5x5,the big three

Have any of you guys had any experience with the 5 sets of 5 bench,squat.barbell row weight program.If so would you be able to explain how it works. Appreciate any replies.

This is the link to the overall program that will tell you everything you need to know (and 100 times more than that!):


You probably want to look at the Intermediate (Linear) program first.

This is a FANTASTIC routine to get started with when you need some direction. It really takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation for you. If you start conservatively, you can make consistent strength and mass improvements for quite some time.

I would do away with the bent-over rows however. IMO, the lower back already gets enough stress as it is. You can substitute other movements for the row as outlined in the link given above.

What about back hypers or some other double joint ham exercise?

I’ve tried 5x5 for a few weeks but I find my body adapts better to sets of 3, or higher sets (6,7,8) of very low reps (2,3).

Bill Starr’s 5x5 is the program i started in highschool and it gave me some awesome gains.

I also receive a better benefit from 3 rep sets. I haven’t had the same success with the 5 x 5. I’ve wondered if one reason might be the energy system issue. The energy for high intensity movement in the first several seconds of exertion comes from the splitting of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) into ADP (adenosine diphoshphate) and phosphate §, and the splitting of Creatine Phosphate (CP) to resynthesize ADP back into ATP. The phosphate pool in specific muscles can be utilized for all-out bursts of effort for 5 to 15 seconds, peaking at about 10 seconds and diminishing rapidly until it’s mostly exausted at around 15 seconds.

When lifting maximally, rep speeds are slow. I usually take between 3 and 4 seconds per rep, and if I struggle with the last rep, as I should if lifting maximally, it might last 5 seconds, including both eccentric and concentric. For 5 reps, were talking as much as 25 seconds (maybe longer if I pause between reps), so I’m no longer using the ATP-CP energy pathway for the last rep or two, but instead have to rely on the Anaerobic Lactate (Glycolytic) System. From what I’ve read, the intensity of muscle contraction using this system is not as powerful as the ATP-CP contraction. I’ve wondered that since the weight we use in the 5 x 5 is based on how much we can lift on the 5th rep, and the 5th rep is done using the ALS-glycolytic system, perhaps a rep scheme of 3 reps or less, all done utilizing the ATP-CP energy pathway, might allow for greater intensity on the last rep, and therefore a higher intensity for the set.

Or am I splitting hairs?

^^^Interesting take. Another way to look at 3’s is that they don’t have to be max 3’s – you can do more sets with a lower weight. I’ve been thinking about doing 3’s myself, as I’ve stalled w/ 5x5. I know there are different ways to do 5x5, but I still think a change might be helpful.

Did you follow the 5RM @ Week 4 suggestion? How did this work out? Seems overly conservative?