0 Items - £0.00
Free Delivery on Orders Over £49!
Protein Pound Rewards
Visit the Blog
Next dispatch:

Increase Strength With 5x5 Training

Posted on January 21, 2015 by Nathan Robinson There have been 0 comments

One of the more popular muscle mass building programs being used right now is the 5x5 program. In this article we explain how to increase strength and size with 5x5 training.

Essentially, the workout is designed to hit your muscles hard three times per week and then allow enough time to promote growth and recovery. It was designed by strength athletes because one of the most common effects of training this way is dramatic increases in strength. Increases in muscle mass are also apparent providing you are eating enough calories to support muscle hypertrophy.

It should be noted too, that you should have a decent level of base training behind you before starting a 5x5 program. The intensity and volume are higher so if your body is not used to dealing with higher loads, it is going to have a hard time recovering and you could risk overtraining.

5x5 training specialises in periodization, changing the program as you progress through it to constantly change the stimulus, promote increases in strength by further challenging your muscles each week, whilst also having enough recovery time built in to achieve the size, strength and rebuilding goals you have set for yourself.

In my experience, a full 5x5 program should last for a total of 8 weeks, which includes 5 weeks of prep work and then a 3 week peak phase. After you have completed a full cycle, it is a good idea to have a ‘deloading’ week, where you workout with less weight and intensity, or if you prefer, just take a full week of complete rest in order to give your central nervous system a break an ‘recharge your batteries’.

5 x 5 Prep Work

During the first week of the training program you should be careful, ensuring your body has a chance to grow accustomed to this type of training. It is likely going to be something that you aren’t used to so allow for a little adaptation to take place.


During this week, you will pick a weight that you can do for a total of 5 sets with 5 reps. This weight shouldn’t be so easy that you feel you could do a lot more than that, but likewise it shouldn’t be so hard that you are not able to complete the given protocol. One of the most essential factors of this program is that you do in fact do 5 sets of 5 reps, it is a key factor in the success of the program and must be followed. Before starting the first week, it would be a good idea to set a 5 rep max for each of the exercises you are performing, just so you know what weight that you are specifically trying to beat. During the first week you may want to use slightly less weight since obviously you do have 5 sets to complete rather than just the one you used for your 5 rep max tester.


If after the first week you have managed to successfully complete all your sets at a specified weight then try to bump it up by 5kg for the following week. Again here, if you bump it up and are not able to successfully complete all the reps with decent form, then this is too high of an increase and you need to be more moderate. If you have really been struggling to lift the amount of weight you were using however, then you will want to keep it the same for one more week and then hopefully after that you can raise it higher. By the time you hit 4-5 weeks you should be setting new rep maxes and will be seeing a significant increase in strength and size, provided you are in calorific surplus of course.


After you have finished with this prep phase (ending after 5 weeks) it is then time to move onto the peaking phase. What you will do for the first 2 weeks is drop your sets and reps down to more of a 3x3 set up. This will allow you to push each set even harder and therefore hopefully lift more weight, thus upping your max! During these few weeks the most important thing you must focus on, even more so than getting the reps, is that the weight increases. This is your peaking phase after all so you want to be pushing yourself to new levels. Finally, for the final week of the cycle you can take it down to 1 set of 3 for 2-3 workouts and maybe even try for single reps maxes at the end. It should be noted though that not everyone will choose to do the single rep maxes, one set of three or even the 2-3 weeks of 3x3 set up.

If you choose to end the cycle after the initial 5 weeks prep phase of 5x5, then that is alright too and in some cases, such as for those who are training for specific sports, the intensity levels during the peak phases are just too much for them to handle along with their other physical persuits.



Barbell squat – 5x5

Barbell bench press – 5x5 bent over row

Bent over barbell row – 5x5

(Accessory exercises)

Sit ups – 5x5

Cable tricep extension – 5x5


Barbell front squat – 5x5

Standing military press – 5x5 5x5 training

Barbell deadlift – 5x5

Pullups – 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

(Accessory exercises)

Barbell curl – 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

Crunches – 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps


Barbell squat – 5x5

Barbell bench press – 5x5

Bent over barbell row – 5x5

(Accessory exercises)

Bench dips – 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

Ab crunch machine – 2-2 sets of 5-8 reps

As with any training program you need to ensure you have the correct pre and post workout nutrition, the workouts are going to take a lot out of your body so providing them with the nutrients to fuel the activity as well as recovery from it is essential if you hope to make progress.

If you are looking for a new workout to try and want to increase strength and size gains then give 5x5 a try, if done correctly the results are undeniable and I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to go on to a second cycle sometime in the future.

By Nathan Robinson



This post was posted in Athletes and was tagged with training plan, workout, mass

Leave a Reply