5×5 might be the most effective lifting program for all around strength and hypertrophy. Multiple sets give you volume needed for hypertrophy and 5 reps per set allow for heavy weight to be used. It’s the best of both worlds. You get adequate load used, as well as adequate time under tension (how long the weight is being lifted for.) What are the draw backs? For a busy person with a job, especially if it’s a job that requires travel, or long hours like coaching, 5×5 can simply take too much time. Throw having kids into the mix and it can be downright impossible to spend that much time in the gym. So, how do we mitigate the time constraints of being an adult, and still be responsible for our own health and well being? That is the question that I am going to answer for you in this article.
This program will divide your work outs into 2, 3 day rotations with 1 day off between rotations. Example schedule will look like this: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, off. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, off. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, off, and so forth.
Each workday should take no more than 30 minutes. If it takes any longer than that, as I have said before in previous articles, your doing it wrong. Time between sets should be no more than 2 minutes; but try for 90 seconds or less if you can. Each day is going to focus on just 1 main lift, and 1 supplemental lift that will be incorporated into your conditioning circuit after the main lift is done.
THE BIG LIFTS AND STARTING WEIGHTS
You will have 6 BIG LIFTS to focus on for this work out program.
Rotation 1 Lifts are: Push Press, Front Squat and Dead Lift. The coinciding supplemental lifts are Pull ups, Sit Ups and Barbell Curls.
Rotation 2 lifts are: Bench Press or Weighted Dip, Back Squat and Power Cleans. The supplemental lifts for rotation 2 are: Barbell Rows, Ab Wheel or Variant and Chin Ups.
For each of the Big Lifts you will choose one of the following starting weights: 115, 135, 185, 225, 275, 315, 365, 385, 405. Always choose lighter than you think you will need to begin this program. So, if you are pretty certain you could get 5 sets of 5 at 225 pounds, you should start at 185 to give you room for steady progression.
SETS AND REPS
As the title fore tells you will be doing 5 sets of 5 reps. You will keep the same weight across all sets. On your last set you will try for as many reps as possible while maintaining good form. Some days you will feel great and get 6-10 reps, other days you will struggle to get 5 and that’s OK. If you get ALL 5 reps on ALL 5 sets then you will increase the weight by 10 pounds. If you miss just 1 single rep, you will keep the same weight and try again next rotation.
SUPPLEMENTAL LIFTS AND CONDITIONING
To save time you will combine your supplemental lifts with conditioning into a circuit consisting of 3 to 10 rounds or in an “as many rounds as possible” in 10 to 15 minute time windows. These circuits are NOT cardio, they are metabolic conditioning. Your supplemental lifts should aim for 30-50 total reps by the end of the circuit. There are several ways to go about doing this. An easy way is to look at something like CrossFit’s website for the WOD and just add your supplemental lift to the WOD or replace an exercise with yours. I like to get creative. Here is an example for Push Press day:
10 rounds of: 5 pull ups, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 kettlebell thrusters. Personally I like to make my conditioning circuit a full body circuit. So, even though my main lift will be either upper, leg, or hip focused, the MetCon can hit the entire body. This is good for strength, fat burn and overall muscular development.
This workout takes one of the most effective workout programs ever developed and makes it applicable to the everyday working man. Everybody can take 30 minutes or less for a workout. If you have to miss a day because of responsibilities, its no big deal. The scheduling of the program allows you to simply pick up where ever you left off. Give this program a try for 3 months, if you can do that consistently paired with good diet and good sleeping habits you will get stronger and in better condition. Subscribe to my email list so you can be updated whenever a new article posts, and follow me on twitter here @thecoachvogt.