The 5×5 workout program is meant for individuals who can carry out basic training exercises with ease. If you are a beginner or do not exercise regularly, then start on less-strenuous exercises before attempting the 5×5 training program. The intensity and volume is higher than what beginner bodybuilders are used to doing. This high intensity exercising can injure you if your body is not ready for such movement. It is common to see people overtraining when doing the 5×5 training workout.

The fundamentals of the “5×5 cycle” should last around 8-9 weeks, which has 5 weeks of preparation, with another 4 weeks of the peak phase.

5×5 Workout Prep Work

In the first week of the 5×5 workout, you should be preparing your body thoroughly. Allow yourself time to adapt your body to such an intense routine. The first step to take with this type of program is finding a set of weights to start with. If you go too heavy, you will put your body under unnecessary stress. If you go too light, then you will not be experiencing maximum muscle development.

Finding The Right Weights

Find a set of weights in a range that allows you to complete 5 sets of any exercise, with 5 reps per set (25 repetitions in total). However, ensure that the weight is heavy enough that you could not complete 6 reps of 5 sets. To summarize, find a weight range that you can complete 5 reps of 5 sets, but not 6 reps of 5 sets. The whole 5×5 workout is based on the assumption that you can complete all of the 25 reps. This is why it is so important that you find the correct weight set.

Increase Weight Without Injury

Once you have completed the first week, you should be able to lift all of your weights in the correct form. Once this has happened, you may look to increase the weight. It’s important that you increase the weight in small increments to maximize your strength improvement. When using free weights, Exxtreme Labs suggests increasing weight by only 5lbs per dumbbell and 10lbs on each side for barbell exercises. If you increase the weight to drastically when doing a 5×5 workout, it is likely that you will encounter overtraining, injury or you will not be able to finish the sets.

In a situation where you cannot complete the 5×5 set/rep regime, then you should reduce the weight to a level that you can complete the entire 5×5 workout program. If you find that by decreasing the weight, you end up at where you started, then lift these weight for another week before trying to increase the weight again. Build your strength by lifting this weight until you are capable of doing the full 5×5 routine using heavier weights.

Nutrition is key when doing the 5×5 workout plan as your muscle development will be limited if you are not consuming the adequate protein and minerals. Once you reach week 4, you should be looking to set new weight maxes and visual improvements should be seen. You should see the greatest increase in muscle volume during your “bulking” phase.

5×5 Program Peak Phase

Once you arrive at the 4 week preparation mark, you should be ready to start the 5×5 peak phase. This is where you follow a 3×3 routine of 3 sets of each exercise, but 3 repetitions each. This should allow you to lift heavier each rep, with better form. Compound exercises, such as a squat, deadlift and bench press should be done only twice per week in the 3×3 workout regime. These compound exercises put strain on your body more than the rest, so it is wise to only do them twice per week instead of three times.

Whilst in the peak phase, remember to increase weights. The increasing of the weight is more important than the increasing of the number of reps performed. This is time to train at your maximum and break down muscle, so it can grow back with more volume. This is the routine that you should look to follow for the 5×5 workout program.

5×5 Training – Day 1 (Tuesday)

  • Bent Over Barbell Row: 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Barbell Bench Press : 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Barbell Squat: 5 sets / 5 reps

5×5 Training – Day 2 (Thursday)

  • Barbell Squat: 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Bent Over Barbell Row: 5 sets / 5 reps

5×5 Training – Day 3 (Saturday)

  • Barbell Deadlifts: 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Standing Military Press: 5 sets / 5 reps
  • Front Barbell Squat: 5 sets / 5 reps

Best 5×5 Training Supplements

To maximize muscle development when doing the 5×5 workout regime, it is important that you follow a dietary plan. This will ensure that you are in caloric surplus and have the correct nutrients to build muscle. We recommend adding some sport supplements to your dietary plan to help you reach your quota with ease. It can be difficult to eat the enough protein whilst working, so check out these products to help you. Exxtreme Labs ‘Ultimate Core’ pre-workout is the best way to increase your energy levels naturally. Our pre-workout is designed to help you bulk and is a muscle catalyst.