What Are Your Strength Goals? (Part 1)

Liam Kara from UK had a question about what strength and body-weight goals you should aim for when doing StrongLifts 5×5. Quote…

Hi Mehdi,

first of all i’d just like to thank you for providing so much interesting and useful training and dietary information through the StrongLifts 5×5 guide, your website and the facebook posts. i’m fairly new to gym/weight training despite being 26 as i only got started in august 2010 at which point i weighed 136lbs, which is pretty skinny considering i’m 5’10”. having started StrongLifts 5×5 start of november 2010 i have followed it religiously and noticed good power and muscle gains.

i would now like to know what you think someone of my physique should be aiming at reaching for the different exercises in the plan. my current weight has gone up to 156lbs (a gain of 20lbs in 5 months), but i think you suggest someone of my height should aim for around 170lbs as a minimum. anyway these are my current numbers so please let me know what you think i should be aiming for in time, in order to achieve your suggested weight:

kind regards,


ps – i thought you might like to know i have been spreading the 5×5 word to several friends and relatives here in the UK

pps – i used to get lower back pain as a result of a car crash a couple of years ago which seems to have all but cleared up following the extensive core work in your plan so again thank you

Thanks for spreading the word. 170lb would definitely be the minimum at 5’10”. 185lb would be better though, I’m 5’8″ and 175lb just saying (gained 44lb since I started lifting in 1999 – without using drugs, without GOMAD, without “trying” to gain weight, but while losing my belly fat and man boobs). Not bragging, just illustrating the point that the stronger you get, the more muscular you’ll be.

But you already know you need to increase all your lifts. I used to recommend aiming for 1.5x body-weight Squats and the sorts, but with all the demographic data of StrongLifts Members I now have access to, I can give you more specific goals. Here are the strength goals that you should set when starting out:

The 1x400lb Deadlift means you should eventually be able to Deadlift 400lb for at least 1 rep (1RM). Since the programs you’ll use to achieve this – StrongLifts 5×5 and later Madcow 5×5 – do not involve singles, I’ve included how much weight you must lift for 5 reps in order to achieve that 1RM. In this case, if you can Deadlift 360lb for 5 reps you should be able to pull 400lb for only 1 rep.

These numbers are NOT hard or impossible to reach – they’re very easy IF you train RIGHT. Hundreds of StrongLifts Members Deadlift 400lb and Squat 300lb, many lift even more, and they’re from all sorts of backgrounds, bodytypes and age – these 20y, 30y, 40y, 50y, even 60y olds Deadlifting 400lbs and Squatting 300lb are living proof that every single guy, including you, can do the same as long as you train using the right methods. It doesn’t even take long – any guy under 50 can Deadlift 400lb and Squat 300lb within 12 months of training.

Proof I have plenty: StrongLifts Member Will Squatted 335lb for sets of 5 at 184lb body-weight after 5 months of StrongLifts 5×5. Similar story for StrongLifts Member Joe F (29y, USA) who Squatted 325, Benched 222lb and Pressed 147lb in his 8 month of StrongLifts 5×5. My training partner (32y, 173lb bw) Squatted 297lb for 1 rep and Deadlifted 375lb for 1 rep in his 6 month of training. The list goes on.

Once you achieve these numbers, you’ll be stronger than 80% of the guys in the average gym, including the ones 50lb heavier than you and juicing. On top of the muscle gains, you’ll have lost fat because you’re burning more calories during/post workout (faster metabolism). Most StrongLifts Members get bitten by the iron bug after this, and aim for the 3/4/500lb Bench/Squat/Deadlift.