StrongLifts 5×5 Featured in New Apple Commercial on TV



The StrongLifts 5×5 app is featured in the new Apple commercial “strength”. This ad showed during the Stanley Cup, Jimmy Fallon, etc. Pretty cool :-)

App link:×5-workout/id488580022?mt=8

Android version (has more features, they’re coming to iphone)

Both apps are free to download. So get them.

No excuses.

P.S. Shame the guy hasn’t his thumbs around the bar :)

Getting ready for lifting heavy

Here’s a question about working out in the morning that I received in my mailbox. My comments are below…

Hello Mehdi, I’ve been a regular visitor of your website & love reading your mails. I am an ectomorph (like you, fingers overlap around wrists). Never lifted anything, not even a push up. A week ago,i joined a gym & i discovered i got no strength or stamina. Hard even to do a proper pushup… can’t even think about doing a pull up ! So,my question is: Should’nt i be getting some strength in my arms & body before joining your league , ‘cuz i guess,i ain’t ready for lifting weights just yet ! I want to know your opinion. Eagerly waiting, Arun. P.S I am from Orissa,India. Glad to know you’re helping people out here. Clean water availability is certainly a problem out here. Thank you.

I feel you man – also started out like you, not able to do a single pushup, let alone a pullup.

Lol, I remember struggling to climb rope during gym classes. The teacher yelled at me in front of everyone: “come on you sack of potatoes!!!”

Funny now, not so funny back then – you know who kids are in school, I was the laughing stock for weeks…

Anyway. So I spent several months doing pushups at home. Couldn’t do a single one so I had to them kneeling, forced negatives, and all that.

Anything but fun, I was sore all the time.

Later I joined the gym and looking back I wished I had started lifting weights straight away.

Because lifting an empty bar of 20kg on the bench is a lot easier than having to do a pushup with your body-weight (at least 70kg?)

Progression is a lot easier as well – you’re adding 2.5kg on each side of the bar, you can even microload, your body can handle that.

If it’s too heavy, start with a lighter barbell, or with two light dumbbells. Then work your way up.

All of this is easier than forcing yourself with negative reps, simpler than kneeling/incline pushups and all that too.

Plus, it’s easier to track your progress – you just look at the weight increasing on the bar and you know you’re getting stronger.

And it’s specific – because you’re lifting weights from the get go. So you’re practicing form for when the weights get heavier.

That’s why, if I were you, I’d just start with the empty bar and add weight each workout.

Don’t make excuses.


Getting stronger by starting with an empty bar

Here’s a question I received about the starting weight on StrongLIfts 5×5. My comments are below…

“I weigh 170 lbs. I am in decent shape and have always done minor lifting but nothing major. When I start this program is it really necessary for me to start with only the bar on squats? That seems very light to me… So if I do that then my warm ups are the same weight as my sets? Thanks!”

You make me think of Karate Kid.

The first one, not the bs remake of last year or what was it.

Mr Myagi who told “Daniel-San” to wax on, wax off.

And Daniel who got pissed, thinking what is this old guy making me waste my time with this waxing, I just want to do karate and fight.

Fast-foward couple of weeks later, Mr Myagi hits Daniel San and Daniel was able to block it.


Yeah, it’s all that “useless” wax on wax off training you did, nitwit.

I know, I know – it’s a movie Mehdi.

Sure, but the lesson is that you got to have patience. Starting with the empty bar sounds ridiculous but you’re adding 7.5kg a week.

That’s 30kg a month – 60lb!

In three months you’d Squatting with two big plates on each side of the bar- more than most guys do in the gym.

But only if you go through the system and be patient by starting with the empty bar and slowly working your way up.

You don’t want to start super-heavy, end up with sore legs, miss reps, and have to skip workouts in week one already.

Wax on, wax off – remember?

Start light and work your way up.

Don’t make excuses.


P.S. If you’ve done Squats and the other exercises before, with good form, then it’s okay to start a bit heavier. 50% of your 5 rep max is a good rule of thumb. Be conservative rather than aggressive.
If you have no idea what 5 rep max means and all that, just start with the bar.

Getting strong smoking cannabis

True question I received about getting stronger while smoking cannabis. My comments are below…

“Hey mehdi just wondering what your thoughts are for cannabis users? I found I could only break through my 200 lbs squat plateau when I was high. Also can go for about 25-27 pull ups while high as opposed to maybe 20-22 when I’m not. It forces me to focus on my form and I can feel even muscle and be so much more I tune with my body. I understand lifting with cannabis can be considered dangerous but I have a safety rack.”

If getting high helps you break through your plateau – I guess I’ll start smoking weed then!!!

Quick drive over the border to Amsterdam while listening to Bob Marley…

Seriously – this is BS.

I don’t smoke myself (done it a handful of times in my mid-teen, never liked it) but asked someone around me who lift weights and smokes.

He confirmed what I thought – he tried lifting weights while high once, and his strength went down immediately.

I told him I received an email of someone claiming he could lift more when high, and he started laughing while rolling his eyes.

“That guy has smoked too much” he said.


I mean, if smoking weed was some super-secret way to get stronger, they’d all be high at competitions in powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman, and all that.

But that’s not the case.

Because smoking weed is not going to help you lift more.

The same or less. But you risk getting hurt whether you got a power rack or not. I mean, you could lose balance and end up with your fingers between the bar and your rack – thought about that?

Just stop using drugs and let lifting weights be your drugs.

Don’t make excuses.


P.S. It’s one thing to smoke once a week or so. I don’t got no problems with that. But this here, smoking right before, lifting – come on. Would you get drunk before lifting? Right. This is equally stupid.

You want to be cool, Squat 400lb that’s cool.

Deadlifting in the smith machine

Here’s a question about Deadlifts I received in my mailbox. My comments are below…

“Mehdi, I just joined one of the only gyms in my area and I plan on starting StrongLifts 5×5 on Monday. Now, this gym does allow Deadlifts but only inside the smith machine. Yes, it sucks. But, I’m stuck with this gym. So, my questions: Should I add additional weight right off the bat because I’m stuck within the smith machine? What about barbell rows? I didn’t see any rules against them, but, just in case, what are my options?”

Seems you signed up to one of those gyms that don’t want you to Deadlift heavy because it makes too much noise…

… a gym ran by people who don’t get it’s a GYM – not a library.


Anyway. You can’t Deadlift inside a smith machine. It just doesn’t work.

Remember – I did smith squats for months. Then I switched to free squats and couldn’t handle the weight I was doing in the smith machine.

When you have to lift the weight, not the machine, it’s a different ballgame.

Now you could just drop Deadlifts and Barbell Rows alltogether.

One of my friends did that – he did StrongLifts 5×5 for months. But he did it his way – only Squat, Bench and Pullups (right…)

No press, no row, no Deadlifts.

Then whining about lacking shoulder and back development…

“Well duh, how about you start deadlifting and rowing heavy?”

Now he’s finally doing Deadlifts and Rows, but with weights lighter than his Bench (funny but true) because he has to learn form first.

You don’t want to be that guy doing things half-way, only to have to take a big step back in a few month to catch up on everything.

If I were you, I’d never sign up to that gym. I’d find a REAL gym instead or build my own gym at home. Wait, that’s actually what I did.

And I didn’t have the space in my apartment. So I put everything in the garage of my parents a few kms away from here.

If you really want it, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen.

No excuses, remember.


“Hammering” neglected muscles

Here’s a question I received about arm and calf work. My comments are below…

“Mehdi, I’ve been at it for a month now and seen alot of improvements, my question is, I feel some muscles are neglected, biceps, tris, calves to name a few, yes I’ ve read that certain exercise does accommodate those muscles, but I feel I’m not targeting them and giving them a good workout, is it wise to have them separate on a off day for a good hammering?? Thanks looking forward to your reply chur!! jimi”

Hah, I’ve been there – it’s all in your head man!

When I switched to the 5×5 routine, the same thing happened to me.

I trained one muscle a day for five years. Dedicating each Sunday to “arms” – barbell curls, alternated db curls, ez curls, preacher curls, cable curls. Then five more exercises for triceps.

I hammered my calves on “leg day” – seated, standing, donkey calf raises for high reps until failure so they got “pumped”.

I even remember calling my friend the next day – “are you sore?!?”

We thought you should be to get stronger…

So when I stumbled upon this 5×5 routine from Reg park, I couldn’t help but think – wtf? Where’s the arm and calf work on this thing?!?

The first months felt weird – I wasn’t getting “pumped”.

I wasn’t doing any any direct work for my arms or calves.

And I was getting scared that’d I’d lose the physique I had built the previous five years.

But that didn’t happen – I actually ended up looking better than before, more balanced, while getting stronger.

And training only half the time, lol.

Here’s why – and a lot of guys don’t get this – you don’t *need* to hit a muscle directly for it to grow.

When you bench heavy for sets of five reps, your chest, arms and shoulders all have to work hard to get the weight up.

So just keep doing StrongLIfts 5×5. In a few months you’ll be used to training this way, your mind will have “adapted”, and you’ll look back at that old way of training and laugh.

No excuses.


P.S. But hey, if you’re going to add stuff for your arms anyway, don’t do it it on your off days. Your body needs those to recover and get stronger.

Instead, do heavy pullups or dips at the end of your workout. Two-three sets max. And stay focused on increasing your Squat. Because that will lead to the biggest overall strength gains.

“Deadlifts are bad for you”

Crazy claim I got in my mailbox two weeks ago. My comments are below…

“Hi Medhi, my dad has been doing your program for a while now and has seen amazing results, so I thought I would give it a go also. I was talking to a friend at work and he said that deadlifts harm the nervous system and are very bad for you as they are not a natural lift?! Is this true?!”

Hah, you’ve just been a victim of “broscience lol!

Because claiming Deadlifts are not a natural lift is bs.

I mean, I did the groceries last weekend with my girlfriend.

We have these big bags we put everything in to carry the groceries from my car in the basement to my apartment on the third floor.

Here’s how I do it: I take one bag out of my car trunk, and put it on the floor. Then I take the other bag out and close the car trunk.

After that I position myself inbetween the two groceries bags, get down to the grab the handles, and lift the two bags up to carry them upstairs.

That movement right there, that *is* a Deadlift (followed by a farmer walk to the third floor lol)

So your friend claiming Deadlifts aren’t natural is BS. Because whether you’re picking up a pencil or carrying something – you’re Deadlifting.

Deadlifts are a natural movement. They can’t be bad for you.

But guess what is?

Deadlifting with BAD form.

Deadlifting with a ROUND lower back.

Yet if you keep your spine neutral, you’ll get stronger at Deadlifts without getting hurt your lower back.

I recommend you tape yourself next time you Deadlift and check if your form is safe.

Don’t make excuses.

P.S. The nervous system thing is bs as well. Yes Deadlifts are harder because each rep starts from a dead stop, you use a lot of weight and it uses more muscles than other exercise.

But that’s no reason to skip on Deadlifts.

I recommend not to talk about lifting with friends, family and co-workers- they often don’t “get” it.