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Good Lifting Goals for Beginners

Goals are important. However, GOOD goals are measurable and use hard numbers.

When I first joined the gym just under a year ago, my goal was simply “to get stronger”. As a newbie to strength training, I had no idea what I should aim for. Instead of hard numbers, I used a time frame. I made myself accountable on this blog and gave myself 6 months. Then I posted my results with pics. My progress motivated me, not the numbers.

After a lazy month travelling around to Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, I needed new motivation. “Getting Strong” for Muay Thai training in Thailand was my new goal. But after a month in NYC, I decided to abandon Thailand in favour of a once-off offer for a US graduate visa. (Moving back next Monday! Yeah!)

I found myself with no gym goals. The result? My training was awful. I started going to gym only twice a week. Sometimes just once. I was too distracted with partying, getting laid, and living the New York lifestyle.

When I got back to Ireland after four months, I found myself fatter and no stronger than when I left. I decided to make up for lost time. I wanted something to aim for before my first year of training had ended. I needed goals with numbers. And so, I scoured the internet for a template.

Here’s  what I found:

Novice goals from Stronglifts:

1.5x Body weight squat makes you intermediate.
Bench press you own weight.
Then aim for a 300lb squat and 400lb deadlift.

From an article on Leangains:

Within two years of consistent training on a decent routine, the average male should be able to progress to the following levels of strength (1 Rep Max):

Strength Goals: Intermediate (within 2 years)

Bench press: body weight x 1.2
Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.2 or 8 reps with body weight.
Squat: body weight x 1.6
Deadlift: body weight x 2

If you want more detailed goals on more exercises, I also recommend checking out these charts on strength standards.

So after all my research, I found some consensus and came up with 4  reasonable, achievable goals for beginners. These are also my first year goals. They are based on your 1 rep max (1RM). If you prefer measuring your strength with more reps, use this 1RM calculator to estimate where you stand.

LEVEL 1: (1st Year)

GOAL 1 : Squat 1.5x your body weight 

GOAL 2 : Bench your body weight 

GOAL 3 : Deadlift 2x your body weight

GOAL 4 : Perform a Muscle up (If you don’t know what that is, click here. It’s fucking hard.)

So there you have it.

My results?

Last week, I smashed Goal 1 (I did several reps at this weight!) and achieved goal 2. I’ve also performed a muscle up on occasion—but literally just one. I’ve still haven’t plateaued on my dead lift and should reach 2x my body weight in the next two to three weeks. All goals should be reached by my first year’s end. I’ll post all of my results in the coming weeks.

For no bullshit advice on lifting, I also recommend blogs like Bold & Determined & Good Looking Loser. For Calisthenics, check out this post.


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14 Responses to Good Lifting Goals for Beginners

  1. Jay Trent March 2, 2014 at 2:55 am #

    What routine are you on? Stronglifts?

  2. Lonny March 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Dont bother lifting for size and shape. what a guy with your size and height needs is to be more Bruce L body than Arnold S. Your BJJ should really help with that.

  3. Son March 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    As a traveller it would behoove you to look up convict conditioning…I know people who served many years in prison and they have told me its the real deal..

  4. JD March 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Nomad Iv’e gotten pretty strong lately. I like 5×5 compund lifts but, everyone needs to workout hard 3 weeks go chill 1 week (2 workouts that week with 3×15 total body) to see growth and not burnout IMO.

    Where have you been that had the biggest tit and ass white girls that were easiest to hook up with???

  5. Luca March 3, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Dude do you take/have you taken any supplements to help you along the way?

    • Naughty Nomad March 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      I take BCAAs before training (which I do fasted otherwise.) And whey.

      • Luca March 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

        Nice one mate. I’m going to give creatine a go, been taking L Glutamime and whey for a while now – I’d recommend both!

  6. Ali S March 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I see that a lot. Guys who train for a while, get their desired results and get off the wagon and slip back into their old ways. The problem is that most of them approach getting fit or strong with result-based goals, when what you really need is to make it a part of your lifestyle.

    The first thing to achieve that is to get involved in an activity (whether it’s tennis, soccer, swimming, muay thai, BJJ or boxing) which makes the effort itself as pleasurable as achieving the goal – it should be something you enjoy (at least most of the time), not something you have to put yourself through to get to the goals. You get the physical benefits, but more importantly you get double the mental benefits.

    I’m sure working out in the gym has its benefits, but unless you’re going to apply that ‘strength training’ somewhere it’s kinda overrated to be honest. It’s best to train in a specific martial art disciple from the get-go – whether it’s BJJ, muay thai or even good ol’ boxing or wrestling.

  7. Ironthumb March 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I like that you also use one’s bodyweight for meassures of weight and poundage.
    that is a good practice,
    keep it up!

  8. Rick October 11, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Just had a look at you squat results on your other post.

    That is a nice jump after 6 months, especially as you done it from a standing start as a beginner.

    Well done mate.

  9. Boykie March 27, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Nice one dude!

    I’ve been working from the tables on and have just hit the “intermediate” level on all the lifts.

    I figured I’d do another search to see what other standards there are for strength training and landed on your post.

    You must be pretty more advanced by now?

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    PS: I’ll look at adding the muscle up to my routine. Thanks for the tip 😉


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