Author Topic: The Reg Park 5 X 5 programs  (Read 42549 times)

Offline Sergio

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The Reg Park 5 X 5 programs
« on: January 11, 2012, 09:18:06 AM »
Or how to follow a workout for building mass and strength in the Reg Park way.

The basic exercises will appear throughout the entire training program. There are no alternatives to these exercises. For example, every bodybuilder has to do squats from the time he starts until he finishes. You can't build your legs without the squat.
-Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

Training like Reg Park

If you're a beginner and you want to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you have to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger trained as a beginner. When Arnold first began training he trained 3 days a week, so you'll train three days a week. When Arnold first began training he followed a Reg Parks routine, so you'll follow a Reg Parks routine. When Arnold first began training, he focused on the big heavy compound lifts, so you'll focus on the big heavy compound lifts. This is how Arnold got his start on the road to being the best that there ever was and it's my hope that this could be your start as well. Let's take a look at some of the programs advocated by Reg Parks, all of which Arnie would have used at some point. Try to imagine Arnold at 15, 16 and 17 doing the exact same things that you'll be doing. Try to recreate for yourself some of the same excitement, determination and raw power that Arnie did, and ultimately, success.

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Reg Park and 5x5

The 5x5 model was Reg Park's choice  for packing on slabs of muscle and producing hundreds of pounds of strength. This is also the model that Arnie came to know and love during his formative years. But this isn't Bill Starr's 5x5, this is Reg Park's 5x5 and it's a little different. The first two sets of five are actually used as warm-up sets. So let's say we're going to work our way up to a 150 lb bench, the first set of five would be about 60% or 90 lbs, and the second set of five would be about 80% or 120lbs. After that you would get down to the grit, what Reg liked to call Stabilizer Sets; 3 sets of 5 at 150lbs. So it would end up looking like:

5x90 (Warm-up @ 60%)
5x120 (Warm-up @ 80%)
5x150 (3 stabilizer sets)
5x150
5x150

When you can get all your reps of 5 at 150 lbs, you add 5 lbs. So next time your bench it would be:

5x95
5x125
5x155
5x155
5x155

Reg liked to use about 3-5 minutes to rest in between sets.

One more thing: When you're first starting any 5x5 program you never want to start with your max. Typically you start 30-45 lbs below what you think you can do and work your way back up. Starting anywhere near your maximum capacity is a good way to stall out, so give yourself a running start. If that means starting with an empty barbell, well, just consider that Arnold and Reg both started at the same place you will.

Onto the programs...

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The Reg Park Beginner Routine

Here is a workout that he and Arnold used with great success (provided by Kaya Park, Reg's grandson)

Workout A

Back Squats 5x5
Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups 5x5
Dips or Bench Press 5x5
Wrist Work 2x10
Calves 2x15-20

Workout B

Front Squats 5x5
Rows 5x5
Standing Press 5x5
Deadlifts 3x5 (2 warm-up sets and 1 "stabilizer set")
Wrist Work 2x10
Calves 2x15-20

Week 1: A, B, A
Week 2: B, A, B
Week 3: A, B, etc

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Reg Park's Power Training

Schedule 1 - To be performed 3x/week for 5 weeks before continuing onto Schedule 2

Back Squat - 5x5
Bench Press - 5x5
Power Clean - 8x2
Standing Press - 5x5
Barbell Curl - 3x5 strict, add 20-30lbs then 2x5 cheat curls
Deadlift - 5x1, working up to a top weight (Only performed on Day 3) Beginners should do 1x5

Schedule 2 - To be performed 3x/week for 5 weeks.

Front Squat - 5x5
Clean and Press, warmup w/ 2 sets of 2, 5x2 Stabilizing sets. Optionally perform 2 more sets of 3 Push Jerks
Upright Row - 5x5
Dips - 5x8
Dumbbell Curls - 5x5
Deadlift - 5x1, working up to a top weight (Only performed on Day 3) Beginners should do 1x5


We're concerned with the development of SIZE, POWER and SHAPELY BULK, so we've eliminated all supplementary abdominal and calf work. It isn't generally understood, but the easiest way to build the small muscle groups is by exercise on the big ones! For example, it's impossible to build a broad, powerful back, and thick pectorals, along with terrific shoulders via the heavy cleaning, pressing, rowing and bench work that I advocate, without building enormous arm size and strength. You couldn't do it if you wanted to! Yet, aside from weight-gaining, building big arms is a giant headache for most barbell men. How simple a matter it would become if only they would forget about the ridiculous pumping, cramping and spinning-type isolation exercises, and just train hard on the basics! The big arms would come naturally.

John Grimek once had arms that taped close to 19". They were so big and powerful that they didn't look real! Grimek at the time was an Olympic weight-lifting contender, and he had trained for a long period without doing a single curl or triceps "pumper." His big arms got the way they did from the Heavy Lifting Training. You can do the same by working hard and heavy. And you don't have to enter Olympic competition!

The trapezius and neck muscles are impressive and too often neglected by many weight-trainees. But your traps will grow like crazy if you push your cleans hard, and if you get your presses up to really impressive standards.

Ditto for your neck muscles. The huffing, puffing, and muscular work and exertion caused by ALL heavy work will make your neck muscles grow.

Forearms - "stubborn forearms" will respond like obedient, trained seals to heavy rowing, cleaning and pressing. And just try to keep your grip on a super heavy barbell while doing a set of stiff-leg deadlifts, without forcing the forearm muscles to ache and grow beyond belief!

Heavy squatting will build heavier calves. Sounds impossible? Well, just try working your squats like you're supposed to, and you'll see your calves begin to grow no matter how they've refused to respond to toe raises.

Power cleans are fine for the calf muscles too. Incredible as this statement may sound, it's absolutely true. The coordinated effort of leg and back movement in heavy cleaning DOES work the calves! Try it for a few months and find out for yourself.

Nobody wants to be fat around the middle. Yet, unless you're drastically overweight, you don't need more than one set of one abdominal exercise (done in high reps, with resistance) to keep a rock-hard, muscular mid-section. The hard work on squatting, cleaning, and ALL heavy exercises will inevitably keep you trim and hard. And make no mistake about this: you are far, far better off with a thick, powerful waist than you are with a "wasp-waist pretty body." A man should be BIG. He should be strong and powerful. And he can't be if he tries to blow his biceps up to 20" and keep his waist down to 30". Use your head! If there are any real supermen around who have waistlines below 33" or 34", then they've got 'em only because they're SHORT, and, the small waist is proportionate tot he rest of their husky muscles.

Training on the big exercises builds HEALTH and LASTING muscle size. These two factors are very important. Today, men like John Grimek, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, and another lesser-known Hercules, Maurice HOnes of Canada, all possess builds and physical power comparable to that which they had during their prime. The reason? They built REAL MUSCLE, Sig Klein must be around seventy, yet he's got the build of a twenty-five year old athlete. The reason? He built REAL MUSCLE. The same holds for scores of others in the weight game who got their physical development by hard, hard work with heavy weights on the best exercises.

If you're a young man now, then you're probably more interested in what you can look like on a posing platform, and in how fast you can get piles of muscle - but don't, no matter how great the temptation for an "easy way out" via pumping routines or muscle drugs, follow any system of training except the good, heavy, teeth-gritting type routines that build pure, strong, big muscles. I say this as a sincere warning against charlatans who would rob you of your money and your health - and do it gladly - to sell you on their own private "miracle systems' or methods'. Keep clear of them, and remember, please, that you've got a long life ahead of you after any physique competitions you might enter or win within the next few years. You want health, well-being AND big muscles that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will only get them if you train HARD and HEAVY!


One more 5x5 Routine

Hyperextension Warm-up - 1 x 20
Squat - 5 x 5
Bench press - 5 x 5
Stiff-leg dead lift - 5 x 5
Bent-over rowing - 5 x 5
Standing Press - 5 x 5
Leg raises 1 x 25

Do that routine - or a similar one - as described in this article, and your muscles will bulge through your clothing after a year or so of training!

The watchwords are BASIC EXERCISES and HARD WORK. Remember them when you walk into the gym next time. You'll be grateful for the rest of your life that you did!

Reg Park's 9 Month 5x5 Program

As far as the popularity of beginner's training programs go, five sets of five reps is right up there with 3x10, 10x3, and the ever-lasting 1x20 squat program, which inspired the weight room battle-cry, "Squats and milk!"

A few years ago, Dan John wrote an in-depth explanation of several versions of the 5x5 program. Bill Starr also created a popular 5x5 plan that focused primarily on the power clean, bench press, and back squat.

We're going to take a look at one of the very first 5x5 routines to be published, originally written in 1960 by Reg Park in his manual Strength & Bulk Training for Weight Lifters and Body Builders. The late Reg Park was a three-time Mr. Universe winner and he was one of the first bodybuilders to really push the size envelope by competing at a massive 225 pounds in the 1950s and '60s.

Oh yeah, Park is also the number one bodybuilder that little Arnie from Austria admired, respected, and hoped to someday look like. Upon seeing Park on a magazine cover for the first time, Schwarzenegger has said, "He was so powerful and rugged-looking that I decided right then and there I wanted to be a bodybuilder, another Reg Park."

Reg Park's Three Phase 5x5 Program

Phase One

45-degree back extension 3x10
Back squat 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Deadlift 5x5

Rest 3-5 minutes between the last 3 sets of each exercise.

Train three days per week for three months

Phase Two for Bodybuilders*

45-degree back extension 3-4x10
Front squat 5x5
Back squat 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Standing barbell shoulder press 5x5
High pull 5x5
Deadlift 5x5
Standing barbell calf raise 5x25

Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Train three days per week for three months.

* After the basic Phase One, Park had a different set of recommended exercises for aspiring Olympic weightlifters. It used a few different sets and reps, and included lunges and power cleans.

Phase Three for Bodybuilders

45-degree back extension 4x10
Front squat 5x5
Back squat 5x5
Standing barbell shoulder press 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Bent-over barbell row 5x5
Deadlift 5x3
Behind-the-neck press or one-arm dumbbell press 5x5
Barbell curl 5x5
Lying triceps extension 5x8
Standing barbell calf raise 5x25

Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Train three days per week for three months.

As Park explained it, 5x5 includes two progressively heavier warm-up sets and three sets at the same weight. He suggested increasing weights at approximately the same interval, for example:

Back squat: first set 135x5, second set 185x5, followed by three sets of 225x5.

When you can complete the last 3x5 at a given weight, increase the weight on all five sets 5-10 pounds. Also, he was strongly against training to failure, saying that it encouraged a negative mindset when attempting other heavy, near-maximal lifts.

You are, however, allowed to test for one-rep max at the end of each phase. Park recommends two warm-up sets (1x5 and 1x3), followed by three progressively heavier attempts at a one-rep max. So the max testing day would be: 1x5, 1x3, and 3x1 (for each lift). Take the next four days off from the gym, and then begin the next phase of training.

For the 45-degree back extensions, begin without added weight. Once you can complete all sets, increase your poundage each set while still getting all sets and reps. Park and his training partner often used 135 for the first set, 175 for the second, and 215 for the third, and 235-255 for the fourth.

That's the entire plan, and it's a doozy. Talk about volume training? Mike Mentzer just rolled over in his grave... once. Notice, there really aren't any isolation exercises until the third phase, when you've been training consistently for six months. Only then can you break out some curls for the girls.

As far as recovery goes, Park recommended plenty of sleep and plenty of food. His main sources of nutrition would include whole milk, whole eggs, steak, orange juice, salad, protein powders, wheat germ, and liver tablets. Interestingly, the foods would remain the same when cutting, but the portions would be reduced.

With such a high volume of work, it wasn't uncommon for these workouts to last two to three hours. That's typical of the training in that era, and it's a far cry from the, "get out of the gym in 60 minutes, or you'll sacrifice growth hormone levels!" warnings of today.

Does that make it much worse than programs designed today? Is this absurdly busy training day dangerous, guaranteed to break you emotionally and scare you out of the gym? Not necessarily.

While it might not be ideal, or even fun, to do for the long term, when was the last time you had a juggernaut session and really tried to destroy yourself in the gym? Once in a while, it's okay to break the rules, especially if you have a free Saturday with nothing else to do... and a free Sunday to lie in bed, eat steak, and curse us for daring you to try this plan.

taken from http://www.uk-muscle.co.uk/getting-started/46402-real-arnold-schwarzenegger-beginner-programs.html
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 12:33:20 AM by Sergio »

Offline Oleg K

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Re: Building the basics: 5 X 5 programs
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 05:15:05 PM »
Natural body builders of those times were not afraid of "catabolism", and therefore grew

Offline Sergio

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Re: Building the basics: 5 X 5 programs
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 08:22:49 AM »
No, indeed. They only trained with big weights, eat what they want (good food, but not counting calories) and rest well.