In gym terms, 5 by 5 means doing an exercise for 5 sets of 5 repetitions. The 5 sets and 5 reps are used in what we call our POWER training phase where we are building just that, POWER. The weight that we use during this training mode is usually about 85% or more of the maximum weight that we can lift for that particular exercise. We don’t always train in the POWER phase as changing the number of repetitions and sets is optimal for building muscle as well as strength in our general population based training style.
I am a big fan of the 5×5 training method during not only my training but also for our clients. I love it for a few reasons. First, 5×5 helps you to always have a measuring stick as to where you were and where you are at any given time during your training. You may start out being someone who can floor press 30 pounds the first week that you are in the gym and 2 months later you are up to pressing 40 pounds! That’s winning all day long! Second, 5×5 gives you the ability to push yourself to that next level of fitness. You may have been only able to do 1 chin-up for months. But if you have been working them into your training consistently then one day you will no doubt surprise yourself by doing 3 or 4! Lastly, and my favorite, I just love to lift heavy things which in turn makes me feel like a gladiator in the gym. The feeling that comes along with deadlifting a weight that you didn’t really know that you could do 5 times is incredible!
Now all of this sounds cool but the 5×5 training mode has to be taken seriously. No, I don’t mean getting audited by the IRS serious but you have to be focused on what you are doing. Think about it, you get 5 repetitions to be your best for that set. You have to be ‘on’ from rep number one or you may not make it through the set. When working with weights as significant as you do in 5×5 you also have to pay attention to your form even more as one bad rep could become a problem. If you are doing an exercise that is body weight for 5×5 such as a push-up or pull-up your form still needs to be spot on but since it is usually not a weight bearing then your risk for injury isn’t as high.
At the end of the day, 5×5 is your time to shine! You guys are getting stronger EVERY day and we love it when we can show you just how much stronger you have gotten. So keep pressing, squatting and pulling those big weights and we can all be gladiators together!