Looking for a really effective and durable training program As an athlete you encounter a lot of different exercises in your life training formsthat overtake themselves as fast as the seasons.

However, a much more durable approach is found in "The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football," in which power and mass building are treated with a seemingly simple principle. The mathematical formula for muscular bliss is simple 5×5

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Principles and basics of 5 × 5 training

If you're looking for a universal workout plan that's easy to install in just about any exercise, then you should at least engage in the 5x5 training of Bill Starr.

Meanwhile, the original training of Bill Starr has spread so far around the world, its origins (after all, from 1976) are almost forgotten. However, the principle of the 5 × 5 training has always remained the same: five sets of five repetitions each. Each sentence increases the stimulus. That sounds easy and that's exactly what it is. And as simple as it is, as effective as it is.

The 5 × 5 training is based on a very simple formula, according to which the best mass and strength gains in training are always achieved when performing between four and six repetitions per exercise in four to six sets. Bill Starr simplified the system to 5 × 5, the exercises Starr used are still classics today: Power Cleans, Bench Press and Pull Up.

Unlike programs like Heavy Duty, 5 × 5 is not about focusing all the power on a sentence, but about evenly distributing the exercises. Also with PITT Force and the approach of lifting heavy weights as often as possible, 5 × 5 can not be compared. After all, the origins of the 5 × 5 training can be found in football, where in addition to the power is also suppleness of the muscles. Therefore, the basic approach of 5 × 5 is not extreme saving of training time, but optimization of results by increases of stimuli during sets.

Apart from that, Bill Starr's original program was also extremely modern in that it was already at that time with the strength training not as a form of training in which you pump up individual muscles, but rather thought more generally. For athletes finally decided not the width of the thighs, but the strength of the legs. Therefore, the 5 × 5 training is ideal for athletes to build up strength and gain more strength.

5 × 5 training for everyone

The best thing about 5 × 5 training is the flexibility of the program. Are programs like PITT Force To recommend only really experienced athletes, you can easily enter at any time in the 5 × 5 training.

By increasing the weights, the 5 × 5 training is also recommended for beginners who still have problems with the technique and the auxiliary and coordination muscles. By slightly increasing the weights (when bench press about 2.5 kilograms per set), you can also focus on the last, intense sentence and pump out the body as a beginner.

This increase allows beginners to significantly increase their concentration and effort already during an exercise with only 25 repetitions.

This training pyramid also complies with the usual layout of Starr's program. But who has higher goals, must vary here. Advanced players, for example, briefly warm up the muscles, sweat a bit and interpret the 5 × 5 training as a short and fast workout with five sets of the same weight. In order to have at all regeneration and power for five sets with five repetitions, here typically only 70 to 80 percent of the maximum weight are used. If you still want to increase the appeal of this program, you need to increase from training session to training session.

If you clearly miss the 25 total reps (under 14 is a rule of thumb), you should reduce the weight on the next unit.

Other interpretations of the 5 × 5 are also possible, so some divide the program into 2-3 warm-up sets and 2-3 working sets, which is still computationally equivalent to Bill Starr's original training. In principle, the program is very suitable for beginners who still struggle with the execution of the exercise and for professionals who place more emphasis on power than on pure mass. Even football players, climbers, martial artists, etc. should be a look at the 5 × 5 program, in which three training days lead to an increase in strength in a small amount of time.

Those who value mass and increase maximum weight will be less satisfied with 5 × 5 training.

5 × 5 training today

Three training days with high-frequency exercises at 25 repetitions, so can the 5 × 5 training summarized. Back then, Bill Starr's training should have just one goal: fast, easy and, above all, effective training. This is the case with the 5 × 5 training, which is still frequently used 40 years later.

The "gentle" stimulation of the muscles is ideal to get more strength and a stronger musculature approach. And another advantage of the 5 × 5 training for beginners: The increases it is not boring and is also motivating in the longer term.

Example 5 × 5 training plan


  • Bench press (5 × 5)
  • Squats (5 × 5)
  • Barbell rowing (5 × 5)

** followed by isolation exercises (optional)

  • eg crunches, crunches, ..


  • Squats (5 × 5)
  • Deadlift (5 × 5)
  • Pull-ups (5 × 5)
  • Front pressures (5 × 5)

** followed by isolation exercises (optional)

  • eg biceps curls, leg raises hanging, ..


  • Squats (5 × 5)
  • Bench press (5 × 5)
  • Deadlift (5 × 5)

** followed by isolation exercises (optional)

  • eg barbell curls, sit-ups incline bench, ..

** Isolation exercises: The 5x5 system does not have to be adhered to. Here you could eg. also resort to supersets or drop sets.

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