Returning Lifter  


Dear Yuriy Greetings,

My name is Giannis - 37 years old, and i live in Greece.

Let me start by congratulating you for your work . The book is very well written and understood , especially since it is addressed to everyday people who stuggle with everyday work , life and obligations  , while at the same time looking for the best way to become the better strongest healthiest version of themselves , all without the assistance of PEDs / steroids. 

I have a long training past, and despite the fact at some point my strength was starting to increase at a good standard , somewhere along the way i suppose i somewhere lost the way  due to too much information and various streessors.

Due to some recent very serious family matters ,  i was forced to stop training for these past months. So i have lost my Strength and some muscle size.

So now it is the time for my reurn , and my question is  , should i utilize the beginers routines and Periodization scehem  to Build my Strength again up to a good point ?


Posted : 25/08/2019 11:18 am Yuriy liked

Dear Giannis,

Thank you very much for the kind words about my book!!! Would really appreciate if you can write something like that about my book on Amazon 🙂

As far as your question, I would say that it depends on how long you have been out. If we were talking about years then the beginner’s progression would be appropriate. But since it’s only been few months you could just start with one work set and add one more each week. The main thing is to slowly bring weights up to your previous level.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.


Posted : 25/08/2019 3:51 pm

No Problem Yuriy, im just speaking the truth.

Also i submited the review for your book.

- Yes it is only  5- 6 months that i have stopped training . Yes that is a good idea Yuriy, to start from 1 set per exercise and add 1 set per week till i reach the 5 sets . Another idea maybe would  be to start  straight away with the 5 x 5 sets of the beginner program ( not the novice begineer )  with low weight and let it build up in a linear way , or it would be slower  than the 1 set per week and delay me at the bigger picture of strength gains ?

Also , i have trouble understanding when is the appropriate time to consider ones self,  beginner or intermediate regarding strength training. Is this almost and only dictated by the weight lifted in the big three ?   I mean  how will i understand when the time come, that i am ready to change my training to intermediate ? 

This was always elusive to me.

Thanks in advance for your reply Yuriy,




Posted : 25/08/2019 4:55 pm

Thank you very much for writing the review!!! These days people want to write a review or a comment only when they hate something.

I would start with both one working set AND low weight. After a long break 5x5 with even very low weight will still leave you sore. That’s absolutely unnecessary. The point is to start easy and slowly gain a momentum towards the end of the phase. Push too hard right from the start and you will hit the wall prematurely. That happens all the time.

As far as your second question, all this categories are pretty artificial. The most important thing to understand is how to make appropriate adjustments as the rate of progress slows. For example, when I switched from linear progression to undulating (ATP from my book) it was like a miracle. I couldn’t believe how much progress I was making! But now that program (in its original version) beats the hell out of me. But once I made some modifications I am back on track again.

That’s when the training log becomes very important (I still have all mine even from 90s). I remember one time I looked over my recordings and realized that I didn’t make any progress whatsoever in almost a year 😱 It will be very clear that it is time to re-evaluate your training program when something like that happens.


Posted : 26/08/2019 12:02 am

Hello Yuriy,

I hope this email finds you being very well. Sorry for my dealyed answer but the days were full of obligations.

So i tried the first day  of the odd week , of Strength Phase 1    and to my surprise -   even after these months of complete absence from the gym -  i was able to complete the  following status  with  mediocre to low effort  :

  Bodyweight = 102 KG      

2 x 5 x 90 kg ,  Back Squat  2 x  5 x 90 kg  ( this was always my worst lift due to neglecting it and my height) , Military Press 2 x 5 x 50 kg 

 Im sure that on the deadlift and the barbell row i will have also descent numbers ( taking always into consideration my layoff ) .

Given the above numbers ( remember if i wanted i could put more weight  on the bar , and this is my first workout after months of absence  )  , and since my strength is not considered   novice novice , does continuing  the Novice  Phase of 5 x5  and programming has the potential to further increase these numbers without hitting a wall  meaning, Does The Novice phase has to offer me more strength or at this point i should move on  to the next stage ?

From your experience, do these numbers belong in the novice  phase or am i nearing the intermediate phase or iam just confused  ? 

I have yet to understand where the borders are ,   and i hope you understood my thoughts.

Thank in advance for your answer Yuriy ,



Posted : 27/08/2019 7:02 pm

Hello Giannis,

Baded on your performance after such a long break I would say that you are definitely not a novice. BUT!!! I would still start very slowly and the first SP is perfect for you at the moment.

Let me illustrate on hypothetical scenario. Let’s say I live in New York and spent a lot of time on the beach during this summer. By the end of it I had a very solid tan and could stay in the sun for a whole hour without getting sunburn. Then the fall and winter came and my tan slowly faded away. Now 5-6 months later (just like your break) I decide to go to Florida for a vacation. Would it be smart for me to go tanning for an hour straight right away? Even though theoretically I am completely capable of doing that, it probably wouldn’t be a very good idea.

The same thing with training. I imagine if I took 6 months off, I would lose at least 10 kilos of muscle. Is it reasonable for me to expect my body to resynthesize that much muscle tissue is just few weeks? Of course not! Then why rush with increasing volume or intensity? Doing so would actually rob your body of energy and nutrients it could otherwise use on rebuilding itself.

This is what I learned after many years of training: treat your body fairly and it will cooperate; get inpatient and “pushy” - it will rebel. Wether it be a sunburn or overtraining.

That is why after such long break I would use the first Strength phase (while adding one working set each week) for 5 weeks to get all main muscles and exercises to previous best. And then the HP2 for few more weeks to give some smaller muscle groups chance to catch up. At that point it would be realistic for me to assume that my body had enough time to regain its top performance and now I am ready to push forward.

Do you see what I am saying?


Posted : 28/08/2019 1:28 pm

Hello Yuriy,

Yes that makes senses, and i will do follow your advice and when the time comes i will consult you once more!


Thank you !

Posted : 28/08/2019 7:45 pm Yuriy liked


That’s why I created this forum in the first place 💪💪💪💪💪


Posted : 29/08/2019 12:31 am