The Stronglifts 5/5 Program For Building Muscle Mass

This article covers the stronglifts 5x5 beginner workout routine and how to perform it.
The stronglifts 5/5 program was proposed as an alternative to usual methods of working out, focusing on exercises that use multiple muscles or larger muscle areas. The program involves two alternating workouts to be done once every 48 hours. Each workout involves only five different exercises, which are done in five sets of about five repetitions. The reason this program works is that using big exercises allows the body to release growth hormones that amplify the effects of the exercise on the small muscles that are used as part of a motion, rather than focusing on targeting individual muscles with each exercise.

Day 1

Squat 5x5

Squats work the lower back, legs, gluts and a few other core muscles. They’re a good starting point for any workout because they’re great for blood flow and warm-up. Any beginner should start by using only body weight for squats and taking very little rest time in between sets. More advanced builders usually load anywhere from 150 to 300 lbs on a bar and squat while holding it on their shoulders.

Bench Press 5x5

Bench presses are the staple bodybuilding exercise, and are performed early to get the most out of their effects. Benching works the triceps, shoulders and chest muscles, and provides one of the best ways to induce growth in these areas. Bench press bars usually weight about 50 lbs, so for beginners its best to start there and work your way up to your maximum during your first workout, in order to get a good idea of where to stop with weight. Benching too much weight can be dangerous, especially without a spotter.

Inverted Rows 3xF

Inverted rows are basically the reverse version of the pushup. The feet are held up on a bench, and a bar is hung from a stand, allowing you to pull your bodyweight upwards. The reason this exercise should be done three times to ‘fail’ is because bodyweight varies by individual, and going until it’s impossible to do another repetition guarantees a full workout, but doing so more than three times can put undue strain on the muscles. Inverted rows work the back, biceps and core.

Pushups 3xF

Pushups are a great complement to the bench press because they use similar muscles, while also working on the core. Having already done the bench and inverted rows, pushups should be difficult and rewarding this late in the workout.

Reverse Crunch 3x12

Reverse crunches are a bodybuilder’s version of the situp. Instead of curling forwards and putting the back in an awkward position, this exercise begins from the same position, but with the arms held back behind the head to hold on to some heavy object that won’t move. Using two heavy dumbbells is a good way to do this. The exercise involves pulling the legs and lower body upwards, while holding the upper body level with the ground. This exercise works the core muscles, which is why it’s a high-repetition exercise. Having already done pushups and rows, this completes the first day of the workout.

Day 2

Squat 5x5

This exercise is so effective that it’s included on each day.

Overhead Press 5x5

This exercise involves holding a bar at shoulder level with hands pointed forward and elbows close to the body. The bar is then pushed up as far as possible, before being lowered back to its starting position. This exercise works the triceps and shoulders, and forces you to be stable while working out. Care must be taken to avoid striking the head when lowering the bar.

Deadlift 1x5

Deadlifts are difficult exercises that work the lower back and core muscles. Proper form for a deadlift can be viewed here: It is very important to do this exercise properly, and it should only be done in one set of five, with heavy weight.

Pull Ups/Chin Ups 3xF

Pull ups can be done with the hands pointed forwards, backwards or spread. Holding the arms curling inwards with palms towards your body is the easiest way of doing chin ups, but other forms offer a greater challenge and a better potential for muscle growth.

Prone Bridges 3x30 sec

Prone bridges, or ‘plank’, involves holding the body above the floor by your toes and your forearms, almost similar to a pushup starting position, but with the elbows on the ground. Holding this exercise for 30 seconds is difficult after a strenuous workout, and gives almost all of the core muscles in the body enough strain to complete the day’s workout routine.

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