T Nation

Give Me a Program!


Hey folks... long time no post...

Also, it's been awhile since I've really lifted, and I need to get back into the game.

I'm currently 45, about 6' tall, and about 165 lbs. I'm not ripped if you catch my drift. My day job sitting in front of a computer, and the recent birth of my beautiful daughter, are my current excuses for not being in shape. I'm not a mound of blubber, of course, but many more pounds than I'd like to admit have shifted from muscle weight to "other".

In the past, I've loved the stuff Chad Waterbury has done. Waterbury Method was one of my favorite workouts. I think I've forgotten more than I remember about lifting, unfortunately, so I don't feel comfortable just jumping right in and building my own program.

Hence my question... does anyone have some good suggestions for a program to get me back into the game. I mean, if all else fails, I can just recycle the Waterbury Method until I get the grooves greased. But wondering if there are any other decent ones out there others would suggest.


Welcome aboard. First, if you're 6' tall and weigh 165lbs, you can't be terribly fat, but I suspect you also need to add some muscle.

I'll be the first to point out that apparently if you do NOT adopt St. Wendler's 5/3/1 program you'll be eaten and killed on this board, so that's one possibility.

The other choice is the 5x5 Starting Strength program, which is good in that you start off light but progress pretty quickly, which is good for somebody returning to training.

Finally, as somebody who was 40 when his daughter was born, I sympathize with trying to keep up with an infant at your age :wink:


5/3/1 or MJ will kill and eat you!!!! Seriously, though. 5/3/1...It works this this old ass. And welcome the home of the 'gariatric olympics'.


Here's my view,

I think if you're coming back into lifting after a long layoff, simple linear progression will give you the best start and quickest progress.

I don't think a program that works off percentages of max lifts, like 5/3/1, is ideal for a beginner because it's progression is quite slow and doesn't take advantage of the huge, quick gains you can make as a beginner or returning lifter.

I would start with something like 5x5 and increase the weights each week until you plateau and then maybe try 5/3/1.

Welcome and happy training.


I think a three day a week, full body program is a good way to jump back in, with 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps for each movement and don't do any reps to failure. Squats, deadlift/or stiff leg dead, bench, overhead press, chins, rows. Start light, add 5lbs. a week. After the first month, switch to 5 x 5. Then, the next month, either repeat 4 x10 or start thinking about a split.

Also, a good way to get back into it is with bodyweight circuits. Bodyweight squats, pushups, pullups, dips, Australian (horizontal) pullups, and maybe some dumbbell OHP's and curls. Do one exercise almost to failure and then move to the next exercise until you finish a circuit, rest 2 min., repeat until you puke. Do this several times a week and your conditioning will improve dramatically.

After three or four months, you could switch to a program like 5-3-1.

Good luck,



Oh she just makes sure I don't get too much sleep. Keeping up with the 7yo and 16yo are much harder on my sanity!

I might also point out that I work out on the squat rack in my own garage, so circuits aren't really workable. But great feedback, guys. Thanks!


as rug and ag both pointed out, do 5/3/1 or we'll kill and eat you.

Although farmer makes a good case for Starting Strength. that is Mark Rippetoe's novice program, and will definitely take advantage of quick newby gains if you have not been lifting seriously. also you can get SS at most libraries.


I have to agree with this 100%. One of the beauties of starting out is that the gains are seemingly exponential.

Welcome and congrats on the new baby! Three kids spaced so far apart. Wow. You sure like to drag out the parenting thing.