I am going to break down what a good session looks like using my 5 TO 5 Basic Barbell Training Program.

I will look in more detail into the correct order of training activities and what different activities you can use at each stage.

I'll also clear up some key questions such as can you get conditioning in and how to do that.

What is the 5 to 5 Basic Barbell Training Program?

The 5 to 5 Basic Barbell Training Program is a program I designed on some programs shown to me by former Power-lifters and Strength Athletes. I took the principles of strength training that I have employed with many clients to develop a quick and simple Barbell training program. The simple protocol for a beginner or gym lifter(the book contains guidelines for advanced lifters and strongman athletes) is as follows:

  • First warm up set 5x75% 1 RM
  • Second warm up set 4x80% 1 RM
  • Third warm up set 3x85% 1 RM
  • Fourth warm up set 2x90% 1RM
  • 5 Singles at 95% 1RM

You will have 3 minutes rest between your warm up sets and 5 minutes between your singles. This is a system of minimal training, and it has to be as the aim is to get better at individual lifts by doing more of the lifts. Once you can complete the 5 singles you increase the weight of your warm up sets. You focus on only the main 3 lifts of Deadlifts, Squats and Bench Press. You will lift 4 times per week and Deadlift twice per week. Go here for the full program.

Warming Up for 5 to 5 Barbell Training Session

The warm up procedure is very simple for this Barbell training program and it can easily be adapted to any kind of lifting session. The procedure is as follows and uses the RAMP model of warming up for strength sessions:

  1. Raise pulse-for this I stick simply some form of pulse raiser in the gym I use just a cross trainer. It is one of the few machines I will advocate for warming up because uses both the arms and legs with little impact. Do this for 5 minutes.
  2. Activate- Activate your muscles  perform foam rolling and activation exercises. Pay attention to activating the opposite muscle group to which you will be focusing on as activating antagonistic muscle groups has been shown to further increase strength with bigger lifts.
  3. Mobility-This is time for a dynamic joint mobility warm up.
  4. Potentiation-This using a plyometric explosive movement to activate the nervous system for your lifts. 

In order to use potentiation on your lifts use the following techniques as activation make the warm up specific for each lift:

  • Depth Jumps 3x5 for Deadlift activation
  • Kettlebell swings with a fast lowering 3x5 for Squat activation
  • Bench Press explosive smith machine press 3x5 bar only for Bench press activation
  • Dumbbell Push press 3x5 light explosive for Military Press activation

Main 5 TO 5 Barbell Training and Conditioning

This will be followed by your main lift which will look like this as in the Deadlift example below:

  • First warm up set 5x75% 1 RM 
  • Second warm up set 4x80% 1 RM
  • Third warm up set 3x85% 1 RM
  • Fourth warm up set 2x90% 1RM
  • 5 Singles at 95% 1RM
  • 3 mins rest between warm up sets
  • 5 minutes between singles

Once your Barbell training is complete as above you can do your conditioning. For this I use movements as follows:

  • Prowler pushing
  • Sledge pulling
  • Sprints
  • Hill Sprints

Cool Down after 5 to 5 Barbell Training

If you want to recover properly then you must include a cool down. This will help you recover from soreness which comes from areas such as micro tears and blood pooling. For a cool down to be successful it has to include the following:

  1. 10 minutes of gentle exercise. For this is use gentle cycling or treadmill walking with deep breathing.
  2. Follow that up with 20 minutes of static stretching. My athletes use Yoga which is popular with athletes in many sports to supplement strength.
  3. Refuel-Be sure take on water and post work out shake. Ensure your shake has a ratio of 3-1 carbs to protein with at least 20-40g of protien in each shake.


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