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  1. #1
    6'0" 190lbs BulkingIsHard's Avatar
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    Is 5x5 too much volume?

    1st set is like 6 or 7/10 intensity.
    By the last set I’m completely dead.
    Takes me like 30 minutes including warmup.
    Always get light headed, and barely have energy left for accessories.

    I’m used to less volume like 3x5 or even 3x3 which I find much more manageable and enjoyable, but I started to plateau so I guessed it was because I didn’t have enough volume.

    Edit: just to clarify I mean 5x5 only for compounds, not stronglifts
    Last edited by BulkingIsHard; 01-16-2021 at 10:15 PM.
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  2. #2
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    If the weight is the same for all 5 sets, my opinion is that the first 2 or 3 sets are just warm ups.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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  3. #3
    Registered User George2100's Avatar
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    Just ramp up to a top set instead
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    6'0" 190lbs BulkingIsHard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    If the weight is the same for all 5 sets, my opinion is that the first 2 or 3 sets are just warm ups.
    Isn't that the program though? Warmup to "x" weight then do 5 sets of 5 reps of "x".

    Some might also argue that intensity is unnecessary for progression so long as you are lifting sufficiently heavy (e.g. at least 80% of 1 RM) with at minimum 20 reps of volume per workout.

    Originally Posted by George2100 View Post
    Just ramp up to a top set instead
    I am considering a reverse pyramid. Maybe one heavy top set of like 1-3 reps then 3 or 4 sets of 5/6 with lighter weight. I won't be as burned out towards the end and won't hog the platform for half an hour.
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  5. #5
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    Isn't that the program though? Warmup to "x" weight then do 5 sets of 5 reps of "x".
    I'm saying 2 to 3 of the 5 sets of "x" are glorified warm ups.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    6'0" 190lbs BulkingIsHard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    I'm saying 2 to 3 of the 5 sets of "x" are glorified warm ups.
    I agree with you that the first couple feel easy, but like I said, some people would argue it doesn't matter how intense a workout is, so long as you are getting in at least 20 reps of volume and lifting at least 80% of your 1 RM.

    You are saying that the 5x5 is essentially a 2x5 or a 3x5 because the first few sets don't have sufficient stimulation.

    Your opposition would say that all of those 25 reps have sufficient stimulation.
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    I found it was too much personally and I switched to 3x5. Great minds think alike.
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  8. #8
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    By the last set I’m completely dead.
    Takes me like 30 minutes including warmup.
    You finish your 5x5 workouts in 30 minutes? Are you lifting light and resting very little?
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  9. #9
    Registered User bLinkMoore's Avatar
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    Seems like very low volume for you to be getting that fried, especially if the weight has you at RPE 6 for the first set.

    How many times a week are you lifting? What're your rest periods looking like?
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  10. #10
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    I do 3x5, then 3x6, then back to 3x5 with heavier weights and so on.
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  11. #11
    I'm huge in Japan! xsquid99's Avatar
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    I ran a 5x5 for my first 6 months, wasn't a fan of it for precisely this reason. I'm with TolerantLactose above, if they expect you to get to the 5th rep on the 5th set and be at say RPE 8-9 then your first 2-3 sets are at a much lower intensity and are in fact "glorified warmups", unless you're resting 10 minutes between each set.

    I prefer a pyramid scheme where I pyramid up to a top set and then back down, using a range of 5-8 reps. Example 8 reps at 225 lbs, then 5-6 reps at 235 lbs, then back down to 225 for as many reps as possible (usually 6).
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  12. #12
    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Nope. 5x5 is pretty much 75% strength and 25% hypertrophy IMO. Use it on compounds and move up once you've conquered a weight for 25 reps. It requires more rest time between workouts. If you are concerned about having the energy/stamina to do more accessory then the ratio may not be what you are looking for. Look for something more geared for hypertrophy aka bodybuilding split.

    Looking at posts above it is 5 sets, 5 reps, same weight. Just to clarify what a 5x5 is. If you fail rep 23-24 you're doin it right.

    It's up to you to decide what direction you want to go once you are an intermediate/semi-experienced lifter (1.5-2yrs. training). If you want to go for that 10-12%bodyfat ripped physique, 5x5 is probably not for you. If you are looking to progress with lifts, get more mass and stick around the 15-17% range then 5x5 may be for you.

    Personally I've adjusted to 4x6, get it done and then move to 3x8 same weight until I can get it, then move up and start over 4x6 whether it takes a week or 6weeks to conquer.
    Last edited by ezra76; 01-16-2021 at 07:58 PM.
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    6'0" 190lbs BulkingIsHard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    You finish your 5x5 workouts in 30 minutes? Are you lifting light and resting very little?
    I'm lifting at about 85% of my 1 RM. Resting 3-4 minutes because I get light headed if I jump back in too quickly.

    Originally Posted by bLinkMoore View Post
    Seems like very low volume for you to be getting that fried, especially if the weight has you at RPE 6 for the first set.

    How many times a week are you lifting? What're your rest periods looking like?
    D1: Deadlift + back accessories
    D2: Bench + chest/shoulder accessories
    D3: Squat/legs + calves and occasional running (mostly ran so I could be in good health for when I got COVID and kinda stopped running after I fought it off and tested positive)
    Rest 2 days

    During workout, rest 3 minutes minimum, upwards of 4, sometimes 5 if it's before a big lift or I'm low on energy that day.

    Last set is maximum effort, I start to get burned out on the 3rd/4th set. 1st set isn't necessarily easy, but I probably have 2 or 3 reps in reserve.

    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    Nope. 5x5 is pretty much 75% strength and 25% hypertrophy IMO. Use it on compounds and move up once you've conquered a weight for 25 reps. It requires more rest time between workouts. If you are concerned about having the energy/stamina to do more accessory then the ratio may not be what you are looking for. Look for something more geared for hypertrophy aka bodybuilding split.

    Looking at posts above it is 5 sets, 5 reps, same weight. Just to clarify what a 5x5 is. If you fail rep 23-24 you're doin it right.

    It's up to you to decide what direction you want to go once you are an intermediate/semi-experienced lifter (1.5-2yrs. training). If you want to go for that 10-12%bodyfat ripped physique, 5x5 is probably not for you. If you are looking to progress with lifts, get more mass and stick around the 15-17% range then 5x5 may be for you.

    Personally I've adjusted to 4x6, get it done and then move to 3x8 same weight until I can get it, then move up and start over 4x6 whether it takes a week or 6weeks to conquer.
    Tbh I am not really interested in bodybuilding, just want to get as strong as possible. I like the low reps because I get to go heavy but I feel like it's either not enough volume or I have to add so many sets where I start to get fatigued and spend too much time in the gym.
    Last edited by BulkingIsHard; 01-16-2021 at 11:20 PM.
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  14. #14
    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Get motivated with Clarence Kennedy. Watch till set 5 and see what it's like to die and come back to life. That's rpe 10.
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    6'0" 190lbs BulkingIsHard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post


    Get motivated with Clarence Kennedy.
    He is motivating but much more advanced compared to me plus also on the good vitamins which helps with recovery/overtraining
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    Tbh I am not really interested in bodybuilding, just want to get as strong as possible. I like the low reps because I get to go heavy but I feel like it's either not enough volume or I have to add so many sets where I start to get fatigued and spend too much time in the gym.
    5x5 at the same weight is not particularly good for strength.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    He is motivating but much more advanced compared to me plus also on the good vitamins which helps with recovery/overtraining
    Where are you at training wise? Time consistently lifting.

    As far as overtraining he's a powerlifter and squats every friggen day so geared or not we are not following his total program.

    However 5x5 is a strength based program. It is not meant to be doing the same weight every workout or there would be no point because it is not optimal for growing muscle size for bodybuilding. It is meant to conquer a weight then move up to the next challenge. If you are doing chest fly's and face pulls after, probably not the ideal workout for your goals.

    Also like I was saying I moved from 5x5 to a 4x6 and when I get those 24 reps I move to 3x8 same weight to master it. Then move up to the next weight and start over at 4x6.
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    I'm lifting at about 85% of my 1 RM. Resting 3-4 minutes because I get light headed if I jump back in too quickly.

    D1: Deadlift + back accessories
    D2: Bench + chest/shoulder accessories
    D3: Legs + calves and occasional running
    Got it, I was envisioning something else when you said 5x5.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    Where are you at training wise? Time consistently lifting.

    As far as overtraining he's a powerlifter and squats every friggen day so geared or not we are not following his total program.

    However 5x5 is a strength based program. It is not meant to be doing the same weight every workout or there would be no point because it is not optimal for growing muscle size for bodybuilding. It is meant to conquer a weight then move up to the next challenge. If you are doing chest fly's and face pulls after, probably not the ideal workout for your goals.

    Also like I was saying I moved from 5x5 to a 4x6 and when I get those 24 reps I move to 3x8 same weight to master it. Then move up to the next weight and start over at 4x6.
    Cool, he’s definitely drinking OJ though.
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    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    5x5 at the same weight is not particularly good for strength.

    Pretty much you should be starting the workout like "oh $hit, do I have this in me today?" when thinking about the last set. If you get it, great, fistbump your bro and then go to next weight next workout and start over.

    I think the misunderstanding with 5x5 is it's not supposed to be a hypertrophy workout. If you get all the reps you are supposed to add more weight next time, not do the same weight again. How is doing same weight, same reps productive? You need to increase one or the other or both or you are not progressing.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    5x5 at the same weight is not particularly good for strength.
    I know, hence why I liked to hit triples in the past. However, I was not interested in doing 6-8 heavy sets over an hour. Even 4-5 sets was a lot regarding time and fatigue, and I ended up dropped it down to 3x3, and I think that is too little volume. I think a reverse pyramid would be best for my case now that I think about it.

    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    Where are you at training wise? Time consistently lifting.
    I have been training on and off for about 4 years (I get bursts of motivation and eat/train well, then start to slow down when school or work gets busy). Strength standards are about intermediate according to exrx.net

    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    However 5x5 is a strength based program. It is not meant to be doing the same weight every workout or there would be no point because it is not optimal for growing muscle size for bodybuilding.
    That's the plan...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_decline
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Societal_collapse#By_absorption
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    I know, hence why I liked to hit triples in the past. However, I was not interested in doing 6-8 heavy sets over an hour. Even 4-5 sets was a lot regarding time and fatigue, and I ended up dropped it down to 3x3, and I think that is too little volume. I think a reverse pyramid would be best for my case now that I think about it.
    It's not about the reps unless you're training for a particular range. You don't need a lot of sets if you're training for strength. You can get away with as few as one or two sets so I don't agree that 3x3 is too little volume.
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    I never had trouble doing 5x5 with even the first set feeling pretty hard/not a warmup set.
    Maybe just give it some time to get used to the workload?
    And yes, it takes time to do 5 heavy sets plus warmup and lots of rest.
    I don't think you should purposely save energy for your assistance exercises. It's good to be a little tired before your cable flies, leg extensions, and bicep curls.
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post



    Tbh I am not really interested in bodybuilding, just want to get as strong as possible. I like the low reps because I get to go heavy but I feel like it's either not enough volume or I have to add so many sets where I start to get fatigued and spend too much time in the gym.
    Try it at 4x6 then 3x8. If you fail the 4x6 reps say on last set you only get 2 then drop weight and pause rep, rep out with lower weight or just move on. If you've failed after 20reps you've gotten what you were trying to accomplish done.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    It's not about the reps unless you're training for a particular range. You don't need a lot of sets if you're training for strength. You can get away with as few as one or two sets so I don't agree that 3x3 is too little volume.
    9 reps over 5 days is enough? That is kinda low regarding volume accumulation is it not?

    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    I don't think you should purposely save energy for your assistance exercises. It's good to be a little tired before your cable flies, leg extensions, and bicep curls.
    Fair enough, I just felt miserable today for some reason. Took longer than usual for deadlifts and got spots/lights in my vision after the last set when I was reracking.
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    9 reps over 5 days is enough? That is kinda low regarding volume accumulation is it not?
    Why do you need to accumulate volume if strength is your aim?
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Why do you need to accumulate volume if strength is your aim?
    Is volume not the primary driver of growth? Getting strong isn't completely independent of hypertrophy, the two are moderately correlated.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_decline
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    Depends on where you are in your training. If I want volume, I do back off sets after a single top set. For me, at least, back off sets are cake after a top set.
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    Originally Posted by BulkingIsHard View Post
    Is volume not the primary driver of growth? Getting strong isn't completely independent of hypertrophy, the two are moderately correlated.
    Is there a reason why you don’t want to train lifts/muscles >1x/week with the way you set up your program?
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Is there a reason why you don’t want to train lifts/muscles >1x/week with the way you set up your program?
    Is there something wrong with 3 days on followed by 2 days off?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_decline
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