Looking for the best muscle building program? One of the most commonly used plans that will help you gain both strength and muscle size in a hurry is the 5 x 5 workout program.
Used for many years by trainees at all levels, this one will challenge your fitness and strength without requiring a high time commitment in the gym. With just three sessions per week, you’ll still have plenty of time left over for other activities.
Just one word of caution, this program is intense, so do plan to spend a good amount of time resting and allowing the recovery process to take place.
Likewise, as you will be using up a high amount of energy in each workout you do, you’ll need to be adding more calories to your daily protocol as well.
Checkout our muscle building guide for even more great tips before you start building muscle today with this program…
Why Five By Five?
First let’s talk about why you would choose to do five sets of five reps. What’s so special about this?
First, five reps is a good number as it’ll allow you to lift heavy, but not so heavy that you are out of the realm of building muscle size.
To gain pure strength, you’d probably lift in the 2-3 rep range, so this plan finds that middle ground, taking the reps up slightly higher without going so high to the 8-10 rep range, where you get primarily muscle growth without much strength gains.
By using the five rep range, you get the best of both worlds.
The five sets comes into play as it’s a higher level of volume so that alone can trigger your body to build muscle.
Choosing Your Lifts
To set-up this program, you’ll need to select which lifts you’ll perform to execute the protocol plan.
Take into consideration which muscle groups you most want to build and develop and then use that to help guide you.
You’ll want to select three compound exercises, choosing between squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, pull-ups (or weighted pull-ups) as well as the shoulder press.
Choose either two lower or two upper body exercises per day and then one of the alternate upper or lower body exercises.
Stack these three exercises together and these will be your five by five exercises.
Now to that, you can also add 2-3 isolation exercises, performing two sets of eight to ten reps.
Think of these as ‘icing on the cake’ exercises – to be done to simply bring up lagging muscle groups or really evoke a final level of fatigue before you leave the gym.
Once these exercises are over, that’s the end of the workout and now it’s time for you to focus on recovering.
The Workout Set-Up
To help show you what this looks like, let’s give you three examples of the five by five muscle building program.
Keep in mind that you should always have one day off between sessions for optimal recovery.
Muscle Building Workout 1
Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
Bent Over Rows – 5 sets of 5 reps
Deadlifts – 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Curls – 2 sets of 8 reps
Tricep Pressdown – 2 sets of 8 reps
Muscle Building Workout 2
Bench Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
Leg Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Rows – 5 sets of 5 reps
Lateral Raises – 2 sets of 8 reps
Leg Extension – 2 sets of 8 reps
Muscle Building Workout 3
Pull Ups – 5 sets of 5 reps
Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
Shoulder Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
Hamstring Curls – 2 sets of 8 reps
Leg Raises – 2 sets of 8 reps
Give these muscle building workouts a try this week to trigger muscle growth in combination with a healthy diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Dmitri Simons is a Master Personal Trainer, Head Trainer and Co-Founder of Exercises.com.au.
Dmitri is a qualified PT of 15 years, a qualified Chef, Father of 5 and competes in Triathlons in his spare time. His passion is helping people achieve their health and fitness goals by taking control of their health, eating healthier and engaging in different forms of exercise such as weight lifting, stretching and cardio.