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TOPIC: Stronglifts 5x5 Summary

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April 12, 2012 3:52 PM
Since trying to read that PDF report is like having your face shoved into a stranger's hairy, sweaty, muscular armpit I've sent several people a little write up -- and I've now done it like 3-4 times so I think its time to immortalize it somewhere and save people from that dreadful PDF.

The Plan
There are only 2 workouts, which you alternate, and you workout 3x a week with at least 1 rest day between each. So for me I do Mon - Thurs - Sat (you could also do Mon - Wed - Fri or Tuesday-Thurs-Sat -- you get the idea).

These sets are for your WORKWEIGHT (the weight you are lifting that day) and do not include warmup sets.

Workout A
Barbell Squat 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5 (The app and the PDF call them that but they are actually pendlay rows).
Video of Medhi doing the whole thing:
Sesson A:

Workout B:
Barbell Squat 5x5 (5 sets with 5 reps)
Overhead press 5x5
Deadlift 1x5 (1 set with 5 reps)
Video of Medhi doing the whole thing:
Session B:

The starting weight should be light -- either 50% of your max 5 rep weight or:

Squat: Empty Bar (Olympic bar weighs 45 lbs, womens olympic bar weighs 35, there are bars out there that are NOT olympic standard and may weigh less so be aware of this).

Bench Press: Empty Bar

Barbell Row: 65 lbs (but if you have a power rack you can start with the bar by placing it on the bars set at a low level and pulling from the rack rather than the floor -- think about where the bar would be height wise if it had 45 lb plates on and that is the highest point you should set it at. This is my own recommendation, I don't believe its specified in any of Medhi's writing because his target audience is big sweaty man-dudes or dudes who want to BE big sweaty man dudes.)

Overhead Press: Empty Bar

Deadlift: He recommends you start at 95 lbs, again because you are pulling from the floor so you need plates on there in order to pull. But if you're a 120 lb lady that's like starting at .8 bodyweight which is kind of..very high. You can start with rack pulls until you work up to getting some 10lb or bigger plates on there, then you can put the bar on the ground with extra plates flat underneath it to elevate the bar. (same goes for the Pendlay Rows, in case that wasn't clear.

Every time you do an exercise add 5 lbs. If its the deadlift, add 10. as you are getting to heavier weights on stuff like the overhead press and bench press where us ladies are likely to fail out earlier than a guy, you might want to invest in these because 5 lbs is actually a LOT of weight to go up every time - don't feel bad if you can't do it but do plan to progress in SOME manner. (You can also buy large 2 inch drilled washers from a hardware supply which weigh roughly 1.1lb each for much much cheaper).

So for example, Workout 1 will be Squat 45, Press 45, Deadlift 95 (or amount you think is correct). Workout 2 will be Squat 50, Bench 45, Row 65 (or amount you think is correct). Workout 3 will be Squat 55, Press 50, Deadlift 105.

Warm up sets: These articles should more or less cover it:

How to do these lifts, equipment, etc

His instructional pages are actually pretty useful:

But it helps to look at several videos/instructional pages because it might take a few perspectives for it to "click".

This is an excellent resource:
For additional videos go to youtube, search for "Rippetoe" and whatever lift you want to watch videos of. Watch those.

These articles are also super helpful and very very detailed:

Equipment needed: Barbell. Plates. You can start without a squat rack but you'll need one pretty quickly and a power rack is MUCH better both for ease of use and safety if you are lifting alone. You'll also need a bench (that's why its called a bench press).

Failure is success!
At some point you will get to a weight (it will happen at different times on different exercises) where you can't complete all 5x5. yo'll do something like 5-5-4-4-3 (5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps 3 reps) -- (so if you squat down on the 5th rep and can't get back up again you'd log that as 4). If this happens, next time you go do that exercise do NOT add 5 lbs, go back and do the exact same weight again. If it happens again, use the same weight the next time. If it happens a THIRD time, then the 4th time you deload by 10% and start your next day from there (so if you are squatting 100 lbs and you fail, you will take off 10 lbs and start again at 90, then go to 95, etc).

If this happens to you 2 ish times, in a row, its time to change to a 3x5 program (I believe). Same deal, but 3 sets instead of 5. Write-up to follow on this if I ever get there or if someone else wants to take it on. (I say 2-ish because you might want to try moving up with the fractionals before you just switch to the 3x5 program, but the basic story is that at SOME weight, you will no longer be able to expect to lift it 25 times in a row, even with rest. At that time, its time to drop your sets.

I think MFP gives me 2 hours to edit a post so if people want updates to this, holla, otherwise we can use this thread to add FAQ type things. I'm sure I've left something out. Oh wells.
Edited by tameko2 On February 11, 2013 4:33 PM
April 12, 2012 3:56 PM
This, plus the app in my phone, was everyting I needed.

Thank you again for all your help. You made it easy for me!!! I would never have dragged myself through a long-hard-to-read pdf.
April 12, 2012 3:59 PM
This needs to be made a "sticky" topic for sure.
April 12, 2012 4:00 PM
Added links to info about warming up.
April 12, 2012 4:05 PM
Once again- a home run from you. Thanks! This is perfect and yes, much easier to retain info from vs the PDF Of Manly Manliness (bro).
April 12, 2012 4:15 PM
Its kind of a horrible wall of text though. Hmm
April 12, 2012 4:24 PM
Thank you !!
April 12, 2012 4:37 PM
...trying to read that PDF report is like having your face shoved into a stranger's hairy, sweaty, muscular armpit


Thank you for taking the time to post a summary!
Edited by Ohbutiloveicecream On April 12, 2012 4:39 PM
April 12, 2012 4:37 PM
You are super awesome.
April 12, 2012 4:37 PM

This needs to be made a "sticky" topic for sure.

April 12, 2012 4:39 PM
I've been thinking about doing Stronglifts.....this is beautiful. Thank you!
April 12, 2012 4:44 PM
However, I think you have A and B mixed up. Deadlifts are on B, right?
April 12, 2012 4:55 PM

However, I think you have A and B mixed up. Deadlifts are on B, right?

Oops, yes.

Damn its too late to edit it. Well *HEY GUYS, I GOT A AND B MIXED UP*

It doesn't *really* matter though
Edited by tameko2 On April 12, 2012 4:56 PM
April 12, 2012 4:58 PM
Beautiful! Wish I'd had this when I was starting out... that PDF really is atrocious. And your description of it made me quite literally laugh out loud. I get that most of his audience is male, but it does sort of irk me that he's not doing anything at all in his power to help change that up a little. And it really wouldn't be difficult - just stop the DUDE BRAH YEAHHHH!!!! crap.

Ah well. Tis why we've got this group. :)
April 12, 2012 5:17 PM
Thanks, Tameko.

And yes, definitely needs to be a sticky
April 12, 2012 5:23 PM
Just what I was looking for. :)
Thanks you rock!
April 12, 2012 5:33 PM
Bumping for later. Thanks Tameko!
April 12, 2012 5:47 PM
This is great, thank you!
April 12, 2012 5:52 PM
This so awesome!! I won't miss the complete lack of acknowledgment or any inkling that a woman could do this program.
April 12, 2012 6:15 PM

I feel like we need to pool together to buy you something nice now!
April 12, 2012 7:09 PM
Awesome! Thanks and it's now a sticky smile
April 12, 2012 7:25 PM

Awesome! Thanks and it's now a sticky smile

Can you edit it to fix the A/B thing? Not that it matters much, just curious.
April 12, 2012 8:57 PM
I know it's a sticky; I still want it in my cache.

You're awesome, Tam. You know it. wink And thanks.
April 13, 2012 4:00 AM


Awesome! Thanks and it's now a sticky smile

Can you edit it to fix the A/B thing? Not that it matters much, just curious.

Yup, done.
April 13, 2012 5:50 AM
Thank you for summarizing this!!! The PDF had a lot of "blah blah blah" it in. This really gets to the important parts.

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