If your goal is to add on some serious muscle mass then 5×5 training may be for you. Not only is it one of the simplest training systems ever developed but it is also one of the most effective when it comes to muscle and strength building workouts.

Following a 5×5 strength training regimen means that you will only spend 3 days in the gym per week and only perform a total of 3 exercises per workout. While this may not sound like enough volume to really elicit serious muscle gain, the heavy compound lifts which contain 5 sets of 5 reps each will really push your body to the limit. The only exception is the deadlift which contains 1 set of 5 reps.


  • Barbell Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead Press
  • Barbell Row

The workout is split into 2 days which are alternated throughout the training week. On day A, you perform the Barbell Squat, Bench Press and Barbell Row and on day B, you perform the Barbell Squat, Overhead Press and Deadlift.

The focus on the program is to build strength and increase the amount of weight you push with each training session while keeping proper form. Slowly increase weight as the weeks progress but make sure to complete 5 reps in each set without taking them to failure.

When determining your starting weight for the program, you need to establish your 5-rep max and then use roughly 50 percent of that. As the weeks progress and weight is added you will quickly find that 5 reps are extremely difficult to reach.

If you are unable to perform 5 reps for each set on an exercise, stick to the same weight in the following workout. Keep to the same weight until you can perform all 5 sets with 5 reps each.


Simplicity – Because there are only limited exercises it is easy to shift between exercises.
Trains Multiple Muscle Groups – The compound lifts use work to use multiple muscle groups in the body at the same time and really shock the central nervous system.
Perfect Exercises Easily – Because the workout focusses on such a limited number of exercises, you will be able to perfect each one within a couple of weeks.
Train Heavy – Because of the limited number of exercises and training days, you will be able really push heavy with each exercise to build strength and muscle.


Beginner & Intermediate Focussed – One of the major drawbacks to this type of training is that it is focussed more for beginner and intermediate lifters as it does not focus on the greater complexity, intensity and training volume required for advanced lifters.


The strength and muscle building benefits of 5×5 training can be extremely beneficial for beginners and intermediate lifters but if you have more than a year or two of consistent training under your belt, then this style of training is probably not for you unless your focus is strength gain rather than hypertrophy.

With that said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to training. Some people respond better to lower reps with higher weights while other respond better to lower weight and a greater volume. My advice for all beginners and intermediate lifters is to give the 5×5 training regimen a go for 6 weeks, and if you are making progress, then continue for a maximum of 12 weeks before switching up your program to a hypertrophy-based regimen.

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