My favourite 5×5 protocol

I’m sitting on my couch, watching Friends, and dreading what tomorrow may or may not bring.

An hour ago I was at the gym.  No matter how many times you squat, deadlift and lunge, lower body day’s really never get easier.  Currently, I’m trialling Nick Tumminello’s ‘54321’ workout.  For anybody interested, follow the link provided:

Nick Tumminello’s ‘54321’ workout

The first lift of every workout follows the 5×5 workout method created by lifting legend Mark Rippetoe and popularised through Westside Barbell and Dan John.  For those of

you who are unfamiliar yet strangely curious, here’s a quick and informative site for you to peruse:

The best 5×5 weight lifting workout

For those of you too lazy to click the link, here are the highlights:

  1. 5×5 refers to 5 reps of 5 sets,
  2. You generally work up to 80% of your 5 Rep Max (RM),
  3. Essential for building Superman style strength and Hulk-ish size,
  4. Can be used by everybody from beginners to advanced,
  5. Use a deload week every 4-8 weeks depending on your conditioning level,
  6. Only used for main compound lifts.  Eg. deadlift, bench press, chin ups etc, and
  7. Should be used in conjunction with assistance exercises that follow a 4×6-8/3×8-10 set/rep scheme.

I bet you wished you just clicked on the link now, huh?

The first lift of today, for me, was the deadlift.  Simply stated, I love the deadlift.  And this brings me to the point of the post.  Recently I’ve been reading Dan John’s excellent book, “Never Let Go”.

At one stage, Dan John goes through 5 different 5×5 lifting protocols.  My favourite one is as follows:

Lift 1: 5×5 at 50-60% 5 RM

Lift 2: 5×5 at 50-60% 5 RM

Lift 3: 5×5 at 70-80% 5 RM

Lift 4: 5×5 at 50-60% 5 RM

Lift 5: 5×5 at 80-90% 5 RM

If you’re curious about the rest, by the book.  You won’t be disappointed.

For so long, I moved my weights as almost anybody would, in a liner manner.  The problem I would always find is that, by the time I got to my final set I’d be close to muscular failure and would not stand a chance of pulling out a personal best.

Dan John’s 5×5 method allows for a back off set (lift 4) before you ramp it up and push a weight that makes you see whatever holy deity you follow.

Since following this protocol, I’ve lifted bigger weights than ever before.  And now, for some mindless bragging about today’s deadlifting numbers:

Lift 1: 150kg (with an additional 12kg of chains) x 5

Lift 2: 150kg (with an additional 12kg of chains) x 5

Lift 3: 170kg (with an additional 12kg of chains) x 5

Lift 4: 150kg (with an additional 12kg of chains) x 5

Lift 5: 175kg (with an additional 12kg of chains) x 5

If you haven’t tried the 5×5 lifting protocol, and need something new, I’d definitely recommend it for both males and females of all lifting experiences.

You’ll get bigger, stronger, better and faster whilst also learning just how tough you actually are.

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