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Garage Gym Physique (13 weeks) - Joe Gray @gray_matter_lifting

Gray Matter Lifting - Garage Gym Physique - 13 Week

Joe Gray @Gray_Matter_Lifting

This program was written for my wife as she got back into lifting consistently after my daughter was born and we escaped the sleepless nights. Consider this a non-newbie, beginner lifting program. My wife has lifted for about a decade, but for the better part of her pregnancy and a solid 1.5 years after, wasn’t able to maintain her consistency. So, while she didn’t need to start from scratch, her coordination, control, and strength were at an all-time low.

The program was written to allow her to start to build her strength in the right places (glutes, core, hips, legs) without having to have her load a bar on her back, or potentially stress her low back with conventional deadlifts. We kept her back and knees in good shape here, while pushing 30+lb PRs in each lift. When she jumped onto her next program, she tied her all-time best conventional bench, squat, and deadlift, without training either of those for several years.

Highlights of the Program

  • 3 days a week of lifting
    • 1 day for deadlifts (trap bar, rickshaw, rack pulls, etc.)
    • 1 day for hip thrusts (from the floor, off a bench, etc.)
    • 1 day for weighted carries (dumbbells, farmers walks, trap bar or rickshaw, etc.)
  • Warm-up and Potentiation
    • Goals are to warm up and activate the right muscles for successful and safe lifting
  • Prescriptive progression model
    • We use your 1RM on the three lifts you choose to build, and slowly progress each week in weight
    • Your warm up sets, as well as working weights, are recorded for you
  • Volume Accessories
    • The accessories are recorded to provide some additional blood flow and target areas that we likely won’t touch with the bigger lifts

To start the program, you will select 3 lifts you want to progress. I recommend a deadlift variation like a trap bar deadlift, a hip thrust variation that you can load heavy, and a weighted carry variation that you can also push the weights. Make sure you know your 1 RM for each (test them if you do not, or make a solid estimate), and enter the exercises, 1 RMs, your name, and start date of the program into the Athlete Profile tab of the excel document. This should prescribe and complete the rest of the document for you.

From there, each week record your weights, reps, etc. You want to try and do a little more each week for most exercises, in terms of an extra rep, or a couple of more pounds. The main exercises will prescribe the weights for you, feel free to adjust them slightly to make your plate math easier (i.e. instead of 24 lbs, round up to 25lbs). 

When you get to Week 13, you will retest your 1RM. 

Feel free to adjust the 3 days of the week to whatever days fit your schedule. Adjust the accessory exercises as you need to for your own equipment. 

Who is this program for?

Anyone getting back into lifting after a hiatus for any particular reason. Run this 13-week program, build some solid strength in the right areas, and leverage that to jump into whatever program you want to run next. You’ll find your squat, deadlift, etc. are going to feel stronger, smoother, and better.

You might also run this program if you have spent time lifting, but never done anything “heavy”. This could be your gateway drug to a more powerlifting-esque program. Again, build the right areas, dip your toe into heavier progressive lifting and PRs, and see what you think.

I would not recommend this program for anyone who has been killing it in the gym for a while, consistently making progress. We also do not do the conventional Big 3, so if you compete, this might be a step in the wrong direction. 

Go here for the Gray Matter Lifting Garage Gym Template, perfect for the novice lifter!


Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.

Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition.

You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting and its affiliates from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown.

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