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 Weight Lifting Goals

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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Intermediate Weight Lifting Goals

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)

Advanced Weight Lifting Goals

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)

Highly Advanced Weight Lifting Goals

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)

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.

TRANSFORM YOUR BODY IN JUST 12 WEEKS.

TRANSFORM YOUR BODY IN JUST 12 WEEKS.

Get 1-on-1 online coaching from an expert personal trainer who will personally help you pack on muscle, shed layers of body fat, and get lean and ripped in just 12 short weeks.

TRY IT FREE FOR 14 DAYS