I always seem to be changing things up with my workout routine. I do circuit training with a personal trainer. Used to be twice a week but the budget forced that down to once a week. These workouts have always been a constant in my routine because it’s always changing and varied. I never know what I’m going to get. Along with that, I’ve rotated things in like biking, elliptical, spinning, boot camp, etc.
Back in December, I decided to change my focus to strength building and embarked on the Stronglifts 5×5 workout. Several people, mostly guys, have been doing it at work and had been encouraging me to do it. I finally caved and decided to give it a try. The only reason I was hesitant was because I didn’t want to give up my personal trainer and the great circuit workouts I got with him. I ended up doing stronglifts 3 days per week as prescribed, circuit training with my trainer once a week, straight cardio once a week and 2 days of rest.
This routine is focused solely on building strength. You lift 3 days per week. Day 1 is 5 sets of 5 reps for the following lifts: squat, bench press, and row. Day 2 is 5 sets of 5 reps for the following lifts: squat, overhead press, and deadlift (1 set of 5 reps). You rotate these two workouts, 3 days a week. You should not lift 2 days in a row. Weight is increased by 5 pounds each workout (10 pounds for the deadlift) unless you can’t do 5 sets of 5 reps. If you don’t get your 5×5, you have 2 more chances to get it. If you still can’t get your reps then you decrease the weight by 10% and start working your way up again.
So, Here are my results after 10 weeks. I was on vacation one week and sick another week so a total of 8 working weeks.
|Amanda’s Stronglifts 5×5 Results|
|Weight in pounds|
Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this and frequently surprised myself. Many times I thought I was going to max out and would nail my 5×5. I think the bench press surprised me the most. I had no idea I could even bench press! My squat could have been higher but I quit trying for more weight the last 2 weeks because my form just wasn’t right. I worked on trying to fix that but couldn’t quite nail it down. That was my most frustrating thing for me. I walked out of the gym in tears one day because I couldn’t get it.
The whole process was definitely more of a mental challenge that I imagined. Lifting heavy is very mental. You have to believe you can do it or you won’t. I think I need to apply that to other parts of my life!
Alas, it’s time to move on from the program. While I loved how the program built up some serious strength in a short amount of time, I found myself missing out on my higher intensity workouts despite still doing that once a week. Those high intensity workouts really help me blow off some steam and stress. With 5×5, you have very short moments of intensity while your lifting but then you’re just chilling in between sets. At first it didn’t bother me but towards the end, I found myself getting restless. I so badly wanted to keep this process going but I knew I needed to change it up.
I also struggled to lose any weight. I dropped off the holiday weight but then I was stuck. On the plus side, I did see some positive changes to my body. Suddenly I could see some muscles that weren’t there before. I have defined shoulders! I know I was just exchanging fat for muscle but I would like to get my weight down a little bit more then I may return my focus to a strength building program like this.
Overall, I highly recommend this program if you are looking to build your strength. I got some awesome results that translated over to my other workouts. I definitely feel stronger and it’s been a great ego boost. Before starting, make sure you do your due diligence and study! Correct form is VERY IMPORTANT or you will get hurt.
While I’m moving on to something else, this definitely won’t be the last time I do this program. I’ll rotate back to it sooner or later. The results were too awesome to not try again!
Have you done Stronglifts 5×5 or any other strength building program? What were your results? If you haven’t done lifting before, what’s holding you back?