There are very few workout programs that have such an all encompassing fitness effect as the 5×5 protocol.

The idea behind the programming is very simple, but the benefits are astounding; whether your goal is to build muscle, gain strength or lose fat.

5×5 is effective in so many ways because of the way the sets and reps are structured

The 5 repetitions per set lets you work with heavier weights to build strength, while performing 5 sets lets you work with enough volume to help build more muscle.

While at its core, 5×5 is a strength/hypertrophy style program, it can easily be adapted to fit whatever your goal may be.

For instance, if you goal happens to be fat loss, just cut down on your rest times to keep your heart rate elevated. If your goal is to improve athletic performance, choosing sport specific exercises will lead you to your desired results.

The original 5×5 program utilizes only five different exercises

The squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press and rows.

You perform three of these exercises per workout, three times per week. The exercises are broken up into two full body workouts.

Workout A being: squat (5×5), bench press (5×5), barbell row (5×5).

Workout B looks like this: squat (5×5), overhead press (5×5), deadlift (1×5).

You alternate between workouts A and B on a 3 day/week cycle, making sure you take a rest day in between each workout to recover.

This particular setup is great for beginners as an introduction to heavier lifting and strength building.

I have adapted this program slightly for those who are looking to push their results further.

My 5×5 style program is split into push and pull days, where the primary exercise for each the upper and lower body are performed in the traditional sense (each one using the 5×5 strength training protocol).

The subsequent exercises, or assistance exercises, are then dictated by your goal.

5x5 training_2Keep your focus on your goals

This sample program for a push day and pull day will outline different styles, according to goals:

Exercise (sets x reps)
Fat Loss
Exercise (sets x reps)
Exercise (sets x reps)
Barbell Back Squat (5×5) Barbell Back Squat (5×5) Barbell Back Squat (5×5)
Bench Press (5×5) Bench Press (5×5) Bench Press (5×5)
Leg Press (4×6) Dumbbell Reverse Lunge (4×10/leg) Dumbbell Jump Squat (4×8)
Incline Dumbbell Press (4×6) Standing Cable Chest Press (4×10) Plyo Pushup (4×8)
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge (3×12/leg) Dumbbell Step Up (3×15/leg) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (3×12/leg)
Cable Chest Fly (3×12) Dumbbell Thruster (3×15) Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch (3×8/arm)


Exercise (sets x reps)
Fat Loss
Exercise (sets x reps)
Exercise (sets x reps)
Barbell Deadlift (5×5) Barbell Deadlift (5×5) Barbell Deadlift (5×5)
Barbell Row (5×5) Barbell Row (5×5) Barbell Row (5×5)
Romanian Deadlift (4×6) Romanian Deadlift (4×6) Romanian Deadlift (4×6)
Incline Bench Chest Supported Row (4×6) Dumbbell Upright Row (4×10) Dumbbell SIngle Arm Row (4×8/arm)
Hamstring Curl (3×12) Single Leg Hip Thrust (3×15/leg) Single Leg Deadlift (3×12/leg)
Chin Up (3×12) Kettlebell Swings (3×15) Chin Up (3×12)

As you can see, the base remains the same in the 5×5 concept, but the rest of the program differs as the goals change. Sets and repetitions are manipulated (along with the exercises) to elicit the desired outcome.

This program can be adjusted to an even greater degree, especially for fat loss, by utilizing super sets for the assistance exercises.

For example, you could complete one set of dumbbell reverse lunges, then immediately perform a set of standing cable chest press. This helps keep your heart rate elevated to burn more calories.

Decide what works for you

This is a basic template, in which exercises can be switched out easily and be modified to your own wants and needs. This particular program is best run when the push and pull workouts are run on consecutive days, a rest day is taken, then repeated.

For instance, you would perform a push workout on Monday, a pull workout on Tuesday, a day off on Wednesday, then back to the push/pull split on Thursday and Friday.

This is where you can determine the next rest period yourself. You can either take the weekend off completely, or take Saturday off and get back to work on Sunday.

For more individualized coaching, please feel free to contact me!

Connect with Expert Josh Gangaware

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