5×5 Workouts Take Too Much Time: How To Fix It It's simple. Just don't do sets across.

| by Truth Seeker |

Location: Monkey Planet Fitness Center
Time: 9 a.m.
Weather: California

Casper wanted to use the squat rack for some next level arm pumping. He was going to the clubz tonight. #YOLO #flex #pussydestroyer

Unfortunately, the squat rack was already taken by some weird looking specimen loaded with creepy determination.

“How many sets do you have left, brah,” asked Casper.

“….’Bout 5 sets,” replied Zack while tightening his powerlifting belt.

¯\(°_°)/¯ {shrug}

“Fuck. Another skinny-fat 5×5 natural squat warrior,” thought Casper and headed to the dumbbell rack area.

¯\(°_°)/¯ {shrug}

“Damn. Another bicep curl warrior is preventing me from becoming functional and completing my 5×5 special ops mission. Fuck that guy,” thought Zack.

#squat #functional #rippetoe #realmensquat



Once you reach some decent numbers, the classic 5×5 workouts start to take too much time.

Many lifters complain that when the 5×5 method is applied to 2 main barbell lifts in a session, the workouts turn into a two-hour marathon, and people begin to give you the “when are you going to get out of the squat rack, you skinny-fat trash?” look.

The main reason why 5×5 becomes such a burden is that when the weight is heavy (80% or more of your 1RM), the body requires more rest to fully recover for the next set.

You will probably need 7-10 minutes of rest to finish all work sets. 7×4=28 minutes of rest for just one exercise. When you add in the time you need to warm-up and do your work sets, you will end up with a 50-minute workout made of a single exercise. If you do two compound movements, you will need 90 minutes to finish everything. If you also perform assistance work, you are up for 2 hours of fun in the pit.

What can I do to shorten a 5×5 workout?

A lot of people like to attribute the 5×5 “magic” to people like Reg Park and Bill Starr. I don’t know who “invented” it. I wasn’t there.

However, there is data suggesting that neither Reg Park nor Starr recommended sets across.

According to some sources, Reg Park did only one work set.

One of his 5×5 variations was as follows:

Set 1 – 60% of the work weight
Set 2 – 80% of the work weight
Set 3 – same as Set 2
Set 4 – work – 4 or 5 reps
Set 5 – set with a weight allowing 8-10 reps (a back-off set)

Ramping sets like that are one of the best ways to shorten a 5×5 workout. If you want to make it even shorter, you can skip the back-off set.

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One comment

  1. Hyundai

    Why do they do back-off sets?

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