In November 2016 I decided to join my local gym. This was a big decision for me, because, not only was I only 17 years old and pretty skint, but I was also pretty skinny. I really wanted to put on some weight and get stronger, and this seemed like the best solution.
And so I dutifully went to the gym 5 days a week, getting up early each day for a 45-60 minutes session. I felt great for the first few weeks – lifting 5kg dumbbells with ease, and hitting the treadmills for 20 minutes at a time. But after a while I realised I wasn’t putting on weight, and decided to change my routine. After a bit of research I found the Stronglifts 5×5 programme, and decided to give it a go as it made a lot of sense.
The 5×5 programme involved going to the gym 3 times a week (every other day) to powerlifting. No more cardio or 20+ reps on the 5kg dumbbells. There are two workouts to alternate between – A involves Squat, Bench Press and Barbell Row; B involves Squat, Overhead Press and Deadlift. Each exercise is made up of 5 sets of 5 reps, which allows you to lift heavier weights than if you were to do 3 sets of 8 reps. The breaks in between give you a rest to prepare you for the next set, and you end up doing more reps than if you were doing 3 sets of 8.
After just a month I had got a lot stronger – my squat went from 30kg to 50kg, my benchpress went from 16kg to 25kg, overhead press from 16kg to 20 kg. I had never done a barbell row or a deadlift before (I was too scared of dropping the weights or not being able to lift much) but I managed, even lifting 50kg by deadlift! For me these results were incredible, even if those weights are easy for others. I began to bulk up a bit as well, and made changes to my lifestyle and diet as I became more and more confident in my shape. In 6 weeks I gained more than 1.5kg and I’ve started to tone up.
What makes Stronglifts 5×5 so successful is that it produces real results, and quickly. The website and email list is run by a guy called Medhi and he’s made tutorials of each exercise – how to do it with proper form. His daily emails make a world of difference, often answering comments from his subscribers and full of advice.
What makes Stronglifts 5×5 so much better than other programs is the app. Yes you read that right. There’s an app that tells you how much weight to add each session, you can enter how many reps you’ve done and see a history of your progress. Of course there’s a Premium version but to be honest, that’s a one time payment that I’ll probably make in the future to gain access to a few extra features. The free version is amazing and there’s no need to pay for the pro version unless you really want to.
So after that long post, I think it’s time to hit the gym. Whilst I go pump some iron, why don’t you check out the Stronglifts 5×5 website? Here’s the link: https://stronglifts.com
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