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Presidents Day Workout

Build strength and size with this presidential-themed twist on classic 5x5 training.

Presidents Day Workout

Iconic U.S. presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both very strong in their principles and leadership skills – and in their honor for Presidents Day, I'm giving you a program to make you strong, too. Physical strength, I'm talking about, with some added muscle to go along with it.

My Presidents Day Workout combines two great training techniques – 5x5 and postactivation potentiation (PAP) – to boost your size and strength gains. For each exercise in the workout, you'll do one set of 5 reps, then one set of 1 rep, then four more sets of 5 reps. The one stipulation is that you need to try and get all 5 sets of 5 reps with the same weight. (You'll use a heavier weight on the 1-rep set.)

The 5x5 combined with 1x1 ties into Honest Abe and GW by way of Lincoln being on the $5 bill and Washington being on the $1 bill. But, of course, there's science to these rep ranges, the ordered in which they're performed and the specific techniques used.

The 1-rep set, as I mentioned above, is designed to provide postactivation potentiation. What this basically does is, it preps your nervous system to complete more reps on successive sets. In this case, it's designed to help you use more weight on the 5-rep sets to allow for better gains in strength and muscle mass.

Sets of 5 reps, on the other hand, have been used for decades to make improvements in both strength and size. This rep count is low enough to use heavy weight for strength, but not so low (like with sets of 1-3 reps) that hypertrophy takes a backseat. The amount of sets performed per exercise (5) ensures adequate volume for size gains.

Workout Guidelines

You must complete all 5 of the 5-rep sets with the same weight you started with, so you'll need to put some thought into weight selection before getting started. You can approach this a couple different ways:

  1. You can push yourself

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