I have always expressed the opinion that a 5×5 routine should not be used by absolute beginners. Absolute beginners should focus on form, training consistently, mobility and flexibility before moving on to such routines as Starting Strength, 531, or Stronglifts. Even though these programs are simple in terms of number of exercises and training time, there are many little fundamental aspects of training that should be established before attempting these routines. Otherwise, it could lead to injury and time wasted.

Here is a list of things you should do before jumping into one of these routines.

      1. Foam Rolling
      2. Stretching
      3. Learn how to retract your scapulae
      4. MASTER the body weight squat
      5. Learn to do body weight exercises such as pull ups, dips and sit ups.
      6. Learn to Hinge at the hip

If I had more information, I would have learned these things FIRST before jumping into Starting Strength as a I did a few years ago. Now once you have done these things for some weeks and make it a regular habit, you can then use this as a guide in choosing your workouts:

      1. Squatting movement
      2. Pressing Movement
      3. Rowing movement
      4. Deadlift variation
      5. Calf Raises
      6. Abdominal exercise
      7. Form of Bicep Curl

So an example workout could be:

      1. Front Squat
      2. Push Press
      3. Cable Row
      4. Stiff Leg Deadlift
      5. Calf Raises
      6. Sit Ups
      7. Incline Curls

Do 2 total sets of 8-12 reps and focus on form. Be conservative with the weight at first. And gradually add weight each workout. The reason for this rep range is not for any reason other than I feel its a good amount of reps for a beginner to get in good practice. After a few weeks you can choose to add another set. Mind you, the last set should be the only set that is difficult. So even if you do 3 sets of 12, only the last set of 12 is a workset. You could do this 2-3 times a week on non consecutive days. And on in between days you can do pull ups, dips and jump roping. I would say 4 to 8 weeks of this, and then you could move on to a 5×5 routine.

REMEMBER: Be conservative with the weight progression. 2.5 to 5 lbs per workout should be good. And remember there is no rush. Especially if you are training for health and not worried about getting those 6 pack abs ready for this summer.


  1. […] Also read my other post What I Wish I had Done […]

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