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View Full Version : how to get back into powerlifting after a few years off.



Densemode
08-21-2009, 09:08 AM
I'm 40 ( 334lbs 100lbs of fat) and a former powerlifter who is desperately tryng to get back into it. There are no powerlifting gyms around me, no monolift etc.. I train in a power rack at my local gym. I have boards, bands, chains, a dozen shirts , briefs, squat suits that all still fit.

I've been trying different things (westside, sheiko, 531) over the last 3 months and I have had set back after set back.

In the last month I strained my pec, strained my quad, and my lower back hurts when I walk around the super market. These injuries happen with light to moderate weight. I was using more weight the week before with no problems.

Today I wanted to see how the pec felt after a week off and I worked up to 185 and felt a burning my side delt closest to body. So I stretched and that did not help. I stopped before I tear a rotator or something. (happened twice a few years apart).

I moved on to squat. My shoulder flexibility is shot. I had to put my hands on the weights just to hold the bar. Same burning my my delt. Stretching is not doing anything. I worked up to 20 reps with 225 nice and deep so the quad strain is getting better.


I'm not sure how to train anymore. Any advice would be helpful. Did I start too soon with the westside, shieko, 531? I'm at a loss what to do now.

Does anyone have a template for washed up folks like me?

brihead301
08-21-2009, 09:20 AM
Why don't you start out on a basic beginner routine like starting strength. Also, after such a long layoff it would be a very smart idea to forget about your past numbers and start light. It's a difficult thing to do, I know this, but it's for the best. Good luck.

mattdunkin
08-21-2009, 11:05 AM
After a 6 year layoff I started back with a basic 4-on, 2-off bodybuilding routine just to build my mass and basic strength back bringing up a lot of smaller,unused muscles.This was after a pretty bad back injury and after about 3 months I switched to a Westside template.During my initial time back though,I did do a lot of GMs,stiff-leg deads,pulldown abs,etc.Just train smart and you'll be back in no time.

JK1
08-21-2009, 12:02 PM
I'm 40 ( 334lbs 100lbs of fat) and a former powerlifter who is desperately tryng to get back into it. There are no powerlifting gyms around me, no monolift etc.. I train in a power rack at my local gym. I have boards, bands, chains, a dozen shirts , briefs, squat suits that all still fit.

I've been trying different things (westside, sheiko, 531) over the last 3 months and I have had set back after set back.

In the last month I strained my pec, strained my quad, and my lower back hurts when I walk around the super market. These injuries happen with light to moderate weight. I was using more weight the week before with no problems.

Today I wanted to see how the pec felt after a week off and I worked up to 185 and felt a burning my side delt closest to body. So I stretched and that did not help. I stopped before I tear a rotator or something. (happened twice a few years apart).

I moved on to squat. My shoulder flexibility is shot. I had to put my hands on the weights just to hold the bar. Same burning my my delt. Stretching is not doing anything. I worked up to 20 reps with 225 nice and deep so the quad strain is getting better.


I'm not sure how to train anymore. Any advice would be helpful. Did I start too soon with the westside, shieko, 531? I'm at a loss what to do now.

Does anyone have a template for washed up folks like me?

I was in a similar situation when I was in my residency a few years back. I'd been lifting weights for years, but I had to take basically a year layoff during my internship, then when I started back up it seemed like I was hurt more than I was training. It wasn't until I got my head screwed on straight, "discovered" louie simmons, Dave tate, and Jim Wendlers online training information, and laid out a plan I started to actually accomplish anything.

What I'm going to recommend is based on what I did. The thing you can't forget that everyone is a bit different. Because of life, I took a couple of years. Depending on just how out of shape you are, it may take longer, or it may be shorter. The one thing you need to realize right now is that you that you are fat and out of shape. You aren't a SHW who's carrying extra bodyfat. You are a bloated couch potato. You admit that. You need to get your body back used to training or else you are going to get hurt. You have proven that.

Break up your training into 6-12 week blocks and go from there. The first training phase should be a preconditioning phase. Get back into the gym and get used to training again. DO NOT expect to try to lift the weights you did before. Thats not important, it will come with time and then you will set PR after PR. What is important is to get moving and get back the neuromuscular connections that enable you to lift with good form. This is the time I'd really focus on things like dragging a sled, stretching, basic mobility work and relearning how to lift like you should. You won't need special eqiupment for this, just get your ass into the gym and keep coming back.

After that initial training block, move into a conditioning phase more centered on weight training, but again don't be pushing for max singles. Get used to handling heavier weights, get used to training harder, kick the intensity up a knotch and go from there. You may do 2 to 4 12 week training cycles at this level. You are still working hard on form, hard on getting yourself back into shape, but you are also moving more weight.

In my case I had two forced layoffs over the year or so I did this: I blew out an umbilical hernia pulling a sheet of linoleum off my kitchen floor and broke my ankle walking across a reststop parking lot (i'm a freaking clutz). So because of those, I had two times where I basically took a training block backstep.... its fine, it'll happen. Just don't get discouraged and stay under the bar. It was during this time I read everything I possibly could. I think I've read the entire Elitefts website twice, maybe 3 times. You dont' have to be the nerd I am, but get your mind excited about training. You should be working up to somewhere near old PR's. Maybe more.

After conditioning phases, get onto a basic powerlifting training program---Elitefts Beginners Training Manual is a great investment in my opinion, but there are other programs that'll work. Start cycling your training and working as if you were prepping for a meet from there. But keep it simple. this is the training phase where special toys--bands, chains, etc will be used. I personally would do the first training cycle RAW--to build a solid foundation of basic strength, then start working in gear, but thats me. I have the attitude that if you are that damned strong, then you are that damned strong no matter what gear you are wearing AND if you build a solid base, you will use it to reach higher goals. But thats me.

Once you are ready, get back into the gear and then get back on the platform. After that meet, kick it up a notch again and get ready for your next meet. It'll be all downhill from there.


I'm keeping things general on purpose because I dont' know anything about you. Thats how I did it. It's definately worked for me---over a 100 lb PR in the squat and bench and almost 50 lbs in the deadlift in the last year alone and I suck at deadlifts. Use your head, plan things out and you will do well.

juan23
08-21-2009, 12:08 PM
well i would consider myself a rookie at this , but when i was in weight training in highschool what we begginers would do is go by percentage

we would max out on bench and squat and make a percentage chart

on bench day we would do
10x45% of max
8x55% of max
8x65% of max
6x75% of max

and same for squat

we would go up on the percentage ever week until we could at least do 100% 2 times or more then we would max out again and make another chart

i dno if u guys would approve of that method but that was our coach's way to get us gains

btw i made my own chart for incline bench as well

JK1
08-21-2009, 12:09 PM
well i would consider myself a rookie at this , but when i was in weight training in highschool what we begginers would do is go by percentage

we would max out on bench and squat and make a percentage chart

on bench day we would do
10x45% of max
8x55% of max
8x65% of max
6x75% of max

and same for squat

we would go up on the percentage ever week until we could at least do 100% 2 times or more then we would max out again and make another chart

i dno if u guys would approve of that method but that was our coach's way to get us gains

btw i made my own chart for incline bench as well

personally, I would have done that years ago, not anymore.

Densemode
08-22-2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks

I'm put something together and get started.

Rob Luyando
08-22-2009, 06:36 AM
Best advice haivng taking some time away. Take it slow and listen to your body. Train raw for atleast 3 months to build your core strength back before you get back into equipment.

bluelew
08-22-2009, 04:55 PM
I'm in a similiar situation. Tried Westside right away and hurt a shoulder. I switched to a Texas 5x5 to 3x3 routine I found on line and started light. I also bought a safety squat bar on craigslist to allow my shoulder time to heal. I live on fish oil caps- 2 caps 3 times a day has made everything feel better. Squating 3 times a week, benching twice, and deadlifting once a week is brutal. A lot of stretching helped immensly. The volume really helped my form and added size and strength.

Densemode
08-22-2009, 06:18 PM
Best advice haivng taking some time away. Take it slow and listen to your body. Train raw for atleast 3 months to build your core strength back before you get back into equipment.

I was doing one of the preconditioning sheiko routines for about a month. The weight was light and I resisted to add weight to the bar. It was working very well.

But I started changing it around a little and started mixing routines. When I hurt my pec I jumped into week 3 and then I started doing 20 reps sets I went a little too fast and hurt my self.

For the squat I had the bright idea to add bands while doing sheiko since I was progressing nicely and felt I could easily do more weight.

I was thinking about doing sheiko again without any equipment for 3 months or maybe 531 since both programs make it easy for me to plug my numbers in and then all I have to do it fight the urge to add weight.

I'm not sure which one to choose. Both will build a nice base. I think sheiko preconditioning for a few months then move on to 531.

Densemode
08-22-2009, 06:23 PM
I'm in a similiar situation. Tried Westside right away and hurt a shoulder. I switched to a Texas 5x5 to 3x3 routine I found on line and started light. I also bought a safety squat bar on craigslist to allow my shoulder time to heal. I live on fish oil caps- 2 caps 3 times a day has made everything feel better. Squating 3 times a week, benching twice, and deadlifting once a week is brutal. A lot of stretching helped immensly. The volume really helped my form and added size and strength.

This is why I think sheiko would suit me best. It sounds exactly like what your are describing.


I would love to get a mono attachment for my rack but they don't sell one for the cheap one I have. When I did go heavy in the past, even recently, I would lift off the weight myself up to 600 lbs for years. I think this really beat my shoulders to dust. Live and learn.