T Nation

Goals For a Non-Athlete?

I’m getting ready to start a new program, but am confused as to what my goals should be. I am not a competative athlete or bodybuilder, so it is a bit confusing as to what I should focus on improving.

I guess you could say there is a heirarchy to my goals. Here it is, starting at the highest least specific level.

1.) Look and perform better (increased muscle / dec. fat)

2.) Increase muscle in arms, shoulders, and legs.

3.) Increase strength/endurance in the lifts that will help me achieve #2.

4.) Increase “conditioning” to help me achieve #1

So its clear that #1 is my primary goal, and will require a combination of nutrition and training. Looking at training only, i’ll need to increase the intensity and/or volume of my workouts to increase mass and I’ll need to do this to the point where I increase my max and/or work capacity of those lifts.

I specifically want to focus on the mass of my shoulders and arms, and thighs. (And im not the typical newb who wants to just train biceps and chest.) My previous training revolved around lots of deadlifting, pullups, and snatch.

More recently I have focused on bench, incline bench, rows, and front squats, but have realized that my weaknesses are in my shoulders, arms and thighs (both size and strength wise).

So I have a few choices in setting my PERFORMANCE goals to help me reach my body comp goals.

1.) I could an approach sorta like o-lifting and have all my training revolve around increasing my clean, front squat, and push press

2.) I could take an approach more like powerlifting and have all my training revolve around increasing my bench, squat, and deadlift.

3.) I could take a different approach and focus on improving my incline bench, rows, and front squat

I’m not saying that i would completely train like an o-lifter or a powerlifter, but I would gear my training at increasing those lifts. If the lifts are improving in both 1rm and higher volume as well, and my nutrition is on, then I can assume im working in the right direction. But if my lifts aren’t improving, then I can assume i need to do something different with my training.

Or is that idea completely wrong, because although unlikely it is possible to not increase your strength, or strength endurance and still increase muscular size.

Lastly, I could not focus on improving specific lifts, and instead just focus on improving every lift, but I feel this is too chaotic, and I wouldn’t get as good of results in the long run as if I would have specialized to increase a few key lifts.