Stronglifts 5 x 5

Hi fellas,
Curious if anyone is using or has used the Stronglifts 5 x 5 app during off-season training to add some structure to their strength training program. I’m currently in week 3 of Stronglifts and really like it because of the structure and measured approach it uses. I was searching for a strength training program that was similar in nature to T.R. and stumbled upon Stronglifts. Wondering if others have found it useful or have any insight they care to share.

I’m really noticing how hungry I get after this form of strength training whereas trainer and outdoor rides of the same duration don’t produce this affect. I’m concerned that keeping weight in check might be tough…

Any and all comments are greatly appreciated!

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I’ve done it in the past, never done it concurrently with structured bike training though. I can’t imagine completing a mid-volume TR plan while squatting 3x per week! I think 2 months or so of SL in between racing season and base training would be an awesome way to go, I might try that next year. Then you could easily maintain that strength with one or two weight training sessions per week during bike training.

Just FYI, once your squats start to plateau those SL sessions become brutal!


I have been following a very similar programme for about 6 weeks. The first few weeks I found it really difficult to balance with bike training as my legs were totally shot. I’ve become accustomed to it now to the point where I can do 2 lifting days a week with 5 bike sessions.

To be honest, I have no idea if it has had any impact on my cycling, but I really enjoy it, so I’ll keep going and drop it down to 1 session a week once I hit build.

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I did low volume SSB and Stronglifts 5x5 during off season last year. My biggest learning points

  • Beginning it was fine as you start low on Stronglifts. When I got to 1xBW for squats I started struggling
  • Doing strength and cycling the same day was better than alternate days (check the general strength training thread as well).
  • I did morning strength, afternoon bike. I’d prefer intervals in the morning, as the legs are fresher. But I struggled too much motivational wise to do the intervals in the morning.

This season I’m trying a new approach. Namely switching to 3x5 sooner and dropping to two heavy days during SSB and potentially only one heavy day during build. I’ll still aim for three days of lifting but with less volume in total.

Stronglift 5x5 in itself is extremely tiresome and I wouldn’t even attempt this if one tries to combine with a calorie deficit.

Looking forward to hearing, and learning, from other peoples experiences regarding this!


Awesome. Thanks for the info guys. madman2 I hear you on squatting 3x per week and trying to comlpete strucuted traing. Our season in Northern MN is winding down now and I’m kind of burnt out on the bike. I sneak in one hard outdoor ride (MTB) per week and then focus on the strength work. My plan is do do strength work(stronglifts) concurrently with low volume traditional base then go into a strength maintenance and start up with a mid volume plan(SSB1/2, Build, Spec.)

Good info too Chris_O_Hanlon! I can’t imagine lifting heavy and trying to work through a build phase. That sounds impossible… Either way, lifting is enjoyable and it’s nice to know if we do something stupid and hit the deck we’re not going to snap like a twig.

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Thank you Svaberg! Please let us know how the 3x5 works for you!

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I tried it as well. Could only handle lifting 2x a week. Partly due to time, partly due to body being fried from lifting. (I was also swimming and running 2-3x a week).

One thing: I hated the app. Took too long to enter the information I needed to record. Went to a notebook instead. Much faster.

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Hey guys - I might be a bit late to this conversation but thought I’d share what I do with the athletes I coach:

I suggest only 2 x week strength training, no matter where in your season you are. Any more is overkill. Also, big emphasis on single leg work, after all that’s how you put force into the pedals. Another big consideration is to add core, rotational and posture correction exercises. As cyclist we sit, bending forward, rounding shoulders and closing our hips. Doing exercises that counter this posture, and challenge us to move differently go a long way, even towards injury prevention.

Stronglift 5x5 is great -but it’s not sport-specific. You will get stronger (which is great!) but a targeted program will be more effective towards cycling for the above reasons.
Happy to help out if you guys have more questions on strength training, I do this for a living (strength coaching). And if you just want to learn more my website is


I’ve started it twice but stopped twice for various reasons and ultimately time is limited and while I would appreciate the general strength I care a bit more about the specificity of the bike so my TR workouts always take priority.

I also find it advances a bit quickly for me so it’s on my to do list to machine up a set of 500-600g weights to half the progression rate. Overhead press in particular leads to fairly early failure for me.

You could look into Jim Wendlers 5/3/1. You can make progress quite fast as well but it might be less taxing than 5x5. It’s geared towards strength / power lifting, not for total beginners and you should have solid form down and ideally a spotter when you are going for 1RMs


You can get away with a 3x5 or 5x5 plan for awhile, but after a certain point…heavy weights are heavy weights. These are taxing, demanding programs and most of their originators urge you not to do much else if following them. I second the point about Wendler’s 5/3/1, or for that matter, the One Man One Barbell which is quite similar in practice.

With a typical x5 plan, you’re squatting 2-3x per week and that gets exhausting. You CAN do well with this, but it’s questionable for how long, and how on-point your sleep and diet must be.

I’m an avid lifter, but I can out-lift everyone I race with, often by a wide margin, but I can’t out-sprint all of them. The fastest guy I know personally squats maybe 2/3 of what I lazily max out at, and he’s a silver medalist at Elite Track Nationals. I am, to say the least, not that quick :wink:


Thank you for all the great responses fellas. I can definitely see that combining Stronglifts (or any heavy lifting) with intensity would be a recipe for failure. I’m hoping a low volume traditional base plan combined with strength training won’t be too much for a 12 week block.

Similar to what has been posted I’ve tried Starting Strength which follows a routine close stronglifts. I agree that with the points that

  1. Its a good way to start and make good progression but once you get to plateau becomes incredibly taxing
  2. Its hard to do on a mid-volume plan and likely needs a low vol plan to be successful
  3. you need to double up your days on the bike and lifting, then just have a full day off, otherwise you never get to recover
  4. any more than 2 days of lifting a week is incredibly taxing and likely will result in a hole
  5. forget about a calorie deficit…just not sustainable for more than two weeks

All of that said, once you go through it and get your strength up, its relatively easy to maintain even if you don’t add weight. I have a rule now where I dont lift over 245# for back squat. I’ll do 5x5 or 5x7 but i dont need to risk the additional weight just to keep adding and potentially risk injury. mix in some box jumps and lunges if i wanna fry the legs but dont add weight.



Those are some excellent points. Thank you very much. Do you also include any of the Benchpress, OH Press, Deadlift as well?

I squat and deadlift following the program.
I OH press much lighter that Rx and supplement with pull-ups and I skip the bench in favor of horizontal ring row and barbell row as I find it does more for core engagement and is a more dynamic movement. Again, things I find work well for me and my goals, may not be for others.

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Thank you for the response RONDAL. Good info.

I do the same thing- I dont have a set target weight at which I stop for squats but at some point when I miss reps, I back off 5 lbs and just use the same weight on future workouts. Same with Deadlifts. All other upper body lifts I keep trying to gain strength and sometime increase volume somewhat but stick with 2 days per week of strenght work(tues & thur).

The only time I stop the Starting Strength based program is a few weeks out from cycling races or duathlons where I try to just focus on more race specific fitness and recovery.


When you hit the target weight (then back off 5lbs) what configuration of sets and reps do you work? Does it differ based on the season?

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When I get to my back off weight, I use 3 sets of 5, but 3 warmup sets at slightly higher than normal weight. 3x5 on the worksets seems to get me the best balance of strength and quality cycling workouts.

Also note I do my cycling workouts in the morning and weight training in the evening to make sure the bike is always my point of emphasis.

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I am actually planning on doing gym work in the morning and cycling in the evening.
My thought is that I usually perform better in the evening than in the morning.

But I am wondering how much power the gym work will take away from the legs in the morning.

Did you ever do the strength training in the morning and cycle in the evening?