5x5 training is a standard protocol that has been around for many years. It is also an extremely effective way to pack on size and strength. It was a favorite of legendary bodybuilder Reg Park who just happened to be Arnold's idol. Here is how it works.

Pick a training weight and do five sets of five reps. If and when you can complete all sets of five, increase the weight by 5-to-10 pounds and shoot for five sets of five again. Take 3-minute breaks in between each set.



Obviously incremental weight increases are not possible with kettlebell training so we have to look at other factors to manipulate. One factor to manipulate is time under tension. When you can do 5x5 with a quick tempo, increase the negative to four seconds and the positive to two seconds. When that becomes easy, try five seconds up, a pause at the bottom and five seconds down.

Another factor to manipulate is the breaks between each set. Instead of taking three-minute breaks in between each set, take two-minute breaks. When that becomes easy, decrease the breaks to ninety seconds. When that becomes easy, go to 60 seconds. When you can do 5x5 with 1-minute breaks and slower tempos, I have no doubt you will be ready for some heavier bells.

A third variable that can be manipulated are the training exercises. When you can do 5x5 on the standing Military Press, work on 5x5 on the seated press. When you can do double swings easily with 5x5, move up to double snatches. There is always something you can do to make an exercise harder or a training regimen more effective.

Sample 5x5 Kettlebell Programs

Option 1

Monday
1
Superset
5 sets
Two-Arm Kettlebell Military Press
5 sets, 5 reps
+ 3 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Wednesday
1
Superset
5 sets
Alternating Floor Press
5 sets, 5 reps
+ 3 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Friday
1
Superset
5 sets
One-Arm Kettlebell Military Press To The Side
5 sets, 5 reps
+ 3 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Option 2

Day 1
1
Superset
5 sets
Two-Arm Kettlebell Military Press
5 sets, 5 reps
+ 4 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Day 2
1
Front Squats With Two Kettlebells
5 sets, 5 reps
+ 3 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Take a day off in between each workout. In other words, do day one on Monday, day two on Wednesday, and then Day 1 again on Friday.

Key Points

Option one involves three full body workouts per week. This is a great program for people that have solid recovery abilities, lifestyles that are not too stressful, and solid nutrition each day.

Option two is for people that need more time between each workout. You have more days before a training day repeats itself and more time for recovery.

The workouts are split into upper body one day and lower body the next day so that you have less to focus on. Both programs work very well. One will work better for you than the other so try them both out and monitor your progress. Stick with the one that works best for you.



About the Author

Mike Mahler

Mike Mahler

Mike Mahler is a certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge instructor, strength coach, athlete and freelance journalist.

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