Regain Strength with the 5×5 Program

Most guys train to look good in front of the gym mirrors. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, if that’s your thing.

But if you are like I was, a busy office drone working long hours, sitting on your ass most of the day and letting your muscles atrophy, then building functional strength is your way back to physical vitality.

The strategy for building strength that I use in my overall training program with clients is the 5X5 program.

The 5X5 program is a great way to build functional strength throughout the entire body, while also increasing production of testosterone and growth hormone.

5X5 consists of compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and shoulder presses; designed to hit your muscles hard three days per week and allow sufficient time for rest and recovery.

They are performed in a five-set, five-rep structure, which is optimal for building strength.


This program uses the principle of periodization, which means the training plan gradually increases the resistance load and intensity workout by workout over the course of the program.

But I’m out of shape, you say. I couldn’t do squat to save my life, you say.

The good news is that even if you are a beginner, you can start the program at relatively low resistance loads, and through periodization, will have significantly increased strength by the end of the program.

After a four week period establishing muscle stabilization, I will introduce the 5X5 program with clients in order to build strength, boost testosterone and increase production of growth hormone.

The program usually takes 7-9 weeks, with the last three-weeks culminating in what is called the “peak phase”.

When starting the program, choose a level of weight that you can lift. It shouldn’t be too easy to lift nor too hard that you cannot do five reps of five sets, but don’t obsess over the starting weight.

Just start where you can.

The key to the program is increasing the weight by 5lbs for each exercise, each workout. This is not a dramatic increase from day to day, but over the life of the program will lead to a significant increase in strength.

Exercise 1 (Monday/Friday)

Barbell Squat – 5 sets, 5 reps

Bench Press- 5 sets, 5 reps

Bent over Barbell Row- 5 sets, 5 reps

Exercise 2 (Wednesday)

Front Barbell Squat – 5 sets, 5 reps

Shoulder Press- 5 sets, 5 reps

Barbell Deadlift- 2-3 sets, 5 reps

Pullups – 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

Exercise 3 (Friday)

Barbell Squat- 5 sets, 5 reps

Incline Bench Press- 5 sets, 5 reps

Bent over Barbell Row- 5 sets, 5 reps

In conclusion, the 5X5 is a great way to reclaim your physical strength if you have found that you have become a couch potato or too busy to keep active.

Beyond improving functional strength, the compound lifts performed will provide a full-body workout, and trigger the increase of testosterone and growth hormone, and set you up for reaching any additional fitness goals.

For more men’s health and fitness tips, news, t-bosting recipes and more be sure to follow me on Instagram @refuelvitality, Twitter @joeghealthcoach, and follow the Refuel Vitality blog by clicking on the toolbar to the right!

Be Awesome. Be vital.









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