StrongLifts 5×5 Workout Program [with Spreadsheet]

When it comes to lifting weights, a simplistic and basic approach tends to provide you with the most optimal results. Throwing in a lot of fancy movements here and there does not take you anywhere apart from giving you a few moments of instant gratification. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate or an advanced lifter, the foundational principles of lifting will apply to you in the same manner. One such old school program that is based on those foundational principles is the StrongLifts 5×5 workout program.

There are numerous professional lifters who claim to have gained both strength and size following the 5×5 workout program. One such professional lifter was the old school lifter and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mentor Reg Park. Talking about the beginners or amateurs, this workout program lays a solid groundwork for them which further contributes to their overall strength development. This program might look simple but mind you it is not at all an easier one. Following this program for 4-6 weeks can certainly provide you with the results that you would surely be proud of. So, if you want to gain both strength and size at a faster pace and that too in a drug-free manner, the StrongLifts 5×5 workout program is the perfect one for you. Let’s have a rundown of this program.

StrongLifts 5x5 Workout Program

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Program Overview

The StrongLifts 5×5 workout program consists of some basic compound movements that are performed with five sets of five reps. You are required to train your body with those basic compound lifts three times a week. The compound lifts that form the crux of this lifting program are squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and barbell rows.

Some of the salient features of the StrongLifts 5×5 workout program are as follows:

  • The workouts performed under this training program are further classified into two types namely Workout A and Workout B. 
  • In Workout A, you are required to train your squat, bench press, and barbell row.
  • In Workout B, on the other hand, you perform your squat, overhead press, and deadlift. 
  • Owing to the strenuous nature of this workout program, you should never train two consecutive days in a week. 
  • The one day off that you get between two workout sessions provides your body ample amounts of time to recover and get stronger. This also aids in building up muscles thereby facilitating more heavier lifts in the upcoming sessions. You just have to alternate between Workout A and Workout B as you progress through this program taking a day off rest in between.

You can choose to go with either MWF or TTS split. In the former, you split your training sessions in a way that you get to train on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Following the TTS split, you train on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You just have to ensure that you get one day off between two training sessions and two days off between Workout A and Workout B. 

StrongLifts 5×5 Workout Program

StrongLifts 5x5 Workout



Squat (5×5)

Bench Press (5×5)

Barbell Row (5×5)


Squat (5×5)

Overhead Press (5×5)

Deadlift (1×5)


Squat (5×5)

Bench Press (5×5)

Barbell Row (5×5)



Squat (5×5)

Overhead Press (5×5)

Deadlift (1×5)


Squat (5×5)

Bench Press (5×5)

Barbell Row (5×5)


Squat (5×5)

Overhead Press (5×5)

Deadlift (1×5)

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If you are completely new to the compound exercises of this program, start with a lighter weight. Once your body gets used to squatting, pressing, and pulling movements, you can progress with the weights. You can also start with the lowest weights possible. Once your body gets the muscle memory of proper form and technique, you can then start progressing with the weights.

On the other hand, if you have been lifting for a while and are familiar with these movements, you can start with 50% of your present five rep max. The StrongLifts 5×5 training protocol requires you to do five sets of five reps with the same weight. You don’t have to increase the weight as you progress through the sets. 

Starting the program with heavier weights can lead to excessive soreness that can be enough for you to think about skipping your next workout session. Also going with heavier weights in the beginning may cause plateaus to occur much sooner.

When it comes to the deadlifts, you will be performing only one set of five reps (1 x 5). This is because under this program you train your squats three times a week. If you will follow the same pattern with the deadlifts, it would be difficult for you to recover properly when the weights will be heavier. Also, deadlifts tend to give you great results even if you perform them for only one set of five reps.

You must also do some lighter warm-up sets of the exercises that you are going to perform in your respective session. This decreases the risk of injury along with lubricating your joints well. After some proper warm-up sets, your body gets completely prepared to take on the stress of your main workout. But at the same time don’t choose to perform cardio movements in your warm-up routine. Although they can increase your body temperature, they won’t assist you to practice the correct form and technique for the lifts.

Workout A

Workout B

How to Progress on StrongLifts 5×5

StrongLifts 5×5 workout program works through its periodization. Following this protocol, you are required to change the program as you progress through it. This further helps in changing the stimulus too. Your muscles get challenged with newer weights every week and you are also provided with off-days to recover completely from your training sessions.

If you are able to complete all your sets and reps pertaining to all the compound lifts, you can increase the weight by 5-10 lbs in the following week. This kind of increment doesn’t put excessive stress on your muscles and also lets you progress through the workout. This further helps in building up your strength and muscle size.

In case you are not able to complete all the five reps on a particular lift, you should stick to the same weight for the following week and target to complete all the five sets of five reps with that particular weight.

Following the StrongLifts 5×5 workout program can certainly allow you to hit new PRs on the basic compound lifts (including the big three) by the time you get to Week 4 or Week 6. But apart from your training sessions, you would also have to keep a check on your diet and sleep. You should ensure that you are in a caloric surplus and are getting enough rest and recovery between your training sessions.

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StrongLifts 5×5 Workout Program Spreadsheet (lbs)

The prime purpose of a spreadsheet is to make the facts and figures more comprehensive to the readers. The StrongLifts 5 x 5 workout program spreadsheet presented here allows you to enter your maxes of the basic compound lifts (in lbs). It will simply calculate and present you with the weights that you must progress within your training sessions. The spreadsheet presented here is an ideal one for both beginners and experienced lifters providing them with the proper guidelines to progress through the StrongLifts 5×5 training protocol.



StrongLifts 5×5 Workout Program Spreadsheet (kg)

This spreadsheet is just the counterpart of the previous spreadsheet. This Google sheet presented in an excel format allows you to put in your maxes in Kilograms. It will easily calculate the weight that you should progress with corresponding to each workout and lift. While following this program, you should keep in mind that you don’t rush to breaking your own PRs every week. This workout program requires you to be patient and consistent so that you get the most from it.

Or you can download the app

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Created StrongLifts 5×5?

Mehdi wrote systematic guidelines for 5×5 workout on June 2007, it got so much attention and people then started calling it StrongLifts 5×5. However, the 5×5 program was initially popularised by the old school bodybuilder Reg Park.

Is StrongLifts 5×5 Good for Beginners?

Yes. The StrongLifts 5×5 workout program is very effective for beginners and amateurs. The simplistic approach of this program that makes the use of the basic compound lifts helps the beginners to progress more efficiently.

Does StrongLifts 5×5 Build Muscle?

Yes. The StrongLifts 5×5 workout program certainly builds muscle. It follows the principles of progressive resistance weight training. As you progress through this workout program, you tend to increase the weights corresponding to each lift every single week. If you keep your diet and recovery on point, you can surely build up muscle with the StrongLifts 5×5 Workout program.

Can You Do Cardio with StrongLifts 5×5?

StrongLifts 5×5 workout program prioritizes lifting weights and building muscle and strength. But if you are willing to lose weight, you can add some cardio movements at the end of your workout routine.

What Weight to Start StrongLifts 5×5?

If you are a beginner who has little to no experience of lifting weights, you can start with the empty Olympic bar (20 Kg/45 lbs). If you have been lifting for a while you can choose to start with 50% of your 5-rep max.

What to Do on Off Days of StrongLifts 5×5?

You don’t need to lie on your bed all day long on your off days. You can go for a walk, or jog or play some indoor game like Table Tennis. You just have to be careful about not indulging in too much strenuous physical activities.

When to Deload on StrongLifts 5×5?

When you start getting diminishing returns on your lifts or when you hit a plateau, you can start deloading on your StrongLifts 5×5 workout program. It usually happens at the end of 4-6 weeks.

When to Stop StrongLifts 5×5?

The StrongLifts 5×5 workout program can be stopped when it stops working for you. You may experience failure in completing all the reps as you increase the weight.

Final Words

Being a beginner or amateur in the iron game, if you are confused about which program to start with, the StrongLifts 5×5 training program can surely be an ideal one for you. It will not only increase your foundational strength and muscle density but will also help you in progressing well with proper form and technique.

Once you attain a decent level of muscle density, muscle mass, and foundational strength, progressing and winning in the iron game becomes much easier. Moreover, the old school approach that StrongLifts 5×5 Workout program follows keeps you in a better athletic condition and that too without inflicting any injuries.


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