Garage Inc. The Wife’s program

The next program that I’m putting out there is for my wife, who is now getting back in to barbell lifting. The basic idea here is to develop fitness given the equipment that we have in the garage while working with the recovery that she has (she works a lot so recovery is not optimal). The basic idea here is that quality work is performed and weight is added gradually (she doesn’t have an ego to stroke with the weights that she lifts). Now since she has wellness scans that she has to perform on random days during the week which requires her to leave the house at 6am (or a few after) there won’t be a Monday-Sunday organization. Instead it will be about just getting in the three basic days of barbell lifting when the schedule allows for it. Here is the basic three day program:

Day 1 2 3
Main Exercise Squats Military Press Squats
Sets x reps 5×5 5×5 3×10
Supplemental Exercise Bench Press Deadlifts Push ups
Sets x reps 5×5-10 5×5 5×5-10
Supplemental Exercise Body weight low rows with blast straps Pull up negatives Body weight low rows with blast straps
Sets x reps 5×8-15 8-12×1-3 5×8-15
Supplemental Exercise Hanging knee raises Ab Wheel Hanging knee raises
Sets x reps 3-5×10-20 3-5×6-15 3-5×10-20
Supplemental Exercise Band good mornings or Barbell Romanian deadlifts Your Choice Lunges holding a plate to your chest
Sets x reps 3-5×12-20 Your Choice 3-5×10-20 each leg


The goal is to increase your loads of your top set each workout. The increase in load should be the smallest increment that you can use for that progression each time. You can also increase the number of reps you are performing at a given load to the high number on the exercises that give a rep range. Run this program for at least three months before we are going to look in to changing anything up. The sets and reps are not including warm ups which will likely be part of the main exercise (squatting and deadlifting for sure).

So an example squat progression week by week would be:

Week 1 2 3 4
Warm up        
Set 1 45 45 45 45
Set 2 45 50 50 50
Set 3 50 50 50 55
Set 4 50 55 55 60
Set 5 55 55 60 60


For other movements like pushups the goal would be to increase the total amount of (good) reps performed:

Week 1 2 3 4
Warm up        
Set 1 10 10 10 10
Set 2 8 8 9 9
Set 3 6 6 7 7
Set 4 5 6 6 7
Set 5 5 6 6 7
Total reps 34 36 38 40


Before each session here is the warm up:

5-10 minutes of walking or whatever cardio you choose.

Shoulder rolls forward and backward x10e

Arm circles forward and backward x10e

Band pull aparts 5×10-20 (do this between other exercises)

Hips go forward/hips go backwards x10e

Trunk twists x10e

Side bends x10e

Leg swings forward/backward x10e

Leg swings side to side x10e

Jumping jacks x20

Roll backs to stretch x10e

Single leg hip thrusts x10e (hold the top for three seconds)

Mountain climbers for a three count hold of the strength x10e

Bird dogs x5e

Fire hydrant circles x10e

Hip flexor stretch 3×20-30 seconds each leg

Lunges each leg x10e

Squats x10

Hanging leg raises x10


Then with an empty  barbell:

10 RDLs (Romanian deadlifts)

10 military press

20 second full squat stretch

Then start doing your warm up sets of the first exercise you are training that day.

For a cool down the stretching is optional but highly suggested. Another 5-10 minute walk and then stretching specifically on the hip flexors, pecs, hamstrings, and calves due to having to work a job that requires significant amounts of sitting and is making the (low) back less agreeable.

Aim to take one day off between each training session and to feel free to just be active (go run, hike, bike, etc.), and if you wake up sore the next day from it make a game time decision of whether or not you will be able to give your best effort in the gym that day.

The biking option

That’s it for this training program. Relatively straight forward, but a decent building back in to training after a lay off. Goal would be to run this for about three months (more or less depending on how fast you stop making progress on it). If you have anything you are interested in me writing on please just comment below and I will get after that in the future. Thanks as always for reading.


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