Are 5×5 workouts effective?

| by Truth Seeker |

What is 5×5?

5×5 stands for 5 repetitions per set for 5 sets. That makes a total of 25 repetitions per exercise.

5×5 workouts were originally popularized by the famous strength coach and author Bill Starr who is known for his book ”The Strongest Shall Survive”.

Today, there are many 5×5 routines – StrongLifts 5×5, Madcow 5×5, The Texas Method 5×5, Starting Strength 3×5…etc.

Are 5×5 workouts really effective?

5×5 workouts can be very effective because they’re built around basic exercises such as squats, presses and deadlifts. Since there are no distractions, the lifter can progress faster, and people doing those routines often report good results. However, this does not mean that 5×5 workouts are the only way to train. Regardless of what the authors of those routines say, there are many ways to get results. 5×5 is just one option.

Will I get huge by doing 5×5 workouts? 

You will get bigger and stronger, but you have to realize that as a natural bodybuilder you are limited. This fact cannot be changed regardless of the routine or diet you follow.

Many authors of strength routines such as Mark Rippetoe (Starting Strength) and Mehdi (StrongLifts) would like you to think that you can grow “like a weed” on their programs and dietary plans, but it won’t happen.

Why do 5×5 workouts have a mythical status?

Are 5x5 workouts effective?

Reg Park And Arnold…

It’s mainly due to marketing and ignorance. One of the common ways to market 5×5 workouts is to use Reg Park and Arnold Schwarzenegger as examples of muscular people who’ve built their foundation with the help of 5×5. While this may look nice and ”Hollywoodesque”, the truth is that Arnold was not natural and did many programs over the years. Moreover, the natural status of Park is also questionable. Truth be told, routines other than 5×5 could have worked just as well for those men.

Is StrongLifts 5×5 a super effective program?

There’s nothing special about the StrongLifts 5×5 program. You do basic exercises, add weight and repeat until you can no longer do it. It’s a good way to learn the basic barbell exercises, but you will see that doing 5×5 squats three times a week as the program requires will get extremely difficult relatively quickly. There are no magic bullets and Stronglifts 5×5 is not an exception. It’s just a routine for beginners.


5×5 workouts are a good way to train, but many people are falsely attributing miracle qualities to them.

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  1. Mik

    @Rmj11 Yeah man, sure. I used to believe in Santa Claus when I was a kid, too.

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