Strength training can come in hundreds of different styles across a broad variety of movements and movement types, in this we are going to touch on a common strength training called 5x5 this a very common set/rep scheme used across mainly compound movements (movements that use a number of muscles rather than specifically targeting 1) and is part of a full strong lifts 5x5 program. (we will only focus on a single part of this program for a workout for today)

For this we will have 3 options, 

Option 1 - 5x5 Squat (~85%)

Option 2 - 5x5 Deadlift (~85%)

Option 3 - 5x5 Bench Press (~85%)

Let's break it down, 

  • 5x5
  • The numbers stated in the title are the rep and sets scheme, you will do 5 sets of 5 reps

    • Squat, Deadlift or Bench Press

    These are simply the movements 

    • (~85%)

    This shows the percentage of your 1 rep max (1RM) you should be aiming to use


    Strength training is a key part of overall functional fitness training, it increases your ability to exert a force through a combination of muscular coordination and muscular strength. The ability to produce more force in a movement often decreases the relative effort when in a workout as the workout weight will likely be a lower percentage of your 1RM.

    Go on then…

    Now it's time to try them out, so you know what they are and why they are so common so now we will give you some tips and pointers to help you get through them alive.

  • Break the workout down before you start it
  • This is relatively simple as you know that you will be doing different sets of the same movement.

  • The Workout

  • 5x5 Squat (~85%)

  • Movement Stress
  • Throughout these sets you will be working at a relative effort above 8/10 so they will be difficult and each set will build up an accumulation of fatigue on your body from muscle breakdown.

  • Pacing
  • Pacing on a strength session is more likely to pivot on the rest time, you should be looking at resting a reasonable amount between each set so that you are feeling ready to go again, this can range from 60-120 seconds as a guide, depending on your current fitness level.

  • Extra points
  • It is important to warm up correctly before any workout but for strength sessions you want to make sure you are fully warm, these weights will be higher than the weights for a usual session and without warming up you have a higher chance of injury. As an example, a good starting place would be 5 min light cardio followed by 4-5 warmup sets specific to the exercise building up in weight to your working weight.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!