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Bill Starr - 5x5 Training Routines

Strength Oldschool

Bill Starr Training Routines

Perhaps the most critically acclaimed and enduring book ever written on the subject of weight training is Bill Starr’s “The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football” written in 1976. Seemingly endless variations of Starr’s original routine have sprouted up all over the Net and for good reason – it is possibly the most perfect routine ever devised. His routine focused on bench presses, squats and power cleans, done on a Monday – Wednesday – Friday rotation with heavy, medium and light days. Bill Starr is where the “5×5″ routine came from; each exercise was done following a protocol of five sets of five reps. Starr’s 5×5 routine uses the three exercises which Starr referred to as “the big three”, quoting Starr:

These are 3 basic exercises used by weightlifters to increase their strength….the football player (and you can insert Martial Artist, Fighter, whatever there) must work for overall body strength as opposed to specific strengthening exercises….In other words the athlete should be building total leg strength rather than just stronger hamstrings. He should be seeking overall strength in his shoulder girdle rather than just stronger deltoids….the program is fast, simple and, most importantly, effective. It requires very little space and a minimum of equipment….”


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 Power Routine

Monday – Heavy Day

Squat – 5 sets of 5
Bench – 5 sets of 5
Powerclean – 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
Powercleans – 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
Deadlifts: 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
Pullups: 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
Deadlifts: 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 Deadlifts: 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

Powerclean – 5 sets of 5
Bench – 5 sets of 5
Squat – 5 sets of 5

Wednesday – Light Day

Powerclean – 5 sets of 5
Benchpress – 5 sets of 5
Squat – 5 sets of 5

Friday – Medium

Powerclean – 5 sets of 5
Benchpress – 5 sets of 5
Squat – 5 sets of 5

 



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