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Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is!


A 'HALO' over my head...
Everyone's been asking me about this 5 x 5 thing im doing.... There are many variations, this is one variation of the 'true' 5 x 5 routine that MAdCow2 helped me work out (thanx a million bro). Here goes...

*********5 x 5***********
Bill Starr's 5x5 program is also a nice alternative for future use. It is an excellent program to add size and strength, over a period of 8-10 weeks.

This is slightly tweaked from Starr's original writeup:

I originally developed this tweaked variation on the 5x5 based on JohnSmith182's writeups on Meso. He is easily one of the most knowledgable strength coaches in the country so I'll paraphrase his words: This program is used by many athletes even at the most elite levels for at least part of the year. It is excellent at increasing overall strength. THE MAIN ISSUE IS THAT IS ALSO TOO GOOD AT INCREASING LEAN BODY MASS. Athletes who are close to their weight class limit often need to SEVERLY restrict their diets to avoid growing right out of their weightclass. Most of the gains appear during the final phase of the program as the body defatigues from the earlier volume phase.

Volume Phase 4 weeks - Deloading Period 1 week - Intensity Phase 4-5 weeks
PS-These first 4 weeks WILL wear your ass out if your doing it right.

Squat 5x5 (3x3)
Bench 1x5 (1x3)
Row 1x5 (1x3)

Squat 5x5 with 15-20% less than Monday (drop this lift)
Deadlift 5x5 (3x3)
Military 5x5 (3x3)
Pullups 5x5 (3x3)

Squat 1x5 (1x3)
Bench 5x5 (3x3)
Row 5x5 (3x3)

Volume Phase - Weeks 1-4:
I use 5 sets of 5 reps at working weight standard (I don't count warmups) increasing the weight week to week and trying to set records in weeks 3 and 4. I try to focus on acceleration during these days. For exercises which I do twice a week I have a separate day which I perform a single set of 5 reps with the goal of setting records on the 3rd and 4th week for my best set of 5. For the squat I use Wednesday and utilize between 10-20% less than my working weight on the Monday workout - no goals for this. The main point here is the volume. Don't start the weights too high. Lower the weight if need be but get the sets and reps in - except where you are setting records. I also do a fair amount of warmups to keep my volume decently high on the single sets of 5 reps days.

Deloading Week - Week 5:
On week 5 DROP THE WEDNESDAT SQUAT WORKOUT, begin using the Intensity set/rep scheme (in parentheses), and keep the weight the same as your last week in the Volume Phase.

Intensity Phase - Week 6-10:
Everything is the same principal except that you use 3x3 and 1x3 setting records on week 9 and 10 (week 4 and 5 of this phase, still using rep scheme in parentheses). No Wednesday squatting. The important aspect of this phase is the weight increases. If you are so burned out that you need an extra day here and there that's okay. If you can't do all the work that's okay too. Just keep increasing the weight week to week.

Other Tweaks: You can be a little creative. I'm actually using this program right now but what I did was substitute inclines for military presses and I performed high pulls for the Volume phase and switched to the Sumo dead for the deloading and intensity phase. This allowed me to perform a bit of assistance work for my shoulders and rotator cuff as well as my quads. Keep in mind that this workout takes it's toll so don't throw in all kinds of garbage. I found that with the non-airconditioned gym I trained at the assistance work was almost non-existant in week 3 and 4. I also like to focus on speed on the 5x5 days. If you want to use bands and chains with this program those are the days to incorporate them.

Thoughts: It is very simple and incredibly effective. I think incorporating a focus on speed is important and this variation on the 5x5 allows one to fit it in relatively seamlessly as well as swap exercises and factor in any assistance work. One point - if you are squatting 3x per week in the volume phase and deadlifting one time throughout the whole program don't count on doing any major assistance work - throw in some occasional arm crap and some midsection work and that's it. The volume phase will also bury you if you run it too long and are an experienced lifter. The major problem people have with the workout is that they start too high in weight and can't successfully ramp up with proper volume. Beginning lifters might run a longer volume phase with much lighter starting weight than an experienced lifter who knows his strength and can regulate his intensity properly.