Returning to the Gym, How Long to Get Back to Old Strength Levels?

I’m going to get to return to a proper gym/barbell training on Tuesday after 1.5 years away from the barbell (COVID reasons). I"ll be following the beginner linear program from Candito Training HQ and do cardio 1-2x/week

I’ve been training consistently and pretty hard through this period and have unintentionally gained 13( maybe 14 as of this morning??), some of which I hope is muscle. I’ve also progressed quite well in the exercises I could do with the limited equipment. The problem is that no matter how many pistols squats and RDLs I do with a 45lb KB, it can’t compare with heavy squats and deadlifts

My question is: How long will it take for me to get back to my old strength LEVELS (2xbodyweight squat, 3xbodyweight deadlift… let’s not talk about the bench…)

I know this is very individual, so I’d love to hear anecdotes, suggestions …

You can do a weighted pistol squat with 45kg?


For me… After nearly a year off it took like 2 months to surpass my old level of strength

After my last hiccup I don’t think I’m going back to heavy deadlifting and the likes. It doesn’t appear inherently sustainable. Getting injured every 5-6 months is very irritating. I’m taking a page out of the @brickhead handbook and implementing more BW stuff alongside weights (sometimes heavy, but controlled) and now probably combat sports too!


There is no getting back. There is only where you’re at.

No one can say “It will take you 8 weeks to recover this amount of strength…” because it is interdependent on too many factors, like food intake, rest, stress levels and the like generally referred to as recovery.


I agree with @SkyzykS here. I think the mindset is a recipe for injury/ regression. I eventually had to come around to the idea I had pre-injury PRs and everything now is a post-injury PR. That way I can still push myself and feel good about it, without putting something I can’t handle on the bar, burying myself, and still feeling like a turd.

For you - that’s awesome you’ve gained weight; and if you can do a pistol squat with added weight that’s simply mind-boggling to me. I wouldn’t think about it as if you’ve lost strength and need to get back to that. Instead, you’ve spent a phase working on hypertrophy and supporting musculature - now you’re just going into a barbell phase.


Then there are the different conditioning elements too. At any given point I could/can run, swim, cycle any number of miles per time period, and my lift numbers were simply a reflection of my conditioning for that lift at that point in time.

So it’s all relative. That’s why I call any lift or element of s&c in general a state. It’s flexible and reflective of the time and effort emphasis of that period.

Or, like with Unreal, a previous PR can be met and surpassed.


Same concept as body composition, really. We all know we can’t just decide to eat big one day and gain a ton of muscle, or fast tomorrow and lose all our fat. We are wherever we are, like it or not, and we can just improve on that.


Keep in mind that I’m a midget with midget length legs :joy:

I’ve been able to do pistols since I was 8 so lots of practice
Recently hit a pr of 10/side with the 45


@TrainForPain @SkyzykS that makes sense. Thanks!


Thanks for the tag. You can still get busted from advanced, very difficult calisthenics though.

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I’m not looking at performing an iron cross on still rings or any crazy tendon snapping exercises.

The beneficial aspect to calisthenics is the rate of progressive overload. Injury is absolutely possible if you aren’t careful, but if you aren’t strong enough to do a planche/human flag or whatever… You aren’t going to be doing a planche/human flag

Unlike a deadlift where you can hitch and round the lower back to get more weight up, or the bench when you can arch and bounce… Even the squat has quite a bit of leeway with not going ATG, perhaps the knees buckle a little bit etc.

It’s much harder to “ego lift” with calisthenics and the slower rate of progression allows muscles/tendons and ligaments to slowly condition, thus reducing chances of injury.

What’s more, due to my fairly expensive hypermobility I find it very easy to go far down on ring dips/bar dips without any perceived discomfort. Can’t say the same for barbell bench press and OHP.

If you want to make it interesting we can do a race? I assume you’ll win as you’re already ahead of me and my mesh post surgery hasn’t healed enough for me to be doing pull-ups yet… But if you’re interested we could do like… First one to human flag held for X amount of time wins? Or first to ten consecutive muscle ups with X amount of weight added wins?

First to be able to do twenty pistol squats?

First to afford to be able to eat an entire avocado on toast for five consecutive days in a row?

First one to grow and harvest a quality passionfruit crop (listing totally irrelevant things now… And I WON!!!).

First to hike up a mountain and back?

First to collect a bunch of morgan silver dollars?

First to live on noodles for a week (I’ll win #brokestudentlife #hashtag #idespisesocialmediaandusehashtagsironically)

I’ve already done this many times already. It’s the reason I don’t have a mansion.

That, and Starbucks.

Can relate, my budget for a superyacht has been gutted through avocado purchases

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I think it’s gonna be impossible to wager a guess until you log a few weeks and know your true starting point. Let’s say you already hit a 1.75x bw squat by week 2; that’s drastically different than getting buried by 1x. I’d say after 4 weeks once some neurological adaptations have come heavily into play, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how rapid your gains will be. You picked a solid program. And pistol squats with 45lb KB?? Easily the sexiest thing I’ve read all month!


@unreal24278 @TrainForPain @SkyzykS @jskrabac @cyclonengineer

The pistols paid off!!! Just hit a PR of 195lbs on squat!!! (15lbs over old pr. Still 13lbs off of strength level, but still…)


I’m assuming gyms were closed? Hence the progression to weighted pistols and whatnot?

Never underestimate calisthenics/unconventional exercise. Look at how much gymnasts tend to bench press the first time they ever get under a bar.

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Well… deadlift took a big hit… :sob:

That’s awesome!

What does



I used to be able to squat 2xbodyweight. Bc of the weight gain, I’m 13lbs off of squatting 2xbodyweight

Come on - you’re educated enough to know that stuff is meaningless. Getting stronger is getting stronger and the ratio is going to vary. You didn’t get weaker if you drank a bottle of water during your session (regardless of what we learned in high school sports).