Muscle memory is a reality more than ever.

I'm getting back to training after a long period of inactivity that made me lose all adaptation in terms of size, strength and conditioning.

I've been training for 5 years and before I had to stop my weight was around 92 Kg and right now is approx. 81Kg. (I don't have an accurate measure of body fat but its pretty much the same).

How can I maximize muscle memory to get back to my previous level, and how to translate that in an efficient periodization?

  • When I say training I am referring to resistance training.
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 17:37

3 Answers 3


Well , muscle memory cannot be maximized. The effect is in a number of cell nuclei. During initial training the number becomes higher and then remains the same "forever". The new nuclei are taken form stem cells. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/34/15111

So, by now you have all the memory you need. Just use the most efficient muscle building program and eat and sleep well and you could gain your muscles back very soon. Depending on your genetics and AAS usage status it may take a year , or a month , see http://muscleoldschool.com/the-colorado-experiment-and-casey-viator/


It really depends entirely on what level you were when you finished. Had you exhausted the most popular workout programs likes stronglifts/PPL/PHUL and needed to do focused programmed periodization, or even had a personal coach do your programming?

Hopefully after 5 years you should be reasonably good at listening to your bodies feedback and using it to mould your planning along with some form of goal setting.

Personally, I'd recommend Jacked & Tan 2.0 if you want block periodization in your training, it requires some reading and for you to sit down and plan out your training but the write up is good and the results speak for themselves. : http://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/jacked-tan-20.html

However, don't be afraid to do stronglifts 5x5 again, you took a long break and might need some time at lower weight to practice form, its really up to you and requires you to listen to your body.

  • On volume/intensity: I'm a big believer in using AMRAP sets as the 4/5th set (AMRAP does not mean to-failure). Volume is program-specific though more sets will help your body become re-familiar faster.
    – John
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 7:14

I'd say take a step-by-step approach. Your muscles don't remain in the same condition, when you give up training for long. In order to gain the same level of strength, you need to work in parts. Start with free hand training and get your body used to it. Slowly keep on increasing the resistance part with time. It may take weeks, or months to get back to previous level, but being safe is the first priority. Any injury would again keep you out of practice for long. So, break your goal into fragments, and achieve it. Best wishes.

  • What about the periodization approach? Its better to have a volume-wise approach or a intensity wise?
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    Those are all good in their own ways, but the fact is, what works for me, may not work for you, as we are all different the way we are built. I'd say, try different approaches and check what suits you the best, keeping safety in mind. Try out things, and you'd come to know. Sometimes things tested on a larger population doesn't work on certain individuals. You may be gifted in some ways others are not, or weak in certain ways that most are not. Knowing yourself is the key, then things would work wonders.
    – xCodeZone
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 1:04

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