5x5 Method...Basic Math, Simple Strength

   The ever so annoying buzzing emits from the insane asylum style fluorescent lighting. TV's all align showing either fake news, infomercials, or repeat episodes of CSI Miami. There is a dismal silence in the air and the only thing heard is the constant heaving of humans on cardio equipment. The smell of body order and regret fumigate the terribly filtered air. 


"Just another day at the gym," as one thinks to themselves starring down at an empty bar, clueless on what the hell to do for a workout....


Does this scenario sound like something you've experienced? 

Reg Park - Three Time Mr. Universe Contest Winner

Reg Park - Three Time Mr. Universe Contest Winner

   I get it, life can make working out difficult as fuck. Not knowing what exercises, sets, reps, or weights to use can leave you feeling like all the other lost souls aimlessly wandering the gym floor. Building strength doesn't have to be difficult. That's why the 5x5 method is the best route for simple strength and muscle gains. The 5x5 method was originally created by Reg Park, who was a three time Mr. Universe contest winner. He coined the set/rep scheme since it resulted in such great strength and muscle development. 


The Breakdown: 

  5x5 simply means 5 sets (amount of rounds of an exercise) of 5 repetitions (number of times a movement is performed). The reason this is a popular combination is due to the fact that 5 sets of 5 repetitions = 25 total reps. This is key because it is the baseline number of reps needed for strength development. 

The Game Plan:

   You can perform a 5x5 set/rep scheme with almost every exercise. The best  use is with major compound movements, or complex bodyweight/gymnastic exercises. 


  • Bench Press

  • Overhead Press

  • Deadlift

  • Back Squat

  • Strict Muscle Up

  • Free-standig Handstand Pushup

Load (weight):

   Be sure to use an amount of weight (load) that is challenging enough to reach 5 reps, but not too heavy that you fall short or struggle hit the 5th repetition. Many people go too heavy at first and find it hard to finish the last three sets of the scheme. A good rule of thumb is to choose a weight that allows you to go 2-3 reps short of complete failure. 


  Don't skip this because so many newbs do!...Rest is crucial, especially for gaining strength. If you're solely focusing on building strength or hitting a new PR (personal record), than I recommend a 5-15min long rest period between sets. For a hypertrophy and strength focused rest period, 2-3min rest between sets does the job just fine. 

   Now you have gained the knowledge to avoid becoming the newbie in the weight room of the gym. Go forth my friend! Use the 5x5 method and see your strength gains, muscles, and personal records grow!

John Schaser - Owner of Health Alchemist Training

Writer Bio:  John Schaser is a certified health nut...not sure if I should blatantly state that, or why I'm talking in the third person...anyways I am the founder and owner of Health Alchemist. In my spare time I wrestle bears and day dream about being in nature. Check out my instahoochie...I mean Instagram @health_alchemist

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