Thousands of people worldwide have used the StrongLifts 5×5 workout to get stronger, build muscle or lose weight. It’s simple and easy: three exercises, three times a week, 45 minutes per workout. You don’t need to use drugs, buy supplements or spend your life in the gym to get stronger.
Many guys are skeptical. That’s why the Stronglifts 5×5 workout is free on this website. You can get free apps to track your progress. You can watch free videos in which I show you the workout. Give StrongLifts 5×5 a try for 12 weeks and your body will prove you it works.
More than 1 million people visit Stronglifts.com each month. Our online community counts thousands of Members from all over the planet. Our Members hold monthly meetups to lift together and hit PRs. We hold live Stronglifts seminars in USA, Europe and Australia.
From Losing Armwrestling to a Girl to Squatting 190kg
Hey there – my name is Mehdi and I’m the founder of Stronglifts.
My quick story is that I wasn’t born to be strong. Several years ago my friends challenged each other at armwrestling. I lost to all of them. Then I lost to a girl. When they did pushups, I discovered I couldn’t do one rep. The girl could.
I could have blamed my genetics for being weak. I have a skinny frame. My thumb overlaps my middlefinger when I grab my wrist. Some call me a hardgainer, an “ectomorph”.
I could also have blamed my lack of athletic background. I never did sports before I lifted weights. I was a couch potato for years, playing videogames and watching TV all day.
But instead of making “excuses”, I joined the gym. I was fed up being the skinny-fat weakling.
I started out training like most guys – split routine, five days a week, one muscle a day, curls, flies, situps, high reps, hitting failure on each set, trying to get “pumped” and sore, etc.
But I was naive. I didn’t know most guys in my gym used drugs. As a drug-free lifter, I didn’t get results doing their routines. So I got frustrated, lost motivation and quit.
A month later I came back and asked for help. A strong guy in my gym who turned out to be natural became my mentor. First workout he made me Squat. I was so weak, I threw up.
But I was determined and trained with my mentor for the next two years. It wasn’t easy, but I finally got stronger. People noticed. I received compliments. My confidence went through the roof.
It’s been 14 years now since I started lifting weights. I’ve Squatted 190kg, benched 115kg and Deadlifted 225kg. I’ve lifted this weighing 75kg, using a belt and chalk. I’ve lifted this without ever using drugs. I’m chasing the 200kg Squat and want to reach elite in my weight class.
I’m not the strongest guy on earth. But I’m stronger than when I started. I look stronger. I feel more confident. And my girlfriend lifts weights but can’t beat me at armwrestling :-)
I gained a lot of muscle by getting stronger. I was a skinny-fat 60kg when I joined the gym in August 1999. Now I’ve weighed up to 80kg. And I got six pack abs instead of a pot belly.
Nothing Got Me Stronger Until I Started to Squat
I didn’t get stronger overnight. I wasted many months and years training wrong. If I could do it all over again, this is the advice I’d give my previous skinny and weak self…
- You must Squat – nothing got me stronger until I started to Squat
- You must use free weights – you won’t get stronger with machines
- You must do compound exercises – you won’t get stronger with isolation
- You must increase the weight – you won’t get stronger if you keep lifting the same
- You must be consistent – you won’t get stronger if you skip workouts all the time
- You must train with strong guys – you won’t get stronger if you try to do it alone
- You don’t need supplements – most are bogus and will get you broke, not strong
If I had to do only one exercise, it would be the Squat. I’ve Squatted almost every week, often several times a week, at times seven days a week, for the last 14 years. I often hate Squats, but I hate not Squatting even more. They’re the answer to how I got stronger.
Here’s a video of me Squatting a set of five with 170kg at a body-weight of 75kg.
The Best Routine I’ve Found To Get Stronger
I had a major break-through in the summer of 2003.
While doing research online, I stumbled upon an oldschool routine to get stronger. This routine had all the ingredients I knew were crucial for getting stronger: free weights, compound exercises, Squats, progressive loading, and so on.
It was a routine Arnold Schwarzenegger used to get stronger before he became a bodybuilder. A routine he got from his mentor, the legendary Reg Park (that guy from the movie “Hercules”)
This routine was called “5×5“.
I was skeptical. The 5×5 routine sounded too simple – three exercises, three times a week, 45 minutes per workout. There was no isolation, no high reps, no machines, no failure training, no “pump”, nothing. It seemed too good to be true.
But I gave it at try and never looked back. My friends asked how to get stronger, I told them to do the 5×5 routine. It was simple, easy and they got stronger too. Faster than I did.
From Hobby to Profession
In 2007 my “Squat mentor” told me to make a website about lifting weights.
I thought it was a stupid idea. There were plenty of websites like that already. Plus, English wasn’t my first language (French is, I’m from Belgium). I couldn’t even write a grocery list in English at that time, let alone a whole website.
But the idea lingered in my mind. Then I realized most websites were about time-consuming body-part split routines, bogus supplements and fake results from drug-users.
There was no website about how to get stronger without spending your life in the gym or using drugs. Everything seemed to be confusing, complicated and dishonest.
I thought I could do better. So after a bit of brainstorming I came up with “Stronglifts“, registered the website, and put my first article online May 1st 2007.
12 days later I quit my job as tech support for Corporate Belgium. I lost a stable job in a big company and my only source of income. But I didn’t care – I was fed up commuting two hours a day, working shifts and weekends, and getting dumber by the day.
Since then, Stronglifts has been my full-time profession. More, it has grown from a simple one-man blog to a small team spread over the globe.
Thanks to the success of Stronglifts, I’ve trained with some of the strongest guys on earth. I’ve lifted with world champion powerlifter Mike Tuchscherer several times. I got tips from powerlifting legend Ed Coan. Deadlift legend Andy Bolton also spoke at one of my events.
I’ve indeed held StrongLifts seminars in Europe and USA (incl. Kelly Starret’s gym). Australia is next. I’ve also been invited to speak about Stronglifts in Asia.
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d turn my hobby into a living, I’d have called you crazy. But it happened. Without any advertising. Just a lot of hard work helping guys like you getting stronger without spending your life in the gym.
They Call Me The “5×5 Guy” (Even Though I Didn’t Invent The 5×5 Routine…)
It all started after Stronglifts.com went online. People wanted more than “use free weights”, “do compound exercises”, “add weight”, etc. They wanted a routine to get stronger. So I shared what had worked for me and my friends: the 5×5 routine.
“Beginner Strength Training Program” was the title of my article. Before I knew it, it had 200 comments. So I created a FAQ. Some Members of my online community called it StrongLifts 5×5. This sounded simpler. So I began to call it that too.
Today StrongLifts 5×5 is all over the Internet. Any lifting forum has people who got stronger with it. Some have called me the 5×5 guy. Cool, but I didn’t invent this routine. I just helped more guys find out about 5×5 and built apps around it. Real credit goes to Reg Park.
Where To Start?
The best way to get started is to try my StrongLifts 5×5 routine for 12 weeks.
Many guys have told me they got stronger in only 12 weeks of Stronglifts 5×5 than in the past 12 years doing split routines. And that by training only three times a week.
But don’t take my word for it. Try Stronglifts 5×5 for 12 weeks and your own body will force you to believe me. The routine is free, so you got nothing to lose.
And remember, no excuses.