Madcow Intermediate 5×5 Workout

Updated June 11, 2020

Monday – Heavy Day

  • Squat – 5 sets of 5
  • Bench – 5 sets of 5
  • Barbell Row or Powerclean – 5 sets of 5
  • Weighted hyperextensions – 2 sets
  • Weighted sit-ups – 4 sets

On Monday, the weight for each lift is increased on each set of 5, from a light warm-up to an all out set of 5. For squats, something like 135×5, 185×5, 225×5, 275×5, 315×5. The weight should be increased evenly from your first to last set. Your fifth set equals the triple from the previous Friday’s workout.

Wednesday – Light Day

  • Squat – 4 sets of 5
  • Incline Bench or Overhead Press – 4 sets of 5
  • Deadlift – 4 sets of 5
  • Sit-ups – 3 sets

On light day, Squat the first 3 sets of 5 just as you did on Monday, and then do a fourth set of 5 with the weight used on the third set. An extra fifth set at this same weight can be added. Incline bench/Overhead Press and deadlifts are ramped up to a top set of five.

Friday – Medium

  • Squat – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8
  • Bench – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8
  • Barbell Row or Powerclean– 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8 for rows
  • Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5-8
  • Triceps Extension and Biceps Curl – 3 sets of 8 each

On Friday, the first four sets are the same as they were on Monday. The fifth set, done for three reps, should be a jump of about 2.5% over what you did for your fifth set on Monday. As you become more experienced with the system, you can experiment with the weight you use on this triple. This should NOT be a PR triple attempt every week.

In fact, the goal is to come back the following Monday and get the same weight for 5 reps that you got for 3 reps the Friday before. To avoid missing reps, pick weights carefully. Take it easy the first few weeks, and don’t over do it. In fact if you’ve tested/already know your 5 rep maxes you shouldn’t be using that weight until the 4th week. After the big triple, drop back to the weight you used for your 3rd set and try to get eight reps.

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