T Nation

Need to Go Back to the Basics

First of all, thanks for checking out my post. I’ve been out of the game for a while due to a motorcycle wreck and working through some life shit as most of you could probably relate to hence the reason I am under the beginner threads. Honestly I need a kick in the ass and need to strip back down to the basics of lifting again and came here hoping for guidance, support, and some shit talking haha.

Other than trying to maintain a somewhat clean diet and some light body work exercises, I haven’t touched iron in over a year. I’ve had people say just pick back up where you left off and all that shit. That’s not me because I recognize that I’m not at that level anymore.

So I’m asking for suggestions or anything else the community can offer. Had a long road of recovery and dealing with alcoholism and depression and the only thing that seems to keep my mind off of that shit anymore is turning wrenches and lifting weights.

Again I’m taking this approach in a new light. As a beginner again and relearning the basics. I started this past Monday back in the gym just to get a general guideline of where I’m at. To start with on Monday, I did a light cardio warm up for 20 minutes, 3 sets of 12 on the bench with 50lbs on the bar and struggled my ass off. Cross cable flys at 70lbs 3 sets of 12 and 50 pushups 5 sets 10 each. Impressive right? Haha. Wednesday I did a back workout, lat pull down at 85lbs 3 sets of 12, seated row at 50 3 sets of 12, and bent over dumbell row with a 20 lbs dumbell. I didn’t think the psychological aspect of seeing what weights I was doing was going to affect me but it sure as hell does.

Anyone have some suggestions on how to improve my workouts? I’m 28, 6’1”, 205 lbs.

There are dozens of articles on this website that contain workouts. Well worth looking into those.

Otherwise, one of my favorite books on training is “Powerlifting Basics Texas Style”. You can get it for $10 on kindle. It has an excellent beginner program in it in the chapter “Dear Mr. Kelso What Should I do?”, and some sound nutritional ideas in the Texas Roundtable section. Could be a great way to get your head down.

OR, if you google "Jim Wendler Help a Friend Get Stronger’, you’ll have a 6 month training plan laid out for you soup to nuts.


9-10 sets for a Muscle Group is pretty standard for Body Part Split or a “Bodybuilding Routine.”

So if you keep doing what you’re doing, adding shoulder day and then leg day, you’re right on track!

Struggling with weights that were once below warm ups for you does suck. You might think about doing some different, or new-to-you lifts for awhile. Dumb stuff that you don’t normally do, and have no idea what weights are “good” or “bad.” Like dumbbell squeeze press for chest or inverted rows for back.

If you can just keep showing up and getting the sets in, you’ll improve from super awful to just plain bad pretty quickly. Then you can get back to more “regular” stuff.


Somewhat similar to @FlatsFarmer above, when coming back from injury, I would suggest wiping your PR slate clean. So there is no “I used to lift this,” because you are a new dude. I know it seems silly, but I do think it helps to have “post-wreck PRs” because it will keep you motivated.


If you’re a beginner(I’m assuming you are since you posted in this forum), it’s best to do the basics with a focus on develop technique anyway.

Doesn’t mean you can’t add in some fluff just to experiment a bit after that, though.

One things I’m gonna add that people don’t normally tell beginners.

LEARN HOW TO DO SIDE RAISES PROPERLY. This seems to even be a problem people who have been training for years have IME, and their results show it. Think about using the muscle to move the weight, not how close your “form” looks in the mirror to “standard form”.

My 2 cents.


It’s great that you decided to come back. How’s it going now? After a break like that, it’s best to start simple, don’t take on too much. I’m sure everything will work out.