Training has evolved and changed over the years. There have been so many types of training methods and styles that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Oddly, most of them work. This is mainly because our bodies are incredible things that adapt to stress and overcome it by growing stronger.
This program is not the best style that will make you grow more muscle than anything ever created. But it is a solid style of routine that will work your muscles hard. Part of the value derived will be because it is different and variety spurs growth in the body!
This program is actually very basic and is great for building size and strength. Back in the day it was a favorite of Reg Park and then later Arnold.
The 5 x 5 Program
This program is built on the idea of training for power with low reps and endurance with volume training. For each exercise you will do 5 work sets of 5 reps. You will warm-up with a set or two depending on the exercise. But then you load up your work weight, something that will challenge you for 5 reps, and do your first set. Then you rest for a minute and repeat this sequence four times. If a minute is too short increase the rest period to two minutes.
Because the total number of sets being done and amount of rest this program works best on an upper body/lower body split. You should work your upper body on day 1 and lower body on day two. Take a rest day on day 3 and then repeat with two rest days on days 6 and 7.
- Barbell Bench Press (or Dumbbells) – 5×5
- Barbell Rows – 5×5
- Barbell Curls – 3×5
- Lying Triceps Barbell Extensions – 3×5
- Barbell Squats – 5×5
- Stiff-legged Deadlift – 5×5
- Standing Calf Raise – 3×5
- Seated Calf Raise – 3×5
To increase intensity you can shorten the rest period between sets.
For abdominals perform a core circuit on off days. Cardiovascular work should be done on off days as well. At a minimum try and do two to three days of cardio of at least 20-30 minutes. This will help maintain a base level of cardiovascular fitness.