5 × 5 training for more strength and muscle mass

Effectiveness, flexibility, intensity – this is 5 × 5 training!

The 5 × 5 training is not a simple training method, but a versatile, highly flexible and effective training system that is recommended by many professional strength athletes. Used correctly, 5 × 5 training can achieve outstanding results in building more strength and muscle mass.

What is 5 × 5 training?

The 5 × 5 training system is simply explained: 5 sets with 5 repetitions. Contrary to other training methods and intensity techniques, the training weight is not varied in any of the 5 sets. The weight is chosen so that the maximum number of repetitions is reached on the 5th repetition. If more than 5 repetitions are possible in all 5 sets, the training weight can be increased for the next unit.

In a 5 × 5 training up to the maximum number of repetitions, training is generally carried out in a performance spectrum that corresponds to about 70-80% of the maximum available performance , which is achieved with a single repetition can be accessed. One also speaks of “One Repition Maximum” – the maximum weight at which a repetition can be carried out without errors. With the 5 × 5 method, a complete muscle stimulation is achieved without overloading the muscles. This leads to an efficient growth stimulus that guarantees rapid muscle building.

This basic system can also be customized as required. So, depending on the training goal, instead of the 5 × 5 training system, a 3 × 3 (maximum strength), 3 × 10 (hypertrophy) or 5 × 15th (strength endurance through improved ATP provision) – system can be used to achieve the best training result.

Unlike e.g. In the case of split training plans in which the different muscle groups are trained on different days in order to enable the highest possible training intensity and long regeneration phases, the 5 × 5 training is rather high-frequency. This means that all muscle groups are intensively stimulated in relatively short intervals, similar to a full-body workout.

Training takes place on 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Of course, work-related deviations in the training days are completely normal and training can also take place on other days. However, the necessary regeneration times should not be neglected! On every training day, all the main muscles of the body (arms, shoulders, legs, chest and back) are used more or less intensively – which makes a training-free day necessary after each training day. If the breaks are not observed, the first signs of overtraining can quickly appear: Muscle pain, body aches, overstimulated tendons and ligaments as well as psychological limitations are an indicator that the training was too hard and the break too short. Here, too, the motto “less is more” applies!

The training frequency of 3 units per week is ideal especially for beginners. Regulated regeneration phases and a medium training intensity reduce the risk of overload and make training progress clearly recognizable.

5 × 5 is a tool that helps to achieve your goals and was primarily developed and known by the experienced bodybuilder and fitness trainer Bill Starr. It is neither a miracle workout for brutal muscle building, nor the best training variant or a perfect training plan! Depending on the target and target group, the 5 × 5 program must be varied, modified and personalized in order to achieve optimal results.

We divide fitness training into 3 different target groups: Beginners, advanced and professionals . Each group certainly has goals that overlap with each other, but only certain goals that can actually be achieved in a short time.

The beginner aims to build solid basic muscles, increase strength endurance, improve maximum strength and prepare the body for more intensive fitness training. The advanced is already in a phase of training intensification. His goal is to get the increasingly stagnant muscle growth going again with new growth stimuli and to lead his body to new performance limits. Professionals increase these training goals again considerably. Here the sheer mass build-up takes a back seat and the muscular performance, the development and definition of all muscle parts as well as the further development of known training methods come into focus.

The more experienced the user, the higher the training weight. The higher the weight, the more important the regeneration of the nervous system, muscle fibers and connective tissue cords. We have therefore divided the 5 × 5 training into 3 different application variants, which aim to periodize the training the higher the weights rise.

Why no biceps?

In the at least 5 × 5 training systems, e.g. Biceps or triceps trained in isolation. The 5 × 5 training has been developed for the stimulation of extensive muscle groups that are activated with squats, bench presses, pull-ups or deadlifts. All other muscle parts can be stimulated with the usual number of repetitions and sets of conventional training plans.


The muscular improvement potential is enormous for beginners. The weights can be increased after 2-3 training units and the muscles adapt quickly to the increasing load. Since beginners do not yet complete maximum strength training and the training weight is relatively low, a training frequency of 3 units per week is ideal.

5 × 5 training plans for beginners (sources in English) :

→ Bill Starr 5 × 5 – Starting Strength Beginner

→ Stronglift’s 5 × 5 for Beginners


Varied muscle stimulation with varying intensity and volume is indispensable for advanced users so that muscle growth does not stagnate. Here, too, 3 training days are recommended, but they differ. The training volume on the 1st day is maximum (5 × 5 rep. / Max. Weight), the 2nd day less intense so that the regeneration is not interrupted (training intensity is around 80% of the 1st day, e.g. 4 × 5 , 10-20% less weight). The 3rd day can be done again as volume training (5 × 5) or intensity training with 1 × 5 repetitions (maximum possible weight for a 1 × 5 rep. Maximum).

5 × 5 training plans for advanced users (sources in English) :

→ Linear Version – Intermediate – Bill Starr

→ Madcow Intermediate 5 × 5 – Bill Starr

→ Zion 5 × 5 – Strenght and Hypertrophy

→ The Texas Method 5 × 5


It is no longer so easy to achieve significant training progress for professional strength athletes and bodybuilders. If the natural muscle growth reaches the genetic limits, even the highest weights and perfect nutrition can no longer help. The only variant that enables continuous training progress is an extensive modification of the training systems. In order not to have to constantly change training plans, the training can be periodized. Volume units, low-intensive training / regeneration units and high-intensive training are not divided into individual training days, but rather periodized over several weeks. How long a period per system lasts, of course, depends on personal requirements and goals.

5 × 5 – the best training program of all time?

The 5 × 5 training has steadily proven and developed for many years. No wonder – the first 5 × 5 training plans appeared at the end of the 1960s and caused a lot of discussions and fat muscles even then. At this point we don’t want to contest this discussion again – there is no perfect training plan!

However, there is the right training plan for every training goal! Regardless of whether it is six pack training, muscle building or strength endurance training – every training plan requires an individual adaptation to personal goals in order to be able to guarantee the highest possible efficiency during fitness training.

The 5 × 5 combines effectiveness, flexibility and intensity in an uncomplicated way and is therefore exactly the right thing for everyone who aims for even and fast muscle building and constant strength gain but not with conventional split training plans achieve the desired success.

Even 5 × 5 doesn’t build muscles through magic!

The cornerstone of any training is – as is so often the case in the fitness world – nutrition. Yes, who doesn’t know it. Troubled tracking of calories, endless arithmetic about the ideal nutrient distribution, writing shopping lists … and then all of this every day! Many athletes would be able to concentrate much better on training if no important resources were wasted on this almost “superfluous” but indispensable part.

That is why we have specially designed nutrition plans for muscle building, which, in addition to a physiologically recommended macronutrient distribution for strength athletes, also take care of all other annoying tasks for you. Maybe you take a look!

Every day we receive countless emails from athletes and readers who have important questions burning on their lips. We are now answering many of these questions in our free training newsletter , which will also send you our free training plans + an eBook for a successful start in strength training.

As you may notice, 5 × 5 training is an excellent basis for effective muscle building training. Of course, not all training plans can be fully implemented in the 5 × 5 system if the selection of the assistance exercises does not allow this.

It is therefore essential that you can handle the training variables of 5 × 5 training yourself. This is the only way you can optimally individualize your training and not destroy your progress in training through improper “space gimmicks”. So if you’ve never heard of

  • Training intensity
  • Training volume
  • Training frequency
  • Maximum strength training
  • Energy supply
  • Muscle fiber recruitment

it is high time that you finally learned the fundamentals of training! If you really want to train seriously, you have to have at least a minimal knowledge of the subject. Otherwise you are just an “average athlete” who regularly wraps dumbbells and at the end always complains about the lack of training success. That is unnecessary.

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