5x5 program - too much too soon?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by sarge_massage_my_passage, Mar 7, 2009.

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  1. ;
    After reading some good articles about the 5x5 weights program, I've decided to give it a go. I'm already a serving soldier with a decent level of fitness and good running pace over 6 miles, but want to get a bit stronger in prep for other robust military courses.

    I've gotten right into this program in just 2 weeks, and am enjoying alot if it, even taking whey protein (no weight gainer) to assist me.

    The problem I've got is that the program recommends increasing the weights by 2.5kg each session, so if I do the programme 3 times a week, I increase my lift capacity by 7.5kg a week (seems alot to me).

    Whilst I'm feeling the benefits in my biceps and triceps, and especially the stomach muscles from reverse crunches, my quads and hamstrings are constantly 'on fire' from the squats. I've never done proper squats before this, I started at 10kg either side, 5 sets of 5 reps, and am now on 24.5kg either side.

    Is this too much too soon? The day after the weights I'm struggling to shake off the lactic acid during my 5 miler, slowing me down. If I stay at the same weight for a couple of sessions, it won't reverse the process I'm trying to achieve will it? I'm currently alternating weights one day, 5 mile run the next, resting at weekends.
  2. First things first; if you are using an Olympic bar, you did not start with a 10k on either side. An Olympic bar, which the 5X5 recommends for the program, weighs 20 kilos on it's own. So your first lift would have been 40 kilos and you would now be squatting with close to 70 kilos.

    Second, the 5X5 is excellent for building strength, but may be too much if you are doing a lot other training, especially running since the 5X5 puts heavy stress on the leg muscles. Also, if you have never done squats before, the 5X5 could be a real shock to your system.

    A slightly less extreme training program is the 3X3, which is basically the same routine but, of course, with lower reps. A personal trainer told me that a lot of Rugby players use 3X3 during the season, when they do not have enough recovery time or energy to use more intensive programs.

    Finally, go to the 5X5 site and look for FAQ's: this should include a section on how to deal with "stalling" at a certain weight. IIRC, one of the methods is to 5 sets of 1 rep at the weight you are having difficulty with. Next session do 5 sets of 2 reps and so on until you reach the full number. But don't take my word for it; it's been a while since I visited that site.

    Final point: remember that everyone reacts differently to exercise. You may have to "fine-tune" even a high-percentage program like 5X5 to suit yourself and to get the most benefit. Nothing is set in stone.

    Good luck! :wink:
  3. ^^ Good advice that!!

    I know a few people who have started on 3x3 too, can be beneficial for a few weeks to get the body used to the excercises.

    If you want to stick to the 5x5 instead, consider spending a week or two at a low weight, getting used to movements, especially squats. Will also help ensure good form.

    Bodyweight squats at a fast pace could also be of benefit, I have done tabata squats quite a few times and its helped me, especially when I first started squatting, just need to develop the muscles that havent been used as much as others mate

    Keep at it and good luck