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Bill Star's 5X5 program has spawned many variations over the years but his workout is still highly regarded. Before Bill Star of course there was Reg Park whose 5X5 program inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger and helped Arnold build his size and strength. Bill Star's program is different in that it focuses on what he called the "big three": bench press, power clean and squats. He also utilizes shoulder press, dead lift and other exercises to completely strengthen the body. He also had heavy, medium and light training days. Check out his highly regarded workouts below.

 

Bill Starr’s 5X5 Routine in Its Original Form:

 

Monday – Heavy

Power cleans – 5 sets of 5

Bench – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set (add 10 rep sets after 8-12 weeks on program)

Squats – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set

(Set 1 35% of target set 2 70% of target set 3 80% of target set 4 90% of target set 5 target)

 

Wednesday – Light

Power cleans – 5 sets of 5

Incline Bench – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set

Squats – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set. Set 5 use weight from 3rd set of Monday

 

Friday – Medium 

Power cleans – 5 sets of 5

Overhead press – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set

Squats – 5 sets of 5 1×10 weight from 3rd set. Set 5 use weight from 3rd set of Monday set 5 use weight 4th set of Monday

 

The Bill Starr's Power Routine:

 

Monday – Heavy Day

Squat – 5 sets of 5

Bench – 5 sets of 5

Power clean – 5 sets of 5

Weighted hyperextensions – 2 sets

Weighted sit-ups – 4 sets

 

Wednesday – Light Day

Squat – 4 sets of 5

Incline Bench – 4 sets of 5

High Pulls – 4 sets of 5

Sit-ups – 3 sets

 

Friday – Medium

Squat – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8

Bench – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8

Power cleans – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple

Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5-8

Triceps and Biceps – 3 sets of 8 each

 

Bill Starr’s Beginner 5×5:

 

Monday (Heavy Day – 85%)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 Ramping weight to top set of 5 reps across 5 sets

Bench Press: 5 x 5 ramping weight to top set of 5 reps across 5 sets

Dead lifts: 5 x 5 ramping weight to top set of 5 reps across 5 sets

 

Wednesday (Light Day – 65-70%)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 using 60% of Monday’s weight

Bench Press: 5 x 5 using 60% of Monday’s weight

Pull-ups: 5 x 5 ramping weight to top set of 5 reps across 5 sets

 

Friday (Medium Day – 70-85%)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 using 80% of Monday’s weight

Bench Press: 5 x 5 using 80% of Monday’s weight

Rows: 5 x 5 Ramping weight to top set of 5 reps across 5 sets

 

The Bill Starr Strength Factor Routine:

 

Monday (Heavy Day)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Bench Press: 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Dead lifts: 5 x 5 ramping to limit or Bent-Over Rows: 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Incline Dumbbell Press: 2 x 20

Calf Raises: 3 x 30

 

Wednesday (Light Day)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 using 50 lbs less than Monday or Lunges: 4 x 6 ramping to limit

Good Mornings: 4 x 10 or Stiff-Leg Dead lifts: 4 x 10

Standing Overhead Press: 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Dips: When you can do 20 reps, start adding weight and drop the reps back to 8

Curls: 3 x 15

 

Friday (Medium Day)

Back Squats: 5 x 5 using 20 lbs less than Monday

Incline Bench Press: 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Shrugs: 5 x 5 ramping to limit or Clean High Pulls 5 x 5 ramping to limit

Straight Arm Pullovers: 2 x 20

Chins: 4 sets to failure

 

Bill Starr’s “Big 3″ Program:

 

Monday – Heavy Day

Power clean – 5 sets of 5

Bench – 5 sets of 5

Squat – 5 sets of 5

 

Wednesday – Light Day

Power clean – 5 sets of 5

Bench press – 5 sets of 5

Squat – 5 sets of 5

 

Friday – Medium

Power clean – 5 sets of 5

Bench press – 5 sets of 5

Squat – 5 sets of 5