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What is the 5x5 Work Out?


A couple years ago I had joined a new gym. Within a few days I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, let’s call him Mike. Mike isn’t athletic and at the time wasn’t strong. He also recently joined the gym and we would often run into each other. He always did the same few workouts and I was thinking this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing. After a couple weeks into our new workout plans I asked, “Mike what’s the deal, you’re always doing the same few lifts”.
He told me he was doing the 5x5 workout. Five sets of lifting as heavy as he could for five reps of three different exercises three days a week. A simple workout plan that I quickly realized works very well.
The plan consists of only two workouts and five exercises in total; the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and barbell row. Together they work your whole body and all you need is a barbell and weight plates. When doing this workout, you want to make sure that you are increasing the weight of each exercise each week and never lift back to back days. For example, when doing this workout, you’ll lift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday alternating workouts rest 2 days and start it over the following Monday.
A plan typically looks like this –
Workout A: Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row
Workout B: Squat, Military Press, Deadlift
Rest times –
1 minute 30 seconds if you easily completed five reps on your last set
3 minutes if you struggled to get five reps on your last set
5 minutes if you failed to get five reps on your last set
Week 1
Monday – Workout A       
Squat – 5x5                     
Bench Press – 5x5          
Barbell Row – 5x5           
Wednesday - Workout B
Squat - 5x5
Military Press - 5x5
Deadlift - 5x5
Friday - Workout A
Squat - 5x5
Bench Press - 5x5
Barbell Row - 5x5
Since you ended week 1 with workout A you begin week 2 with workout B.
Week 2
Monday – Workout B     
Squat – 5x5                      
Military Press – 5x5          
Deadlift – 5x5 
Wednesday - Workout A
Squat - 5x5
Bench Press - 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5 
Friday - Workout B
Squat - 5x5
Military Press - 5x5
Deadlift – 5x5
This workout plan is centered around the best lifts for you the squat, bench press and deadlift. These compound lifts are best for your body and building strength. Add in a solid nutrition plan, good sleep, and hydrate for optimal results.
After three months Mike had become much stronger than me. He also added some bicep and triceps exercises and ab workouts to his plan and was looking great. If you can’t work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you can do Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I recommend resting two days every 3 workouts so that your muscles have enough time to recover and get stronger.

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