T Nation

Extended Time Away and Getting Back Under the Bar


Hi folks, I’m getting back under the bar after an extended time away from the gym. Life got in the way and I let it for several years. I am trying to decide how I want to program myself with 5/3/1. I am thinking something like:
Squat 5/3/1
Stiff deadlift 5x5
Ab wheel 5x5 ish

Bench press 5/3/1
pin press or Skull crushers 5x5

Dead lift 5/3/1
Chins 5x as many as I can (might not be 5 at this point)
high pulls 5x5

Press 5/3/1
Bent rows 5x5
hanging leg raises 5x 20

I will be doing agile 8 daily, weight vest (40 lbs) walking while pushing my son in a stroller at least 4 days a week and jump rope after weights every workout. I need to lose a small amount of body fat but don’t want to loose much body weight.
Oppinions? Should I try different accessory lifts? Do I need more volume than this??
Oh. I’m 38 Y/O 6’6" 240. limited access to equipment as I just bought a power rack and am working out in my garage. I’ve been doing some straight linear progression with 8x8 since Christmas.
Thanks in advance.


Why not follow one of the tried and tested 5/3/1 plans in existence?

I don’t ask that with snark. I’m am legitimately curious.


I really like the idea of the BBB plan but I have read that Jim says it is not not not for beginners and even though I used to train hard I feel like at this point I’m starting as very much a newbie. Also these are the assistance exercises I have equipment to do in my personal small garage gym.


I am far from the definitive voice around here. When I did the upper/lower style 5/3/1 split, I preferred for my supplemental lift to either be FSL, SST, or a lighter version of the other main movement. I didn’t program stuff like skull crushers or high pulls. I just superset rows and chins with the pressing movement and did some bicep/tricep stuff at the end if I felt like it or if the game on the TV at the gym was exciting.

Are you set on lifting four days a week? If not, you might like the full body template.

Most of the time I see people here advocate 5s Pro and/or full body after a layoff.

Your plan doesn’t look suicidal. It keeps the volume down and hits the main lifts. The accessory work is different than what I would suggest, but who the hell am I? It seems like a Wendler-written 531 plan would be more efficient, but I’m not your coach. If you like blazing your own trail and writing your own plan, more power to you. Especially if that keeps you motivated.

But do consider some of his templates. They’re pretty good.


I may dig the book back out and look at his specific templates. In the main 5/3/1 he kind of leaves accessory lifts up to the individual but I’m definitely not an expert in programing.
I like lifting 4 days a week. I work three 12 hour shifts so I’m home with my son four days, might as well spend a half hour in the gym and an hour walking with him. I put in the high pulls because my shoulders, traps and upper back need all I can give them and I prefer pin presses to skull crushers but do them for a change up pretty regularly. I hope to get a glute ham raise soon but that will be next spring at best.
I am keeping the volume pretty low because I get fatigued super fast when the weight gets any kind of heavy. Its gotten better the more I push myself but I can always add volume when I have a better capacity to push and recover.


Stroller pushing was one of the best forms of cardio I ever did.

You’re right about accessory work.

Remember, order your lifting like this:

Main lift (Big four)
Supplemental (Helps the main lifts)


Hey Bud- I’d move the chins to bench day- the hanging leg raises to dead day, and then insert another pushing exercise on the Press day

  1. Squat/ stiff deads/ wheel
  2. BP/ chins/ Football bar extensions
  3. Deads/ high pulls/ leg raises
  4. Press/ Bent rows/ JM Presses

It’s kind of like the old triumvirate template- which I used and loved for a long time.
FYI- I don’t know if what I am about to say is the right way to approach this, but I have been using this program for close to 10 years and it hasn’t hurt me: I generally don’t think of BBB, SSL, FSL, BBS, Jokers, or anything done after the 5-3-1 sets but still with the same exercise- as supplemental OR accessory.
To me- those additions are simply that- additions to the main lift work.

But if I do a cycle or two ssl for example- I’ll dial back the sup/access work.
Good luck!


Oh yea- I almost forgot-
Props on the vest and baby-walk
This is how you get shit done


Thanks! I hadn’t thought about JM presses. I like the way that looks changing chins to bench day. I was mostly thinking about getting the back work in and deloading my spine a little. Its humbling coming back after several years off. I’m still a big strong guy to the people I work with at the hospital but under the bar I feel like a twelve year old girl…
yes. thanks! I read Jim talk about weight vest walking and thought that’s a great idea. I can be with my son and get that in at the same time plus his stroller is added resistance. Found a reasonably priced 40 lb vest at walmart of all places too. My stride is too long to run with the “jogging” stroller so the vest makes walking a great option for me.