I came across Stronglifts 5Ã—5, run by Mehdi Hadim, probably about 18 months ago. I followed the program consistently for about three months. I definitely feel I have enough experience for a detailed Stronglifts 5Ã—5 review.
The workouts are very simple and easy to follow. There are only two of them. Two workouts using only three separate movements three days a week. If you start on Monday with workout A then you would do workout B on Wednesday, and workout A again on Friday. The next week you would flip. Monday perform workout B, workout A on Wednesday, and workout B again on Friday, and keep flipping each week. The entire description can be found at: http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5x5-beginner-strength-training-program/
The most interesting aspect of Stronglifts is that it includes squats every single workout. It seems a bit excessive, but I didn't want to make changes since Squats are very important, and I wanted to stick to the exact program. The other major point to the program is that you are to add 5 pounds to each lift every time you do a workout. For example, if Monday for squats you do 5Ã—5 at 200, then Wednesday you would do 5Ã—5 at 205. Each exercise uses 5Ã—5 set/rep and plus 5 pounds per workout scheme except for dead lifts. For dead lifts you only do 1 set of 5 reps and add 10 pounds per workout.
I performed the program for about 3 months, and was very pleased with my results. My weight hardly changed, however at the end of the 3 months, I was the strongest I had ever been.
Starting weights for 5x5 sets: Squats- 275, Bench Press- 300, Bent Over Rows- 155, Shoulder Press- 185, Deadlift- 225
Ending weights for 5x5 sets: Squats- 365, Bench Press- 345, Bent Over Rows- 215, Shoulder Press- 230, Deadlift- 350
Some other benefits of the StrongLifts program is that the workouts aren't very long. On average, I would complete each workout in 35-45 minutes. The exercises performed are all compound movements, so your valuable gym time is put too good use by activating the most muscle fibers with the least amount of exercises/reps.
There are a couple negatives I see with the program, however.
1) I don't completely agree with squats three times per week. I do acknowledge that squats are one of the best exercises a person can do, but three times per week seems a little excessive.
2) This program is beneficial for someone looking to gain strength. It is NOT going to be a good program for someone looking to become a bodybuilder. It would be a good start to build a foundation, however if performed in and by itself, it will not sculpt your body into bodybuilding form.
I would definitely recommend this program to someone looking to get into weight lifting. It is a very good program to get started and build a foundation of muscle for your body. The workouts are easy to do, take a little amount of time, and are only performed three days per week. If you are interested in starting the StrongLifts 5x5 program, I would definitely read Medhi's StrongLifts report first which can be found here: http://stronglifts.com/free-stronglifts-5x5-report/ (its free)