Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stronglifts 5x5 vs Twin Muscle Workout (The Review)

Stronglifts taught me how to build strength.  TMW taught me how to build  muscle.  Here's why.

I've been lifting weights for a year.  In the early days when I made the decision to start lifting weights seriously, and so trying to build strength but ultimately transform my physique, I came across Stronglifts 5x5.

Much like I do now with TMW, I spent many an hour each day on Stronglifts website learning how to lift weights safely and finding out what exercises were best to build strength and eventually muscle.  So, in this respect Stronglifts definitely taught me the fundamentals of strength training.

8 months on Stronglifts 5x5

This is a full body workout program. The main things that I learnt and developed whilst on this program were; correct form, safety and the best way to build strength.  Because of these things I feel that this program is fantastic for beginners.  If you want to build a good overall foundation of strength and muscle then Stronglifts is the place to start.  The site has a wealth of information and case studies.  However with my busy lifestyle and with the time and money I had available I don't feel that this program was sustainable for long term because there was only so far I could keep adding weight to the bar plus there was only so far I could go with my home gym!  Plus I wasn't seeing any significant changes to my physique. However I did gain a whole lot of strength and body weight which I was very happy about.  So, if you have the time to be 100% dedicated and the money to get your nutrition 100% in check (because you'll need to be putting away some calories to get bigger in order to shift some heavy weight eventually) plus a gym membership, then Stronglifts is a great program.

5 months on a Twin Muscle Workout inspired 3-day split

First and foremost TMW made me realise that you don't have to lift heavy to build muscle and you don't have to increase your weight each workout. They promote a 3 day split routine. The advice is to use moderate weight, use fewer sets, but higher reps and simply monitor your rep range until you are able to perform more reps with the weight, only then you increase the weight. This way of training has worked for me tremendously. I noticed for the first time in my life that my arms started to increase in size and develop a better shape which has always been hard to achieve with my ectomorph genetics. A note on how my lifestyle has changed to fit in this routine.... well it hasn't really, that's whats so good about it. Just like on stronglifts, I have cleaned up my diet and tried to increase my protein intake using whey protein. However, my calories have stayed at a modest level, therefore my weekly spend on food is also modest and sustainable. I have not needed to increase my calorie intake, but have seen obvious results in the size and shape of my physique whilst still keeping the fat levels low at the same time.

This program is more geared towards achieving hypertrophy in your muscles. In the same way I didn't feel that SL was suited to my body type for the long term, I feel that a 3 day split is not suited to beginners. I feel that beginners should start with a full body routine like SL 5x5 in order to get there body ready for a 3 day split. A 3 day split allows you focus more time and energy on certain muscle groups in order to hit them harder and stimulate them more into hypertrophy.


Stronglifts taught me how to lift weights, it gave me the foundation and helped me build alot of strength. I would definitely recommend beginners start with this program.

However after a few months it made sense to change to a three day split and I found this was easier to fit into my busy lifestyle because it simply took less time to achieve the results. Its all about training smarter, keeping the sessions short and intense and using a moderate weight until you can perform a decent number of reps per set.

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Related posts;
Stronglifts Review Part 2... 13 months on
Stronglifts 5x5 progress report: 1
Stronglifts 5x5 progress report: 2
Twin Muscle Workout Review
Twin Muscle Workout inspired weight lifting routine

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