If you lift for aesthetics like most people, you'll probably want to switch things up every so often and target certain muscle groups for growth. This is where the traditional 5x5 seems to fall short. Sure you can modify it yourself and add a few things, but that hardly makes it ideal for "bodybuilding." For maximum hypertrophy you need a different style of training. Plus it never hurts to change things up, say 12 weeks of 5x5 and 12 weeks of volume work. Then you can go back to the 5x5 or a powerlifting style routine and build your strength and be able to use heavier weights for higher reps when you return to the volume.

This is not my original routine, it was written by a friend of mine who is an NPC bodybuilder for another forum I moderate so I'm re-posting it here. It may seem like a lot but its not that extreme, its basic entry level stuff even for natural bodybuilders. It's not easy but certainly not impossible to finish and your body will adapt after a few weeks. Another important thing to remember is that nothing is set in stone here so you don't have to follow it to the letter, its just a base/template for you to go off of. As you become more experienced and learn to listen to your body you can play with the exercise selection and change things around and add things like drop sets.

4 sets leg extension 10-15reps (keep it light, this is just to get blood in the legs)
4 sets squat 6-10 reps
3 sets leg press 10-12 reps
4 sets leg curl 10-12 reps
3 sets stiff legged deadlift or walking lunges (hamstring or quad, pick one and alternate every so often or whichever you think needs more work)

4 sets incline DB or barbell bench 8-12 reps
3 sets flat DB or barbell bench 8-12 reps
3 sets DB fly or machine fly (pec deck) 12-15 reps, focus on squeezing at the top
2 sets weighted dips


4 sets bodyweight pullups: up to 15 reps (add weight if 4x15 is too easy)
4 sets bent over row barbell or DB row 8-12 reps
3 sets front pulldown, wide or narrow (switch it up) 8-10 reps
3 sets cable row 6-10 reps
Behind the head pulldowns(yeah they're bad blah blah blah): 2 sets 15 reps Medium easy weight...just squeeze.

FRIDAY - shoulders/arms
3 sets DB press or front military 8-10 reps
3 sets side laterals 10-12 reps
3 sets rear lateral machine or DB 10-12 reps
6 sets shrugs behind the back for 3 sets and to the front for 3

3 sets 10-15 rope pushdown
3 sets skullcrushers or DB extensions 6-10 reps
3 sets reversed push down (palms facing) 8-10 reps

3 sets barbell curl or e-z curl bar 8-12 reps
3 sets preacher machine or db/barbell 8-12 reps
2 sets hammer curl db or rope 10-15 reps
wrist curls 13-20 reps 2 sets

-Do abs on Monday and Thursday

-Do calves Tuesday and Friday.

-KEEP THE REST INTERVALS SHORT. 30-60 seconds between sets, no more. This is very important as it will fatigue the hell out of your muscles AND improve your conditioning.

-Alternate squats with deadlifts every week or two weeks if you want.

-Do your cardio normally and adjust depending on whether you're bulking or cutting.

-If you want to do this in a 3 day split, you can go chest/back, legs, shoulders/arms.

One nice thing is this allows for variation in the number of reps and such you do. If you want to go heavy one week you can do sets of 6, if you want to lighten it up and go for a better pump you can go 12-15. The most important thing for growth is forcing as much as blood as possible into the muscle. Just don't go under 6 reps. You'll still build plenty of strength even though this is not designed for strength or athletic purposes.