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Thread: SL 5x5

  1. #1
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    SL 5x5

    To me this appears to be a very practical, foundational training program for building a solid base of strength. Lots of testimonials of people making good strength gains.

    I was unimpressed with the 'before and after' photos of people which i hardly noticed a difference in how they looked, but realisticly , diet is probably the reason for that .



    Is anyone here currently doing or has done SL 5x5 program ?

    If so, is there anything that you added or modified ?

    When you started the program, what was your level of lifting experience ? Did you do the bs thing about starting with just the bar ? Or did you simply start at your current 70% 1RM for each lift ?


    Was there anything that didnt agree with you when doing this program ?
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    Just a rip off of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
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  3. #3
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    So if its a rip off then one could say it is a very similar program that would produce very simiar strength gains. Correct me if im wrong.
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    For a while. Until 5x5 is far too much volume to recover between sessions.
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  5. #5
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    i would definitely say...i would probably end up doing 3x5 for some exercises....and probably alternating rows with cleans..because i like cleans. and i would probably incorporate chins .
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    Originally Posted by F1eld View Post
    i would definitely say...i would probably end up doing 3x5 for some exercises....and probably alternating rows with cleans..because i like cleans. and i would probably incorporate chins .
    Just get your hands on the book Starting Strength. StrongLifts won't teach proper form. SS clears up confusion about rows/cleans. And SS incorporates chinups from the very beginning because that's exactly what you should do if you want to prevent muscular imbalances.
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  7. #7
    stretching blows boathead's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by F1eld View Post
    So if its a rip off then one could say it is a very similar program that would produce very simiar strength gains. Correct me if im wrong.
    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

    Originally Posted by IzzyT View Post
    For a while. Until 5x5 is far too much volume to recover between sessions.
    that is my thinking as well. sl 5x5 is considered sl's beginner routine, and you are supposed to transition from that to a 3x5. i just can't see how, if one is adding weight to the bar religiously, how you could last more than a month on the 5x5, with its sets across scheme and ABA BAB rotation.

    imo, stronglifts decided that if 3x5 is good, then 5x5 must be better. and i think sl is wrong. there is not adequate recovery built into the program.
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  8. #8
    No longer in denial Nikonguy's Avatar
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    Even Bill Star's 5x5 is not 5x5 literally 5 sets of 5 reps all the time on every lift.

    One of the benifits of using the book Starting Strength is it explains exactly how and why you do things.
    It's worth buying just to learn the basic exercises*

    *forget the arguements about elbow and head position for squats, everybody will find their own best way.
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  9. #9
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    any of the proven programs work if you stick to it...
    New training log + home gym build http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=157757733


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    theres no doubting that mehdi did just add 2 extra sets to the bb.com style starting strength template, with pullups and rows as part of the program. i swear i read one of the articles saying "madcow and texas method are for intermediate lifters (lifters with atleast a 295 squat)" wut
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by boathead View Post
    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV



    that is my thinking as well. sl 5x5 is considered sl's beginner routine, and you are supposed to transition from that to a 3x5. i just can't see how, if one is adding weight to the bar religiously, how you could last more than a month on the 5x5, with its sets across scheme and ABA BAB rotation.

    imo, stronglifts decided that if 3x5 is good, then 5x5 must be better. and i think sl is wrong. there is not adequate recovery built into the program.
    Starting with an empty bar as the program describes, you will be squatting around 105lbs after one month. You must be really weak if you cannot squat 105lbs after a month of training.

    I took StrongLifts to 470lbs 5x5. Why so many people cry about 5x5 being too much volume?
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    Originally Posted by pandaraper View Post
    he could only squat 330 after 8 years of training when he started the site. I squat 345 after one year and I'm weak as **** and 9 inches taller than him. IMO he doesn't know much about getting strong, but that's just my opinion.
    He discovered 5 X5 late himself, which is why it took him a long time to get his squat up doing split routines without supplements.
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    I started sl 5x5 2 weeks ago and Ive gotta say, it doesnt seem like too much volume at all, that being said, I training using a very high volume bb split for about 2 years, so anything involving less than 20-30 sets per body part seems low volume to me, I think people who say theres not enough recovery with this program need to reevaluate what theyre doing outside of the gym, stretching/foam rolling/nutrition/water intake/sleep. People who don't take these things seriously will obviously have trouble recovering, especially nutrition, a lot of people think that just by eating a ton of calories, they are primed for growth and strength gains, which in reality isn't always true. Things like micros/macro suffiency do matter, along with things like epa/dha intake and electrolyte intake. Many of these things are overlooked or deemed unimportant, which is why a lot of people think that recovery is always an issue.
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    One thing i was wondering about was appropriate starting weights to be used ....Honestly i feel starting with the bar or some excessively light weight IS a waste of time . But its probably smart to back off of current 5RM weights a certain percentage .

    Right now i am in these areas for 5RM :

    5RM squat = 240lbs
    5RM deadlift= 320lbs
    5RM bench= 170lbs
    5RM press= 125lbs

    Im not sure what my clean is, i had stopped doing cleans for a while and recently i have been doing light sets of cleans and hang cleans to gain good technique.


    If you had done this program and already had lifting experience (like myself) beforehand, what percentage did you decrease your work set poundages when beginning SS or SL ?



    I will probably buy the starting strength book on monday when i go into town for work.
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    Have you had time off from lifting?

    If those numbers are current you are probably not going to get a lot more out of SL or SS. Might want to consider 5/3/1, Madcows, or Texas Method.
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    PowerliftingToWin.com IzzyT's Avatar
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    OP, take off 10% at most. If you have no glaring form issues then you shouldn't need to take off much if anything assuming you haven't had any time off. Yes, you're right; it is a waste of time to start with the bar.




    Why would anyone waste an entire two months of training to work on form? Is this real life? It should only take you two or three weeks of squatting to get something approximating half-way decent form WHILE adding weight during legit work set weights. I can't even possibly use the same form I do for a 300lbs+ squat that I do for a squat with the bar anyway. The mechanics are different because gravity is easier to defy when you have a noodle on your back.

    5x5 is too much volume because this is the volume that much intermediate programming uses to drive adaptation in a weekly progression scheme.

    StrongLifts is a good program because it based on things that have always worked and always will, but that doesn't make it optimal. Starting with the bar is not optimal for 99% of the lifting population. It is a waste of an entire month of training (if not more because most people start around ~135x5 not ~105).

    And I also have to agree that Mehdi comes across as a complete con the way he's kicked people off forums in an attempt to further monetize his highly unoriginal program.
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    i started with stronglifts advanced as a base, but have added in more volume as i recover pretty well.

    my entered starting weights were 10 lbs less for legs and 5 lbs less for upper body (1rm). the closest i have gotten to missing reps was a loose grip on deadlifts, but i just regripped quick and pulled the final rep. weights have been feeling just right from week to week

    my added accessory work consists of low cable rows, cable flys, shrugs, curls, and incline db bench depending on the day
    gym lifts/competition lifts

    squat ???/650
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    Originally Posted by scorpionsf View Post
    my added accessory work consists of low cable rows, cable flys, shrugs, curls, and incline db bench depending on the day
    Yeah thats one thing , for someone that has already been doing some lifting , or anyone for that matter, i feel that some specific additional accesory work is necessary in order to strengthen weak areas that one might have.

    Some form issues on main exercises are not going to simply be resolved by just doing more of that same exercise . Sometimes certain areas need to be strengthened in order to be in balance with everything else, therefore allowing one to perform said exercise properly.

    I dont see the big harm with adding things like woodchoppers, planks and some abdominal strengthening to go with regular compounds.

    For some people , thier upper arms might actually be a weak point and doing a set or 2 of upper arm exercises in a few of the sessions wouldnt hurt anything.
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    Originally Posted by hammerfelt View Post
    Have you had time off from lifting?

    If those numbers are current you are probably not going to get a lot more out of SL or SS. Might want to consider 5/3/1, Madcows, or Texas Method.
    Well i dont know , you see there are people doing these beginner programs that are handling some relatively very heavy poundages. Which shows there is some merit to it .

    The principle shown with these programs for constant solid strength gain appears to be low volume, higher frequency sessions.
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    Interesting comments....I started SL today after doing a year of a messed up BB split and PHAT (about 6 months each). I made decent progress, but I honestly failed to establish the strength base I wanted: specifically with my BP. I managed to get my BP up to 185x7, but I was all over the map in my progression. Squat got 275x5 and DL to 315x1. But I was not happy with my squat ROM either...

    I don't feel like the 5x5 is overkill on volume at all. I would say that most people can keep up with that until squat breaks 225 and BP gets to bodyweight. I took last week to deload and make sure my starting weights were on target. I started BP @ 135 and squat at 155 ATG. I am doing Rows and seated OHP due to space limitations in my garage. It might hinder a little bit, but I will do what I got to do.

    I read a little bit on the reasoning behind 3x5 and 5x5 by Mark and Mehdi....I don't have a huge problem with eithers philosophy. And my opinion is that both of them come across as arrogant...I get irritated reading or listening to either of them LOL!
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    isn't that the program by that "Mehdi" guy or whatever?

    **** that guy lol. ****in idiot.
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    Ogre in training Black_Spit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hammerfelt View Post
    I took StrongLifts to 470lbs 5x5. Why so many people cry about 5x5 being too much volume?
    Because in a lot of cases it's too much volume???
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    Originally Posted by Black_Spit View Post
    Because in a lot of cases it's too much volume???
    Can you elaborate a bit on this? Is it too much volume from a PL perspective. When I explained the SS or SL routine to my friend (he has only done BB splits) he cried the exact opposite.
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    Ogre in training Black_Spit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ParsonBrown View Post
    Can you elaborate a bit on this? Is it too much volume from a PL perspective. When I explained the SS or SL routine to my friend (he has only done BB splits) he cried the exact opposite.
    Well in bodybuilding, the intensity (% of 1RM) is much lower. They might do 12-20 sets of say, Chest. All in the 50-60% of 1RM Range probably. If you asked them to do the same workout with closer to maybe 80%, they probably couldn't do half of that... Maybe less.

    When the intensity is high (ie; linear programs adding 5 pounds per workout), then the correct volume is important.

    I think SS is perfect for most. I think 5x5 across is probably great for a lot of people too, but like I said, for some people the volume could be too much.

    Just don't listen to the guy doing the bodybuilding split. Apples and oranges, and he probably doesn't have a clue anyway.
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    Originally Posted by Black_Spit View Post
    Well in bodybuilding, the intensity (% of 1RM) is much lower. They might do 12-20 sets of say, Chest. All in the 50-60% of 1RM Range probably. If you asked them to do the same workout with closer to maybe 80%, they probably couldn't do half of that... Maybe less.

    When the intensity is high (ie; linear programs adding 5 pounds per workout), then the correct volume is important.

    I think SS is perfect for most. I think 5x5 across is probably great for a lot of people too, but like I said, for some people the volume could be too much.

    Just don't listen to the guy doing the bodybuilding split. Apples and oranges, and he probably doesn't have a clue anyway.
    Thanks for the response and it makes sense....In the end each of us have to find what works best for our individual goals. As far as the guy doing the bb split - He is a good friend and I really value his opinion and experience to a degree. BUT he is a typical guy that says only BP matters. He can BP over 300, but can't squat 185 ATG or DL 225 probably...says he doesn't want big legs
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    5x5 is too much volume because most people simply cannot recover from this if the intensity is as high as it should be on a linear progression program (%1RM). Consider this, most intermediate programming uses 5x5 type volume on Monday/Tuesday to drive an intensity day PR (1x5, 1x3, or 1x1) on Friday/Saturday. In any case, if you can get the same or better results with 3x5 as a novice why in the hell would you want to do more volume? You're increasing time spent in the gym, increasing the chance of injury, and doing so for no real reason (other than perhaps building work capacity). SL preaches 5x5, and starting with the bar, for "form" practice. I don't think it is efficient whatsoever, but a lot of people have had success with that approach. I'd rather not waste a month of gym time though.
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    Originally Posted by IzzyT View Post
    SL preaches 5x5, and starting with the bar, for "form" practice. I don't think it is efficient whatsoever, but a lot of people have had success with that approach. I'd rather not waste a month of gym time though.
    I didn't really walk away from SL seeing where he was preaching to start with the bar. For someone who has NEVER touched a weight in his/her life common sense must be applied.

    I guess for me personally I am trying to make heads or tail of the difference between 3x5 and 5x5 for someone with a little better than beginner strength and experience. I've done 3 workouts with 5x5 now and I admittedly started more on the conservative side with starting weights IMO. In the grand scheme if I tap out on my progression 2 weeks earlier than I would on 3x5...would it make that big of a difference over the long haul? I'm not arguing it at all...genuinely trying to understand the concept of volume here. 75 reps of squats per week is a far cry from the volume I have been doing.
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    Ogre in training Black_Spit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ParsonBrown View Post
    I didn't really walk away from SL seeing where he was preaching to start with the bar. For someone who has NEVER touched a weight in his/her life common sense must be applied.

    I guess for me personally I am trying to make heads or tail of the difference between 3x5 and 5x5 for someone with a little better than beginner strength and experience. I've done 3 workouts with 5x5 now and I admittedly started more on the conservative side with starting weights IMO. In the grand scheme if I tap out on my progression 2 weeks earlier than I would on 3x5...would it make that big of a difference over the long haul? I'm not arguing it at all...genuinely trying to understand the concept of volume here. 75 reps of squats per week is a far cry from the volume I have been doing.
    For the first few weeks or even months, it literally doesn't matter. You could do 4x8 or 3x10 or 5x5 and still add 5 pounds to the bar. It's when it starts to become really hard to get your sets and reps, and you spend the next 2 days wondering how in the hell you are going to add 5 pounds and do it again, and you repeat that cycle a couple dozen times, that the volume becomes much more important.

    You already have one example of a guy who made it up to 5x5 of 470x5... I think that's highly unusual, but it shows that it can be done. And, you might be someone who thrives on higher volume. It's not a black and white answer. Just make a decision and roll with it.
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    Originally Posted by Black_Spit View Post
    For the first few weeks or even months, it literally doesn't matter. You could do 4x8 or 3x10 or 5x5 and still add 5 pounds to the bar. It's when it starts to become really hard to get your sets and reps, and you spend the next 2 days wondering how in the hell you are going to add 5 pounds and do it again, and you repeat that cycle a couple dozen times, that the volume becomes much more important.

    You already have one example of a guy who made it up to 5x5 of 470x5... I think that's highly unusual, but it shows that it can be done. And, you might be someone who thrives on higher volume. It's not a black and white answer. Just make a decision and roll with it.
    Thanks! It is easy to over think it all. In summary...pick something and roll with it. Realize that you will eventually hit a ceiling...when that happens make the necessary adjustments.
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