Stronglifts 5x5 Workout Review | Mehdi Stronglifts

Stronglifts 5×5 Workout Review

There comes a point in every bodybuilder’s training regime, usually about the time you’re doing a triple drop set of lat raises and you struggle to finish a set with 5kg dumbbells, when you think, “Oh fuck this, I want to be strong!”

This happened to me around 18 months ago.

So the next day I Googled “strength training” and clicked on the top result.

The rest is history.

I’ve used that phrase for dramatic effect – sadly I haven’t gone on to be an international standard powerlifter.


Stronglifts 5×5 is the brainchild of one Mehdi Hadim, ‘The New Muscles from Brussels’.

Now Mehdi is not the biggest guy ever, but then you don’t need to be built like Lou Ferrigno to know what you’re talking about (except Ian McCarthy, he literally knows sod all).

Stronglifts is the antidote to a series of embarrassing events in Mehdi’s life which include losing an arm wrestle to a woman and constantly hitting plateaus when trying out the latest fad workout.

The programme itself is based on the 5×5 workout pioneered by everyone’s favourite bodybuilder Reg Park, and also the similar regime devised by legendary American strength coach Glenn Pendlay.

On the about me section of the Stronglifts website, Mehdi shows us his PR squat (5 x 374lb at 176lb body weight) and a 451lb deadlift.

He had my attention instantly.

The Stronglifts programme

Now pay attention here because this is going to get complicated.

Stronglifts plays out like the plot of a Shakespearean tragi-comedy:

Workout A

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 5 5
Military Press 5 5
Deadlift 1 5

Workout B

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 5 5
Bench Press 5 5
Barbell Row 5 5

You alternate workouts every other day, or, if you can’t be arsed, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And breathe…


You can try to do 5×5 on deadlift, but you’re likely to injure yourself, so a single balls-out heavy set of 5 reps is advised.

Also, your lower back is gonna be pretty wrecked from squats and to an extent the military press.

So, if you’re going for a pro-card then this obviously isn’t the programme for you.

Stronglifts is designed for the hard-working bodybuilder who wants to lift like Mariuz Pudzianowski but can only spend 45 minutes a session in the gym.

The principle is that to an extent strength=size, but size doesn’t necessarily=strength.

Mehdi backs this up with the fact that the best bodybuilders ever all had a background in strength: Schwarzenegger, Park, Coleman, by way of definitive argument.

Mehdi urges people to try this programme for a minimum of 12 weeks, and not to go too heavy in the first few weeks.

Just get used to the make-up of the sessions during this initial period.

Each session you’ll add 2.5kg (5lbs) to the bar, so, again, don’t start too heavy or you will plateau quickly and lose motivation

He also tells you to never use a spotter – if you can’t lift the weight for five reps, you’re going too heavy.

For more tips, check out Stronglift’s regularly updated YouTube channel.

Personal opinion

I have a lot of respect for Mehdi.

If his story is true then he’s really taken a lot of time to create something different.

Not only is Stronglifts 5×5 a workout, it’s almost a lifestyle.

There’s an online community of over 30,000 members (and growing) who all swear by the programme.

If you subscribe to the website you get regular tips and updates which are useful… for a while.

The site itself used to look about as dull as Kate Moss’ weekly shopping list but it has since been jazzed up to look a bit more interesting.

I followed this programme for 12 weeks and I gained a lot of strength.

It becomes a state of mind when all you’re doing is lifting strong.

Indeed, some of the PRs I achieved during the course of Stronglifts I’ve still not beaten some 18 months on.

Pretty impressive, huh?

citizen kane hand clap gif


One word: squats.

Now I love squats, I really do, but consistently doing them three times a week for 12 weeks without any proper deload will take its toll whether you’re healthy or not.

After seven weeks I started experiencing some knee joint discomfort and groin pain.

I decided to cut squats down to twice per week which managed to solve the problem.

Saying that, my legs ballooned in size, so much so that I still struggle to buy shorts.

Then again, those in the fashion world seem to think the average male is on the Alexander Litvinenko diet.


Stronglifts 5×5 is a simple, honest and effective programme for those looking to gain strength.

To be honest, it’s psychologically more challenging than it is physically.

By this is mean, it’s a mental challenge for your average gym rat to go 12 weeks without a single chest fly, lat raise or even bicep curl.

If you’re reading this and don’t think you could do that, you’re probably right.

All in all, with Stronglifts Mehdi really has invested a hell of a lot of time in something he’s passionate about, and it shows.

Christ, he’s actually written a 200+ plus page document to supplement the programme which includes diets, success stories, tips for breaking plateaus, and more advanced workouts for the seasoned lifter (Smolov for Squats).

So, if you want to give it a go, then please check it out.

If not, I just don’t care.

Over to you

If you’ve tried this workout – or you’re thinking of giving it a go – we’d love to hear from you.

Just get in touch via the comments section below.

Until next time, lift smart and lift strong!

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  1. In my view, a very imbalanced program.

    Basically, you’re working squats 12 times in 4 weeks, but bench, row, press, and deadlift (deadlift only 1 working set each time) only 6 times in 4 weeks.

    I like the focus on the basic movements – and the squat is an awesome exercise, but, sorry it simply can’t replace everything else.

    I also don’t believe Mehdi’s story.

    He says he was a bodybuilder – even though he also describes himself as “skinny fat” and weighing only around 135lbs at the time.

    If that wasn’t enough, he was beaten at arm wrestling by a girl.

    All this until he discovered heavy squatting.

    In fact, he bad mouths bodybuilders as if they are all weaklings because they don’t really lift (mind you, while he squats heavy his bench is laughable).

    Of course, he says that there are exceptions – Arnold, Coleman, etc – but then references a video of Cutler struggling with around 400lbs at deadlifting as if that means he was maxing or something.

    Indeed, he implies that Cutler is a weakling – which is deception pure and simple – since he is, in fact, much stronger than Mehdi.

    So, I think Mehdi, who has no real credentials, is full of it, and that you’re a lot better of going with someone who has real credibility: Mark Rippetoe and Starting Strength.

    Or better yet, find a program that allows you to achieve what you want and need.

    Which, in most cases, will include squats, bench, rows, presses, and deadlifts.

    You’re just not attempting to become a human frog.

    1. Hi Jon

      I agree largely with your comments, for sure this isn’t an advanced strength programme.

      I love the idea of squatting that often but it’s simply too much, more than your average gym rat will do in a year.

      Medhi’s strength article is kind of convenient as ALL bodybuilders are strong, Coleman was something else but you could say people like Jonnie Jackson & Stan Efferding are probably stronger but nowhere near as successful.

      Also, no idea how Lee Haney was on strength??

      In all, I’m impressed by the workout, more so how many people he has on board, the online community is huge and unless he’s made most of these profiles himself then they all swear by it.

      I agree that he has a certain arrogance as if stronglifts is the only credible way to build strength.

      Have you tried Mark Rippentoe’s programme?

      We’re always looking for contributors if you fancy writing a bit about it?

      One of our other writers has just started Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 programme, he’s an absolute unit and probably a far more reliable source!

  2. I am in week 4 of Stronglifts 5×5 and am very pleased with the results.

    Already stronger and more firm and have lost fat and gained muscle already.

    Have not done one faggot bend and my arms have never been bigger… whole body has gained muscle… I get caught by my wife looking in the mirror just tripping out on how fast I have improved… so it does work!

    If you are the type of person that does 12 chest workouts on chest day then don’t try it – just continue with what you are doing because it is too easy.

    1. Cheers for dropping by Rico, glad you’re enjoying the programme.

      How much more are you lifting now?

  3. I’m on around week 9 of this programme and I gotta tell you – it’s something else.

    I used to be in the gym, working largely with isolation exercises and occasional compounds doing 10 rep sets and feeling like a failure if I couldn’t squeeze out the 10th rep in set 3.

    Since starting this programme, I’ve become much stronger.

    My 5×5 squat was somewhere around 60kgs at the beginning – now I’ve just plateaued at 95kg and will realistically hit 100kg by Christmas with full range of arse to the grass motion.

    My deadlift was at approx 80kg at beginning and this morning I cleared 140kg (1.5x bodyweight) and am going to try for 150kg this friday.

    My arms have swelled without a single curl or kickback or anything other than the compounds in the programme.

    My quads are now rock solid and huge.

    I really recommend this programme if you’re starting out or looking for a way to starting moving heavy weights.

    Admittedly my chest has shown less improvement, though it has always been very, very weak.

    I started at 40kg (I know, I know, what a pussy) and I’m now at 65kg.

    Overhead press is at 50kg from starting at 20kg and bent row is around 75kg starting at 35kg.

    A lot of internet broscience types complain about squatting 3 times a week – that’s why you start light and build up with correct technique.

    I’ve not had a single injury from this yet (touch wood) and as you can see from my gains above, I have been pushing what I can lift as hard as possible.

    One thing I will say though, it’s not ideal for getting a 6 pack.

    I’m eating like a horse on this and showing gains everywhere, including a little round belly.

    But it’s the winter months so I don’t mind layering up!

    Also, ignore Mehdi’s constant desperate pleas to join his inner circle thing.

    Just do the programme and don’t miss days and be consistent.

    God knows why anyone would want to pay Medhi $10 a month or whatever for him to tell you to squat more often.

    1. Hi Mike, love the write up, looks like you’re making excellent progress!

      I just unsubscribed from Medhi in the end, agree that he gets pretty annoying, but then again it is a business and he needs to make money.

      There are a few tips for breaking plateaus on the site like doing 5×3, check them out and good luck with the gains!

      P.s. Women don’t really care about 6 packs, I wouldn’t worry!

  4. Hi, I’m 52 years Oldsberg, haven’t been training since I was 30ish.

    Now I’m at week 6 and the result is simply mindblowing.

    My arms have never been bigger, including my forearms.

    My back is wider and thicker, and my legs is stronges and bigger.

    My chest is also good, if not so good as other bodyparts.

    Due to lack of a serious squat rack, I do deadlift 5×5 twice a week, but will invest in a rack around mid December.

    I don’t agree that my bodyfat will “melt away”, quite the opposite, but I think it’s better to be a bit bulky than to eat to little protein.

    Summer 2014 is not around the corner anyway!

    1. 52 years old of course, and my spelling control is in Swedish mode… 🙂

    2. Hey, I’ve been lifting weights for two years now.

      I’ve tried a lot of routines and by far MI40 gave me the best gains.

      But the problem with that was my strength was not improving and it was basically a “pump” based program.

      I play soccer on my non gym days and I noticed my athletic performance was not improving but I just looked buff.

      I know that 5×5 program is 3 days a week, so I’m thinking of trying it out as I can dedicate 3 days to soccer.

      I eat around 11 eggs a day, a half a litre of milk, veggies and fruits.

      You think I will get gains if I play so much soccer?

      Please advice as this question has been bugging me a lot.

      And yeah I’m 5’9″ and weigh 70 kgs, mesomorph.

  5. I have tried this routine out and, simply put, it definitely works, here were my gains(kg):

    Bench press: 100-120
    Squats: 120-150
    Deadlift: 190-220
    Overhead press: 60-80
    Barbell row: 70-90

    Personnel stats: 6’3, 93kg, 11% body fat

    I recommend this routine to anyone who is hitting their natural plateau and is fed up with spending hours in the gym doing crappy isolation routines with minimal gains.

    It is definitely worth cutting the squats down to twice per week once you start squatting some serious weight or squatting heavy once per week and twice moderately.

    1. Hi “Trout face ape face horse face cat fish beard”… someone got drunk and went on deed poll?

      Your numbers look great, particularly the deadlift.

      Have you tried any other strength programmes?

  6. I was doing twice the number of reps and eating more than I am now with a bodybuilding routine, some strength gains but minimal.

    Switched to the 5×5 routine, eating slightly less with better muscle and strength gains.

    It definitely worked for me.

    Have been doing it about 3.5 months now with 10lb to 15 lb weight gain.

    Ectomorph body type, getting thicker muscles everywhere.

    1. Did the bodybuilding routine for 6 months.

      1. Almost 51 years old.

  7. I’ve been on this program for about 12 weeks now and the gains are phenomenal.

    My squat has increase from 65kg x 5 to 100kg x 5

    Bench has gone from 50kg to 70kg and I will try 75kg next week

    Deadlift has gone from 80kg to 110kg

    Military press has gone from 35kg to 50kg

    Rows have gone from 40kg to 60kg

    Admittedly I neglect rows so the improvement here could have been a bit more.

    I also add in other exercises such as incline bench, weighted dips, pull ups and hang cleans.

    However, I’ve been using the same 5×5 principle for these exercises and I’ve seen huge gains in them too.

    I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.

    I don’t follow a strict diet although I like to eat healthy.

    I’m not on any supplements and I’m still making consistent gains.

    I’m thinking of trying creatine once I start to plateau but 12 weeks in and there’s no sign of that happening yet!

    Oh and the best part?

    Most weeks I’ll only do 2 workouts with some pullups, press ups and pistol squats done at home on my off day.

    I’d recommend this workout to anybody.

    My friends give me a bit of stick for the amount of squats I do, but hey, it works so you can’t really ask for much more.

    1. Hi Luke

      Thanks for stopping by!

      It’s only natural people question the programme, like I said, it’s a psychological challenge as much as it is physical.

      It all depends on what your goals are; powerlifters, Olympic lifters and to an extent crossfitters will all squat at least twice a week whereas if you’re just looking to add 5lbs of muscle to your frame for vanity reasons, you probably won’t want to.

      Glad to hear it’s going well, gains look great!

      Creatine is a great supplement for people doing 5×5, increases strength/power.

      If you’re in the UK, I reviewed this Creatine Monohydrate which is the one I use, hasn’t let me down yet:

      Good luck with the rest of the programme.


  8. Nice wee write up on the 5×5 workout.

    I tried it out about 2 years ago and made some impressive gains, since I was just starting weight lifting I started from the beginning with zero weight on the Olympic bar (so just 20kg) and by week 12 my squat was at 100kg, bench at 75kg, deadlift at 90kg and row at 60kg.

    (Which considering I was at uni where my diet was, let’s say, “changeable”, and I definitely met my 21 units of alcohol per week, I was really impressed by the gains, also my legs ballooned in size!)

    What I particularly like about this is that after the first couple weeks I was eager to get back to the gym and see the weight rack up on the bar!

    After changing my workout to circuit training using mainly bodyweight for the past year, I am thinking of re-doing 5×5 for the new year again.

    Just downloaded the wee 5×5 app and hitting the gym tomorrow morning.

    But since it has been over a year since I last lifted a barbell think I will start on an empty bar again and get myself adjusted to that form of training once more!

    With regards to supplements, I try eat purely healthy fresh foods, but often it can be a struggle can anyone recommend any good protein powders?


    1. Hi Alfie, thanks for your comments.

      I massively agree with your statement about the programme making you want to go back to the gym.

      Sod all those ‘bodybuilding motivational’ platitudinous videos on YouTube, for me the greatest motivation is putting more weight on the bar than last time!

      If you’re looking for a cheap but highly effective whey protein then I highly recommend Go Nutrition’s Go Whey 80.

      You get a lot of bang for your buck and tastes fantastic (link below).

      Anything else you need, just gives us a shout, good luck with your latest cycle!


  9. I have been using Stronglifts 5×5 (and the App) for 11 weeks now and it has really worked for me.

    I am 43, 5’9″ and currently 93kg body weight.

    I was 87kg body weight when I started in early November and I took 2 weeks off the programme at Xmas.

    I had lifted using the split routines for over 25 years so I started heavier than the recommended empty bar.

    My improvements are as follows:

    Squat: 80kg start to 145kg PB

    Deadlift: 100kg to 185kg PB

    Bench: 30kg dumbbells to 50kg (I avoid barbell bench due to previous shoulder injury)

    Barbell row: 70kg to 100kg

    Overhead press: 50kg to 75kg

    I agree that the squats are hard work three times a week and after a previous deload at 125kg, I have hit the stage again where 48 hrs rest is not enough, so I may reduce the squats to twice a week or work through the pain until I hit the deloads and drop to 5×3 as the programme recommends.

    The only supplement I take is creatine and it’s great fun warming up with other people’s max lift!

    1. Hi Steve, fantastic results there good shout on the squat ideas as well.

      Keep up the good work!


  10. So, I am considering this program, I haven’t done it yet, but one of things I really like about it is that you squat 3x a week (every workout).

    I lift MWF right now and squat during each workout.

    I typically alternate between high-bar back squats and front squats.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think the emphasis on squats is partially why the program works so well.

    Squats are “The king of all exercises” for a reason.

    The hormone response from equating might be why the gains are so significant for the other lifts as well.

    Just my thoughts.

  11. Hi guys,

    I’ve just started this program and have one general query that I’d love some feedback on.

    Firstly I’m in my fifties and I ski and Surf and want to get generally fit and strong for those activities.

    I’m not into bodybuilding as an end in itself although I am looking forward to be looking in better shape.

    Where does the whole cardio element fit into this routine?

    Is it enough to get strong or should you be running/swimmimg as well to build stamina, and if so should this be done at same time as a 5×5 session or seperately?

    Any feedback much appreciated,


    1. Hi Alan, where do you live to be able to ski and surf? I want to move there!

      If you’re just looking for pure strength then cardio is probably not advisable to go along with a high calorie high protein diet.

      However, as explained this workout gives you ample time to get some cardio in on rest days without effecting strength gains.

      I’m highly biased as an ex-swimmer but I believe swimming represents the best form of cardio you can do on the programme, with the strain on your joints with lifting heavy, the relief of being fully supported in the water is priceless.

      I think unless you’re looking to compete in powerlifting then why not do a couple of cardio sessions on rest days.

      The programme will build general fitness but no real harm in doing some low intensity running/swimming.

      Hope this helps, good luck with the rest of the workout!

      1. Hi Greg,

        I live in Ireland so I get to surf regularly but skiing is a once/twice a year trip so no training on the job – got to hit the slopes in decent shape!

        Thanks for the feedback. I’m gonna work some swimming into the lay days and see how I get on.

        Thanks for the feedback – much appreciated.


        1. You’ve thrown me a curve ball there Alan!

          Good luck with the rest of the programme.

  12. Excellent write up.

    I am on week 2 and loving it so far.

    Deadlifts and Bar Rows are new to me, but have gotten over the award feeling of doing them in the gym.

    This program makes it exciting to go to the gym and I look forward to the massive gains!

    1. Hi Bill

      Thanks for getting in touch, glad you’re enjoying it.

      Let me tell you, there’s nothing cooler than deadlifting a loaded bar.

      If it feels awkward then I feel for the other people in your gym who aren’t doing it!

      I got the same feeling, screw all these “bodybuilding motivation” videos, nothing is a better motivator than lifting more than you’ve ever done before.

      Good luck with the rest of the programme.

  13. I substituted pull-ups for squats in Workout B.

    Love the basic compound movements, will stick on this for some time.

    Could you also get good results doing a 3×8 or 3×10 routine to switch it up?

    What are your thoughts on sets/reps?

    I know what the official 5×5 guide says.

    1. Hi Dan, sounds like a good shout.

      3 x 8/10 on these compound lifts would undoubtedly build muscle but not so much strength which is real emphasis of the workout.

      If you look at an advanced strength programme like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 then once the main strength work is done you do 3×10 on more isolation or assistance exercises to aid the big lifts.

      Give it a go if you want to add some variety but it probably will hinder your strength progress to an extent.

      Mainly just with recovery if you do too many additional exercises after all that compound lifting.

      Good luck with the rest of the programme, let me know if you need anything else.


  14. I’ve been doing a 5×5 program for a year now.

    Almost everyday I bench press, squat, overhead press and dead lift.

    That’s it!!

    It takes no more than 40min.

    The shape of my body has changed dramatically from skinny to ripped and classic V shape.

    I have strong mid section with nice abs and do NO crunches.

    My arms have also gained size with NO curls, and of course my legs and butt look great.

    Simplicity and consistency.

    1. That’s what we like to hear Bryant, keep up the good work!

    2. good work!

  15. I just started the program this week, I like the setup – it gives me something to look forward to by seeing gains each workout.

    I may have started the bench too heavy though at 245lbs.

    I was able to do all 5 sets but it wasn’t easy.

    The other exercises I haven’t done for about 10 years so I think it will boost up quick!

    1. Also I’m eating clean so it may hinder some of my strength gains but I’m hoping it will drop some weight while building muscle which I believe is possible.

  16. I just started this 5×5 program today and I gotta say it feels weird as I always did the split workouts isolating certain muscle groups.

    I’ve been told these types of compound lifts are good for building strength, my question is does it help with gettin cut?

    I’m 6’2, weighing at 170, I eat a lot and I’m trying to get cut as well as add some weight (muscle).

    The benching is easy for me so I started off at 135, everything else is fairly new to me.

    Today, after the compound lifts I incorporated dumbbells for chest, two machines, and the … shit I forgot the name the but rope things, where there’s a pullup bar in the middle.

    I also did triceps.

    Has anyone who used this program added in accessory training or got some definition while doing this?

    1. Hey everyone.

      I started Stronglifts less than a month ago and it is amazing.

      I am 5’10 and weigh 180 lb.

      I have gone from:

      Squats: 90 lb -170 lb
      Bench: 92 lb -122 lb
      Row: 92 lb -147 lb.
      OH Press: 62 lb – 100 lb

      My physique is getting better and better every day.

      I recommend this program for anyone no matter if you are: skinny/fat, young/old, beginner/advanced, and so on.

      I hope to update this in a month or two.

  17. Hey all,

    I’m from India Height 5’8, weight – 85 Kgs.

    I started Stronglift 5X5 sometime back and am in week 8.

    And results are in simple words… outstanding

    1. Squat – 45lbs – 190 lbs
    2. Deadlift – 90lbs – 235 lbs
    3. Overhead Press – 45lbs – 115 lbs
    4. Bench Press- 45 lbs – 115 lbs
    5. Rows – 70lbs – 135 lbs
    6. Chin ups – 2 – 10 reps (single try)
    7. Pull Ups – 1 – 7 reps (single try)
    8. Handstand push up – 1 – 7 reps (proper form)

    So YES..I gained strength.

    As far as definition is concerned… all we need to do is to ensure what we eat is clean.

    All the best.

    1. Great numbers Amarjit, keep it up!


  18. Hi all,

    Read about this for the first time tonight.

    I am on the other end of the scale to quite a few of you, as I am currently 18 years old, 6 foot tall and weighing in at a laughable 63kg.

    A question for you all, I also recently heard about the GOMAD diet, which helps to add on weight and fat, which will obviously make it easier for me to add muscle.

    Is it okay to use the two in conjunction with each other?

    I’m not quite sure.

    1. Hi Ryan

      I really don’t see why not.

      The GOMAD programme is probably for more experienced lifters as it’s somewhat hardcore.

      If you want a good, introductory workout programme then Stronglifts is definitely for you.

      You’ll still squat three times a week which’ll help you pack on muscle for sure.

      Good luck, definitely give it a go!


  19. After some advice before I kick this program off.

    I am female, 5ft7, 69kg.

    At present can 3x100kg squats, 3×105 deads.

    Unsure what weight to start for these 2 as I would like to be able to do more than one set of the above weight.

    I am thinking of maybe starting with 70kg for each and slowly increasing with each workout.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Kellie

      You’re right to bring this up as Stronglifts states you should start with an empty bar.

      You’re clearly a more experienced lifter so my advice would be to follow the 5/3/1 principle.

      – Start with your 1 (in this case 5) rep max for each exercise and take 90% i.e. if your 5RM is 100kg, take 90kg

      – Week 1 start with 65% of your 90%, in this case 58.5kg (you can decide to round up or down)

      – Each workout aim to add 2.5kg to the bar.

      It may seem light to start with but you obviously don’t want to plateau too early.

      Early on you can also make small tweaks to your workout to make a lighter weight harder i.e. pause at the bottom of each squat/bench press rep for 2-3 seconds.

      Hope this helps,


      1. Hi Greg,

        Makes a lot of sense, thank you so much for replying.

        Will definitely make this my starting point.

        Thanks again 🙂

  20. I’m on the program as well!

    How do you all start off so heavy?

    I was only 63kg when I started and am now 70kg but I still have trouble increasing my squats?

    Managed a pb of 72.5kg last session but boy was it hard!

    I eat mostly cleanly so what do I need to do?

    My numbers seem low compared to yours and I can’t increase every time!

    I have to squat a couple sessions at the same weight before I feel comfortable adding 2.5 kg again 🙁

    Any advice?

    1. Hi Chris

      Everyone responds differently to strength programmes but the fact that you only started c. 10kg lower than what is now your pb for squats suggests you need to start off lighter, get your technique right and build confidence in your lift.

      What height/bodyweight are you currently?

      How are you finding other lifts?

      Roughly how much protein/carbs are you consuming per day?

      There could be myriad factors that are affecting your gains but it might just simply be your technique.

      If you’re already struggling to add more weight then I’d say you need to go back to the start and start with maybe 5/10kg on the bar.

      Let you know how you get on.


  21. Hey Greg,

    I’m 16 years old and I recently (approx. 2 months ago) started Stronglifts 5×5.

    I’ve always been relatively tall and fat, right now I’m 6’1 and I weigh 249 LBS, but even with this I’ve been starting to get more motivated and more serious with committing to the workout routine.

    I started out struggling to lift even just the bar by itself doing a bench press, which is simply 45 pounds.

    I could overhead press more than that, leading me to believe that I’ve got a weak chest.

    Skipping the minor details, I’ve started to get my head into it and now I’ve noticed more muscle detail and strength.

    I went from:

    Bench press: 45 lbs – 105 lbs
    Squat: 90 lbs – 145 lbs
    Overhead press: 50 lbs – 75 lbs
    Deadlift: 100 lbs – 225 lbs
    Row: 60 lbs – 115 lbs

    They may not seem impressive, but for me this is the strongest I have been, and I plan on committing to getting even stronger.

    It feels great and I feel more confident in myself.

    Definitely recommend this programme to all able bodies.

    1. Hi Dominic

      Thanks for sharing your numbers, looks like great gains so far, particularly the deadlift is coming along nicely.

      Keep up the good work.


  22. Hi,

    I started the Stronglift 5×5 programme today.

    Is the weight of the bar included in the calculations?

    I noticed that the iPhone app told me to start squats at 20kg so I put 20kg on each end of the bar (after a warm up with just the bar etc).

    Is that right?

    This is the weight I lifted including the weight of the bar which is about 20kg:

    Squats – 60kg (5×5)
    Bench Press – 70kg (5×5)
    Barbell Rows – 60kg (5×5)

    I did warm ups before doing any of the above weights.

    Do you think the app meant that it was supposed to be 20kg in total for the squats i.e just the empty bar?

    If so, that would have been incredibly light.

    Although I must say, I’m feeling sore tonight after what I did.

    I hope the rest tomorrow will help.

    Any advice would be gratefully received (in KG not Pounds).



    1. Hi Ali

      Yes from memory the basis of the programme is to start with an empty bar (the bar is 20kg).

      Which is fine if you’re a total beginner.

      If you’re benching & rowing those weights I’d guess you’re not exactly a beginner in the gym.

      However, the point of the programme is that you add 2.5kg to the bar every session – this means that in one month’s time you will be squatting 90kg.

      If that sounds unrealistic then I suggest you start with a slightly lower weight and ease yourself into the programme – you’ll thank yourself when you’re still smashing PRs after 12 weeks.

      Hope this helps, good luck and let me know if you need any more info.


  23. I’m recovering from a really serious arm injury from a few years ago.

    I used to lift split routines or cross fit before that.

    Though I don’t have full range of motion on my right arm (it stops at -25 degrees from full extension) I am doing my best and having to substitute dumbbell dead lifts for a barbell (going to cause problems when I get to 300 lbs, but for now its OK).

    I’m thinking about buying some rope to make up the extra couple of inches and getting to a barbell.

    I love this program, especially its focus on form.

    I can go parallel at 250 lbs on squats for 5×5 and tomorrow will be 255.

    I haven’t seen anyone at the gym I go to squat more than two plates anywhere close to parallel, so that makes me feel pretty awesome.

    I did start a little heavy, since I am not exactly a beginning lifter, but just trying to find out where my strength actually is.

    Currently at:

    250 on squats
    170 on bench
    175 on row
    210 on DL
    115 on OH press

    I’m 6’3″, 235 lbs, and about 18% body fat.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I’ll be sticking with Mehdi’s recommendations for a long time.

    He’s a great chap with a great story and is passionate about what he does.

    He won’t talk down to you, and really wants people to succeed.

    That’s the kind of person I want to take advice from.

    I don’t care if he’s not the biggest.

    1. Hi Nick

      Thanks for sharing.

      I assume you’re doing those deadlifts with the dumbbells starting on a raised platform?

      Could definitely be detrimental to your form otherwise .


  24. Hi Greg,

    Found your article while researching SL5x5 as I want to start this program soon.

    I’m interested in this program as I want to achieve functional strength to assist my occupation – I’m a builder – which is why I’m not interested in any sort of body shaping routine at this point.

    I imagine the first few weeks will be a bit of a mental test when I’m lifting light weights, but I appreciate that it’s there to ensure good form and technique are developed.

    I have a bit of excess body fat at the moment so I’m keen get thoughts from you and your readers on doing cardio during say the initial 4 weeks when the weights are still relatively light, then tapering off as the weight intensifies?

    Am I overlooking anything by doing this or being counterproductive?

    Thanks for your help!



    1. Hi Jordan

      Thanks for stopping by.

      You’re right, when the lifts get heavy there’s little scope for cardio or shall we at least say “fat burning”.

      I can recommend three things for the early stages of Stronglifts which should up the intensity and help burn a bit more fat.

      1. Short rest periods – when lifting heavy you’ll probably want 2-3mins particularly on squat but to start with keep rest periods to 45secs – 1min. This will keep the intensity up and your fat burning systems will be working harder.

      2. Make your lifts harder – again only do this while you’re still finding the weight relatively easy on the big 5 lifts. My suggestions would be: squat & bench – pause at the bottom of each rep for a count of three, this will also aid your overall power. Over head press: clean the weight off the floor like in Olympic lifting, this is a great full body movement. Deadlift: try deficit deadlifts (lifting from a raised platform).

      3. Add compound assistance exercises to your workout – pull ups, dips, lunges, front squats. Not only will these help your big lifts in the long run but they’ll definitely help you shift any excess fat.

      Hope this helps – let me know if you have any other questions.


  25. Hello Greg,

    I have literally just started the stronglifts 5×5 workout on 30/07/14 and this is my first week doing it.

    It is an amazing program, however I have a few questions for clarification purposes.

    Firstly, I have been out of the gym for around four months which resulted in fat gain and weight gain.

    My body is susceptible to fat and I am now eating very healthy (fresh fruit, chicken, fish (salmon) and drinking a lot of water).

    So my question is will this 5×5 workout help reduce my body fat level or shall I incorporate cardio on my off days such as on Thursday or Saturday?

    When I mean cardio I mean HIIT cardio such as treadmill and skipping?

    Secondly, my height is around 5’8 and I weigh around 70kg.

    1. Hi Zain, you appear to have started this programme in the future, well done my friend.

      All strenght work will help to reduce fat because of the tension you’ll but putting your body under, particularly with Stronglifts only focusing on the big compound lifts.

      That said there’s also plenty of recovery time so I don’t see why adding some cardio would hurt, obviously drop it back if your strength lifts start to suffer.

      Definitely keep it HIIT, slow plodding cardio is for punks.

      Hope this helps


  26. I have been interested in fitness and weight training since I was a teenager.

    Have always been slim and never gained weight easily.

    Although I have weight trained in the past, I have never strength trained.

    When I graduated high school, I weighed 155 lbs.

    I am now 42 years old and at 5’8″, I weigh 155 lbs.

    I just started SL 5×5 beginning of this week, but did not start with the bar(mistake?).

    My biggest weakness is the squats, as I have never trained legs.

    I probably started too heavy on them and will likely not move up in weight for another week at least just to avoid injury and work on form.

    I started at 115 lbs on the squat and did all five sets, but was very sore.

    After the second workout, I rested for two days and did my third workout today, keeping the weight at 115 on squats, felt fine.

    Bench press started at 150 and am missing some weights so did 165 today and got all 5 sets, but was quite hard.

    Bent over rows I am doing 115 to start and did 120 today, easy sets.

    Overhead press I started light just did 75 lbs last time but was also easy so will be moving up each workout.

    If I remember I will try to report back with results/progress in a few weeks.

    Benching more than I squat pretty sad lol.

    1. Barry, starting heavy is probably a common mistake.

      Technique first, weight later.

      I had to come back a lot of times because my technique was poor – and it was poor because I’ve tried work with loads above my capacity.

      Result: improving slower than I could.

  27. I have started the Stronglifts 5×5 program on May 26 2014 and I am currently at week 7.

    My results so far have been:

    Squats 140lbs
    Bench Press 90lbs
    Overhead Press 90lbs
    Barbell Rows 110lbs
    Deadlifts 185lbs

    When I started, my weight was 194lbs and bodyfat was 25%.

    Currently my weight is 201lbs and bodyfat 24%.

    My goal with the program is to lose bodyfat (especially around the waist) and I seem to be getting fatter around the waistline.

    Is there something that I need to change in order to loose this fat over time?

    I am concerned that I will get fatter over time instead of getting leaner.

    1. Ken, you’re still in the very first steps.

      According to your data, you lost less than half pound of fat (not a remarkable record), but added seven pounds of muscle (quite impressive).

      It seems you eat a lot and no training program will make any miracle if you don’t care about your diet.

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        I have been watching my diet the last couple of months and have been seeing great results.

        It takes a lot of work at my age (44).

        My results from 2 months ago:

        Weight is still 201lbs but my fat % is at 22 now.

        Squat is at 195lbs
        Bench Press 125lbs
        Overhead Press 105lbs (very demanding)
        Barbell Row 145lbs
        Deadlift 225lbs

        I recommend this program for everyone that is looking to add strength and muscle.

        It is a long process and I am enjoying it very much­.

        Workouts last about an hour and a quarter because of long rest periods between lifts.

  28. Hi thanks a lot for this.

    Just one question before I give this a go… I’m not a fat person per se but I’m at a phase where cutting is at its hardest.

    Anyway my question is… will this programme help with cutting also?

    Cuz the one thing I need right now is a lean body… and if it doesn’t, should I incorporate HIIT cardio into the rest days?

  29. Today I finished day six of StrongLifts5x5 and I feel great.

    I look forward to each workout like I never have before because it feels great to be adding more weight every time (even a measly 2.5lb disc per side).

    The weird thing is that I noticed NOBODY else in my gym does squats while I’m there from 8:00-9:00 in the morning!

    I personally never did squats with a barbell before starting this program so I can understand the disdain for it, but it’s ridiculous how few people are doing “the king of all exercises.”

    I did see one guy doing squats with two plates on but he was on a smith machine so it didn’t really count

    1. What I really wanted to say is that every newbie should focus on the compound movements in this program and forget about isolation exercises until they build their strength up and perfect their form.

    2. Squat rack is the dustiest station in my gym.

      Gets more use with the TRX straps hanging on it and the two morons who use it for 1) 2″ shrugs with three plates on each side and 2) …. wait for it…! CURLS!

      High point of my month was the one time shrug boy and I approached it at about the same time and one of the staff trainers happened to notice.

      He politely informed the shrugger he’d have to wait, because there was somebody there who was about to use it for what it was for.

      1. Squats are difficult, that’s why a lot of people don’t do them!

        Same with military press – probably the most underused exercise in most gyms.

        I’d like to see some sort of ID/Bouncer system introduced for the squat racks – only people with a certified squat ID card can use them – keep the riffraff (curlers) away.


  30. Really good article, very fair.

    I started the 5×5 program this week and I felt like it needed some variety and muscle confusion (and more chances to get my money’s worth on my gym membership).

    So I supplemented the workout with some additional sets of dumbbell bench press (5×10 or failure) and a set on the pec fly machine and also some overhead tricep cable pulls (5×8 and till failure) and tricep pull-downs (3×8 and till failure).

    I also did a couple sets on the Roman Chair for abs.

    My question is do you think that the additional exercises are a ‘hinder’ to the recovery of the compound exercises?

    Also you said a 3 x 8-10 routine is more focused on gaining mass more so than strength, would 4×7 be a balance of strength and appearance?

    And does the addition of an extra set in any of these programs work against the lifter in any way?

    Thanks (I apologize for the multi-part question).

    1. Hi Patrick.

      Thanks for your comment.

      To be honest, I’ve often done the same thing as you during the programme.

      I don’t see any harm in adding other exercises into the mix – pretty much any strength programme will have assistance work to support your big compound lifts so don’t make this any different.

      Only you will know if the extras are stunting your strength gains, but at such an early stage in the cycle there’s definitely scope for building some extra muscle – you may find by like week 10 you really don’t/aren’t physically capable of anything else after max squats and deadlift.

      In terms of reps I’m a big fan of 7.

      There doesn’t seem to be any reputable scientific evidence about the benefits but think it is the perfect balance of strength and volume, particularly for compounds.

      Hope this helps,


  31. Great review, Greg — thanks for sharing.

    I have always been athletic but never “strong.”

    I have been through many different training programs, mostly calisthenics-based, but I never FELT strong.

    I’m 6’2,” 75 KG, 24 years old.

    I started Stronglifts 4 weeks ago.

    Since I hadn’t done weighted squats in years, I started day 1 with 45 KG.

    Today marked my graduation to squatting 1x my bodyweight – 75 KG.

    By focusing on perfect form, I have accomplished more than I had anticipated.

    I truly look forward to my Tu, Thu, Sun workouts!

    The three aspects of this routine that I think have helped me steadily improve the most are:

    – Stretching before and after.

    – Doing the 3 increasingly heavy “warmup” sets building up to the 5×5 weight.

    – Focusing on proper, safe, and constructive form.

    Not only do I feel much stronger already, but I look significantly better and spend a hell of a lot less time stressing about going to the gym, floundering around the gym for hours with no direction, and doing everything BUT focusing on building a solid foundation of strength.

  32. Hi.

    Good short review of 5×5.

    I was tired of lack of strength in the gym so I decided to give it a try.

    I was no longer making progress anywhere.

    It’s second week or so now and there is a good feel.

    I decided replace squats by front squats so that I can start lighter than usual, revisit my technique a bit, get extra back work and save a bit the CNS.

    Also I can clean the weight instead of using the rack which is a good explosive training.

    Also I started very light on row and press because I always had poor form and weak shoulders. On the bench I just assessed my current level and updated in order to get to my level directly.

    I am already able to maintain good form so I really did not see the point of starting from zero and still thought I might try this hardcore linear progression to make quick gains before moving to wave like 531, periodisation.

    It is very early to say but so far I’m improving where I was no longer on other programs.

    Front squat: 30 => 50kg (so far it’s really time for good form check)
    Bench: 75 => 85kg (I pushed myself a bit because it felt good on this rep range)
    Press: 30 => 37,5kg
    Row: 60 => 65kg
    Dead: 100 => 120kg

    Body weight: 77kg – Fat: 10%

    1. Plus, on 1×5 dead day, I’m adding a light 5×5 strict pull-ups which I superset with slow eccentric/explosive concentric push-up as well as sit-ups.

  33. Hi.

    I started the 5 x 5 workout this week and I am so excited about it already.

    I’m 34, 6ft 1 and weigh 95 kg (a weight I’ve been stuck at for some time).

    I haven’t trained all year and since having kids 4 years ago, have been training more off than on.

    The last time i was training consistently in 2010, i was squatting around 115kg, benching 80ish kg and deadlifting 140kg.

    I started with the following weights: squat and deadlift 80kg, presses 50kg and rows 40kg.

    I guess I was too excited with my first workout as my legs are still in pain and last night (workout 2) I had to miss out on squats.

    I may stick with 80kg for the first few workouts to ensure my form is 100% spot on.

    I never used to go much further than 90 degrees so i need to focus on that rather than the weight.

    I did want to say that after so many years of training and so so so much information and different ways on training, it feels fresh and liberating on being able to focus on such a simply workout.

    I already know what i will be doing and at what weight.

    This feels great and helps me solely focus on lifting weight.

    I believe in the past, I wasted too much energy on trying to work out what to do whereas I now feel I just go in and do it.

    I also love the fact that I am doing the “hardcore” exercises one after another.

    I did do these before but often these were followed by several isolation exercises.

    The thought of squatting three times and week is awesome.

    I just hope my body can recuperate quickly enough (another reason I wish I’d probably have started slightly lighter on squats).

    I also love the fact that it is such a short workout.

    With a young family, I simply cannot commit to long workouts.

    And for the first time in a long time, I appreciate my days off a lot more.

    Once I had a good session, I just wanted to come back the next day and the next and the next to pump iron.

    But now, I feel that I have to rest in order to be able to lift more the next session.

    Obviously, very early days, but it’s got me back training (twice so far!) and most importantly very excited and motivated.

    I know that there are always several ways to achieve training goals and that no one method is going to be flawless.

    But for me in this stage of my life (and training life) this workout seems to tick all the boxes.

    Hope to back with an update in a month or so.

  34. I did stonglifts 5×5 last year for about 6 weeks.

    I was very skeptical – used to work out 3x a week with alternating body parts (chest, triceps, back and biceps).

    I used compound exercises, but isolation when it came to my arms.

    I had an alright physique, 215, big upper body, not so big legs.

    When I started stronglifts, I actually felt myself getting stronger.

    I was eating more because I became hungry with this workout.

    I have to admit the workout was more mentally challenging because of the repetition and the fact that you’re not supposed to work out biceps/triceps on their own.

    I’m of the belief that if I don’t get one arm workout at the gym the entire workout was a waste!

  35. Hi there Greg, I’m a guy that does MMA.

    I am planning on beginning this workout soon, because i need to increase my strength.

    However I fear that I might gain too much muscle which would then lead to decreased flexibility, agility, speed and cause me to be rigid.

    Would I be correct in saying this?

    Looking forward to reading your reply.

    1. Hi Aymo.

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      In my opinion this workout would not be right for an MMA fighter.

      You will gain strength but it may well imbalance your physique somewhat with the reliance on the squat.

      I’m no expert on MMA but I think your would be better doing a more rounded strength programme like 5/3/1 where there’s less emphasis on leg power.

      This is of course important but particularly if you’re a more jujitsu-focussed fighter then you’ll want to to exercises that’ll help your arm/forearm/grip strength – deadlift/clean and jerk.

      Let me know if you need any more advice.


  36. I started the 5×5 6 weeks ago and already noticed a huge difference in my physical shape, strength and general attitude.

    I’m 6ft 2 and started at a weight of 75kg, not a hugely experienced lifter so my body was pretty fat, especially around the waist and chest.

    After the 6 weeks the fat around my waist had really began to reduce along with the chest fat.

    It takes a few weeks for your metabolism and testosterone to kick into gear so don’t expect to see visual results so soon! Strength results will be apparent pretty quickly.

    For the taller guys/women I recommend you do not start too heavy as you will run a greater risk of injury due to the increased range of motion.

    It also takes longer to see results if you’re taller – so start at 20kg, even if you find it easy use it to your advantage to work on form as this will be very beneficial when you start reaching the dizzy weights.

    The 5×5 is a really great programme for beginners – the results will come in TIME, just stick with it and once you’re noticing the gains you will also notice that most people in the gym have squatted 3 times in a year compared to your 3 times in a single week.

    Attitude – my attitude has made a great change after training regularly, I’m more active, sleep better, kinder to people and generally a lot more confident.

    It’s not just the physical differences!



  37. Into second week of 5×5 and started at 60 lbs squat.

    Used to lift about 15 years ago and stopped, after about a year, frankly out of boredom and after three months of little or no gain.

    Usual hypertrophy based routine that began showing minimal return on increased effort, after the typical newbie gains.

    The allure of this program for me was its straightforward simplicity.

    Go in knowing what to do for the next three months, and know where you should be when that three months is over.

    All you need to do is focus, do the work, and let the work provide the results.

    Still in the “light” phase, and understand the 20 or so minutes in the gym are going to stretch into 90 toward the end, but actually looking forward to that.

    Even after only two weeks, loading diet right from the start to help with recovery, and I’ve lost 5 lbs off of a 6’3″ frame and a 209 lbs. body with a bigger belly than I want.

    BTW, am 56 years old and haven’t felt a twinge in the joints.

    Did feel a lot of DOMS after the first session, primarily because I hadn’t done a squat for 15 years.

    Cleared up remarkably fast after three days of gimping, and 5 session later, no stiffness.

    Will post back after a month is through.

    1. Hi Tom,

      Great to hear from you, hope I’m still squatting at your age (no offence intended).

      Inspiring stuff.

      Let us know how you get on.


    2. Old man again… into second month.

      No further noticeable weight loss, but am eating at a surplus as it seems to aid with recovery.

      Have notice MINOR change in overall physical appearance, though (could be wishful thinking…).

      The first three weeks I’ve heard described as “too easy” and in a way it’s true.

      However, into the second month I’m starting to “feel” the weight and the time spent with light loads was invaluable in that my form is vastly improved – vastly not an understatement.

      It shows.

      Still at the point where I can “pop” the squats, benches and overheads even through the last set, and the deadlifts and rows come up sharp but smooth.

      NO back stiffness, NO twinges… and now I’m starting to sweat.

      Now getting a true sense about what’s to come… and am eager for the times that I’ll be cursing myself for putting myself through this.

      1. Okaaay… done with month two and this has become an entirely different beast.

        Went from the first month of getting in and out of the workout in about 30 mins.

        Have now doubled the time and into the last four weeks I don’t see it as getting any shorter.

        Had a minor stall on the overhead, but pushed through it on the second go ’round without having to de-load… but have a distinct feeling it’s coming.

        Haven’t stalled anywhere else, but the possibility looms with the bench as well as the overhead.

        Squats aren’t exactly soaring skyward, but haven’t felt a hangup yet.

        Have heard it once or twice that at this point you can get a bit miffed that you DIDN’T stall on a lift, because it means you have to throw another five pounds on next time you step into the gym.

        Sounds crazy but, believe me, I understand it.

        The physical part has become, ahem, demanding, to say the least.

        Nothing, however, compared to the psychological.

        It’s a grind… a GRIND.

        But facing the grind is a reward in itself.

        As it often works, one often finds that you end up in the gym at the same time as other people.

        Folks have noticed the progress made over eight weeks and a few of them have said such things like, “You’ve really piled it on since I first noticed you coming in” and “I didn’t squat that often when I was a kid…” and such.

        Piddling thing, really, silly even, but when you’re pulling the plates off the last bar that day it does push you into the next work out.

        As far as results to this point, well… my weight dropped the first few weeks but it’s back where it was when I started.

        Eating at a slight surplus, I lost four pounds but it’s crept back… while losing three inches off my belly and relocating two of them around my ass – not such a bad thing as I was experiencing middle aged white boy buttocks atrophy.

        My wife has pointed this out.

        I’ve also experienced the effects on a day-to-day basis – without adding another several hundred words to an already overlong post, I started this workout in part because of the job I do.

        Not continuously physically demanding, but it does call on occasion for some intense physical exertion.

        I am probably 7 years from retirement, and those moments were killing me.

        I’ve had a few such moments since first stepping into the gym, and the effect has been astonishing.

        It’s a confidence builder, to be sure, and it certainly adds to the peace of mind for a 56 year old former couch potato.

        Get back mid April, when my “twelve week commitment” is over… If I live that long.


        1. Hi Tom.

          Thanks for keeping us updated.

          I had similar problems with the overhead press – if you can buy some 0.625kg discs that might help to just make very marginal gains.

          I can feel your psychological pains – the first half feels great but I really did start dreading the squat but definitely worth it.

          Not to preach but I’ve been reading some medical journals recently that state the best indicator that person will be able to live an independent life longer is down to leg strength.

          Makes sense really, you can’t live an independent life if you can’t get out a chair and you need leg strength to do that at an advanced age.

          So in summary – keep it up, you’re an inspiration to us all on here!


  38. Hello.

    I’ve been doing the program for about 4 months, I think it’s great.

    However my question is should I be benching more than squats?

    I can squat around 180 lbs but I bench 200lbs.

    Is this right?

    Should I continue to add weight to my bench if my legs don’t keep up.


    1. Hi Christopher.

      You’re right to point this out, in general the majority of people will squat more than they bench (sadly a lot of people don’t squat).

      I definitely wouldn’t stop benching, why change a good thing! It’s probably a technical thing why you’re not squatting as much as you think you should be. I recommend maybe doing a front squat once per week instead of a back squat.

      This will put greater emphasis on your quads and holding a more upright body position, this should hopefully get you thinking about your back squat technique.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you need anymore help.

      Keep up the good work!


  39. Hi Greg.

    Just going to start the Stronglift program… seems interesting and challenging….just wanted to know one thing:

    If i stick to the program will I have strength gains alone or will I also be able to see a gain in overall muscle and looks?

    1. Hi Rocko.

      Absolutely, when your workout exists of only the biggest compound exercises you’re going to build muscle.

      There’s no better way to release testosterone.

      My legs ballooned which I’m perfectly happy with but if you don’t want to look quite like a human frog then by all means add in some dips or chins.

      Hope this helps.

      Good luck,


  40. If I follow this workout will my hands look very small compared to my torso?

    To be specific, I am not particular about rock solid hands in terms of aesthetics but I don’t want them to lag compared to my torso in terms of looks.

    I just want my hands to look relatively OK compared to my torso… I don’t want my hands to look very skinny… that’s it.

    1. Hi Jon,

      If this is a serious post then please enlighten me how you usually train your hands?


      1. I just wanted to know if doing this workout will enable me to build muscle mass in my arms too… like I just don’t want them to lag too much compared to my torso.

      2. Ok, you kept saying ‘hands’ in your original post so I was somewhat confused.

        Yes Stronglifts will definitely build muscle mass in your arms – heavy bench, military press and rows will stimulate growth but you could also add dips or reverse grip pull ups into the workout if you want to do some more arms.

        Hope this helps,


  41. Wassup Greg… dude what if I perform the ABA workout on every alternate days instead of getting 2 days rest on Saturday and Sunday?

    So it will look like:

    Mon, Wed, Fri, Sunday, Tue, Thursday, Sat, Mon… and so on.

    What are your suggestions?

    1. Hi Steve.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      I wouldn’t recommend it personally, this would mean you’d be squatting like 14 times a month.

      Muscle and strength isn’t built in the gym – it’s built during recovery through sleep, rest and a great diet.

      Particularly as Stronglifts is only compound lifts I think you’d really struggle to make decent gains rather than using the prescribed formula.

      If you feel like you want to do another session per week then perhaps do something totally different – high rep, low weight type stuff, just to get the blood flowing.

      Hope this helps.


      1. OK…so I have dropped the idea of doing alternate days.

        Right now I have a decent body without much fat… but I would like to incorporate a bit of cardio just to melt some more belly fat and for maintaining good heart health.

        Will 30 minutes of jogging do just on Sundays?

        Apart from the 3 day strong lifts workout?

        1. Hi Steve.

          That sounds fine, nothing too taxing.

          Ideally I’d do a 30 min swim instead (I’m biased) as that’ll really take the strain off your knees that’ll take a bit of a battering from all the squats.


  42. Dude… I’m into the 2nd week of the program.

    Since this program does not incorporate any cardio, is there a chance of fat accumulation in belly?

    I eat healthy stuff… I don’t have sweets at all… and I avoid oily stuff as far as possible.. .although I’m from India 😀

    1. Hi Roy, you must be doing well to avoid oily stuff in India!

      If you’re eating well then I doubt you will be gaining fat.

      You’ll be surprised how much of a sweat you’ll get on when really squatting heavy.

      I only really do compounds and find I’m often the guy who looks like he’s working hardest in the gym vs people on the treadmill or hitting a ‘big’ set of rope pull downs.

      If you fancy a bit of cardio then I recommend 30mins of swimming once or twice a week.

      It’s a great way to burn fat and puts minimal strain on your joints, particularly hips/knees.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Hey Vincent!

        You’ve got a great website and some very sensible comments from most visitors.

        Last year, I had used my own variation of the full body compound exercises, and it really has given me amazing results in terms of strength.

        I followed that up with an upper/lower and a push/pull/legs routine, and have only this week taken up StrongLifts 5×5.

        Bro splits just don’t interest me any longer.

        Trust me it’s not too difficult to avoid oil in India.

        As a matter of fact traditional Indian cooking in most parts of the country usually uses mustard or coconut oil, which will provide you with both better taste as well as health benefits.

        Apart from this we also use fresh butter and butter oil (Desi Ghee) with our food, and that is again very healthy.

        I accept that most restaurants use the wrong kind of oil for cooking and also cook it in the wrong way.

        But hey, people don’t eat outside everyday.

        Even potato in most traditional cooking is not fried.

        Traditional Indian cooking (both vegetables and meat) is quite healthy.

  43. I started Stronglifts 5×5 a few months ago and the results in both strength and muscle gains have been well above what I expected.

    I am naturally very lean and have a slim body type, at 5ft 9in.

    In three months I have gone from 63kg (138 lbs) to 68kg (150 lbs) all while maintaining 8-10% body fat.

    My lifts have progressed as follows:

    Squat: 60kg x 5 -> 105kg x 5
    Bench: 45kg x 5 -> 75kg x 5
    Row: 40kg x 5 -> 70kg x 5
    Overhead press: 30kg x 5 -> 48kg x 5
    Deadlift: 60kg x 5 -> 125kg x 5

    I have recently switched to 3×5 stronglifts to facilitate more progression as the weights get heavier.

    My squat has just reached 1.5x Body weight for 5 reps and my deadlift is approaching 2x BW for 5 reps.

    My question is how do I know when to switch to an intermediate program such as Wendlers or Madcow as progression slows?

    1. Hi Elliot.

      Sounds like you’re doing great, but you’re right Stronglifts has its limitations in the fact it doesn’t work off a percentage of your 1 rep max.

      As such, if you find yourself constantly unable to add 2.5kg to the bar each week then it might be time to switch.

      I’ve done 5/3/1 which was a great structure but I personally missed squatting 2-3 times per week so eventually moved on.

      I’ve not tried Madcow, but sounds like a decent step up from Stronglifts.

      Hope this helps, it’s really all about your personal feel but if you feel your form is tight and you want to make a step up then it’s probably time to switch programmes.

      Hope this helps.


  44. Dude I just wanted to clarify one thing…

    While doing deadlift should you be holding the bar in your hands throughout a set or can you drop the bar at the bottom after completion of a rep and then pick it up again?

    1. Hi Ken.

      Whatever works for you.

      I personally re-adjust my grip after every rep.

      That way it is definitely a deadlift.

      Also – your form will suffer less as you get heavier and reduce the risk of lower back injury.

      Hope this helps – also I’d suggest using chalk – can easily help add 5-10kg to your deadlift.

      Good luck!


  45. I did Stronglifts for 10 months, I thought it was OK at the time but the squatting heavy 3 times a week made me in constant pain so I dug a little deeper into the concept of strength training then I found Elliot Hulse’s 5×5, and this guy makes Stronglifts look very basic.

    Elliot makes sure you address muscular inbalances and cycles the program very well knowing 5×5 after time puts too much stress on the nervous system.

    So you have 3 stages of the program: the beginner stage is 5×5, intermediate stage is ramping your sets, then advanced stage is a 4 week training cycle .

    Gaining strength isn’t just training hard it’s training smart too.

    I highly recommend the Elliot Hulse Advanced 5×5 method.

    He also has a program for bodybuilding 5×5 to simulate myofibrilla hypertophy as well as scarcoplasmic hypertophy.

    The dude also has a YouTube channel called Strength Camp and this guy seriously knows what he is talking about – since doing this I am bigger and stronger than I ever got with Stronglifts.

    This program takes it to the next level – check it out and see what you think and hit me back?

    Greg, you could even do a review on it?

    1. Hi Craig.

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m aware of Elliot Hulse – once you get past some of his more pointless videos – “How to punch someone in the face” – he’s got some genuinely great advice on strength.

      I wasn’t aware of his 5×5 programme however so I’ll be checking it out for sure.

      I think Stronglifts is a good starting point to hone one’s skills, but you’re right, I don’t think there’s enough science behind it to make it sustainable in the long term.

      Thanks for the heads up – I’ll look into it.


  46. Stronglifts 5×5 is the only program I’ve tried where I’ve actually gotten results.

    I am 56. I have extremely poor connective tissues, and that’s what limits me (I also have abs that are literally split down the center, so I have to be careful my guts don’t spill out everywhere!).

    Due to some major illness and minor injuries due to poor technique, I’ve restarted the program three times.

    Each time I lifted much more than ever in my life… I love the squats.

    I am about 225 lbs. I lost about 10 lbs body weight, and have transformed many times that amount from fat to muscle weight.

    6-pack abs with no ab work, definition like I’ve never seen before.

    Still weaker on the arm routines than I’d like, but still much better than ever before, and I have yet to reach a strength limit (muscles always stronger than the connective tissues, but they are getting stronger, too).

    After I set new personal records, I’ll take a week or two off (doing other workouts, not slacking), back off about 10%, and do it again.

    I think this program will continue to provide results for me for quite a long time, and if what I’ve got now is all I get, I’ll still be very happy…

    1. Hi Roger.

      Literally (almost) busting a gut to get results – love it!

      Keep it up.


  47. Hi.

    I am 15 years old and have been going to the gym for almost two years.

    I have been using splits where you only focus on a couple different muscles every day I go.

    I have built some muscle but still am quite skinny.

    I weigh 60kgs but weighed 50kgs when I started.

    Now I have some very important school exams which are putting me back to about 2 months away from the gym because I need to prepare.

    I am considering starting this program once they are over.

    Would you recommend this program for me?


    1. If not, which program would you recommend?

      My aim is to bulk.

    2. Hi Jack.

      I wish I’d stumbled across a programme like this when I was your age.

      Absolutely give it a go, you’ll definitely add bulk, particularly in your legs, back and triceps.

      The compound exercises are great for all round size, better than any split routine/isolation exercises that’ll really just tone.

      You’ll be the strongest of all your peers as well, that’s for sure.

      If you fancy something more varied then I recommend Jim Stoppani’s ‘Shortcut To Size’ or anything by Reg Park.

      If you need any more advice then let me know.


  48. Hi Greg,

    I’m a woman, 25 years old, 1m54 (5’1″) and I weigh around 56kg.

    I used to work out quite a lot (did crossfit and yoga and running and such).

    But last February I lost a baby due to an ectopic pregnancy and since the surgery I’ve gained 17 pounds and it feels like I perform badly when I go running or whatever.

    I’m really interested in doing Stronglifts 5×5.

    I want to get into weight training, but never really knew what to do when I went to the gym.

    Question – I know women don’t tend to get as “bulky” as men due to testosterone levels etc, but I’m still afraid (considering the fact I’m really short), that the form of my body will look kinda masculine?

    I would love to get a leaner look with toned muscles, where as after my surgery, I feel like there’s fat everywhere.

    Any tips on sustaining a female form?

    Adding cardio, less weight, …?

    Thank you so much!


    1. Hi Sharon.

      Thanks for getting in touch, sorry to hear about your loss but sounds like you’re still trying to be positive with your life and this programme will certainly help you to focus.

      As with most routines, the actual exercises are only half the battle – nutrition will be the key when it comes to bulk/lean/cut etc, so if you need any advice head over to our nutrition section.

      Squatting 3x per week will certainly add some size to your legs no matter what, but the overall effect on your body form thanks to the squat more than makes up for this.

      In terms of cardio, I’d add a swim session 1-2 times per week.

      Your legs are likely to be pretty shot after all the squatting so swimming is the perfect form of cardio to take the strain off your joints and burn overall body fat.

      If you’re looking to tone then I’d suggest adding some high rep work after the main sets, 3-4 sets of 12-15 should do, something like:

      Chest: dumbbell flies

      Back: lat pulldown

      Calves: seated calf raises

      Shoulders: lat raises

      Triceps: rope push downs

      Biceps: dumbbell curls

      These exercises should help you tone up without affecting form or causing excess fatigue on your main compound lifts which must remain the key focus of your programme.

      Good luck Sharon, let me know if you need anything else.


      1. Hi Greg,

        Thanks for getting back in touch!

        I think my nutrition is kinda okay considering I eat mostly strict Paleo.

        I do eat dairy and drink an occasional glass of wine, but no sugar, grains or processed food and all of my meals are homecooked.

        I do some swimming sometimes, but I guess it’s indeed a better option than running to prevent my legs from getting too sore 🙂

        I’ll be starting SL 5×5 tomorrow morning!

        Thanks for your tips and I’ll be back in some time to say how it’s going!

  49. Hi there,

    I’m a man, 44 years old, 180cm tall, weight 85kg.

    I’m doing 5×5 now for 9 weeks.

    I struggeled with squats at 75kg last week and deloaded to 70 kg.

    Squats are killing me, haha.

    Also overhead press, fail at 40 kg.

    Deadlift is no problem 100kg.

    Bench press is getting difficult now at 55kg.

    I still have a long way to go but I try to go on until I squat at least 110kg, bench 90 and deadlift 180.

    1. You’ll get there.

      Just finished twelve weeks (thirteen and a half, really) and didn’t suffer a stall until the freaking tenth week, in which I crashed on my overhead and bench.

      My squat form was starting to deteriorate as well so I took a week off and just deloaded all three.

      It worked.

      Came back stronger, even, and finished out about where I’d hoped to be when I started the program.

      You’re at a spot where it did get pretty ugly for me, more the mental strain than the physical, even, and getting away for a week reeeeally made a difference.

      The first day back was odd, because I found I had to talk myself into it all the way to the gym.

      Kept telling myself I’d already exceeded my expectations and didn’t have to prove anything, etc, etc…

      Was talking to myself right up to when I step into the rack to warm up… then… I realised I was warming up with a hundred more pounds on my back than I had for my first set of fives when I started… WARMING UP, with a HUNDRED more pounds than my first day of starting.

  50. Wrapping up twelve (actually 13.5 weeks) of StrongLifts 5×5 as experienced through the eyes… and quads, glutes, delts and lats, etc … of a 56 year old.

    I’ll get the meaningless stuff out of the way – all that follows is “workout weight.”

    Squat: started at 60lbs, finished at 220.

    Overhead (wretched lift!): started at 30 lbs, finished at 90.

    Bench: 45lbs to 135.

    Rows: 40lbs to 155 (!) – added on more weight in the last month, never came close to stalling, could probably go another 6 weeks without a deload.

    Deadlift: 105lbs to 245 – and probably wouldn’t have stalled for another month.

    Sorry Euro-wankers, us Yanks refuse to use the metric system.

    Don’t know what my 1RM is for any of them and probably never will.

    Now, the important stuff:

    In all truth, it was a total BITCH, and, in all truth, one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

    I don’t think I’m overstating when I say it’s a glorious metaphor for life itself.

    Set your sights, work hard, work through the pain, and in the end you find you’re a tougher S.O.B. tham you thought you were, and the rewards are immeasurable.

    Physically, emotionally and yes, spiritually (himme a moment while I wipe a tear…).

    When I started this I was blessed, truly.

    I was 56, getting fatter by the day, yes, but had no honest to god physical problems, other than being woefully out of shape and downright lazy when it came to taking care of myself.

    No lingering ailments, no joint pains, just a dearth of motivation and a growing dread of having to to anything physically difficult.

    I was at a point where I had to come to the realisation that I could simply sit around for the rest of my life and continue to dwindle until I could finally say, “I’m too old for this crap…” and MEAN it, or I could suck it up and do something.

    Found this program.

    I was 209 lbs when I started, dropped down to 203 after the first month, and now, 12 weeks (thirteen and a half, actually – a little deload issue at week 10) later I weigh – drum roll, please – 215lbs.

    With no science involved whatsoever, I figure that to be 12lbs of dense lean muscle gain.

    Not bad for the time put in.

    Do I look like Arnold? Nope.

    Ah, but I’m a topographical map of rippling bulges? Uh-uh.

    But, I’m thicker in the right places, thinner in the right places, and feel pretty-damn-good.

    And I do feel-better, in every way – sleep better, breathe better, eat better… and, for all you guys over 40, better in the boudoir.

    (Don’t tell that’s never entered your heads, fellas… and the wife will back me up!).

    So, now I can head back to the couch? Nope.

    I am changing it up, though, switched things around.

    During the last three weeks of 5×5 I began concocting a new routine, primarily to take my mind off of what was to come every time I stepped into that f****ing squat rack.

    So this is my next 12 weeks (with one already under my belt):

    Day one: Front squats 3×5, Romanian deads 3×5, deadlifts 3×5 – I’ve deloaded the deadlifts by 20% to compensate for 2 extra sets.

    Day two: Cleans 3×5, Oveheads 3×5, Pull-ups 3×5.

    Day three: Backs squats 3×5, Flat bench 3×5, Incline bench 3×5.

    I’ll be adding five pounds to each lift, but only every other week.

    As for the pull-ups, I’ll need assist (gym has a contraption) with the goal of course to eventually have no need to.

    Added the incline bench just to nail my chest a bit better.

    As for front squats, never done ’em before, they suuuuuuck!!!

    (Wrists, oh my effing god, the wrists…)

    But I’m sure I’ll learn to love them as much as back squats, heh.

    The cleans I’ve never done either, they suuuuuuuuuuuck, too!!!

    After one round, I’m sore in places I haven’t been for three months, LOVE IT.

    As an added testament, the first week of January, I back squatted 60lbs and had DOMS so bad I limped for three days.

    Front squats, a totally new lift, I can do ATG and started at 115lbs.

    I have developed a love/hate relationship with compound lifting that I will carry to my grave.

    Anybody can say what they want about Mehdi, but it’s the program I used, and it didn’t cost me a dime.

    I feel like I owe him the rest of my life.

    1. Will I ever shut up?

      Realized that with the results I posted, they are all actual weight, bar included.

      The lifts under 45lbs (OH and Rows) were not initially done with an oly bar.

    2. Hi Tom.

      I’ve read your post and now forgotten most of it due to the length!!!

      My main takeaway seems to be that you’re doing freaking awesome and bossing the workout.

      Love how you’re coming up with your own variations now as well – this is the essence of weight lifting – try a programme, see how your body responds then adapt the workout to what’s best.

      Good luck with your new regime!


  51. G’day Greg,

    Great article mate – really useful and informative.

    I’ll be starting this program in about 6 weeks (currently in the middle of Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size) and I just have a question about squats.

    I can’t do normal back squats due to shoulder issues and not being able to extend and hold the bar – are front squats OK as a replacement…?

    Might be a stupid question but thought I’d ask anyway…!

    Cheers – Chris.

    1. Hi Chris.

      Valid question since this is such a squat heavy programme.

      The front squat is quite different since the focus is much more on the quads rather than the the total lower body with back squats so you might find yourself burning out pretty fast.

      My advice would be to front squat on the days you deadlift then do a stiff legged deadlift or dumbbell lunge instead of squat on non deadlift days.

      This will allow you to also develop your hamstrings and glutes.

      The best case scenario is that your gym has a camber bar which would allow you to do back squats but without the shoulder discomfort.

      If not then go with the advice above.

      Hope this helps.


  52. Hi.

    I am looking to get started on 5×5.

    I was doing the programme for about 6 months a few years ago and made some good strength gains but also put a lot of fat on – bad diet.

    Now I have sorted my diet out I am dropping the fat without much exercise.

    Will 5×5 help me to continue to lose the fat if I carry on eating clean?

    I don’t care how much I weight but just wanna reduce the fat and be stronger.

  53. Hi.

    I’m 24 years old, ectomorph, and weight about 57kg.

    I would like to know if StrongLifts could help me gain more weight since I want to start to workout and put some weight and muscle to my body, I’m done with the skinny look!

    1. I started it at 56 y.o. and weighed 209.

      Lost about six pounds the first four or five weeks, then gained twelve back by the time I finished.

      At your age you should gain at least that if you stick to the program and EAT.

      Make sure you’re getting at least 1.5 grams of protein per bodyweight pound – supplement shake or two a day, milk, tuna or sardines and peanut butter… and sleep 8 hrs every 24.

  54. Don’t do this exercise.

    First of all, I met a lot of people who told me to not do it because they got injured from this routine.

    I did not believe it and I did mess up my leg from squats.

    Also, to increase weight every exercise, you have to eat a lot of food which will make you look like a ball.

    You will for sure gain weight on your stomach.

    I don’t care what this guy says.

    Also, be careful and don’t spend any money on this with the apps and see what kind of support you get from him.


    1. Hi Nev.

      Thanks for the comment – you’ll see from pretty much everyone who’s commented that the programme has been a success.

      The reason for this is probably not following the routine to the absolute letter.

      My knees and groin started hurting after probably week 8-9 so I started doing stiff legled deadlift instead.

      It’s unlikely experienced lifters will be able to add weight every week, so, again, it’s about being sensible.

      I don’t think the volume of squats is too much of an issue if you have good form.

      We’re now starting to see the emergence of programmes such as Cory Gregory’s ‘Squat Every Day For A Year’.

      Now he obviously isn’t going max weight every session but it shows you can lift often with great form.

      Your opinion of course, but I think this is a decent beginner programme for those who are sick of making meagre gains (if any) on boring isolation exercises and machines that are far more dangerous than squatting!


  55. A friend of mine has recommended this workout to me.

    Only thing putting me off is there is no incline press.

    So obviously I’m a bit worried about having an odd looking chest.

    Also, I have seen other 5×5 workouts that also include power cleans for traps.

    Overall, I did like this regime as it includes rows.

    I have read some comments on other forums that say don’t add any exercises, just stick to the program, and it will all sort itself out.

    Can anyone give me with any advice please?

    1. Hi Neale.

      I see no problem with alternating normal and incline press if you want more balance.

      Traps should get quite a lot of work from the deads and rows.

      I love power cleans but they will affect your ability to military press.

      There’s nothing stopping you from doing some shrugs or inclines at the end of a workout of course – maybe higher rep.

      Don’t always listen to forums (except this one) – just because someone has written a programme doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you.

      Take what you can and adapt it to your goals.


      1. With what you stated above, I’ve been doing power cleans (have learned to love ’em… results reeeeally show in squats) the same day I’m doing overheads.

        Noticed the overhead, which has always been my problem lift, seems to have gotten harder.

        Would a schedule change be necessary?

        Like doing them on different days?

        Or is the potential for gain just toughing it out?

        I can manage the “weight of the day”, but need to take what seems to be an overlong rest between sets.

        1. Powercleans, as great as they are, will undoubtedly fatigue your forearms which in turn will potentially have a negative impact on your military press.

          I’d suggest doing the cleans at the end of a workout since they are not the focal point of the programme.

          As for the overhead press, it’s always going to be the weight that will go up the least easily since in all likelihood it’ll be your lowest weight so a 2.5kg increase could be like a 2-5% increase per week.

          Big numbers when working around a 5rm.

          If you can, buy some 0.625kg plates, this’ll make the step changes more manageable, or don’t be afraid to use a small amount of knee jerk.

          Hope this helps.


  56. Great article Greg.

    I’m in my first week of Strong Lifts and started with an empty Olympic bar.

    I’m 5’10, 95kgs with not much muscle mass and strength, but a lot of fat in my chest, abdomen and thigh area.

    I’ve read about eating right while doing Strong Lifts.

    Can you point me to some good diets that I can follow?

    Also what are some good tips to warm up before starting each session and to cool down afterwards?

    I do light cardio on off days and before and after the workout.

    Is this good or bad?

    I’m really motivated to follow this program after reading about all the good results others have seen.

    But I want to do it the right way in terms of diet and warmups (to prevent injuries).



    1. Hi Dev.

      Light cardio is a great way to start the session and get blood flowing.

      You could also do some sets of air squats (same movement but without the bar).

      I recommend swimming for non-workout days since there’ll be no strain on your joints.

      As for diet, I don’t like to recommend a specific diet since everyone will react different to different food types.

      Check out our nutrition articles for some ideas though:

      Let me know if you need anything else – good luck with the programme!


  57. Greg, intending on the 5×5 program after I can invest in a bench and squat rack next month.

    Current norm is daily squats with presses, thrusters, powercleans and deadlifts occasionally.

    Only have oly bar and 260lbs of plates in garage and squats are limited by my powerclean.

    Today was 5×10 with 135, alternating back and front squats, then 1×5 @ 235, 1×5 @ 275 and 2×5 @ 305 DL.

    Overhand for first two DL sets, alternated for 305 sets (did both sides).

    Yesterday tested rows and presses, 3×10 each with 95lbs, plus 2×20 back squats with 135.

    Max squat (1rm) is 315 (spotted in local gym), bench 210, press 170, DL unknown, row not sure without form coach to observe.

    Question is my goals for 5×5:

    When I drew it up I set final weights for 5×5 as current 1rm for squat and bench, press at 185, row at 185 and DL at 415.

    So starting weights 135 squat, 115 bench, 95 row and press, 245 DL.

    46yr old, recently into oly lifts (3yrs of gradual buildup), 5-11, 218.

    Are my goals attainable and reasonable?

    Thank you, best review and comments I have seen


  58. 8 Weeks into the program.

    5’6, 143lbs, 17y/o

    BW: 136lbs>143lbs
    Squats: 95lbs>185lbs
    Bench Press: 95lbs>130lbs
    Pendlay Row: 95lbs>105lbs (Deloaded from 130 to focus on form)
    OHP: 65lbs>80lbs (First Deload from 90lbs)
    Deadlift: 115lbs>225lbs

    Squats, deadlift – haven’t failed a rep yet.

    Bench press – failed sets every other week due to improper form but did not stall 3 times in a row yet. Form has improved and haven’t failed a set 2 workout ever since.

    OHP and Pendlay Row – Form needs work, first time deload.

    My physique after 2 months has really changed and I have gotten a lot stronger.

    My only regret was not starting with an empty bar for squats/ohp/bench press, this is the biggest tip I could recommend aside from maintaining a calorie surplus of 1lb/week.

    Though I have not failed squats yet, it is really getting very hard, I feel like I will fail a set soon and if it happens, I could only wish I had started with an empty bar rather than 95lbs, by starting with the bar you will be able to progress faster as you are able to increase your weight along the weight.

    Same goes for the other exercises.

    Overall, good program, good benefits for a beginner, as long as you follow the program with good form and hit a calorie surplus of 1lb/week, you will see significant gains in a short amount of time.

    Looking forward to milking the program as much as I can.

  59. Hello!

    I’m from the US, height 5’6, weight 138 lbs.

    I started Stronglifts 5X5 sometime back and am in Week 8.

    And results are in simple words… outstanding.

    1. Squat – 45 lbs – 190 lbs
    2. Deadlift – 90 lbs – 235 lbs
    3. Overhead Press – 45 lbs – 115 lbs
    4. Bench Press- 45 lbs – 115 lbs
    5. Rows – 70 lbs – 135 lbs
    6. Chin ups – 2 – 10 reps (single try)
    7. Pull Ups – 1 – 7 reps (single try)
    8. Handstand push up – 1 – 7 reps (proper form)

    I gained strength!

    As far as definition is concerned… all we need to do is to ensure what we eat is clean.

  60. I have been doing Stronglifts for 6 weeks but only 2 x week.

    2 x a week I do more full body accessory work.

    I have seen my weights increase each time.

    While I like being strong, I have also grown in size, my quads no longer fit into my shorts!

    Not to sound ignorant, but is there a way to gain/keep strength without gaining size?

    1. Try adjusting your nutritional macros.

      More calories = more size.

      Perhaps less protein.

      Perhaps deloading might help too, ie, lighten the load.

      Heavier weights = bigger muscles.

      Maybe add some cardio and reduce squatting (replace squats on one of your workout days with another exercise, or just eliminate them).

      I am not sure what will work for you, but that should give some things for consideration.

  61. I am 50 years old and have been weight training for most of my life.

    I have tried many different routines over the years.

    I have a very good understanding of how my body reacts to certain rep ranges and work loads and the amount of rest required to actually benefit from progressive resistance.

    I am a small boned individual (Oriental/European) and was always a hardgainer.

    I am a 5×5 enthusiast and have been using it with good results for the past ten years.

    I have found that I can make good gains in strenghth by using a upper push, upper pull, and a leg day for three different work outs.

    I do 5×5 deadlifts, 5×5 pull ups (sometimes I do 5×5 rows, cable row or pull downs instead of pull ups).

    I skip a day and then do 5×5 upper push which consists of barbell bench press, overhead press.

    I skip a day and do 5×5 squats.

    I skip a day and do my upper push routine.

    I skip a day and do my 5×5 deadlift routine.

    I end up doing my upper push between my dead and squat days.

    I find that my gains keep going and I avoid injuries and still have enough reserve to get some intense anaerobic training in.

    I do core training after each workout session.

    I have found that as I progressed and the weights got heavier I needed more time between sessions.

    The upper push sessions are not as taxing on the nervous system as the dead and squat.

    I am still doing deads and squat 2x every eight days on this schedule.

    I eat right and don’t have to commit most of my free time to the weightroom.

    It may seem to little to some in the beginning, but once you start to get into heavier weights it is better to undertrain than to overtrain.

    Also I base my workouts on my anticipated recovery days, and when my schedule gets busy I will only do the basic lift on each day (squat, bench, dead).

    I like to catch my breath and let my heartrate come down to maintain my strength between sets.

    I eat clean and balanced and most important I never let my form suffer in order to complete a rep.

    I do step away from the 5×5 on occasion to do a lighter high volume type of work out when my gains stop or if I fail at a weight 2x I will lower the weight sometimes up to 50lbs and start from there adding 5lbs per session.

    The biggest thing I find is that it is good to find a qualified trainer to learn how to lift properly before you start and make sure you have a routine, rest schedule that you can maintain over the long haul.

    Bad form will catch up with you later in life if not sooner and it doesn’t take hours to make gains.

  62. !?Stupid return key!!

    Right! Used this program a while back.

    Never trained before, was a lame ass sack of sitting in front of the computer waste of a tit box!

    Started to get wrist cramps and could not even pick up my guitar for longer than 5 mins before it hurt to play (stave off the wanking jokes lads, cheers!)

    During SL 5×5 my lifts went from empty (20kg) bar to:

    Deadlift: 160kg
    Squat: 120kg
    OHP: 60kg
    Bench: 75kg
    Row: 80kg

    At the age of 39 with a staggering height of 5’6″ and at this point I was still smoking cigarettes (yes, TWAT!).

    I was so happy with these results I went on to do other things… lost interest and…. yeah.

    Been back at it again, just popped the 50kg OHP, 100kg Squat and the 110kg Deadlift.

    I’m thinking about moving up a bit now, up and onto the Reg Park Beginner, to then move on to the Reg Park Monster.

    I am now training in the evening again to give myself the extra time.

    Really appreciate this site guys!

  63. Thinking of starting this programme as soon as tonight as I have been getting bored of hitting the gym every night to train a different body part for 20+ sets!

    I need to get strong, but my obsession with volume has come as a result of me putting on fat weight quite naturally.

    I’m about 12-14% as we speak with a decent diet and hard work in the gym in order to keep it that way.

    I was thinking of maybe alternating 20-30 mins of HIIT and some kind of tabata circuit after each workout to keep that fat off.

    I am however very ‘scared’ of only hitting the gym 3 times a week… right now I’m going 5-6 times and hitting a minimum of 18 sets of reps to failure (most of the time).

    I know it will come down to diet as it usually is 9/10 of the law, I just wanted to run the idea of HIIT and tabata after workouts passed you guys?

    Cheers, Jon

  64. Hey Greg.

    How long had you been training before you started Stronglifts 5×5?

    I’m thinking about starting it, even though I’m not a beginner.



    1. Hi Nicolai.

      I’d been training properly for about 18 months, just fancied something old school.

      It’s not a programme for pros but you can’t argue with the simplicity and you certainly can’t argue with compounds!

      Use it as a platform for more advanced programmes that you can find in our training section.


  65. I recently started working with a coach and I’ve just finished week 3 of my programme.

    It is based on the above principle and so I’ve gone from squatting once a week to 3 times a week.

    During the first two weeks, I was also working out and climbing on the other days and resting for only one day.

    This week I’ve had a bit of a setback and felt generally unwell and fatigued.

    I’m putting that down to CNS overload.

    I’m not new to strength training and despite only being 5ft 4″ and 51kg, I think I do OK.

    Currently, bench press is at 40kg, squat was taken up to 75kg but have backed down a bit as couldn’t get the full ROM, deadlift up to 75kg, OH press is at 20kg.

    I realise that I need more rest in between these sessions.

    I don’t hurt like I used to do when I was training with a mix of compound and isolation exercises.

    I’ll stick with quality not quantity and use the extra rest days to eat more.

    Any advice most welcome.

  66. I did this program for around a year (on and off) and saw good improvement on squats and deadlift.

    My bench however was really weak and still is.

    I think it’s because I have weak (small) shoulders?

    Any tips on how to improve my bench?


    1. Hi Abby.

      Try and hit bench every other session as well, then focus any assistance work you’re doing on incline/decline bench press or close grip to strengthen your triceps.

      Hope this helps.


  67. Great site.

    I’d like to share my experience with SL 5×5.

    6 Years ago at 48.5 YO I was 285lbs (6’2″) and very out of shape.

    I started working with the Brazilian girls at ATT in Coconut Creek, FL doing HIIT including kettlebells, etc.

    By 50 YO I was down to 245 and feeling great.

    6 months later I was bored and not feeling all that strong.

    I stopped that workout and did SL 5×5 religiously for 12 weeks and it was fantastic.

    My last day I was squatting 285 x 5 and got thumbs up from all the younger guys in the gym.

    I don’t really know if that’s good or not but at 51 it felt great and I got many comments about being in great shape.

    I went back to ATT and 2 weeks in I pulled something in my left shoulder (resulting in frozen shoulder) simply lifting a kettlebell out of the box (stiff armed, duh).

    Needed therapy and it took 1.5 years for the pain to fully leave.

    In the meantime I’m 55 and back to 285lbs.

    Started a Paleo diet a week ago and lost 11lbs and plan to start SL 5×5 next week.

    I will not max the weight out since, at 55, I have no desire to injure myself.

    Just want to burn fat and gain some muscle.

    For me SL 5×5 was a great program and I would recommend it.

    1. Hi Scott.

      Great to hear from you, glad you like the programme, although personally the Brazilian Girls at Coconut Creek sounds worth sticking with!


  68. Hi Greg.

    Really appreciate the fact you’re still replying to comments so long after the original post.

    Just wondering, how essential is it to start with the empty bar?

    I’m 5’10, 82kg.

    Squat 60kg (PB 80)
    Bench 60kg
    Row 50kg
    DL 110kg
    OH 45kg

    1. Hi Sim.

      I guess you just need to think how long is your body going to take to adapt to the strength programming and also technically how much weight you would be lifting after 12 weeks of adding 2.5kg to the bar each sessions and if you think that’s realistic.

      Without knowing you I’d suggest going a bit lower on the military press and squat.

      Ideally you want to be around the 8-9 week mark before you might start failing and you’ll of course be adding 7.5kg a week to the squat.

      Hope this helps.


  69. Been doing 5×5 for 6 months now.

    Goes well until you have to crush a plateau pretty annoying there.

    My gains are as follows:

    Chest 35 from 32.5
    Biceps 13 from 12

    Bench 78 kg
    Deadlift 120 kg
    Overhead Press 52 kg
    Squat 96 kg
    All weights include Olympic bar weight.

    I often do 3×8 chinups after deadlift.

    Only thing I don’t like is the workouts take more than an hour to finish especially after 3 months.

  70. Two weeks into the program and already my penis has grown three inches.

    My pheromones literally cloud up the room.

    Just yesterday I simultaneously impregnated two women just looking at them.

    I would definitely recommend this program but you need to understand that with great power comes great responsibility.

    1. Hi Shelby.

      Yes, fairly similar experience, by the time you get to week 12 you’ll be supreme overlord of your own strength based cult, enjoy.


  71. Hi,

    I am in my 5th week of the program, really enjoying it after temporarily quitting crossfit due to work and persistent injury.

    My question is I may have started heavier than I should so on OH press which is now 52kg.

    Is it acceptable to push press as strict is too heavy and I feel the strain on my lower back and shoulders?

    Squats are addictive however they pissed me off yesterday as my trousers split right down my arse on set 1 rep 1 @ 0630am.

    Still completed the workout though ha ha.

    Cheers Greg, great site for info.

    1. Hi Paul.

      Absolutely – don’t go injuring yourself just to follow this programme to the absolute letter, I’m a big fan of the push press to help the lock out phase of the movement.

      I’ve ripped my boxers a few times going deep on squats, it’s harrowing, thinking that your shorts could rip at any moment afterwards and you’d basically be tea-bagging the floor.

      Good luck with the programme.


  72. Hello.

    Just like to say firstly I’m a female with 5 children they’re nearly all grown up from 8-16 yrs old .

    I was browsing on the website yesterday only because I’m literally FED UP of going to the gym nearly everyday min 4-5 days a week!

    (I do have my odd weeks out where I’m really de motivated and JUST DON’T GO due to NOT seeing any improvement so…)

    I am REALLY trying ever so hard to eat clean but it is VERY hard when you’re cooking for kids and you don’t have the time to cook a separate meal for yourself.

    So I’ve really really tried and thought what the heck give the kids clean food as well (to a certain extent ) meaning not chicken all day every day!

    But still no joy, I’ve not lost weight I’ve plateaued and come to this ENORMOUS HALT!!

    And now nothing’s budging!

    I have come to terms that I actually LOVE lifting weights and I’d LOVE TO LIFT HEAVIER weights.

    But I didn’t know what movements etc so…

    After I found the Stronglifts website I read it all!

    And found it deffo had logic and truth in it!

    And MOST of all it was SIMPLE and repetitive!!


    But the only thing is I’m now worried about after reading all the above comments.

    My biggest question is I’m 5’8″ and weigh 81kg – if and when I start the 5×5 which I’m thinking of doing on Monday coming up to start this programme.



    This is totally not what I want to do!

    I want to reduce my weight about 5-8 lbs max or not even that but DEFFO not be BULKY & BIG!!

    Please can anyone shed some truth on this and what I should do and how?

    I also do love running on the treadmill at 8 speed on incline 4, 1 minute on and 1 min rest, for about 20-30 min every day.

    And do Bodypump classes & kettle bell classes.

    I am also thinking if I do take this programme on board I might get bored of it JUST LIFTING!

    Will I though is my question – or will I be too tired and not want to run or go to these classes?

    I really want to be strong but not big I want to be lean not flabby!

    Any advise will be appreciated.

    Thank you for reading.

    1. Hi Hannah.

      I won’t bore you with the details, but yes, you will put on weight & bulk doing this programme, it would be practically impossible not to.

      It’s likely you’ll lose fat but not weight, it’ll just be better weight.

      We have many other workout reviews if you check out the section of the website.

      Hope you find something you like.


  73. Hello folks!

    After a bit of advice please 🙂

    I am a small framed female 5’4 weigh about 48kg.

    Not much muscle and fair bit of wobble on the lower and very slim on top!

    I am looking to build some muscle to give me shape.

    I have spent a year in the gym doing all sorts of weights classes but it didn’t really make much of a difference to my body.

    Would this programme be right for me?

    I try and get in about 80g of protein a day but I don’t think I want to start eating much more.

    I run about 25-35 miles a week too.

    Thanks 🙂

    Any help much appreciated!

  74. I am a 42.5 yo female weighing 81kg.

    I am pretty robust (can lift a lot in a real world scenario) but have been out of a gym for a long time, and even then always fannying about with the dumbbells, with not much to show for it.

    I am planning on starting SL 5×5 Tuesday (Tu-Th-Sat) and I will definitely start with the empty bar.

    I haven’t seen a lot of positive or helpful comments or feedback anywhere on the web from women doing 5×5, apart from men talking about their gfs, so I will try to share with this thread every 3-4 weeks with progression.

    I am gonna have to get up at 5am to be first to arrive at the powerlifting gym though, since I don’t think I can handle the shame of lifting an empty bar in a room packed with bros…

    1. OK, so life got in the way and it took me until yesterday to start 5×5 the Mehdi way.

      It went well and I felt like I had a good workout despite the bars being empty (20kg).

      Today, lots of soreness, but no pain, so that must be good.

      Tomorrow I am not looking forward to squatting again, since my quads are where most of the soreness is, but I know if I stick at it, that will subside.

      I will check back in in a couple weeks with prog report, unless I see comments saying not to 😉

      1. Hi Antonia.

        Thanks for the update – difficult to comment on women doing this workout as I’ve no idea how our beings will differ under the strain of the programme.

        Keep us updated and let me know if you have any questions.


    2. Antonia I would really like to hear how you are doing on this program.

      I am really keen on getting my wife on this program.

      I have a thing about nice arms on a woman 😉

  75. Hello, I decided to start this program around 3 months ago and dd it seriously for 1 month.

    After that I started to watch bodybuilders on YouTube and then started a bodybuilding plan.

    Then school started and footy started and I only went to the gym once a week, two times at most.

    Since starting I have barely gained anything and I wish to start again.

    I began to track my food and started eating 2,500 calories.

    I still made no gains at all.

    Is this because of all the training I do?

    I have footy training four times a week.

    Anyway, I am going to start this program again and stick to it for preseason of footy and then I will pick it up again in the off season.

    I am 58kg, 180cm and pretty skinny and I am weak.

    I really want to get stronger and bigger, is this the perfect program to start again?


  76. Hi, I’m a 31 years old guy, been lifting for several years now.

    Definitely interested in the program, I even started two days ago, I think I needed a change in my workout sessions.

    But honestly I think it is a bit light at the beginning.

    My maxes:

    – bench : 125kg
    – squat : 135kg
    – deadlift : 170kg

    So I started where the app suggested: 50kg for squat and bench, 65kg for the deadlift.

    I don’t want to rush things, but will I really block my progress if I add like 15-20kg to these figures right away?


    1. Hi Boris.

      You’re clearly stronger than the average guy starting this programme, so yes, feel free to add a bit more weight to the bar.

      You can always key the numbers into a spreadsheet and see where you’re likely to be at the end of the programme based on the weekly loading.

      Good luck with the programme.


  77. Having read the article and numerous other ones of a similar type it seems like I should give this a go.

    I don’t have hours to be in the gym but got to try something to sort me out and get out of this funk I’m in.

    The problem I have and cannot find an answer to anywhere is this.

    I can only train Tues – Fri due to work, life etc, but the programme clearly states I shouldn’t work back to back days so how should/is it possible to use this system with those constraints??

    It would be great to hear not only your thoughts but anyone else who has an opinions thoughts on the matter.


  78. I’ve read a lot if reviews on this SL5x5.

    And one thing is apparent… different strokes for different folks as with all things in life.

    I am 45 years old, I have a beer gut, in bad shape and not as strong as I was 10-15 years ago.

    I go to the gym regularly and have been pounding the treadmill.

    I wanted to try something new and stumbled upon SL5x5.

    The best thing for me about this program is that, for someone that never lifted any weights in their lives, this is a fantastic program as it is simple and easy to follow.

    I am starting Week 5 on Monday and really can’t wait.

    I don’t look like Arnie yet but the wife said if I keep this up… 😉

  79. Looking into starting this program.

    Have not lifted in years – would this be good for a beginner?

    Will my physical appearance change much in 6-8 weeks as I’m not too out of shape just looking to get stronger and bigger/more toned.

  80. Just got myself the App and will be starting next week when I return from a business trip.

    I’m 27 years old and 6’3″ 238lb around 15% bf +/- 2%.

    I have been doing kind of my own thing in the gym which has been 3 sets of 4-6 reps on compounds followed by 2 or 3 isolation exercises.

    So for example lower body would have gone :

    3 x 4-6 squats
    3 x 4-6 deadlifts
    3×10 walking lunges (weighted)
    3×10 stability ball hamstring curls
    3 x 12-15 calf raises

    Had good results and my currext 5rm is below:

    Squat = 125kg
    Bench = 120kg
    Deadlift = 180kg
    Row = 100kg
    Overhead Press = 75kg

    I’ve always been strong with my chest and struggled with getting my squats heavier and deeper, so I like the fact i’ll be squatting a lot more (practice makes perfect).

    Really looking forward to this program and as I’m currently on a de-load week with only access to the worst hotel gym in the world I can’t wait to start.

    I’ll be starting at somewhere around 70% of my 5rm for this and building up as this is more volume at the higher loads than im used to performing.

    Lets lift some heavy $hit!

  81. Can we still do some workouts like bicep or tricep during rest days?

    1. Get the free app.

      It allows you to do assistance stuff after the 5×5 like (weighted) pullups, dips, planks, leg raises, chin ups, etc etc.

      I am doing the 5×5 for the last 8 weeks and am very pleased with the results.

  82. Guys,

    I know this thread is older than God now, but I just wanted to say that I’ve been doing the Stronglifts 5×5 for around 12 weeks now and like a good many people commenting on here, I’m seeing good progress.

    Squat: 60kg – 117.5kg
    Deadlift: 60kg – 117.5kg
    Bench: 50kg – 80kg
    OH Press: 40kg – 75kg
    BB Row: 50kg – 80kg

    I actually count this progress in 10 weeks rather than 12 as I got a back muscle “twinge” for a week (as a result of twisting my arm funny putting on a coat, not directly from the workout!).

    I then had a second week where I deloaded to ease back into it after the twinge.

    I’ve also supplemented with a couple of Abs/Obs cable exercises some forearm flexions, 300lb calf raises and some assisted pull ups/dips (due to my heavy build), but that’s it.

    I’m eating high protein.

    I started eating 1g per 1b and at 238lb and I realised my heart was in it but my stomach wasn’t.

    I decided to opt for a few shakes on top of things like eggs, tuna, chicken and steak.

    That seems to sit with me better, and more comfortably I might add.

    I’m gonna keep this going until I’m pushing close to 200kg on things like Squat and Deadlift.

    I’ll maybe think about going down a powerbuilding route after this if my physique isn’t noticeably transformed from the routine.

    But guys, I wanna be strong first… if looks come along great, if not I might chase them later but for now I wanna be more about muscle function rather than muscle form.

    Hopefully one day I’ll have a happy medium between the two, but after the inevitable years of trial and error that’ll get me there, I’ll look back and remember it was Stronglifts that fit me into the game in the first place.

    I’m surely becoming an addict…

  83. I’ll start here…

    I’m 52 years old and have been training/teaching Martial Arts for over 30 years.

    I’m also in my 20th year as a Law Enforcement Officer.

    I’ve kept myself in decent shape with a variety of training techniques and fitness exercises.

    I’ve never really dedicated myself to “strength training”.

    In doing some research, I came across Stronglifts 5×5 and decided to go for it.

    I have followed the program just about to the letter… the only thing I added was a complete body stretch that lasted about 5 minutes after each workout.

    The results have been awesome for me.

    I started out as suggested with each exercise and amount of weight and I used the app to guide me through each workout.

    My workout weights have all increased and I feel great.

    I’m 6″2″ and 215 pounds… I just completed the first 12 weeks of the program.

    Current workout weights: Squat 265lbs; Bench 195lbs; Dead lift 265lbs; Shoulder Press 110lbs; Row 155lbs.

    I am a believer in Stronglifts 5×5!

    I really wasn’t sure what I could achieve with strength training at this age, but this program has been wonderful.

    And I don’t have a Power Rack… I’m using an old weight bench with a squat rack attached (bought this back in the mid 80s).

    The Stronglifts website is outstanding with tons of info and guidance… all for free!

    Very impressive.

    The daily emails have been awesome as well, but as of this writing Mehdi is taking a break from the daily emails for a while.

    I have found this program to be very effective and plan to continue using it.

    I have some new goals, weights I never imagined I would see, and will take a few more breaks in between the weeks, but plan to roll with this training into the future.

    If you begin this program I recommend you follow all of the guidelines and training routines as directed.

    Read the website and watch the videos first.

    If you begin this training, challenge yourself to stay with it, as directed, for 12 weeks.

    Then decide if the results have been worth it… they definitely were for me!

  84. I’m 56 my weight is 197 and my height is 5’9″.

    I decided I needed to get some strength back in my upper body and came across this program the first week of December.

    I had been doing push ups for a month and was ready to lift weights.

    I last lifted around 1987 and had been an avid runner since.

    I messed up my left knee from too much running after surgery so I’m not doing the squat and other lifts that will put pressure on it at this time.

    I decided to set a goal of 300 lbs in the bench at the end of 12 months.

    I know you might probably think that is a bit aggressive of a goal but I have always been pretty strong so I felt it was attainable.

    I’m currently only doing the bench and overhead press at this time and then mixing in some cardio on my days off.

    So far my results have been outstanding after just a little over 3 months of working on these two lifts.

    I have been able to increase at least 2.5 lbs per week on the bench and the overhead press is going well also.

    I have put on all kinds of muscle since doing this program.

    I reached the advanced level for my age in the bench in just 10 weeks and I have a 1RM at 260 Lbs.

    I just completed 230 Lbs at the 5×5 sets on Wednesday.

    I think this program will work for anyone if you eat enough calories and get the proper sleep.

    One can not gain strength and muscle if you eat as you were before this program.

    One thing to remember do not rush yourself between sets.

    Make sure you rest at least 3 minutes min and on the hard sets do 4 or 5 min.

    This has been working great for me.

    When I’m done I drink a couple servings of chocolate milk and eat a couple chicken thighs or breasts right after the workout.

    This seems to be working well.

    I might even be able to stay on this workout right to my goal who knows.

    If I need to adjust my program at some point to reach my goal of 300 before the year is up I will do just that.

    Also if you feel like you need it take a few extra days off once in awhile.

  85. I’ve been doing 5×5 for 4 weeks consistently (8 weeks on and off).

    My gains have been great!

    I am 5’10 190lbs.

    Squat 95lb to 170lb
    Bench 55lb to 120lb
    Row 95lb to 140lb
    OHP 45lb to 75lb
    DL 135lb to 205lb

    In 4 weeks of consistent routine, I have only hit plateaus on row and presses, but continue to achieve 5×5 on these exercises by my 3rd attempt.

    Form is critical.

    Mindset is critical.

    I have gained no weight, but have packed on muscle.

    If you’re doing this workout, make sure to GET ENOUGH PROTEIN!

    About 1g per lb of body weight – for me it’s 190g of protein per day.

    This routine won’t burn a ton of fat, but it will build up the muscle hiding under your fat, making the flab less noticeable.

    Eat clean, add a day for cardio, and toss in a few chin ups and ab exercises on off days and you will chisel up.

  86. In six months from abandoning a bodybuilder type routine I saw these gains: from 168lbs to 184lbs.

    No change in my eating routine at all – I have always eaten the very same way since college (healthy).

    Squat: 1 max for 225lbs to 5×5 of 405lbs.
    Dead-lift: 1 max of 225lbs to 5×5 of 460lbs (one balls out deadlift was like sipping tea in the afternoon, had to do more).
    Bench Press: 1 max of 195lbs to 5×5 of 225lbs (torn rotator cuffs have forced me to stay light on the bench since high school).
    Press: 1 max of 95lbs to 5×5 of 195lbs.
    Rows: 1 max of 135lbs to 5×5 275lbs.

    I would certainly prefer clean jerks over rows for the obvious reasons but, given squats and deadlifts as often as I did them, there was no way to substitute.

    This is when I came to understand why bodybuilders are mocked (rightfully or not) as being weak.

    If at 250lbs someone at 180lbs is lifting proportionally more, you are weak for your size.

    There is nothing more foolish than a guy at 250lbs with hand straps, a belt, knee wraps while proceeding to do a 1 max rep of 315lbs in a deadlift.

    Follow that by a scream to be heard half a block away, foolish at best.

    I lost respect for nearly everyone after seeing my gains at my weight.

    These people don’t push themselves, they leave it all to the drugs they take.

    I became the skinny (184lbs at 5’11) guy at the gym warming up with the muscled-up dude’s max weight in deadlifts, squats, presses and rows.

    It was the most fulfilling years at the gym for me.

    The roid users could no longer argue that I didn’t know what I was doing because their cycles, power shakes, or recovery products didn’t give them the results I got from working out less, sleeping more, eating right and zero drugs in 6 months than they had in years of volume workouts.

    It took exactly 6 months shut them up, so much so that the gym would stop to watch the skinny guy squat (butt to heels) with over 400lbs and deadlift nearly 500lbs.

    The hardest thing was to gain grip strength to hold the weight in deadlifts.

    Not until I was able to hold the weight, did I see the deadlift take off.

    Nearly over night it had gone up 100lbs.

    I wouldn’t trade this workout for any other, even if I think starting lifts can be more beneficial because of clean jerks

  87. Great review, Greg.

    Strength equals size but size doesn’t equal strength, huh, what a great way to summarize it.

    It seems like there’s a flaw in Mehdi’s thinking there, though, no?

    It sounds like he’s defining strength as how much someone can squat/bench/dead/press/row for five reps.

    But what about the guy who does eight-rep sets?

    Won’t he be just as strong, just in a slightly higher rep range?

    If we look at a guy who’s big, he must be strong at SOMETHING, no?

    If he built big arms by doing twelve-rep curls, wouldn’t he be “strong” at doing twelve-rep curls?

    As in, wouldn’t he be able to curl more weight for twelve reps than the smaller guy doing the 5×5 program?

    In that case, isn’t big still strong, just strong in a way that Mehdi doesn’t care about?

    Or am I misunderstanding something?

    What do you think?