T Nation

Getting Back Into It - Here's the Plan

Hey all,

I’ve been lurking T-Nation for a while, and really enjoy all the information this place has to offer. So I’m hoping that some of the more experienced lifters out there can have a look at my plan and give me some tips for getting back into lifting.


I’m 26 years old, 5’10", 173lbs, ~16% bf (guessing based on past measurements and how I look today).

About a year ago I had a subacromial decompression on my left shoulder, and finally I’m able to work out without pain again (it had been about 2 years). Previously when I lifted, it was 90-minute marathons and while I did get stronger, I burned out frequently.


Now that I’m getting back into it, my primary goal is to look good with my shirt off (something I think we all want), but I would also like to be strong.

Here’s my current approach – let me know what you think…


2-way split, training M/W/F (i.e., each body part 3 times in 2 weeks)

Alternating between heavy (3 x 6-8 reps) and light (2 x 12-15 reps) days.

DAY 1: Back, biceps, external rotators

  • Pullups (heavy day) or pulldowns (light day)
  • DB rows
  • Bent-over DB flyes
  • Standing DB curls
  • Lying external rotations

DAY 2: Legs, chest, shoulders, triceps, abs

  • Squats
  • DB bench
  • Standing DB OH press
  • Decline EZ bar skullcrushers
  • Weighted swiss ball crunches

A word about squats: I have VERY tight hips, which makes it difficult for me to go ATG without “tucking” my ass under my lower back. So currently I’m just working on my form doing bodyweight squats holding onto a broomstick planted in front of me. I’m also doing SMR with a roller as often as possible (4-5 times a week), which seems to be helping with the flexibility.

Needless to say, once I’m happy with my form and no longer need the broomstick, I plan to start adding weight and also incorporate deadlifts.


I’m counting my calories every day and aiming for a macronutrient split of about 40/30/30, which I get close to on most days. I’m sticking around maintenance calories in the hopes that as a relative (re-)beginner, I can change my body composition for a while without gaining fat.

Any thoughts on this plan?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m also doing 20 minutes of moderate cardio on a treadmill after each lifting session, for health more than anything else.

The “butt tuck” with squats is usually caused by tight hamstrings or glutes. You probably stretch those out. If you’ve never done a proper squat, stumptuous.com has some good articles to build up to it.

Also, is there any reason you’re not deadlifting right away? Deadlifts don’t really require much flexibility. You just bend over and rip the weight off of the ground. At least for me, the deadlift was the easiest of the basic lifts to learn. If you can, you might as well do them!

Yeah, I’m stretching hams, glutes, quads, ITB (ouch), calves, groin… it’s all tight. Desk jobs do have their downside. :\

The reason I’m not doing deadlifts is because I’d be using a relatively low weight, which means I have to squat down low to pick up the bar – which again brings in the flexibility issue. It only becomes a non-issue when I’ve got at least a 45 on each side of the bar, which could take a while as I build back my strength. Any suggestions to get around this?

If you don’t have access to bumper plates, I find that stacking plates underneath the plates on the loaded barbell is a pretty good way to get the bar to the right height. Then again, there’s nothing particularly wrong with starting low, and sometimes it can help (snatch grip deadlifts, deadlifting from a deficit, etc.). Even if you have to go low for deadlifts, you will never have to go as low as an ATG squat, so flexibility will be less of an issue.

For the flexibility thing, I just got reminded in another thread that there are a lot of other reasons for it, flexibility only being one of them. Check the thread “Back Round at the Bottom of Squats” (or something similar) for a link to a pretty good article. I forgot the article name, else I would have linked it directly, sorry!

Cool, I’ll look into that. Thanks.

How about the rest of the program? Seem reasonable?

I don’t really want to get into critiquing your program, since I don’t know enough about it to give you good info without potentially giving bad advices. I only provide the info that I (think I) know.

In starting, I would really recommend taking a program that one of the authors here has written and doing all the movements correctly. If you read the articles here, you’ll get a good feel for what should be in a program.

If you need a little more guidance, try searching for Vroom’s beginner thread (he’s a regular poster around here). I forget if it’s still pinned. The post links to a lot of good articles for beginners to read.

Hmmm… so you’re suggesting that I throw out this program completely? I’ll definitely consider that, though I’d prefer to know why this particular program might not work as well as others. Just trying to make informed decisions here… :slight_smile:

Deadlift from a power rack, if there is free ones available at your gym.

Just put the pins at a comfortable height with, pick the bar up, step back, and pull. You only have to go as low as you’re comfortable.

Anybody else have any thoughts about this program? :slight_smile: