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What Are Some Realistic Weight Lifting Goals To Aim For?

weight lifting goals

As personal trainers, we are often asked about long-term weight lifting goals.

That is, how much should you aim to lift in each of your major exercises – such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, and military press – and how long should it take for you to get there?

These are good questions, since these numbers can serve as important markers of your progress as you continue to get bigger and stronger, allowing you to gauge whether you’re on track with everything.

As far as weight lifting goals go, one of the best indicators of your progress is something called relative strength.

This is a measure of how much you are able to lift for certain core exercises, relative to your current body weight.

In this article, I’ll be going over some of these benchmarks, so that you can assess where you currently are, which areas (if any) are lagging behind – and most importantly, what you can expect going forward.

Beginner Weightlifting Goals (Male)

Within 6-12 months of proper training, the average guy should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 1.2
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 0.9
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 1.5
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 0.9
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.6

Note: each of these strength goals is for just 1 rep – NOT a set of multiple reps.

This means that if you weigh 180 lbs, within 6-12 months of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 215 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 160 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 270 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 assisted pull-up with 160 lbs of total weight (body weight – 20 lbs)
  • Seated military press 110 lbs (for 1 rep)

 

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Beginner Weightlifting Goals (Female)

Within 6-12 months of proper training, the average woman should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 0.79
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 0.48
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 0.97
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 0.9
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.28

This means that if you weigh 120 lbs, within 6-12 months of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 95 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 58 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 117  lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 assisted pull-up with 109 lbs of total weight (body weight – 11 lbs)
  • Seated military press 34 lbs (for 1 rep)

 

Intermediate Weightlifting Goals (Male)

Within 1-2 years of proper training, the average guy should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 1.5
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 1.1
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 1.75
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.1
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.75

Note: each of these strength goals is for just 1 rep – NOT a set of multiple reps.

This means that if you weigh 180 lbs, within 1-2 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 270 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 200 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 315 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 pull-up with 200 lbs of total weight (body weight + 20 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 135 lbs (for 1 rep)

 

Intermediate Weightlifting Goals (Female)

Within 1-2 years of proper training, the average woman should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 1.19
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 0.78
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 1.43
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.1
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.51

This means that if you weigh 120 lbs, within 1-2 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 143 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 93 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 171 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 pull-up with 138 lbs of total weight (body weight + 18 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 61 lbs (for 1 rep)

Advanced Weight Lifting Goals (Male)

Within 5 years of proper training, the average guy should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 2
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 1.5
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 2.4
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.5
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.9

Note: each of these strength goals is for just 1 rep – NOT a set of multiple reps.

This means that if you weigh 180 lbs, within 5 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 360 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 270 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 430 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 pull-up with 270 lbs of total weight (body weight + 90 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 160 lbs (for 1 rep)

Advanced Weight Lifting Goals (Female)

Within 5 years of proper training, the average woman should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises:

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 1.68
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 1.14
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 1.97
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.41
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 0.79

This means that if you weigh 120 lbs, within 5 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 202 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 137 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 237 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do 1 pull-up with 170 lbs of total weight (body weight + 50 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 95 lbs (for 1 rep)

Highly Advanced Weightlifting Goals (Male)

Within 10 years of proper training, the average guy should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises.

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 2.5
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 1.9
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 3
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.9
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 1.15

Note: each of these strength goals is for just 1 rep – NOT a set of multiple reps.

This means that if you weigh 180 lbs, within 10 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 450 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 340 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 540 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do a 1 pull-up with 340 lbs of total weight (body weight + 160 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 205 lbs (for 1 rep)

Highly Advanced Weightlifting Goals (Female)

Within 10 years of proper training, the average woman should be able to achieve the following levels of strength in these core exercises.

  • Barbell Squat: body weight x 2.22
  • Barbell Bench Press: body weight x 1.56
  • Barbell Deadlift: body weight x 2.57
  • Pull-up / Chin-up: body weight x 1.7
  • Seated Military Press: body weight x 1.12

This means that if you weigh 120 lbs, within 10 years of proper training you should be able to:

  • Squat 267 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Bench press 187 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Deadlift 308 lbs (for 1 rep)
  • Do a 1 pull-up with 200 lbs of total weight (body weight + 80 lbs on dip belt)
  • Seated military press 135 lbs (for 1 rep)

The Bottom Line On Weight Lifting Goals

While the above standards should serve as useful guidelines to help gauge your progress, they should not be taken as absolute.

Every person is different, and some people are naturally better suited for certain exercises, and are comparatively weaker in others.

For example, guys with longer arms will often excel at deadlifting as opposed to bench pressing.

In turn, guys with shorter arms will generally have a stronger bench press relative to their deadlift.

Squatting is often easier for guys with shorter femurs compared to guys with longer femurs.

And heavier guys, with higher percentages of body fat, may find pull-ups particularly challenging compared to the other 4 exercises.

That being said, these standards should serve as a useful ideal – and also help you figure out if you have certain muscle groups that are disproportionately weaker or stronger.

Finally, don’t feel that you have to reach the Advanced or Highly Advanced levels to have a lean, muscular physique.

In fact, most guys will look very muscular after they have reached the Intermediate level, which can be done in just 1-2 years.

What are some of your weight lifting goals? Let us know in the comments below.

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