T Nation

Program Suggestions?


Ok so it’s been 20 yrs since my last powerlifting meet and it has been a regret ever since. I am to a point in my life that I can finally get back at it. I am 39 now and am obviously not going to squeeze it out a bench shirt and go at it on day 1. My question is where to begin. Does anyone have a good workout plan that I could start with and change to my liking after I use it for a month? Thanks for any help.


How long has it been since you have been in the gym? Have you been (in)consistently training during this time? What programs have you run in the past?

Do you know your current lifts?

Height/weight/BF% estimate?

The more information you can provide, the better the answer you will get.


I have inconsistently been back in the gym the last two yrs. Usually do a leg day that consists of squats 4 sets of 8 around 315. Also work the quads and hams plus calves. Mostly on a machines. Then a chest sholder and tricep day. Again 4 sets of 8 after warm up usually first set is @185 then work up to 225 to failure on last set on flat bench. incline and decline. Then shrugs and some misc machines for 4 sets of 8. Arms day with miscellaneous curls and I do some core work as well. Then I try to do a day of cardio on a treadmill or something. I’m 5’5" 220 with a bm of maybe 15-20? Total guess there.


Sounds a bit like you’re just spinning your wheels at the moment. It’s not super specific to powerlifting and it sometimes seems like a kind of default answer on these boards, but I think it would be a good idea to get on 5/3/1. First, the progression is not so quick that you’ll plateau quickly, secondly, it’ll expose you to a variety of rep ranges, thirdly, you’re still free to adjust assistance work as things develop without having to find something new for your main lifts. Don’t forget to include pulling movements like rows and chins/pull ups and start with a conservative training max! You’ll find a number of 5/3/1 templates on this site and the e-book(s) is/are worth the money.
Once you’ve got a meet in mind you can still switch to a more specific peaking program.


I’d start by training a classic body building split. If your out of practice this is a good way to get back into the swing of things. Get used to going back to the gym, Get some blood and sugar in your muscles, and get comfortable being back under some weight.

Good luck man, I don’t think there is ever a bad time to pick it back up.:+1:


And for deadlift, I stand by using the sstp chart. Works wonders. Once you feel like your back in shape, choose a program like the cube or something ease your way back into the sport. It’s not a race at any age.


I used to do a similar version when I was in school but it has been so many years ago I couldn’t remember it. I do remember I had great gains with it. Thanks!!!


Any template in this thread, especially ‘Getting ready to powerlift’…


I also came back from a long (8 year) layoff. I learned the hard way that you need to start with general training. Pick a bodybuilding split that works for you and build some muscle mass and foundation. Include all the peripheral stuff like calves, forearms, neck and abs. Next If I had to do it over again I would use the Starting Strength novice progression to ease back into heavy training. When progress stops, I would recommend one of the 5/3/1 templates. If you program intelligently 5/3/1 could last a looooong time. If you want to change after that you can move on to A Conjugate system. Your form needs to be ingrained before you do this though.

Don’t make the mistake I made by jumping right into power training. All it got me was a series of minor injuries. Plan on two years before you compete again. DONT RUSH.

Good Luck.


By chance was the program called Bigger Faster Stronger?


We always called it the Russian workout. My coach went to train with the
Russians in the 80s and brought it back. It was a similar workout based on
percentage of Max. It helped coming out of football season when we only did
maintenance lifting back into training for meets.


There are a lot of programs out there. Pick one that is more PL’ing specific that you either identify with or believe will work and work it to the bone. It’s really that simple.