Setting Poundage Goals

Source: Beyond Brawn by Stuart McRobert

With the link between exercise poundages and muscular girths being so strong, here are some guidelines -- but not definitive numbers -- for the sort of weights you need to be lifting to get to 16-inch arms and corresponding girths. But the strength-to-girths relationship is not uniform amoung all individuals. Some people need to get considerably stronger than others to develop the same muscular girths. The following guidelines assume a controlled (no cheating!) training style, and no use of powerlifting support gear. They include a short pause for a breath or few between reps, especially during the final stage of a set. But this group of mostly core exercises is not suitable for a single training routine for a hard gainer -- there are too many exercises here for productive use in any single routine.

Regular squat to parallel 300 lbs x 20 (and 400 x 1)
Bent-legged deadlift 385 x 15 (and 500 x 1)
Stiff-legged deadlift from the floor 300 x 10
Bench press 260 x 6 (and 300 x 1)
Parallel bar dip (bodyweight plus 100) x 6
Overhead press 175 x 6
Pulldown 240 x 6
Chin (bodyweight plus 30) x 6
One-arm dumbbell row 110 x 6
Barbell curl 120 x 6
Shoulder-width bench press 220 x 6
Single-leg calf raise 20 reps with a 60 lb dumbbell

Another method used to compare strength amoung athletes is the sum of the one-rep max for three lifts: the benchpress, the squat, and the deadlift, done with no support gear other than a belt. A goal for this type of measurement is to try to get as close to the 300-400-500 one-rep max (in pounds) for each lift. That is, benchpress 300 pounds, squat 400 pounds, and deadlift 500 pounds.

By adding your one-rep max for each lift, you obtain a number that can be used for comparison against other strength athletes. Here is a table which can be used as a guideline:

Bodyweight: 120 lbs 150 lbs 180 lbs 210 lbs
Very good 700 lbs 850 lbs 1025 lbs 1200 lbs
Terrific 775 lbs 950 lbs 1150 lbs 1325 lbs
Outstanding 875 lbs 1075 lbs 1300 lbs 1500 lbs

These figures are totals that do not specify the three individual component lifts. Breaking the totals into individual lifts is something you can do yourself. Consider the 300-400-500 threesome. The total is 1200 pounds and the proportion for the benchpress is 25%. For the squat, it comes to 33.33%, and the deadlift gets the balance of 41.66%. Make it a threesome of 25%, 35% and 40% for round figures.

The composition breakdown may or may not tally with your relative strength levels. Assuming you have trained each exercise equally seriously, consistently and intensively (which very few people do, usually because they prefer the bench press to the other two movements) you can calculate your own relative strength proportions. If you have not trained each of the exercises with equal seriousness and application for a number of years, then you must do this before you can accurately work out your relative strength levels.

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