Is there more to a 5x5 program?
- 10-12-2013, 05:43 PM
Is there more to a 5x5 program?
When doing a routine at this intensity I assume its not ideal for a 5-10week program; However, I see in some articles it is common to utilize this routine for 7-9 weeks. As the routine is designed to utilize more intensity while keeping the amount of workouts needed to a minimal. (Maybe 3 to 4 exercises in a daily routine with around 3/4 days a week of training, seems to be common amongst online articles.) And also the exercises are not to target one muscle group in fact in each routine I browsed through it seemed common to have a bench press, squat, and rows! Im sure its common to use more target muscle isolation like bench, DB press, Decline Press yet over-all in my browsing 5x5 routines seem slightly chaotic (perhaps just coincidence on my behalf for aricles I clicked on). Sorry for not sourcing them too!I have a total biased view of 5x5 as I routinely train one - no more than two muscles a day at the gym. So in no way am I trying to question the methodology behind the program. For years now, in fact other than experimenting with a few split-routines my whole bodybuilding career has been isolation training I never ended up on a serious 5x5 program. I will say I have isolated the muscle with 5x5 technique through-out playing with reps and weight, but never my whole routine, and never so drastic as 7-9 weeks continuous. My question is:If this is a 7-9 week program would it not be a good idea to also add minor isolation exercise to each muscle group? It seems different 3/4 workouts surrounding each 5x5 program are core lifts or exercises designed for mass (bench, squat, deadlift, military press, barbell curls) so to me it just seems to neglect the demand each muscle needs to grow with full definition/shape. I understand that training legs makes your arms bigger ext.. due to the release of hormones. I guess im just not sold, that is all it takes to get each muscle to “take-shape”.
- 10-12-2013, 08:59 PM
a 5x5 program can be done for as much as a year. you can cycle them over and over even if they are written to be a 4, 6, 8 14 or 16.386 week program. its not like the body building myth filled zines that are only trying to get you to pay out a lot of money for rehashed crap that pros dont even do. plus the pros are the pros for a reason. decades of work that no one else would do. decades of eating that no one else would do. decades of drugs and supplements that no one else would do. so why only do part of what they do.
the reason you dont see much isolation work is that its not needed. 5x5 is not a bodybuilding plan. bodybuilding can benefit from a lot of volume. after many many years each body part starts to require soooo much volume that is where isolation workouts came from. a pro would need so much volume to produce growth that it would also take about a week to recover. the other 99.99999% of the worlds population does not need that much volume and therefore can recover much quicker, say in a few days. 5x5 is a strength based program. yes a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle but 5x5 doesnt just focus on bigger. it focuses on better. and here better is stronger and bigger. its a different type of training for a different type of goal.
isolation can be added, but IMO it should only be added to fix weak links. i like to think of not that i am doing more for a weak link but less for the strong links. they are already strong and therefore do not need the same volume.
5x5, or what some see as linear progression can be done for 3 month, 6 months, or even a year or more. depends on the goals of the lifter, the training age, the nutrition, the sleep and stress habits of the lifter. you will commonly see a switch to a 3x5 program which allows for more supplementary work more similar to what you are used to in the idea of a split but that supplementary work is only meant to bring up the main lift of each day. if it doesnt bring up the main lift then it doesnt matter. so the supplementary work can change every 3 month, 6 months, or maybe just once a year. with that supplementary work always changing that means a structured 3x5 can be done for years. sure, there may be blocks of 4 weeks or 8 or 10 weeks. but the plan can be cycled again for years.
and speaking of blocks that i just mention, that is a main theme in periodization. which is something i dont usually see in body building programs. the block has a goal, or a wave. then another block is done. you can do block after block after block to accomplish a long term goal. this is why these plans can go for years as each block is planned which allows you to plan better for the next block.
does that make sense?you can call me "ozzie" for short.
10-13-2013, 01:44 PM
Wow, yes!! Great information, definitely great to get some insight like that! Its not bodybuilding as you said, its more strength/ conditioning (a different goal), then comes bodybuilding more isolation! I am still a little confused with the amount of exercises to the routine and how often a week would be typical to workout. Would it be to much to ask for a example week, you could PM me? You helped me understand the function that 5x5 serves for growing in time,
but I am a little fuzzy with how its applied how often would each muscle group be hit in a week and how many workouts, I would think if your to utilize the program the way it is designed one workout 5x5 would damage the muscle pretty fast and good, but one exercise like of this nature would also only need one day maybe to recover, unless its being utilized as a secondary muscle in another exercise during that day of training, then perhaps a 2 day rest because a 5x5 calls for such heavy stress loads of weight and yes I noticed programs that are 3x5 in my research like you mentioned above. That would call for even more stress load. So as Kai Greene would say im not a weightlifter, Im a bodybuilder. 5x5 is for the weightlifter in a way, but also last question at what point (if any) is the weightlifter not just concerned with moving weight. ( I don’t want to say ego lifting it might get taking the wrong way but I don’t know how else to phrase this ) Is this just moving heavy loads because at some point the body cant hold out. I guess use a military press as example; do 135 keep your back nice and straight good form, now try 155 back starts curling your no longer targeting that particular muscle, go to 225 your back is curled and your ass is at the tip of the seat almost doing an incline press, calling for many secondary muscle groups (just an example to convey what im thinking)?
10-14-2013, 10:42 AM
there are many templates of the 5x5. here are some links for you:
now, to try and answer your other questions. you mention a concern about damaging the muscle too often. well, we dont want to damage. breaking down the muscle to make it grow is somewhat accurate but bodybuilder (especially magazines) really seem to push that damage part way to far. to the point people actually think they damage the muscle and it has to repair itself like if it was cut. not quite true. i wont get too much into the details here. lets just say we are far more resilient creatures than what most myths out there would make you think.
this idea of breaking down the muscle and having to recover i always associate with the supercompensation theory of muscle growth. well there is another that i believe is more accurate to what happens. it is called fit/fatigue theory.
here is a link for more info on supercompensation:
simply, supercompansation says you break down the muscle and it rebuilds itself to be stronger and bigger. eventually it will break down to a point from before it was worked. so you want to work it again at the peak of super compensation.
the fit/fatigue theory states that you are more fit, stronger at least, by the end of the workout. you are also fatigued so the representation of that increased does not show till you are recovered. this theory is practice is what allows you to work out a movement and/or muscle nearly or up to everyday. there can be a cumulative fatigue and that is why many great programs have a deload or recovery week. it creates a step ladder of increasing intensity or volume each week for 4-6 weeks then a low week to better recover and another step ladder that is overall higher than the previous one.
for the example of 5x5 and fit/fatigue you are stimulating adaptation but not fatiguing the muscle to need more than just a few days to recover. this allows for more frequent stimulation and as long as you can recover, eg sleep, eat, etc, you will grow stronger and bigger possibly faster than a once a week isolation program.
that example is taken to the extreme in olympic lifting. specifically the bulgarian method in which they can have up to 14 workouts a week doing a movement up to every other workout.
5x5 has a place for bodybuilders as in any strength program. a stronger muscle can push much more total volume. for example say you can bench 100 and i can bench 200. at 80% of that, which we know is a very good range to lift in, that is 160 for me and 80 for you. that is a lot more of a load to my muscles done with the same volume. it is good in my opinion to do strength for like a 4 week cycle then go for mass for a 4 week cycle. or you can 1 lift to gain strength a workout doing 2x5 or 5x5, or even a powerlifting routine then all other work could be bodybuilding type work.
does that help?
you can call me "ozzie" for short.
10-14-2013, 07:56 PM
OUTSTANDING! when I finish off my routine in a couple months im going to start 5x5 for a 3x4 weeks, I will post back here! thanks you again for your time.
10-14-2013, 08:58 PM
I'm pretty sure three weeks won't give you ideal results. I like 5x5. Look in to MadCow, the 5x5 program, and follow the template.
10-14-2013, 09:35 PM
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