The first few months on the StrongLifts 5×5 routine were loaded with massive gains and insane confidence. But now you’ve noticed you’ve hit a plateau and that it might be time to move on.
An intermediate muscle building plan is in your future. The only question is, “Which one?”
Table of Contents
What is StrongLifts 5×5?
The StrongLifts 5×5 routine is where many serious lifters started their journey, so you’re in pretty good company.
Though absolutely grueling during the first few weeks, this routine is designed around helping beginners build muscle, strength, and power….and doing so pretty quickly!
All it takes is three workouts per week.
You’ll alternate between the two main workouts (A & B) that have three compound lifts each (deadlift, squat, bench press, barbell row, and overhead press).
You’ll pump out a draining 5 sets of 5 reps for a total of 15 sets and call it a day.
The goal? To add 60 pounds to your squat and deadlift and 30 pounds to your bench press in just one month.
The longer you stick to it, the more gains you’ll see! And, while nobody said StrongLifts 5×5 was easy, it’s definitely worth a try!
2 Quick Post-StrongLifts 5×5 Tips
1. Take a Deload Week
You’re excited to start a new workout program and get the gains flowing again.
But since your body and muscles are used to StrongLifts 5×5 after months of intense training, don’t jump into a new plan just yet.
You can actually slow down your progress by just slapping on a lifting belt and pushing even harder.
Give your body time to recover with a deload week.
This is where you’ll take it easy at the gym for about a week, giving your muscles time to recover and prepare for the new routine.
During this period, you’ll continue with StrongLifts 5×5 for about a week at about 50% intensity.
A successful deload week can catapult your gains as soon as you begin your brand new program. So not only will your plateau be over, but your rate of gains might be better than ever.
2. Read Up On Your New Program
Put the car keys down….you’re not ready to start your new program if all you did was check out the reps and sets required.
There’s a lot that goes into a routine that makes it successful. And, any quality routine designed by a pro weightlifter takes into account some pretty important fitness and nutrition principles.
So, be sure to learn about the dietary recommendations, specifically the amount of protein and calories per day as well as any recommended supplements.
Learn about the fine details of the program. For example, these questions are all important:
- Are you training to failure?
- Are you hitting abs whenever you can fit it into your schedule?
- Are you supposed to ease into the routine for a few weeks?
- Are there any exercises you can swap in as alternatives?
As much as you may know about training principles, there are other approaches to strength and muscle gains that work too.
The best results from your new program will come from following the guidelines.
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The Madcow workout is actually a routine recommended by the creators of StrongLifts 5×5. Since this routine is designed around intermediate lifting principles, it’s a little more complex.
It’s the same workout in terms of the layout and the exercises but just taken a step further.
Here’s what the differences are.
First, the amount of resistance you’re adding isn’t as substantial. The gains that do happen will happen at a slower rate, so you’ll be bumping up your working weight each workout instead.
Then, there’s also an increase in intensity. Each working set will be a little heavier than the last, which should blow your past PRs out of the water and shock your muscles into quick growth.
Lastly, your legs are finally going to get a much-needed break. Instead of hitting squats hard every workout, you’ll be taking your squats easier once a week.
This routine is easy to transition to and will continue to produce gains.
Ready to really shock your body into building massive muscles? Then think about starting the Texas Method after finishing up StrongLits 5×5.
This routine is designed to push your body to its limits.
Over the course of three workouts per week, you’ll be focusing on different goals and exercises. That includes high volume, active recovery, and high intensity.
You’re still sticking to that 5 reps per set angle, but this time at varying intensities.
The good news: There’s a little more variety when it comes to the exercises you’ll be doing. You’ll be thankful to learn that you’ll finally be getting back to the chin-up and power cleans.
What we can tell you is that you will see gains.
The problem you might have is that your entire life will probably revolve around these workouts.
You’ll spend more time at the gym resting between sets than you’d probably like and you’ll be so dead tired that you won’t have the energy to do much more physical activity day-to-day.
Great for getting gains back, but not good if you’re low on time.
Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, there’s the 5/3/1 routine.
This is a routine that emphasizes the principle of “less is more,” which really throws into question the desire to spend every waking moment in the gym pumping out sets.
There’s just no real need to do that anymore.
This routine is about doing one major lift per workout and doing each major lift just once per week. The lifts you’ll be doing include the bench, squat, deadlift, and overhead press and will vary in intensity weekly.
Every week has a brand new goal in terms of reps. So, week one calls for 3×5, week two is 3×3, and so on.
You’ll be able to brag about your 5RMs now instead of that measly 1RM.
It’d be kind of silly to drive all the way to the gym to just do 9 sets, right?
Well, that’s where you’ll want to add in your own assistance work at the end of the workout. This helps you to make good use of your time at the gym and see even greater gains.
While this isn’t a routine for everyone, it can help you to get bigger.
What to Do After StrongLifts 5×5 Routine: What’s Next?
Where you end up after finishing the StrongLifts 5×5 routine will depend on what your goals are and which style of workout you prefer.
Here’s a look at some tips for deciding what your next move should be.
- Finding it hard to leave StrongLifts 5×5 behind? Choose Madcow. This routine basically uses the same principles and just bumps it up a notch.
- Want to keep your workouts interesting? Choose the Texas Method. This routine will give both you and your muscles something to look forward to.
- Looking to really see what you’re made of? Choose 5/3/1. This routine will offer you a glimpse into your true strength in terms of a 1RM, 3RM, and a 5RM.
Any of these can work. It’s now up to you to decide which one’s next on the schedule.
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