Return to the Gym

By: Sterki

Intermediate Powerlifting

Sterki's Return to the Gym template

With gyms starting to reopen, it's time to get back in the gym and start training again. Each person's layoff from the gym has been different. Some have been able to get some training in with basic equipment in a home setting, others have only done bodyweight exercises, and some of the most dedicated gym goers haven't been able to do anything.


This template is designed to kickstart your powerlifting training back in the gym. But it also gives you the freedom to choose your favourite exercises that you've missed. Each session is full-body, and we recommend you have 1+ years worth of training experience. Experience using RPE is beneficial.

We designed this template to progressively add volume and intensity so you don't end up sore after each session, or risk injury as soon as you get back in the gym. You will also notice less common rep ranges (think 7's, 9's) to make it hard to compare your lift numbers to a few months ago. We think this makes training more engaging after coming back from a layoff.


This is a four week program, using a 3+1 day structure and utilising RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) for weight selection.

An optional GPP (General Physical Preparedness) style day is included for re-developing work capacity, and offers free selection of assistance exercises.

The program ends with a heavy single rep in the squat, bench, and deadlift on the final week, preparing you for your next program.

Ideally, you'll perform your training sessions with a day-on, day-off schedule. e.g. Mon/Wed/Fri. The GPP style day can be completed on any of the 'off' days.

Exercise selection

Movements can be swapped in or out depending on your preferences, weaknesses, and equipment available. We recommend you use the same movements in each slot each week.

Equipment required

The only required equipment is a barbell and a rack. However, the equipment required may differ based on your exercise selection.