T Nation

Powerlifting After Cancer

long story short my brother just got done his last radiation session and is back on the platform. normally i have a decent answer to a problem but im stumped a bit as to what to do here.

15 years old

before the lymphoma he was
240
lifts 315/255/405

during treatment he went down to
200

after he is currently sitting at 230
i had him come in an just hit everything a bit
squats were horrid no stability dropped the bar
bench 135 easy, seems like very little drop off
deadlift 225 easy

i was thinking an ultra high frequency 5 times a week
bench 3x5 95
squat 3x5 45
military 3x5 45
deadlift 5x1 135
lat pulls 3x10 50

add five pounds a day

on the surface this seems not plausible but the thinking is stick with this until progress slows then go to push pull

this is competely new to me and im hoping anyone can give me some insight on this whole rebuilding process

First off let me just say sorry for the hardships both your brother and the rest of your family must have gone through. Wish him the best of luck in the future.

Secondly, how’s his form? Normally I’d say it’s pretty shitty because of his age but you’re a good lifter so you probably don’t let him get away with shit form, correct?

Ok now on to my thoughts of the program. And I don’t have any personal experience with cancer survivors so take this with a grain of salt, but I would not suggest it. It is simply too high of frequency and IMO a beginner should not do that much unless it is to help establish form and/ or composure under heavy weights. For long term progress you should look to start slow and build. The easiest way I’ve found to bust through plateaus for me personally, and I’ve heard and read that others concur, is to increase frequency. So if he starts off with 5 days/week he doesn’t have much room for growth after that. I’d rather suggest a normal beginner program but just increase the weights as needed instead of by how much the program calls for. This will both let him start out lower frequency and boost his confidence. You can’t always put 25 pounds on to your lifts in a week but if a program says add 5 pounds and your adding even 15 that’s just going to provide encouragement and confidence. Thats my 2¢ anyway

I think it looks reasonable, all things considered. Honestly, any progression he makes should be viewed as a bonus. I think the real focus should be that he is doing SOMETHING. I lost my dad two years ago when his cancer came back. A lot of the time, I can’t help but think if he were more active it might not have come back or he may have had a better chance. Anyway, concerning your program, I really don’t see why it couldn’t work. Best wishes to you and your family.

EDIT: I’m sorry, after going back and rereading OP, I am little confused. Are you talking about doing just one of those lifts per day in a 5 day cycle, or are you saying do all those lifts 5 days per week? If it is doing all those lifts 5 days per week, then I think it’s too much. I would maybe think of doing something like starting strength, beginning with very conservative numbers.

Sorry to hear about your brother.

My suggestion is to take your time and build slowly. Work up over time. No programming necessary. Just train each day by feel until things begin to look better.

5 days/week is too much imo. Three days to start and work from there. Work the main lifts and get back in the groove. Don’t worry about weight or sets/reps. Just put in some work based on each day and how the weight feels.

Eventually you and him will know when its time to take it up but wait for it. Don’t be impatient trying to get back to where he once was. It’ll come.

Good luck and God bless.

thanks for all the kind words guys, it was a bit of a struggle but thats life and theres nothing to do except grind threw

I wanna bring up another thing and see if opinions change about the high frequency. His form is damn near textbook puts mine to shame, his first day back with the exception of squat all lifts were beautiful ,tension in all aspects of the lifts. Secondly hes been lifting for 3 years prior and ive had him running bulgarian system since day one

Its a weird thread because theres been a huge drop off in all lifts and i cant help but think a starting strength type routine would just do a disservice to progress because look at the numbers. Going up by 5 pounds a week it would take half a year to go up 100 pounds in a lift and honestly i think strength will return faster than that.

All that being said the layout above looks off a bit on second thought

After reading that is there a high frequency program that looks more solid for the situation?

Any feedback is appreciated because when it comes to programming laying off just doesnt exist so i think im gonna have to take advice on this one due to the unique nature