StrongLifts Is About Simple, Effective Strength and Muscle Building

Get stronger, build muscle and burn fat. No complicated workouts that take forever. Just three exercises, three times a week, 45mins per workout.

StrongLifts 5×5 is the simplest, easiest to follow and most effective workout. You get results without using supplements or wasting hours in the gym. The secret is free weight, compound exercises like the Squat and Deadlift. Start light and use proper form to avoid injuries. Increase the weight over time to gain strength. More strength is more muscle. Eat right and the muscles will show.

StrongLifts is for guys who want to get stronger and look better. It’s not for bodybuilders who want to look strong without being strong. It’s not for powerlifters who are okay being fat if they can lift heavy. StrongLifts is for people who want an athletic body with functional strength. People who want to have real strength and look like they lift weights. People who want natural results without using drugs.

Thousands of people worldwide have changed their bodies and lives with the StrongLifts 5×5 workout. If you’re skeptical, the StrongLifts 5×5 guide is available for free on this website. Read the free guide, watch the free videos and download the apps for free. Then give StrongLifts 5×5 a try for 12 weeks. Your own body will prove you it works.

From Losing Armwrestling to a Girl to Squatting 190kg

Mehdi from StrongLiftsHey there – my name is Mehdi, and I founded StrongLifts in May 2007.

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 15 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 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…

  1. You must Squat – nothing got me stronger until I started to Squat
  2. You must use free weights – you won’t get stronger with machines
  3. You must do compound exercises – you won’t get stronger with isolation
  4. You must increase the weight – you won’t get stronger if you keep lifting the same
  5. You must be consistent – you won’t get stronger if you skip workouts all the time
  6. You must train with strong guys – you won’t get stronger if you try to do it alone
  7. 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 15 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. I was afraid I’d lose muscle if I tried this.

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

Mehdi teaching at StrongLifts Seminar

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, and without using drugs. Everything seemed 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, USA (incl. Kelly Starret’s gym) and Australia. 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.

What makes me different from other “experts” is that I didn’t start out strong. I started weak, never did sports and had to work hard to get stronger. I know what it is to struggle, because I struggled myself. I know what works, because doing whatever in the gym never worked for me.

Now They Call Me The “5×5 Guy” (Even Though I Didn’t Invent The 5×5 Routine…)

Stronglifts 5×5 is based on Reg Park’s 5×5 routine. He was the first guy to write about 5×5 in 1960. That means people were doing 5×5 before I was born. I didn’t invent this.

It all started after 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 people started calling 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. Apple featured StrongLifts 5×5 in a tv ad. Some call 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.


P.S. Make sure you download my StrongLifts 5×5 apps for iPhone and Android. They make it super-easy to get stronger and build muscle with my StrongLifts 5×5 program. Plus they’re free to download, and as you’ll see by the high +4.5 ratings, people rave about it. Download the apps for free here.

P.P.S. Like what we do here? Want to help us change people’s bodies and lives? Come work with us.