T Nation

Return to Training


I had my kidney removed on October 1st (cancer). My doctor says I can return to lifting on the 23rd of October. My last contest in July I got 365,275,400 at 290lbs(I had just returned to training in January after a LONG layoff). I will be 49 in December.

I have been running 5/3/1 for powerlifters up until my surgery but my gains the last few months have been non-existant and my recovery sucked. When I went to my family doc to check my T levels to see if that was the problem, they found the tumor on my kidney. Doc says that was the reason and I should be able to recover and make gains more like a normal OLD MAN now.

For the last week, I have been doing only ROM movements/stretches as well as deep knee bends (barless squats), next week I am allowed to do squats and bench with 5lb db. I have been trying to figure out what to do after that though. Some of my ideas.

1.Start with a percentage of my last TM (maybe 50%)
2.Start all over with SS till I hit a wall again.
3.Do a week of light stuff then retest to find a new TM
4.Something else I haven't thought about

I originally planned on lifting Nov 8th but that is out of the question. My goal is to compete December 14th. I want (and NEED) to get back into it as soon as possible.

So anyways, If you have any recomendations or maybe someone you know that has already gone though this, It would be greatly appreciated.


I don’t have any advice for you, hopefully my reply bumps this back to the top and someone can chime in. I just wanted to show some admiration for your attitude to return to training regardless of adversity - that is inspirational.

Best of luck.


Thanx for the bump and the encouragement. I was kinda hoping someone had maybe gone through something similar.


Anyone of those things will do - what you do prior depends on what you want to do in the future. I always recommend the 5’s PRO for beginners in this situation and then do some FSL work. Do this for 3-6 weeks.


Thank you for responding Jim.
This looks like the way I am probably going to go


I read up on the 5’s Progression, and I will probably will be doing this, but I do have one question.

How do you recommend going about figuring the TM on the first day? do a test day? work up to a 5rm max? start off with a percentage of my pre-surgery TM?

Again thank you for your time and information


Just a bump to tell all that I competed at the RPS XXX December 7th in Columbus, Ohio.
the area I had my surgery felt great during my whole training but did have other problems such as back and my right knee (almost dropped out due to my back since it wasn’t getting any better) but once i hit my 1st squat they both felt great.

Missed my 3rd Squat(5 lb pr) on depth (Stupid, Stupid, Stupid…soon as I started back up I knew i screwed up)
Missed my 3rd Bench(5 lb pr again), don’t know why, have to study video.
Got my 3rd Dead 400 (40lb PR), left at least 10lbs on the platform

I did match my pr total and won first in masters 2 275lb class.

Thank you Jim for your advice, it helped tremendously…wished I could have had the chance to talk to you at the competition.


Congratulations man. What’s next? :wink:


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