Q: What is your approach to a trainee who's coming back after a long hiatus? Are there certain exercises you like or any you try to avoid?
A: Was there an injury?
Q:General aches and pains from lack of activity and being a construction worker.
A: My general approach would be to reintroduce them to a linear progression. Day 1 - work them up to 3 sets of 5 in bench and squat. Day 2- week up same way in overhead press and deadlift.
Over the coming weeks drop deadlift to 2 work sets and then 1 work set as it gets heavy. This will allow them enough repetitions to regain some proficiency without getting into excessive strain.
Introduce rows and chins when there is time left in the session.
Maybe get them on the rower for very easy mileage. Encourage walking or very light running if appropriate.
This is more or less the same approach I tend to use when a lifter is brand new.
Choosing a linear progression model with a self-correcting mechanism such as the Greyskull LP will allow the proper intensity to get sorted quickly enough.
Residual strength will bring the numbers up more quickly than in a true newbie.