To get big you need to know how you compare to other lifters on the key compound exercises. Knowing this is important because it allows you to set lifting goals to help you reach the physique you want. Once you have a minimalist strength training routine and you know how much muscle you can expect to gain naturally, you can now look towards the weight you need to be lifting to max out your physique.
Below I’ve listed a table which outlines the progress you can expect to make, it also shows you how you stack up against other lifters. With that said, some of you might not have the genetics to make it to an advanced level on all your lifts without drugs. But all of you should be able to become an intermediate lifter. This will still give you a better physique than 99% of men. Have a look at how you rank below:
Where The Data Comes From
- The data is taken from clients and natural bodybuilders as studied by Martin Berkhan which you can read about here
- Your progression as a novice should be pretty linear, if it’s not then you should check your diet, rest and training routine
- Progress becomes more difficult as you advance
- Progress between advanced and elite lifts will be very slow
What You Need
- Before you can use the table you’ll need your body weight and your 1 rep max on The 4 Compound Lifts which you can calculate here
Using The Data
- The table represents drug-free bodybuilders only
- The data and formulas are an approximation not a law
- The data applies to men only
- The table is divided into intermediate, advanced and elite
- Anything below these levels is novice
- To start, plug your bodyweight into the intermediate table for all exercises
- This will give you the 1 rep max of an intermediate trainee on each lift
- If your 1 rep max is lower than an intermediate trainee then you are a novice on that lift
- If your 1 rep max is higher than repeat the procedure again for advanced and if necessary again for elite
Strength Goals: Intermediate (2 years of training)
- Bench press: body weight x 1.2 = 1 rep max
- Chin-ups: body weight x 1.2 = 1 rep max
- Squat: body weight x 1.6 = 1 rep max
- Deadlift: body weight x 2 = 1 rep max
Strength Goals: Advanced (5 years of training)
- Bench press: body weight x 1.5 = 1 rep max
- Chin-ups: body weight x 1.5 = 1 rep max
- Squat: body weight x 2 = 1 rep max
- Deadlift: body weight x 2.5 = 1 rep max
Strength Goals: Elite (10 years of training)
- Bench press: body weight x 1.8 = 1 rep max
- Chin-ups: body weight x 1.8 = 1 rep max
- Squat: body weight x 2.4 = 1 rep max
- Deadlift: body weight x 3 = 1 rep max
- If you are using the substitutions outlined in the strength training guide like the smith machine, v squat machine and trap bar deadlift you can subtract approximately 40 lbs. from your 1 rep max for each of those
- Keep in mind the elite goals may not be possible for you because your genetic potential may max out at the advanced lifts
A 185-lb male that has been training consistently for 5-10 years should be expected to:
- Bench press: 275-280 lbs.
- Weighted Chin-up with 90-95 lbs hanging from his waist.
- Squat: 370 lbs.
- Deadlift: 460-465 lbs.