Monday, January 4, 2016

Setting Strength Goals How Do you Measure Up Against the Averages?


Unless you are a competitive lifter your main competition should be the person in the mirror. There's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition with friends or your training partner. But the you of yesterday or last week or last month should be the one that counts.

However, to set realistic goals for that person in the mirror you need to know how you stack up against the averages. Shooting for unrealistic goals can be discouraging and do irreparable harm to your ego and your progress. Setting your goals too low hampers your progress.

Several factors come into play when trying to determine whether your goals are realistic or not.
  • Past injury or illness or physical limitations
  • Your body weight
  • Your age
  • Your "Training Age" (How long you have been training)
Past injury or illness can often be overcome or worked around but that's a subject for another article and usually can't be determined without one on one examination.

Your chronological age enters into the equation but, like past injury or illness, it's not all cut and dried. Genetics matter. Lifestyle matters. 

Body weight and "Training age" are all we can make semi-general statements about and plot on a chart.

But we need to define the different categories of training age.

  1. "Untrained" refers to the expected level of strength in a healthy individual who has not trained on the exercise before but can perform it correctly. This represents the minimum of strength required to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a sedentary individual.(cannot squat, deadlift or bench press bodyweight, has no linear stability).
  2. "Novice" means a person training regularly for 3-9 months.
  3. "Intermediate" is a person who has engaged in regular training for up to two years. ( Bodyweight squat, deadlift and bench press. Has linear stability and adequate rotary stability. Can do multiple repetitions of chin ups. )
  4. "Advanced" refers to an individual with multi-year training experience with definite goals in the higher levels of competitive athletics. (1.5x bodyweight squat, deadlift and bench press. Chin ups with extra weight for reps and overhead press bodyweight.) 
  5. "Elite" refers specifically to individuals competing in strength sports. Less than 1% of the weight training population will attain this level.
Admittedly, training age is not exact as it does not account for quality of experience.  Fifteen years of bad training is not better than five years of good training.  Training age does not quantify the interplay between the different factors that can affect training age.Nevertheless, we can still make appropriate qualitative adjustments with this knowledge. 

I have provided the chart "BASIC STRENGTH STANDARDS" in PDF so you can print it out or save it easily. 
The chart is provided by The Aasgaard Company. Visit their site at



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