I am very eager to start StrongLifts 5X5, but am apprehensive about how to balance it with my other physical activities. I know that recovery is key to the program’s success.


I am a fit female in my 20s. My goal is to build a better base of functional strength, but I have no insane lifting aspirations. I’m a novice recreational boxer and avid longtime equestrian, so my workouts need to fit those athletic goals.

Here is the proposed schedule.

  • Sun: Core (~30 min)

  • Mon: Box & intervals (~60 min)

  • Tues: StrongLifts

  • Wed: Core (~20 min)

  • Thurs: StrongLifts

  • Fri: Box (~50-80 min)

  • Sat: StrongLifts

The amount of core work is needed for my riding. So far I’ve been using those days as “recovery” because, while quite difficult, those workouts no longer wear me out. Boxing is a challenging mix of circuit conditioning and actual punch work, but I am reasonably accustomed to it.

This schedule is not any more “workout time” than I’m currently doing (and I’d be dropping steady-state cardio and dumbbell work that I now realize was a bit pointless), but still I wonder if there’s not enough recovery.


  1. Is this schedule unreasonable?
  2. Should I drop StrongLifts to twice weekly in light of all these other activities?
  3. Currently, I’m also doing a lot of pushup and chin-up work every other day (basically greasing the groove) and am unsure of how to combine that with this already rather packed schedule. Would it be crazy to add pushups and chin-ups to StrongLifts? Should I wait until I’m satisfied with my strength in those exercises to start StrongLifts? 3.
  • Stronglifts is designed as a stand-alone full body program 5x5 of these exercises at heavy weight is very taxing. IMO If you're wanting to incorporate all these different fundamentals of fitness (strength, power, capacity, balance(core)) a good option would b Crossfit. 1hr 6 days a week. Find a good box with good coaching and programming.
    – sMaN
    Sep 6, 2015 at 23:05

3 Answers 3



Since your goal is to develop functional strength, StrongLifts is a great program for that. To get the best of StrongLifts, it's recommended to perform them 3 times a week. One of the reasons is because since you're starting with a low weight (empty bar), it would take a longer time for you to start lifting heavy weights.

Since core days are recovery days for you (your schedule will be out of whack if this assumption is false), your schedule should be fine, at least temporarily. As the weights get heavier, your bottleneck regions will be your legs, arms, and shoulders. Keep those in mind.

At the initial stages of StrongLifts, you might be able to add pushups and pull ups to the mix. However, as the load gets heavier, you might not have enough juice for pushups and pullups. In any case, start it and if/when you reach that bridge, adjust accordingly.

  • I'd add that core work on the day before Stronglifts may leave you exposed to injury. Your core is what supports and protects your spine. If it's fatigued from a previous workout it won't be as effective at performing this task. You may be able to handle it while the weights are light. Once it gets hard, I'd move the core work to the Stronglift days (after the main workout).
    – Tyler
    Sep 30, 2014 at 15:01

This schedule looks pretty good! On the SL site he discusses how to break up rest when adding in intense cardio here. Assuming your core days are not too much, everything looks in order, though I'm a little curious about what that work consists of. Your core strength will be tremendously increased if you follow the SL plan with correct form. Just don't wear those muscles out before your weight training as having a stable core is essential for good lifts.

Good luck!

  • I vary the core work a lot, but it's along the lines of pikes, resisted reverse crunches, planks, windmills, heavy weighted crunches, etc., done with almost no rest. I've found this kind of routine nicely mimics the demands of my equestrian sport.
    – half-pass
    Aug 15, 2014 at 21:56

If you wanted to continue with push up/pull up's also, a lot of people have found gains supplementing their normal workout routines with a PLP routine.

Starting at 10 reps each, do your push ups, lunge, pull ups, and each day increment the number of reps by one. So "Day One" do 10 pushups, 10 pull ups, 10 lunges (each leg), "Day Two" do 11 of each, "Day 30" you're doing 40 reps of each.

More info at:

  1. NerdFitness
  2. T-Nation
  3. google
  • Hmm. This seems very unrealistic. There's no way I can add 1 pushup and 1 pullup every single day for more than a few days.
    – half-pass
    Oct 2, 2014 at 4:34
  • Generally the program starts at 10 each, but expects one can do more than that to begin with. If not, start at 1. Reps can be broken into sets, however probably advisable to be capable of a at least a few reps to begin with. I only just started the program, and do not claim to be an expert by any means, just summarising what I've read.
    – sMaN
    Oct 4, 2014 at 9:53
  • QUOTE: Complete your required reps each day in as many sets as you need, whenever you need to. The goal is to do it in as few sets as possible, but enough so that you can complete each rep with proper form.
    – sMaN
    Oct 4, 2014 at 10:04
  • QUOTE: Timing of the repetitions isn’t important. Take as long as you need between sets and circuits, but try to shorten that time as you go. What IS important is that you complete your assigned reps, every day, sometime after you wake up and before you go to bed.
    – sMaN
    Oct 4, 2014 at 10:05
  • To whoever downvoted, it seems polite, and make for a better community, that if you were to down vote an answer, you'd give a reason.
    – sMaN
    Sep 13, 2015 at 21:33

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