StrongLifts 5×5 Results, Success Stories and Before/After Pictures

Thousands of people worldwide have already changed their bodies and lives with StrongLifts 5×5. Here are just some results people have emailed me. Note that your results may vary based on your age, body-weight, technique, nutrition, sleep, experience, consistency, etc

How to Send Your Results: send me your StrongLifts 5×5 success story and before/after pictures through the contact page. The best results I’ll feature here.

25lb Lost While Gaining Muscle and Strength

People who start out over-weight can easily lose fat while building muscle and gaining strength. Here’s an example from Branimir (USA) who lost 25lb while gaining muscle and strength…

After being lazy for so long I started working out in 2008, dreaming to get in best shape of my life in 6 months.

I failed because of lack of planning, discipline and valid information. I was overweight, on the verge of obesity.

I worked out for 1 and a half years and my weight dropped only 10lbs. My strength increased because I was beginner, but I looked almost the same.

Branimir lost 25lb while gaining muscle and increasing his Squat to 275lb
Branimir lost 25lb while gaining muscle and increasing his Squat to 275lb

I quit using creatine and preworkout stuff. Took awhile to get used to working out clean. I was still wasting time with split routine workouts, triceps extensions, biceps curls, calves work, leg extensions, hamstring curls, long ab workouts…

All this gave some results, but nothing major. I did Squats when I was bored (with horrible form). I did Deadlifts… Wait, I didn’t do Deadlifts. I thought the Deadlift was something that hurt your back and was useless.

I figured I was doing something wrong. So I started reading how to get big and lean. I learned Squats are important! I learned nutrition is number 1. I learned rest and sleep are more important than training. But all that was not settling in, because information came from a lot of sources.

I started losing fat, maintained muscle, but my strength was not impressive. I was jealous to see kids lifting more than me, and being same size or smaller.

One person who was deadlifting 405lb and weighed 20lb less than me said – “I have a website for you, I think you’ll like it.” Guess what website that was? I got home, went on StrongLifts.com, read everything, then applying all I learned.

Now most important: results. I am stronger, faster, leaner, healthier, happier.

My weight went from 220lb to 195lb. But while my weight (FAT) went away, I got stronger, and I am still getting stronger. I can’t even keep up with how my body is progressing. Strength is going up, fat is going down. I feel amazing.

  • Body-weight: 200lb @ 5’10”
  • Bench Press: 240lb (5×5)
  • Squats: 275lb (5×5)
  • Deadlifts: 315lb (1×5)
  • Overhead Press: 145lb (5×5)
Branimir's results with StrongLifts 5x5
Branimir’s results with StrongLifts 5×5

Some kid was impressed by my strength and body so he asked me what I do and how. I told him I do StrongLifts 5×5. He said I was bullshitting him, no way I do 4-5 exercises per session. So I said, let’s try it. He is one of those kids who can Bench more than Squat (and does partials), and don’t know what Deadlifts are.

So he put 90lbs on a bar, did 5 funny Squats and said that was easy. I told him: “Do those Squats right, all the way down”, and I even thought him how to place the bar without a pad. I told him to lower that weight, cause it was too much. So he got the form almost right, but refused to lower the weight. He was benching funny as well, so I showed him to bench properly.

I didn’t see the kid in the gym for a week. I finally saw him and he complained he was soooo sore, couldn’t move his legs and arms for 3 days, and went back to his old workout, because he “can’t” do StrongLifts 5×5. “Bro I can’t.” I just said ok, and continued with my workout.

How much will something work is up to you. Up to your discipline, concentration and determination. Never say you can’t do something – you can. Approach it with attitude: “I can’t do it yet,” or “I have problems doing it, please help me,” or just be honest and say: “I don’t want to do it.”

Remember to start StrongLifts 5×5 with low weights, lower than what you think is enough. Get the form right, stick with the right form at all costs. Do NOT give up when weights get really heavy. That’s when you get strong, when you grow and all other good things happen.

Be persistent, eat big, train hard, have a right mindset and results will come.

Skinny Guy Gains 44lb in 12 Months – Girls Say He’s Hotter

The best way to gain weight if you’re skinny is to train hard and eat more calories than you burn. On average you can gain 0.5lb of muscle a week or 2lb a month. But skinny kids can often gain more muscle than that. Here’s an example from Frederico from Portugal…

I’m 20 years old, 1,70m and i’ve been skinny all my life, my father and brothers are ethiophian like so i had a really bad time gaining weight since i was a child, i never did any sport and i started gym on 1st November.

Frederico went from 51kg to 71kg (+20kg) in 12 months
Frederico went from 51kg to 71kg (+20kg) in 12 months

After 3 months a guy told me about StrongLifts 5×5 so i tried it. With StrongLifts i’m stronger than ever. On March it’ll be 1 year since i started StrongLifts 5×5 (Madcow now) and it’s impressive when i look back and couldn’t lift properly.

  • Bodyweight: 51kg => 71kg in the morning
  • Squat: 20kg => 105kg x 5 (1.5bw eheh)
  • Deadlift: 20kg => 125×3
Frederico's back after going from skinny to muscular
Frederico’s back after going from skinny to muscular

I recommend StrongLifts 5×5 to everyone starting lifting or having low marks. Many gym buddies are amazed with my strength but most still don’t believe it. It’s your choice but if i was doing some stupid routine i wouldn’t be like this.

Hardgainer Gains 16lb in 16 Weeks

Again, you can gain about 2lb of muscle per month on average, which is about 8lb in 16 weeks. But skinny guys can often gain more than that. And the total weight gain is usually higher when you add water weight and such. Example from Alexandre…

I am your typical “hardgainer” with long limbs/short torso.

However after 4 months on stronglifts, I have gone from 137lbs 8%bf to 153lbs 8%bf, squats have gone from 75lbs to 265lbs, deadlifts from 150lbs to 330lbs, and bench from 65lbs to 180lbs.

Alexandre gained 16lb in 16 weeks with StrongLifts 5x5
Alexandre gained 16lb in 16 weeks with StrongLifts 5×5

All the guys in my dorm want to work out with me now (I’m 19 and in college), and I often get stares at the gym when I do the heavy compounds haha.

Thank you Mehdi, you’re the best!

47y Old with Bad Knees Gains 12lb and Almost Doubles His Squat

StrongLifts 5×5 works for guys over 40 years old too. Here’s an example from Andrew (47, California). He increased his Deadlift from 150lb to 355lb and Squat from 150lb to 285lb in 12 months. He gained 12lb in the process, and got these results despite prior knee surgery.

Thirty years ago, I was 135 lbs, teaching kung fu and fighting anything that would fight back. I benched 250 and squatted 300 with no form whatsoever. I went to Art School and all things fitness went the way of Art and Music.

Andrew before StrongLifts 5x5
Andrew before StrongLifts 5×5

Flash forward a few decades and here is the result: Fifty pounds heavier, bad knee, bad hair and bad habits.

I got knee surgery and while rehabbing, decided to do more than just one leg. I decided I wanted to get stronger than I had ever been in my life, even at 46. This led me to StrongLifts 5×5.

A big mistake I made was starting all my lifts near 5RM while teaching myself proper form. I struggled for six months with several stalls from 150lb Squats to 230lb.

Another mistake I made was not checking my form with video until six months in. I found out I was not breaking parallel.

When I had stalled on all lifts for three months I decided to do Madcow 5×5 . It broke my stalls, and I added 40lbs to my squat, deadlift and rows.

When I started lifting, I had no intention of getting stronger than 1.5xBW squats and 2xBW deadlifts. I have since adjusted that as I have learned to love getting stronger. I think in terms of plate milestones now.

Andrew's GainsBeforeAfterGains
Age46y47y
Body-weight (5'9")162lb174lb+12lb
Deadlift150lb355lb+205lb
Squat150lb285lb+135lb
Bench Press150lb220lb+70lb

I’ve put on weight since I started lifting, but my first six months I made the mistake of cutting while lifting, which made stalling more frequent and recovery difficult. Caloric excess is a tailwind, and while not all my weight gain is muscle, I can get rid of fat later, once I’ve reached my strength goals.

Here what I look like now. I didn’t start lifting to look better, but I am pleased that I have an ass now and my legs don’t look spindly. The gut may require a few less Manhattans and braised Pork Bellies…

Andrew gained 12lb while increasing his Squat and Deadlift, at age 47
Andrew gained 12lb while increasing his Squat and Deadlift, at age 47

I don’t recover as well as when I was 17, but if I eat enough and sleep enough, I do all right. Ultimately, I don’t think age is hindrance, just a factor.

Rugby Player Gains 45lb and Triples His Deadlift to 435lb

Many people have had such impressive results with StrongLifts 5×5, that their friends accused them of using steroids. Here’s an example from AJ…

I started playing rugby and wanted to bulk up to put up with the abuse I’d have to deal with if I wanted to make it through an entire season. I wanted to be able to knock someone on their ass if they tried running on my side of the pitch.

AJ gains 45lb, triples his Deadlift, doubles his Squat in 17 months
AJ gains 45lb, triples his Deadlift, doubles his Squat in 17 months

After a while, I was unable to recover from the workouts (rugby practices 3x/wk) and had to cut Squatting to 2 days/wk. Recovery is still an issue given the lack of sleep that comes with my profession…my legs are always spent.

I grew from 165 to 210lbs. My squat went from 135 to 355…my bench went from 185 to 300lbs. The last time I did deadlifts, I did 435.

AJ's GainsBeforeAfterGains
Age26y28y
Body-weight (5'11")165lb210lb+45lb
Deadlift135lb435lb+300lb
Squat135lb355lb+220lb
Bench Press185lb300lb+115lb

When I started growing, people took notice. Some thought I was on steroids. Others thought I was taking all kinds of supplements. They thought I was crazy when I’d walk into class, pull out a 1/2 gal of milk and drink it during the lecture.

Eventually, guys began asking me about how I was training, what exercises I was using, etc. I told a lot of people, but few were willing to put in the work needed (especially the eating) to make the gains that they wanted.

Being called a “big” guy is still weird. Guys respect it because they know how hard the work is… girls like it too (I haven’t figured out the reasoning yet).

A friend of mine who played in the NFL used to work out with me. Sometimes I’d increase my weight and try to rep out 5, but I’d only be able to bang out 2 or 3 without his assistance and he’d notice my disappointment.

One day when I didn’t hit the number I wanted, he asked me “are you better than you were your last workout?” I realized that I was and that hit home with me.

Since then, my goal has been to be better, stronger and more intense than in my previous workout. If I’m not doing that, there’s no need for me to be in the gym.

StrongLifts has changed my personal and professional life. Mehdi receives hundreds of emails and I’m unsure whether he’ll read this, but I appreciate what he’s doing. I’m enjoying lifting and I’m glad I found StrongLifts 5×5. Thanks.

Icelander Loses 35.7lb and 8% Body-Fat without Doing Cardio

Eat less calories than you burn and you’ll lose fat. Obese guys can easily lose fat by lifting weights and eating less without doing cardio. They can even gain strength and muscle because their fat reserves fuel their workouts. Here’s an example from Bjarni from Iceland…

Two years ago it dawned on me i was nowhere in the physical condition i should be in at my age and that i needed to something about it.

The first year i did bodypart splits with some success. Build up base strength but didn’t have a clue on how to perform a proper squat.

I wanted to become strong so after minimal results i searched the internet for programs and came across StrongLifts 5×5. Its fast progression called me.

StrongLifts 5×5 has given me significant gains. In one year i’ve lost 16kg of BW, putting me from low 30% BF at 135.8kg down to ca 22% BF at 119.6kg, all while remaining 192cm tall. My strength has skyrocketed.

Bjarni's GainsBeforeAfterGains
Age22y23y
Body-weight (6'4")298.7lb263lb-35.7lb
Body Fat30%22%-8%
Deadlift352lb473lb+121lb
Squat220lb440lb+220lb
Bench Press99lb (db)264lb+165lb

Apart from shifting 15kg of lard off and giving me a foundation of strength, my posture has improved along with my self esteem.

First pic is one year ago at 135.8kg & 30% BF. The second is taken at 129kg & 26% BF. Last picture is taken this morning at 119.6kg & 22% BF. This was achieved without cardio, only diet & StrongLifts 5×5.

Bjarni lost 35.7lb and 8% body-fat without cardio
Bjarni lost 35.7lb and 8% body-fat without cardio

Having done this i’d recommend the following for beginners:

  1. Heavy squats & deadlifts are your friends.
  2. Be certain your form on squatsdeads is good.
  3. Do the program as laid out. I tried tweaking it but gained nothing of it.
  4. Nutrition is key to weight loss, get it sorted out and the flab will fly off.

50y old Increases Squat to 325lb, and Inspires His Wife to Lift

One of the best ways to get your wife or girlfriend to lift weights, is to get impressive results first. Don’t try to convince them, let your results do the talking. Here’s an example of John from Michigan who increased his Squat to 325lb at age 50…

Mehdi, You’ve changed my life, and my wife’s life, in a major ways.

Two years ago I weighed 300lb and had a third chin growing. Seeing myself in pictures disgusted me and almost made me cry. I felt ashamed of my body.

A year later of daily hour long cardio sessions, I had dropped to 200lb, and my energy was soaring. However, looking in the mirror and seeing a still “loose” physique and hanging skin made me wince.

Not knowing better I embarked on adding the entire round of weight machines to shore up my body — improve strength and pull up the loose spots.

The machines helped for a while, and I started to show definition I’d never possessed before. However, as the weights grew, my muscles didn’t.

I started split routines… I benched on the smith machines… I “squatted” on the smith machines… But strength results did NOT follow, only injuries.

Searching for an answer brought me to StrongLifts 9 months ago. I wanted to go with compounds, but having never lifted free weights before I was afraid.

But you laid it out plain and simple, and showed how starting with the bar was going to give me technique to master weights — so I jumped in with both feet.

I started with the bar, and built, and built. After 12 weeks of StrongLifts 5×5, I gained 10lb of muscle. My legs, arms and chest have grown, while my waist has shrun , and my “looseness” from weight loss has disappeared. My abs and torso muscles are thick and powerful. Having once been size 50, I am now 35.

My wife was impressed with the results. After 4 babies and extra weight, she was desperate for fat loss. Her belly muscles, when pregnant, got pulled apart and doctors told her that there was nothing she could do to pull them back in. But seeing the results I had achieved, she jumped in.

We started training together and she lost 15 pounds, transferred fat to muscle, down-sized clothing three times, and shows leg muscles of an olympic champion. She’s proud of herself and I am proud of her.

I’m 50 years old, 6’1″, 212lb, and on Monday I squatted 325lb. Today I deadlifted 415lb. We can’t thank you enough the StrongLifts site. We have fallen in love with squats and love our bodies like we have never imagined we could.

We’ve had to endure the no-squatters, the knee blowers, the unsolicited advice givers, the curlers in the power rack, etc… and now are able to withstand the barrage of negativity that comes from the majority of gym goers…

But when we complete our lifts and walk past the naysayers with the squat or deadlift body/mind pump and steel torso, they shut up — and silence truly is golden. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

How to Send Your Results: send me your StrongLifts 5×5 success story and before/after pictures through the contact page. The best results I’ll feature here.