely do not want to be at a caloric deficit.

In the same frame of mind, a spotter is recommended to help you get the most out of this routine.

5 x 5 Workout 1: Volume

Warm up before each move, then lift 90% of your five-rep max (5RM) for a workout that breaks down maximum muscle tissue.

Only go for one working set of your 5RM for the deadlift.

They’re hard and you won’t be able to recover fully if you do multiple heavy sets, but one will do the trick. 


Sets 5 Reps 5 Weight 90% of 5RM

Bench press or overhead press (alternate this each week)

Sets 5 Reps 5 Weight 90% of 5RM


Sets 1 Reps 5 Weight 90% of 5RM – aim to increase this every week

5×5 Workout 2: Recovery

This session is all about recovery – but you still work hard and add exercises that will ensure balanced muscle gains.


Sets 2 Reps 5 Weight 80% of Workout 1

Overhead press (if you bench pressed in workout 1) or bench press (if you overhead pressed in workout 1)

Overhead press

Sets 3 Reps 5 Weight 90% of 5RM

Bench Press

Sets 3 Reps 5 Weight 90% of previous 5×5


Sets 3 Reps To failure

Good morning

Sets 5 Reps 10 (light barbell)

5 x  5 Workout 3: Intensity

The aim here is to set a new five-rep max in each move – a 2.5-5% increase is the target.

Work out what that is, then work up to it. If you aren’t able to increase your 5RM during this workout, don’t be disheartened.

Stick to the same weight for the next workout – one more week with it under your belt could make the difference. 


Sets 1 Reps 5 Weight New 5RM

Bench press (if you bench pressed in workout 1) overhead press (if you overhead pressed in workout 1)

Bench press: Sets 1 Reps 5 Weight New 5RM

Overhead press: Sets 1 Reps 5 Weight New 5RM

Power clean

Sets 5 Reps 3 Weight Relatively light barbell – aim to increase this slightly every week

Who Should Use the 5 × 5 Workout Program?

Anyone interested in changing things up or looking to break through training plateaus should try this method.

The best part about training in this style is that it can be used for just about any exercise and you can make your own changes to the training splits, the order of exercises and the weight being used.

Bodybuilders can benefit from the 5×5 program when you need to increase muscular size.

Powerlifters and Olympic lifters use this method quite often and make it a basis of their training.

Even recreational trainers should give it a try, for the challenge and also the rewards.

What Next?

Armed with your new 5RM, return to workout 1 in the next week of this plan. If you’re fairly new to compound lifts, you’ll make impressive gains with the Texas Method.

If you’re more experienced, or follow the plan for a long time, you’ll notice your gains begin to slow and you’ll have to work that much harder to progress.

It won’t work forever, but as an introduction to advanced programming it’s perfect.

Form guides


With your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, rest the bar on the back of your shoulders.

With your chest up and core braced, squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.

Drive back up through your heels to stand.


Hold the bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip, with your arms straight and feet under the bar.

Keeping your chest up and back straight, drive through your heels to raise the bar and push your hips forwards to stand tall.

Bench press

Lie on a flat bench holding the bar with an overhand grip, hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.

Drive your feet hard into the floor and press the weights straight up powerfully, then lower them slowly to the start position.

Overhead press

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the bar with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.

Brace your core and glutes to keep your balance and press the bar overhead. Lower it until it’s sitting on the top of your chest.


Hold a chin-up bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.

Brace your core and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body, then lower under control.

Good morning

Stand holding a barbell on the back of your shoulders, not your neck. Slowly bend forwards at your hips, keeping your legs and back straight.

Bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then rise back to the start.

Power clean

Raise the weight to chest height by powerfully pushing through your heels and driving your hips forwards, keeping the bar close to your body.

Quickly drop into a half squat, bring your arms under the bar to catch it on the top of your chest, and stand up. Carefully return the bar to the floor.

Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

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