5x5 weight-training workouts are great for gaining strength. But how are they for adding muscle? Read below. There's no reason you can't gain strength and increase muscle, while staying lean.
If you really can't wait, and just want to purchase a new alternative to the 5x5, called the 6x6x6, scroll down more on this page:
You might be like me. I had tried so many different workout routines over the years and none of them seemed to work for long (or at all).
You and I have similar goals, I'm sure. We want to look great, feel good, and be able to do things we want to do.
While we all might not be able to look like a Men's Health cover model, we want to be
I call it the "t-shirt and jeans" factor. We all want to look good and feel confident in jeans and a t-shirt.
See, I "let myself go" for several years. I gained quite a bit of blubber around my midsection. Plus I was getting older, which didn't help matters.
I reached a bottom. And decided to dedicate myself to getting back into shape.
But I did the same workouts I was doing when I was in my twenties: isolation exercises.
(Isolation exercises are the kinds of things where you are only working one muscle at a time, often with the help of machines.)
For a couple weeks, I felt stronger. (Just like I have always felt after starting a new program.)
But then the progress stopped.
See, the worst part of this was that I had the dedication, the discipline, the focus. I didn't miss a single workout for 3 months! But at the end of it, I was barely stronger and didn't really look much different.
So I decided to use my head rather than my muscles. I started researching.
I found a lot of reputable people talking about two things I had never really heard of
a) Compound exercises
b) Using lower-rep 5x5 workouts
See, compound exercises work more than one muscle group at a time, plus they often work your core too. So you get more "work" done in a short period. Plus, once you learn the technique, they are even safer than machines.
By using a 5x5 routine, I was able to add more strength than at any time in my life. I was so stoked!
But there was still a problem.
All the 5x5 routines out there were low volume and monotonous. Meaning, they only involved 5 to 7 different exercises all week - you'd do 3 or 4 one day, take a day off, do 3 or 4 another day, take a day off, and keep repeating.
I found them sooooo boring.
Plus, I wasn't gaining much muscle. I was stronger for sure - my training log proved that. And I was losing fat (mostly due to improved diet and my running). But actual muscle mass gain eluded me.
So I went back into research mode to find a better 5x5 alternative.
But they all seemed the same. The variations were nearly carbon copies of each other, with only small differences. I know they worked, up to a point. But I wanted to keep gaining strength and pack on more muscle. Especially because I had heard that my running might make adding muscle mass more difficult.
So I had to make my own 5x5 weight training variation.
"My wife loves the results and I do too. I see much more definition in my pecs, arms and shoulders. "
- Jason Villarreal, Male 37, and former 5x5 Lifter
It's based on science and real life. And as you read the rest of this page, you'll see that my trainees have experienced amazing results. I say amazing, because there's no other word for it. (To be honest, even I was surprised at the gains these experienced lifters made!)
Check out Jason's story. He had been doing a 5x5 routine for a year and a half and got great results. But the 6x6x6 routine took him even farther, and in just 4 weeks. His average increase in lifts was over 20%! Seriously, imagine increasing the weight you can lift by 20% in just 4 weeks! As Jason shows, even if you've been lifting for a while a great program like the 6x6x6 can spur you on to make great gains!
Gus gained almost 3 pounds of solid muscle in just 4 weeks - that's a lot for a non-beginner to gain and is equivalent to over 30 pounds a year! While he won't continue at that rate all year, it shows how effective this routine is. He also says
"[The 6x6x6 Routine is] a rather intense program (especially lower body days), working multiple muscle groups that had a synergistic effect I could feel by the end of the workout. I liked the fact that it alternates between 3 and 6 rep sets which adds some spice to the routine. Very good lower body workouts. I know I'm repeating myself but they do deserve the praise. I really think this routine helped me get even stronger."
- Gus Balaskonis, Male, 20
A) It's called a "6x6x6" because each workout involves 6 exercises, you'll do 6 sets of each, and your target rep count will be 6 (there are some deviations from this, as you'll see).
B) This is a 4-day per week program.
C) Each of the 4 days is slightly different, to prevent boredom! This variation also reduces joint fatigue.
D) You'll work out 2 days in a row, take a day off, then two more days in a row, then take two days off; you can start it on any day of the week.
E) The 6x6x6 can follow any other program (so if you were recently doing a 5x5, you can move right into the 6x6x6; if you were doing a fat-burn, no problem - just move right into the 6x6x6, etc.).
F) Unlike most 5x5 programs, the 6x6x6 is what I call semi-split: since it doesn't have many isolation movements, it is impossible to only hit specific muscle groups; but it does tend to emphasize different groups on different days.
G) If you are doing cardio (and you should be doing cardio!), you'll need to adjust the timing of your cardio around your weight training (more details below).
H) Your food intake needs to be considered with respect to your overall annual program cycle; this is not a pure-hypertrophy program so it is not a cliche "bulking phase". All the typical recommendations I make about diet apply (high protein, low starches, moderate fats, lots of veggies) but some additional timing/amounts need to be considered as indicated in the daily plan below.
I) I have very specific rest periods dictated that you must follow for this to be effective and it has shorter rest than most 5x5 programs advocate.
John's results show that it's not just mass and strength that you can gain - its literal size! He recorded his key body measurements and saw amazing growth in just 4 weeks:
Biceps: went from 14" to just over 15"
legs: was 20" now just over 22"!!!!
calves: was 12.5" now 14"
chest: was 36" - are you ready? - just over 39"
"This was a great experience my strength has exploded. My gains are very noticeable at the gym - yesterday I had an individual say to me "If I would try that amount of plates I would crack in half" I was doing squats 320 lbs squat baby !!!! I remember looking at others doing deadlifts and I would say I could never lift that amount now they look at me and are totally freaked out by my transformation. I love this program and will continue to use it.
"Where have you been all my life?!? Well I guess it's never too late - thanks for the pain!!!! "
- John Mantello, Male, 41
I'm offering you this routine - with a complete money-back guarantee, for only $17.
If you don't see results in 4 weeks, just email me and get your money back. And you know what, I know there's no way to force you to "send back the PDF". That means you could totally rip me off: order it, love it, keep it, ask for a refund, and keep it anyway. I doubt you'd do that, but I'm so convinced you'll love it that I'll take that risk.
"I can see changes, such as body fat percentage going down, muscle definition as well as growth… Really look forward to squat and deadlift in same day now...
"It's definitely a good program. Especially since I am hitting the entire body more times in the same week rather than once a week with different exercises. I'm going to be on this program for quite some time. Really digging it. "
Nick Alexander Dragon, Male, 52
P.S. And if you don't love it, you can get a full refund. The risk is all mine...