Stronglifts 5×5 for Muscle and Strength

Stronglifts 5x5

If you are trying to build muscle and strength and are looking for a program that can help you with these gains then no doubt you have heard about the Stronglifts 5×5 program.

This program claims to be the simplest and most effective way to get stronger and to build muscle while burning fat, but how does it work though, and is it really as effective as it is claimed to be?

History of Stronglifts 5×5

Lifting 5 sets of 5 reps is not a new concept, as it was originally conceived by Reg Park in the 1960s, who created a similar program.

His program used a variety of different exercises, but did include the ‘big three’ (the squat, bench press and deadlift).

A while later, in 1976, Bill Starr simplified this program, cutting it back to the ‘big three’, along with other full body movements like the power clean and overhead press.

Stronglifts 5×5 took this program, replaced a few of the exercises and the newly evolved program is what we see today.

How to perform Stronglifts 5×5

The Stronglifts 5×5 program involves the following exercises:

  • Squat
  • Bench press
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead press
  • Barbell row

For the workout you will perform 3 of these free weight compound exercises each workout, 3x a week, with each workout lasting around 45 minutes.

With this program you must squat every time you workout.

As the title suggests you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps, apart from the deadlift, which is just a single set of 5 reps.

The following is an example of the type of workouts you should do:

Workout A

  • Squat – 5 sets – 5 reps – 1 to 5 mins rest
  • Bench press – 5 sets – 5 reps – 1to 5 mins rest
  • Barbell row – 5 sets – 5 reps – 1 to 5 mins rest

Workout B

  • Squat – 5 sets – 5 reps – 1 to 5 mins rest
  • Overhead press – 5 sets – 5 reps – 1 to 5 mins rest
  • Deadlift – 1 set – 5 reps – 1 to 5 mins rest

It is important when performing the Stronglifts 5×5 program that you take at least one day off between workouts, so that your body has time to recover and grow.

This means that you should lift on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for example.

The aim of these workouts is not to get pumped or to reach failure, but you should be trying to add weight each workout as this helps to build the strength and muscle.

If you start to lose form, or fail to complete the required reps then the weight will need to drop.

The video below will help show you the exercises needed to complete the Stronglifts 5×5 program using proper form for best results without injury:

Benefits of the Stronglifts 5×5 program

One of the main benefits of the Stronglifts 5×5 program is its simplicity.

Anyone can pick up the program and follow it, which will ensure that even those beginners can start to see good results.

As the exercises involved are compound movements then you will use a number of muscles with the lift, unlike those exercises that focus on just the one or two muscles.

This helps release a surge of hormones such as testosterone that will increase strength and boost muscle growth.

Negative aspect of the Stronglifts 5×5 program

The main benefit of the Stronglifts 5×5 program is also its main negative too, as those who are at an advanced stage in their lifting may find that the program is too simple.

These advanced lifters often require greater training complexity to continue to see those muscle and strength gains. They will also need more weight and intensity than the Stronglifts 5×5 program offers.

One set of deadlifts is not a lot over the course of one week either, and although the squat has been designed as an alternative. They are not the same, and work your muscles slightly differently.

Our conclusion

There is a reason why the Stronglifts 5×5 program is so popular, it really works and has been shown to boost both strength and muscle, in particular among those who are new to lifting.

For those who are at a more advanced stage then the Stronglifts 5×5 program maybe too simplistic.

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