The Modified 5×5 method is based on the time tested 5×5 method by Reg Park, which involves Squatting, Bench Pressing and Deadlifting three days a week doing 5 sets of 5 reps and continuously adding weight, with no other exercise. I have used my modified version on dozens of athletes and the results have been exceptional everytime. For example one 63kg cricketer started with a 50kg Squat, 50kg Bench press and a 75kg Deadlift. Training just three days a week, in six months he was Squatting 145kgs, Bench Pressing 95kgs and Deadlifting 170kgs at a bodyweight of 70kgs. Such results are typical of the program.
The biggest priorities for the novice are:
- Build quality muscle mass
- Establish good lifting technique
- Increase basic strength by steadily adding weight to the main lifts.
- Build a foundation of general fitness that will prevent injuries and plateaus in the future.
Keeping all that in mind, here is the modified 5×5 method-
Train 3 days a week alternating workout A and workout B. Do the off day routine 3 days a week.
For the main workouts you need to establish a starting training weight for the Squat, Bench press, Shoulder Press and Deadlift- all percentages will be taken off this weight. I suggest the following:
Bench Press- 35kgs
Shoulder Press- 30kgs
Bench Press- 20kgs
Shoulder Press- 15kgs
|Workout A||Workout B|
|Warm up |
Fire Hydrant Circles- 10/side
Mountain Climbers- 10/side
Rollover into V-sit- 10
Static Hip Flexor Stretch- 30 sec/side
Easy Twist Hold- 30 sec/side
Camel Hold- 30 sec
Shoulder Dislocates- 20 reps
Bench Press- 50%x5, 75%x5, 100%x2 sets x 5reps, 100%x5+
Close Grip Bench Press- 80%x2x8-10reps
Squat- 50%x5, 75%x5, 100%x2x5reps, 100%x5+
Front squat- 70%x2x8-10reps
Seated Rows- 5 sets of 10 reps (Use a weight that gets hard towards the 4th and 5th set)
Weighted Sit ups- 5sets of 10 reps
EZ Bar Curls- 5sets of 10 reps
|Warm Up |
Same as Workout A
Shoulder Press- 50%x5, 75%x5, 100%x2 sets x 5reps, 100%x5+
Z Press- 70%x2x8-10reps
Deadlift- 50%x5, 75%x5, 100%x2 sets x 5reps, 100%x5+
Romanian Deadlift- 80%x2x8-10reps
Lat Pulldowns- 5 sets of 10 reps
Cable Crunches- 5 sets of 10 reps
Tricep Pushdowns- 5 sets of 10 reps
Off Day Routine
Repeat the same warm up
Stationary Bike/ Jogging/ Swimming/ Crosstrainer
You will see that on the last set of every big exercise there is a 100%x5+. This means that you will go for as many reps as you can while maintaining good technique. Do not take assistance, cheat or fail a rep, but push yourself as hard as you strictly can. This will give you an idea of how much weight to add to the training weight next workout.
Lower Body Exercises
If you get 15+ on the last set- add 10kgs next workout
12-15reps- add 7.5kgs
8-12reps- add 5kgs
6-8reps- add 2.5kgs
5 reps- stay at the same weight
Less than 5- Reduce the weight by 10%
Upper Body Exercises
15+- Add 7.5kgs
12-15reps- add 5kgs
8-12reps- add 2.5kgs
6-8reps- stay at the same weight
5 and under- Reduce the weight by 10%
This gives you a foolproof way to judge how much weight to add and allows you to make progress according to your pace. When in doubt, always add less weight.
There are a lot of things going on in this routine. You have 3 days of heavy strength training, 3 days of light cardio and 6 days of stretching. This keeps your development balanced and prevents problems. Every workout focuses on two major lifts and pushes them really hard, then a harder varition of the same lift is done for 2 sets of 8-10reps with a lighter weight. Then a bunch of smaller exercises are done to fill the gaps.
The entire body is trained every single workout! This is because a novice needs to lift a lot to build basic strength. They do not need the amount of rest that split routines give, as they are simply not strong enough to do any serious damage to the body, and even then such a routine can still be used as the exercises change every session and there are only 10 heavy sets in the whole workout.
On paper this routine looks very light but it actually requires a lot of work as you are expected to push yourself with big basic exercises and add weight every session. The first 2-3 weeks will feel easy, this is intentional as this gives you time to learn tecnique. Remember, while most gym routines will have you lifting a little and pumping a lot, on this routine you will be lifting a lot and pumping a little. As strength athletes, squatting, pressing and pulling is our main sport, therefore it is only common sense that the majority of your work must be in that area. Hard work on big and basic exercises has never failed to develop strength and size.
This routine is ideal for athletes of almost any sport. Simply replace the light cardio sessions with sport practise for 2-3 hours, but end your sessions with the warm up routine. A hard training athlete can even reduce the strength workouts to two sessions a week and still make considerable strength gains.
Hopefully this article has given you some clarity on how to build raw strength. Good luck with your training.