How much strength do you really have to gain before you consider yourself strong? There will come many points in your training when you will look a the loaded bar and say, that looks real heavy. You could be looking at it from two perspectives – from the strength perspective and knowing you can lift it with ease; and from the realistic perspective and doubting your ability to lift it since it would be a new personal record in case you do.
In any case, there is really no consensus for how strong someone needs to be. Someone who knew what he was talking about said the numbers should be 300-400-500 for the bench press, squat and dead lift. You obviously know that these numbers can only be aspirations at best for many lifters, while for others they would be quite attainable. For all-around athleticism, percentages of bodyweight are used – 125% for the bench press, 150% for the squat, and 200% for the dead lift are commonly thrown around.
With so many figures being thrown around, who should the average person listen to? What if you’re not really gunning for competitive strength sports and just want to get strong all-around? You could use a few strength standards to fine-tune your goals. Setting clear goals for your training allows you to adjust your routine accordingly. If you are not competing, you have more time to adapt, so you can move up the weights more slowly but have a lower risk for injury because your body has more time to adjust.
Exrx.net recommends setting your goals within one of the following strength levels:
Short-term goal: Novice Level
This is the beginner stage, and the first milestone for an average lifter. Being a novice means you have gotten good form in the exercises down, and you have been training for a few months. Many, many people give up in this stage as well – it is obviously too early to see significant results, but you can feel the beginnings of these changes at around this stage.
Mid-term goal: Intermediate Level
At this stage, you would have gained a considerable amount of strength and muscularity. You can perform the exercises with great technique. Your athletic performance in recreational sports will also be superior to those who have not been training with weights. For a person whose only interest is to be physically fit and attractive, and not competitive sports, these are already good numbers and can be easily maintained provided good nutrition is in place.
Long-term goal: Advanced Level
Professional athletes are around this stage in strength development. These numbers are good to aspire to if you want all-around fitness without going too aggressively after strength development. These numbers can be safely reached with a steady commitment of many years in the gym and solid nutritional discipline.
Building up strength should be a lifetime commitment. It is not something that you should be hurrying – that is only asking for injury. The key to making great gains is consistency in lifting and eating properly.
Read this article if you want to find out what it takes to be a bodybuilder.
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