T Nation

Return to Gym After Almost a Year Off


I just apologize in advance for my english.

I started working out back in 2016 and I was 17. At first i did a bit of everything doing split workout but i didn’t like this way of training so i switched for a Pull Push leg program for about 2 or 3 years and then doing the fullbody waterbury workout for about a year. What I liked about the last was the short training sessions.

But with the covid 19 lockdown I stopped working out for about a years only doing few thing and I had a llot of time to reflect back on all these years I spent at the gym.

The gym will repopen 9 june 2021 in my country and I amm full motivated and have new goal to aim at the gym.

If I’m writting this topic it’s because after reading a few article I started to understand that I know nothing about gym even after all that time spent.

I want to make a proper come back and to have regular feedback about my training but unfortunately I know nobody that has work out knowledge in a scientific way.

First here are my goals :

  • I don’t want to have a bodybuilder look. I want a more detailled back, a bigger butt and leg and a bigger frame in general but not too big.
  • I want Strengh and flexibility.
    -I don’t think that I can train more than a hour and I prefer to train 3 to 4 day a week. I can go up to 5 if necessary.
    -I want in my training to be strong in the big tree and in push up and pull up.

I know that I have to process by step but I have time and I am patient.

Before building my work out There are few thing that I don’t understand at all

  • the rep range… can I mix it in one sessions for example doing 8-12 rep on a exercice then 15 to 20 rep on another both in the same workout.

-Resting, I always take 1 min or under for resting, going up to 90sec for taxing exercice but that’s all.

In 2 weeks I will go on vacation from 2 june to 9 june.

I was first planning to calculating my 1, 3, 5, 8 RM for the big tree but is it neccesary since I am just going back to the gym ?

I am willing to work out in the following week I have a rack and a Bench press at my disposal and a few barbell and machine.

I just don’t know how to organize my plan. Before All my sport sessions rotated around Squat and deadlift variation mostly, I liked bench press too but I was weak at this exercice.

I am waiting for your advice.

Thank you very much

Yes, that’s fine. Just make sure you’re training intensity is there. Somewhere around RPE 8 will get you gains.

Rest as long as you need to to perform the next set without losing more than a rep or 2. Usually this is longer for compound exercises. I have to rest up for 4 or 5 minutes sometimes on heavy squats and deadlifts. Usually about 3 minutes for bench. And 1-2 minutes or so for everything else. This will very depending on the person and program though.

When I’m coming back after a break I always start out a bit lighter than I could. Don’t try maxing anything out. Ease into it.

Find a program that is customizable. Put emphasis on the parts you want to build up. Example, hip thrusts, cable pull throughs, hamstring curls, etc for the accessory movements. You can even do this with 3x5 or 5x5, just add the accessory movements at the end of the workout.

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Thanks man I will take your advice into account and create a workout.

I will post it later.
I think I will go for a fullbody because I love doing full body…

so here 's my plan for the incoming week with the tools I HAve rightnow

tuesday :

High Squat 4x8 to 12
Bent over barbell 4x8 to 12
Inclinated push up 4x 20-25 or 8-12 if I put a weight on my back
Skull crusher 3x10
barbell curl 3x10
Another exercice ?

thursday :
Bench Press 4x8 to 12
Pull up 4x8
military Press 4x8 to 10
Low squat 3x10
standing calf raise 3x15 to 25


Deadlift 4x10 to 12
Dumbell bench press
upright row 3x8 to 12
Chin up 3×failure or a rep near it
Lunge 3x8 - 12
Leg extension 3x8 to 12
seated calf raise 3x15-25 I am thinking about doing these 3 exercice in a row

Thanks for your advice

Honestly, not many beginners write decent programs but I don’t see anything that terrible here. I’d probably just make the pushups 4 sets to failure, since they’re pushups, and do the same thing with pullups. Some straight legged deadlifts to make sure your hams are getting enough love wouldn’t hurt occasionally, but depending on how you naturally deadlift they may not be necessary.

While I think the best thing is to follow a written program at this stage, I’m also a big fan, these days, of “try it out and see how you like it.”

You also need to figure out what sort of progression you’ll be doing. Are you going to add weight only when you can complete 12 reps in all 4 sets? Or are you looking to add weight when you can hit 12 reps in one set? It’s up to you. Do it for a couple months, report back and let us know how it’s going.

I’ve been going to the gym for years and still have not idea what I’m up to 90% of the time. I get by with good luck and hard work (in truth I have a coach).

However “okay” your plan is. And it looks okay.Take 1 bit of advice - use a programme written by a pro. Here are some links:

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I actually see several problems with this program.

No rear delt work, no abs, you said you want to have a bigger butt, then squats shouldn’t be done at the end of the workout. Add some glute exercises like hip thrusts and cable pull throughs. Biceps can be hit twice a week, you can sub pull-ups for chin-ups to hit them. You’re also hitting chest 3 times per week, it’s probably too much, switch push-ups out for diamond pushups or tricep dips…

It’s full body, everything would be hit 3x a week theoretically, and one of his “chest” days is just 4 sets of pushups. He’s doing 7 sets of weighted chest exercises and 4 sets of pushups a week. That’s too much? Meanwhile, his triceps are being worked on the pushups, skulls, bench press, military press, and dumbbell bench press every week. They’re already getting more love than his chest is. His biceps are also being hit with bent over barbell rows, barbell curls, pull ups, and upright rows.

He’s already doing squats at the beginning of the workout on mondays, he’s just hitting them at the end on the day where he’s prioritizing bench press.

I agree about no abs and adding a glute exercise if that’s a goal, but 100% disagree about 3x a week chest being too much, especially given that’s literally what 3x a week full body means, and that adding 4 sets of bodyweight pushups is too much. I do 100 nearly every day.

I’ll clarify, as I see your point, and perhaps I jumped the gun on what I wrote. He is training the same chest movement 3x per week. Flat bench, dumbbell bench, push-up. I think It would be more optimal to break that up into different movement patterns. In my experience arms recover a lot faster and you can pretty much hit them hard every other day, while chest is the slowest to recover. I think push-ups to failure 2 days before heavy bench is too much as it would affect the amount of weight he could lift in heavy bench day.

I’ll also add that I’ve never trained full body 3x week, so I could be a little out of my element. Maybe I’ll give it a try :slight_smile:


Appreciate the clarification - definitely see what you meant.

I also further agree on training the same chest movement, especially because, me personally - for chest development - I HATE the flat bench.

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Thanks for your feedback

I’ve édited my message

For the abs I’m doing it on off day or doing some leg hanging raise after a session but I thought that there was no point to write it.

This is my training for the time being because I don’t have a lot of tool for the time being like I said so I can’t really target rear delt or doing hip thrust but when my gym will reopen I will adapt my plan.

Than you very much.

Here’s a basic template I recommend to beginners that have mastered all the basic movements or to someone returning after a long layoff. I’ve added notes for simple progression on every movement, either adding weight or volume depending on the movement (I find it better earlier on to advance pulling movements more so with volume than just load. Building a bodybuilder back is beneficial to every lifting goal IMO.)

A FRONT SQUAT 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B RDL 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
C BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D GHR or LYING LEG CURL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A BENCH PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B T-BAR ROW 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C MILITARY PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
A BACK SQUAT 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B SNATCH-GRIP RDL 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
C SPLIT SQUAT 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D BB HIP THRUST 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B CHEST-SUPPORTED DB ROW 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C HIGH INCLINE DB PRESS (~60 degrees) 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
D PRONATED LAT PULLDOWN or PULLUP 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A DB CURL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
B LYING DB TRICEP EXTENSION 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C DB LATERAL RAISE 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D CABLE FACE PULL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
E/F optional CALVES/ABS

For exercises that have descending reps, i.e. 4x8, …4x5, add 5-10lbs per week on upperbody exercises, and 10-20 lb on lower body. For exercises with ascending reps, i.e. 4x8,…4x15, try to keep the same weight each week. So basically you’ll either be progressively overloading by adding weight OR by adding volume on every exercise.

On all pulling movements (rows, pulldowns, curls, facepull) squeeze each rep for a 2 sec count at the peak.

For quicker workouts, all the exercises can be done as antagonist superset pairs, i.e. UPPER 1 can be:
A1: Bench press
A2: T-bar row
B1: Military press
B2: Chinup



So I décided to do the program you wrote and I was just wondering if I shall do all the days in a row or 2 days and 1 day of rest and 3 days of training than 1 days of rest

Thank you for your reply

If this is in response to me I’d recommend something like:
M: Lower 1
Tu: Upper 1
W: rest
Th: Lower 2
F: Upper 2
Sa: Accessory
Su: rest

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