Well this all has to do with training status and experience level. You telling me you have done countless 5x5's. Well in that case you should be pretty darn advanced and pretty darn hard muscle wise. But if there is a layer of fat covering your are not going to notice much. And I am speaking in relative terms. I am not going to guarantee that you as and individaul will be hard as a rock. Everybody has a little bit differnet amount of resting neural tone.
Could be that you are harder than you think in any case. Damn we need to think of a better way to say this. There are bound to be some jokes
Something that goes in as part of the "harder" thing is how you see some guys who have their muscles jumping all over the place and "rippling" and some who just appear big and bloated. You are not going to see this if there is too much fat of course. At the same time you are going to achieve some level of increased neural tone and "hardness" not matter what you do. I am just speaking of having it as a GOAL and as such the goal on that front would need to tend more toward strength development IN GENERAL.
I find I am saying "in general" a lot lately
But for a person with less experience or a true beginner all of this does not apply as much. The fitness responses are fairly uniform for beginners and there is not much difference, for them, between in terms of neural tone.