I want to start off by saying I’m not a gym junkie. I’m just a regular guy trying to get my fitness up where I can. I was bored of my gym routing I had going on and was looking for something a little bit different to try out. One of my friends recommended the Stronglifts 5×5 routine and this is how I’m getting on so far.
Broken down to its core, the Stronglifts 5×5 plan consists of 5 reps and 5 sets for compound exercises, except for Deadlifts, that’s just 5 reps with 1 set. Make sure you take just enough rest time until you feel like you can do the next set, don’t mess about. You start off with lighter weights to begin with and gradually increase as you successfully complete sessions. There are 5 exercises involved which are split into Workout 1 and Workout 2. You run on a 1/2/1 then 2/1/2 basis, working out 3 times a week.
Workout 1 – Squats 5×5, Bench Press 5×5, Barbell Row 5×5
Workout 2 – Squats 5×5, Overhead Press 5×5, Deadlifts 5×5
I’m currently 5 weeks in, out of the recommended 12 weeks, and so far my feedback is pretty positive. One thing to note – initially starting on lighter weights and just doing weights with no other exercise felt a bit lacking. After my first session, I figured it needed some cardio and other weights to be added in as I was only be in the gym for about half an hour if that and felt like I hadn’t done enough.
Tip – get a notepad to write down what weights you’ve lifted or use the app available on Android and iOS to keep track.
I’ve thrown in 10 minutes of cardio to warm up, the Stronglifts 5×5 regime, some work on biceps, triceps and abs finishing with a further 10 minutes of cardio. Depending on what your goal is, you could mix it up a bit too but I found myself craving a bit of cardio and to push myself more earlier on.
The good thing about this plan is how you begin to feel stronger after a few weeks and as you bump the weight up successively, it doesn’t feel like you’re straining yourself but the weight is comfortable to move. I used to find squats a chore prior to starting but now I quite look forward to them and now the weight is starting to get heavier, the effort feels like it’s paying off.
Tip – get over the cringiness of having to look at yourself in the mirror and practice your form while on the lighter weights.
The routine recommends eating bulky from the get go. I wouldn’t recommend this as the weight is light so eating too heavily wont be utilised by your body like it would be if the weight was heavy. I’d say as the weight increases and you feel the need to eat more, either because you feel hungry or you feel the weight justifies it, then bump up your food intake. Listen to your body, it will tell you when its hungry.
I’m enjoying this routine so far and it is a pretty good one for all fitness levels, especially beginners. So if you’re looking for something a bit different, give it a blast!