Of all the training programs that come and go from the fitness community, one in particular has held steady for years and years, with a loyal mass of followers: the 5x5 strength training program.
When we say 5x5, that means five rounds of five reps each. You can apply these to literally any exercise, although athletes commonly use them for compound exercises, picking three to focus on per session. For example, a day of 5x5 training might look like this:
5x5 bench press
5x5 back squat
Here’s another example:
5x5 strict overhead press
5x5 barbell row
5x5 front squat
You’re less likely to see a 5x5 of bicep curls, although hey — we’re not here to judge bicep curls.
Athletes following a 5x5 strength training workout will typically train three times a week, with rest in between each day — for instance, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Recovery is really important for 5x5 training. More on that a little later.
The strategy also includes picking one exercise to really focus on each day. For instance, in one training session, you might opt for heavier weights for your bench press while going with something a bit more modest with your deadlift and squat.
This programming shouldn’t constantly be pushing you to failure, but it shouldn’t be a walk in the park, either.
The Benefits of 5x5 Programming
5x5 training offers a number of benefits. For starters, it’s designed to help you improve strength and gain muscle mass faster than other programs might. The idea is that roughly three times a week, you hit the muscle groups hard, and then give yourself plenty of recovery in between.
It’s a lot of reps — 25 per movement — and accumulating reps is one of the simplest (and most powerful) ways to build muscle, plain and simple. However, at the same time, the number of reps is low enough that you can still load up a pretty decent weight. Make no mistake about it: 5x5 training should not be easy. You can expect to seriously tax your muscles.
Second, because it usually focuses on compound movements, you’re attacking multiple muscles at once. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Put simply, when people want to build muscle faster, they turn to 5x5 programming.
Third, it’s simple. There’s nothing fancy about 5x5 training. You can tell any athlete of any level, “Do this movement, five rounds, five reps each round,” and they’re probably going to get it.
Fourth, 5x5 training makes it easy to push through training plateaus and continue improving. Because the rep scheme doesn’t change a whole lot, the weight does. Is 200 pounds feeling too easy for your deadlift? Go up in weight. Simple. (On the contrary, if a weight is feeling too heavy, all you need to do is pull back a little bit.)
5x5 training is the type of thing that works for just about anyone, and that’s because it’s fairly logical and no-nonsense. Your fitness performance is almost guaranteed to make gains. Still, athletes need to take caution to approach it the right way, so that they can reap all the benefits and, importantly, stay healthy and injury-free.
How to Recover From Your 5x5 Strength Training With PowerDot
Improving athlete performance isn’t just about training. Recovery is as important to your muscular strength and overall fitness.
You might be feeling ambitious, which is excellent! However, with a programming style as aggressive and intense as 5x5, having days off between training sessions is crucial.
This is especially important considering that in even just a single session of compound movements, you’re essentially getting a full-body workout.
Tackling the same muscles multiple days in a row with no rest is a pretty sure route to eventual overtraining and likely injury. And hopefully, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t ever do two training sessions in one day.
How else can you support your strength training with strategic rest and recovery? PowerDot. The benefit of PowerDot is twofold, so let’s explore both avenues.
First, one must consider the benefits of electric muscle stimulation. When the device triggers those tiny muscle contractions, a number of things happen. As a result, you’re experiencing:
- Improved blood flow and circulation.
- Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
- Boosted muscle endurance.
- Better muscular strength.
- Quicker recovery.
But that’s not where it ends. Your 5x5 training might leave you very sore some days. Thankfully, PowerDot can address your pain specifically, with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS.
TENS works in two ways. First, it operates by something called the Gate Theory. Essentially, it helps to close the “gates” to your central nervous system, so that pain signals can’t reach your brain. In other words, PowerDot can prevent you from experiencing soreness and discomfort.
In addition, TENS encourages the release of endorphins — your body’s natural painkillers — further helping to combat muscle soreness in a totally natural way.
Whether you’re experiencing regular muscle soreness, or if you’ve unfortunately injured yourself, TENS can bring immense relief.
When you combine the power of EMS and TENS and use PowerDot consistently as part of your normal routine, not only do you position yourself to train harder, recover faster, and get stronger, but you’re going to feel significantly better along the way.
5x5 programming is simple, straightforward, and effective, but that doesn’t mean you can cut corners and still get the results you want. As with any type of training, we encourage you to be intentional and strategic with how you go about it. Technique still matters. Don’t just perform the exercises. Do them the right way. Have designated time and specific habits that you stick to for nurturing your own recovery, and your programming will serve you well.