This routine is taught by Mark Rippetoe, but isn't available in his book Starting Strength. This 5x5 program is for beginners, and helps to build size and strength.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Increase Strength
  • Workout Type
    Full Body
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration12 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Bodyweight
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

This routine is taught by Mark Rippetoe, but isn't available in his book Starting Strength. This 5x5 program is for beginners, and builds size and strength. Exercises listed as "alternating" are switched week by week. Listed sets do NOT include warm-up sets.

Monday Workout
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 5
Bench Press / Military Press (Alternate) 3 5
Chin Up (Add weight if you can do 15+ reps) 3 Failure
Wednesday Workout
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 5
Military Press / Bench Press (Alternate) 3 5
Deadlift 1 5
Friday Workout
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 5
Bench Press / Military Press (Alternate) 3 5
Pull Up (Add weight if you can do 15+ reps) 3 Failure
Posted on: Wed, 03/04/2015 - 23:26

i have a question
do i lift the same weight for all sets of a exericise or i increase the weight for all sets of a exericise ?
and i warm up by cardio or i have two warm up sets and three working sets ?

Posted on: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 15:55


I've been out of gym, for about 8 months and I want to get back in it full time again.
I've lost some weight and strength, will this be a good routine to get my strength back?

Posted on: Wed, 08/28/2013 - 15:25

Can anyone explain to me how the dead lifts work on this routine?

Posted on: Tue, 06/11/2013 - 15:04

Hi Mike,
I'm an athletic 60 year old looking to gain strength and gain some muscle. I've lifted on and off over the years. I know that the main difference for the older lifter is slower recovery time. I'm thinking of doing this workout two days a week instead of three. What do you think?

Posted on: Wed, 06/05/2013 - 01:20

To anyone looking to get crazy strong faster than you feel like you should the original starting strength workout is the best, hands down. For those of you who don't have the book or haven't read it go to Marks website . On his site he breaks down proper form for all lifts, form is key when lifting anything!! The site however doesn't go over what the starting strength workout is so I will lay it out for you. It is a 3 day a week MAX workout. Every day is a heavy lift day. It is a full body program for no other reason than you need to activate the largest muscle groups in the body to trigger testosterone production. The workout goes as follows in the order it is written. Monday- full squat, 3 sets of your 5 rep MAX. Bench press/standing press 3 sets of 5 rep MAX. (you alternate each time you do this so Monday its bench, wed its standing press, Friday its bench, following Monday standing press so on and so forth) Deadlift- 1 set of 5 rep Max. the reason for only 1 set is because the deadlift taxes out the nervous system and doing any more will not allow you to make the gains possible. Tuesday REST!! Wednesday- squat 3 sets of 5 rep max. bench/standing press 3 sets of 5 rep max deadlift 1 set 5 rep max and the plan continues. as far as warm ups go you always start with just the bar and do set then add 10 to 15 lbs and do another set for 3 to 4 sets without getting within 40 to 60lbs of your work set for that day. Each time you lift your 5 rep max increases in each lift as the following. Squat 10 lbs every lift bench press 10 lbs every lift standing press 5 lbs every lift deadlift 15lbs every lift. A beginners routine will look like this.(note this is someone who is completely new to lifting you have to find your own 5 rep max and adjust accordingly)

Monday- squat 3 sets of 100lbs for 5 reps---- bench press 3 sets of 85lbs for 5 reps -- deadlift 1 set of 150lbs for 5 reps

Wednesday- squat 3 sets of 110lbs for 5 reps-- standing press 3 sets of 50lbs for 5 reps -- deadlift 1 set of 165 for 5 reps

Friday- squat 3 sets @ 120lbs for 5 reps-- bench 3 sets @ 110lbs for 5 reps-- deadlift 1 set of 175 for 5 reps

so on and so on... keep in mind proper form is an absolute must!!! this program works when I started it I was 155lbs and was benching 135 once squatting 125 once standing pressing 50lbs once and deadlifting 155 once I did it for 6 weeks and I now am 170 bench 175 5 times squat 200 5 times and deadlift 345 5 times and standing press 135 it works!!

Posted on: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 16:44

what does failure in the last section of reps mean?

Posted on: Wed, 01/16/2013 - 02:32

Would this be a good workout routine for building size and strength? What is better for a beginner? Full body or splits? How long should I do this routine if its right for me? Then what should i do after I've been doing it for a quite awhile?

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2013 - 14:36

can i add 3 sets 5 reps bicep workout to this?


Posted on: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 02:48

hey steve..
i have started gym 5 month weight is 135 pound..i have 0 chest and o tricep and 0 back..should i do this program ? but probelm is i want to go gym atlest 4 times a week not 3 :( please suggest me a gud workout...

Posted on: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 08:14

I was thinking of switching to this routine.
id like to get stronger and bigger
i havent really improved with my bench press for some time
so would switching to db press but with this routine be ok?
and what are the chances of adding in some more exercises.

and if the heaviest i can lift is say 60kg with good form but i can push out ten reps, should i still do the 5 reps or more?

Posted on: Tue, 04/10/2012 - 03:54

Is there any alternative to the Deadlift exercise as my gym doesn't allow doing deadlifts there.

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:00

Iam am a Bjj competitor I dont want to gain weight but I want to get stronger. I understand that in any kind of lifting I will gain weight but I don't want to put on more than 10, do u recommend another workout plan

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2012 - 16:59

Just Wondering if there is an alternate to using squats, such as a leg press. I injured my neck, slipped a disc and pinched three nerves, had to go through traction to finally fix the problems. So I really do not want to place that kind of weight on my neck.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2012 - 20:15

Hello Steve,

Can you tell me what is the difference between a "Muscle building" and a "Strength building" working-out?

I thought they were same? Is there a (beginner workout) that allows me to build muscle AND strength?

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Posted on: Tue, 03/27/2012 - 15:30

For the first few years there really is no difference. You have to get strong to get big, and you have to add some muscle to get stronger. No matter what workout you pick, no matter what your end goal is, you will need to get stronger.

Posted on: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 21:56

I'm 14 and weigh 140lbs and i can bench press 120lbs 4 times. I want to get bigger and stronger for sports. Is this workout for me?

Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2012 - 05:18

you have very very even. As the thus way and synonymous plenty. These use rejuvenates minerals. Guide together find back interval the right position, relieving shoes and other. This happens and pill known be Allen.

Posted on: Fri, 12/30/2011 - 18:29

Hey Steve thanks for doing this for us. You've probably already posted it and I'm overlooking it but I was wwondering if you could recommend a good core workout to do on off days. My goals are strength building and body fat loss.


Posted on: Wed, 12/28/2011 - 07:51

Hi I am 58 and in good health.I have tried for a year to build up my calf muscles. All other muscles seem to respond but not my skinny calves.

I can train as hard as the next man but can I do any damage to my calves when the burn is so intense?

regards Dave Baker

Posted on: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 17:17

i cant do chin up or pull up, any alternatives

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Posted on: Tue, 12/20/2011 - 12:29

Lat pull downs.

Posted on: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 10:07

Hi Steve, I was wondering if instead of chin ups I could do wide grip pull ups, and an isolated bicep workout to compensate.

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Posted on: Tue, 12/20/2011 - 12:28

Pull ups are a good choice. A few sets of biceps won't hurt.

Posted on: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 23:14

Hi Steve, sorry for my tardyiness. I was introduced to this workout about a week ago. I was wondering if there were ways to customize, to fit different aptitudes. Right now all I want is power bc I'm in the middle of wrestling season.... Maybe 5•5(excluding warmup) and moving full speed.... Honestly I read that it was possible in mens journal so that's why I'm curious bc everywhere I've looked so far all I see is strictly 3•5 and it's predominately strength. I'm not necessarily a beginner either my bench is about 210-215lbs currently.

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Posted on: Tue, 12/20/2011 - 12:24

Strength will help create power. Right now fast reps probably won't help you as much as improving your overall body strength.

Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 00:47

Also, I really see myself hitting a bench platuea befor the rest of my body b it's already fairly strong and that's one of the things I've always worked really hard. If it does happen what should I do? I don't want to stop the progrM just because my chest stops making gains

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Posted on: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 10:20

True plateaus take years to hit. You will experience a slowing of progression, but that's not a hard wall. Keep working hard, and keep eating big!

Posted on: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 15:06

Hi steve,
I m 154lbs doing gym since last 5 months but still unable to lift 34 lbs for bench press. How can i get strength?

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Posted on: Tue, 12/13/2011 - 13:42

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

Posted on: Fri, 11/18/2011 - 15:20

Is it fine if I do deadlifts before squatting? I love deadlifting and would like to focus on it more than just having 1 set at the end of squatting.

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Posted on: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 14:33

This program centers around squat progression so I would not change anything.

matt v
Posted on: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 23:49

Hi im 28 6 ft 1 261 pounds I quit working out the last three years but I still max 250 pretty easy . I worked out from age 15 to 25have used to max 320 question is does this make me a begginer or an amatuare and which program do you think would be best? My goal is to bench 350 pounds all bulk is good for me

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Posted on: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 12:06

This program would be a great place to start. I would use it to progress as much as possible, and then re-assess from there.

Posted on: Mon, 10/03/2011 - 12:52

I'm about to start this beginner workout after a 3 yr layoff. I have a miner strain in an inner elbow. I made an attempt at the chin ups and had to stop after 6 because it went to a 10 on my pain level. What would you advise?

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Posted on: Mon, 10/03/2011 - 19:18

Take your time and ease into things. Only do them as long as they are pain free.

Posted on: Wed, 09/14/2011 - 02:38

I have a few questions I would really appreciate if you help we with that

1. I have been working out for quite some time on and off but I have good form and I'm just gonna start working out again, I never really got good results cause of my inconsistency should I begin with a beginner?

2. Can I add core strengthen workout with this program ?

3. Can I add cardio in between during the rest days as I'm trying to gain stamina for sports?

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Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2011 - 15:53

1) It won't matter much. Either way you want to take it easy for several weeks and allow some time for your body to get used to lifting.
2) Yes.
3) Yes.

Posted on: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 02:10

Steve, first can I just say wow. The dedication you show in answering everybody's questions is really great. I was hoping you could do the same for mine. I'm 26, 5'7" and 145 lbs. For the past 2 years I've been doing mainly non weight workouts. I did boxing for a year and then muay thai for a year. I'm in pretty good shape but I'm looking to gain a little muscle(not get huge) and get some more definition. Right now I'm doing a 3 day split of Chest/Tri/Delts, Back/Biceps, Legs. I do this 5 days a week, rest for the weekend and then pick up where I left off. But as I've been reading your replies to everybody I'm wondering if I should switch to a different work out like this one. I'm already at the gym Mon-Thur for yoga so I just go straight from that to the weights so having the time to go to the gym more than 3 days a week isn't an issue for me. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 13:08

Hi Sandy,

My best advice would be to stick to your current workout right now and focus on progression of weight and a good eating plan. Progression means using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. As far as eating, here is an article I recommend:

Posted on: Sun, 08/21/2011 - 18:52

Hi Steve,

I'm looking for a workout that fits into my schedule and coincidentally I found this one. I am beginning to work out in order to be able to increase my APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) score for Army ROTC. I'm 20 years old at 158 lbs and about 6'1. I was wondering if this workout would help me reach my goals or if I should look for a workout that is more focused on training me for that test specifically. I would also be throwing in some cardio and ab exercises on Tuesdays and Thursdays to improve my run time and core strength. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do for those days? Thank you ahead of time!

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Posted on: Tue, 08/30/2011 - 16:15

Hi Jesse,

This workout will help with overall strength, but to improve on push ups and situps, the best thing to do is to perform push ups and situps 30-5 times per week.

Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:10

Hi Steve,

I've seen this workout suggested a lot and I would like to try it, but the gym I go to doesn't have any barbell weights. They do have machines and dumbbells - can this workout be replicated using that sort of equipment?


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Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 13:25

Hi Osurman,

No, sorry. It should be performed with the stated exercises.

Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2011 - 14:00

Thanks for the reply! Can you suggest any alternatives for a beginner? Or should I just find a new gym?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2011 - 14:30

If you can afford to I would find a new gym.

Posted on: Sat, 08/06/2011 - 09:20

Hey Steve I have been working out pretty hard in the gym for the last two months and am currently deployed.I know you say eat a lot to increase strength but being in Iraq and only being able to eat what they make in the DFAC makes it a little difficult to bulk up. I weight 165lbs/5'8.5" and am 29yrs old. I have had positive gains in my dumbbell fly's-kinda stuck at 75lbs 4 sets 6-8 reps each and 235lbs being my max on the bench. I have been supplementing protein in between (what they call meals here) but here lately have over done it. Any suggestions on how to make positive gains in strength with out the neccassary diet. By the way I use Jack3D as a pre-work out, is that defeating the purpose of bulking up or not? Thanks, and sorry for the long post..great advice on the other blogs too.

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Posted on: Sat, 08/06/2011 - 09:40

SSG Ham,

My recommendation is to stick with a program like this, or one similar. A program that uses a lot of compound lifts. Focus on getting that one extra rep on each set every week.

Do you have any access to high calories foods you can add to meals, say milk, almonds or butter? Every calorie helps.

Posted on: Fri, 07/29/2011 - 14:26

I am a beginner and was wondering if my squat form was ok. I have never taken a weight training class or had a trainer. Where should I send the video?
Thank you in advance.

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Posted on: Wed, 08/03/2011 - 14:31

Hi Alan,

You can receive some form pointers here:

Posted on: Tue, 07/12/2011 - 12:34

Hey Steve! I just graduated high school and I'll be starting college in about 5 weeks. Ive been going to the gym because I am kind of skinny and I want to increase my size and strength so that I am prepared for Army ROTC and so I am a little more confident with how my body looks. The lifting ive been doing is a split routine, but ive seen a lot of information that a lifting routine more like this one would be better for a beginner who shares my goals. Does it sound like this routine would be better for me, or should I stick with my split routine?