I receive many emails from trainees that have been away from the gym for awhile, looking to get back to where they were – fast. Work, family obligations, injuries – the list is endless. Life happens, but life goes on too. When this has happened to me in the past, I have a go-to plan that delivers in spades…


My preferred strategy here is to leverage the muscle memory that exists in trainees who’ve been training seriously for many years. I’ve used this protocol in the past because it maximizes training economy, efficiency and sharpens the CNS – which quickly gets you back to where you were and in some cases, you’ll be even stronger. The protocol involves just 3 compound movements trained over 3 weeks, which re-acquaints both the body and brain with the iron.

Consider then, the following “Big 3” lifts:

1.) Standing close grip shoulder press, INTO the power rack supports

Some color on this movement: You’re going to set the jhooks up on the outside of the power cage. Load the bar and from the front, push UP and INTO the power rack supports. 3 sets of 6-8 reps resting 5 min between sets is about right. Do your absolute best to strip the paint off those power rack supports. Your gym owner will love you for it.. 🙂

2.) Proceed to Romanian Deadlifts for 3 sets in the 8-10 rep range, resting 5 minutes between sets

3.) Finish with Bulgarian Split squats, while holding heavy DB’s at your side. 5 sets of 5 reps for each leg, resting 5 min between sets is a terrific finisher.

I’d recommend a 1on/2off training frequency for the first 10 days, then a 1on/3off schedule for the remainder – this programming will have you in the gym 6 times over 21 days, yet it hits every major muscle group, sharpens the CNS and allows for plenty of recovery – such that the body and brain both have the time that’s necessary to get re-acquainted with the iron.

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Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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