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How Advanced am I Really?


#1

I apologize beforehand incase this is too long-winded. I would like to say I have about 3 years of training experience but the "experience" part can be be up for debate. I'm a former Marine so between being in field and deployments it was hard to keep any really consistency with weight training. When deployed most our training consisted of very crude strongman training. We just picked up heavy awkward shit and carried it around. We also never had any good food to accommodate growth. What I'm trying to say is most of our training we did was just off the seat of our pants and whatever we had to work with. While in the gym I just followed a typical body part split because I don't know what the fuck else to do. I currently have a 205 OHP, 335 Bench Press, 225 Power Clean, 405 Squat, and 515 deadlift.

Could I still be considered a beginner as I haven't ever followed any kind of progression program and reap benefits from something like Starting Strength? I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts and opinions on a proper powerlifting program and how one gauges a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter.


#2

#3

Oh my. Thats a lot of information.


#4

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:
Oh my. Thats a lot of information.
[/quote]

It’s a 13 minute video. You’re kidding, right?

Here’s a reasonable metric for being an advanced (accomplished?) powerlifter: Your raw total is at least 425 wilks. At 220lbs bodyweight, that’s a 1540lb total.


#5

You’re a beginner/intermediate.


#6

This, a very reasonable standard. Something like 550/400/600 @ 220 lbs. is pretty good.


#7

Someone else posted this only a few days ago but I can’t remember who, anyway credit to them but: rawpowerliftingontario.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/raw-powerlifting-classification-standards.pdf

Have a look at this to see whereabouts you might be considered to be, also it’s pretty good for seeing out of curiosity where your weaknesses/strengths are in case you didn’t already know. For example I am well aware my bench sucks and this just confirms it, who the fuck has a class 3 bench and a master deadlift…oh wait me.


#8

sometimes it’s hard to say where you are exactly. You may still be kinda new to the weights, but surely you’ve done lots of running and pushups and stuff so you’re not exactly a beginner.

Just kinda quickly, if you’re a beginner you can make rapid progress. If you’re advanced, its harder to gain If you went to the gym and worked up to a max single in the bench for 4 mondays in a row what would happen? If you were to add 15-25 pounds in those 4 weeks you’re a beginner. If you add a little for 2-3 weeks and stall the 4th week, you’re in the middle. If maxing 2-3 weeks in a row crushes you, and you have to back off the 3rd or 4th week you’re an advanced lifter.

Or you use max reps with 85% as a gauge. Load up the squat to 335, or about 85% of your max, and see how many reps you can do. Beginners can do many reps(10-12+?) with 80%. For a more advanced lift 5-6 reps could be a really tough set with 85%.

How quickly can you recover from tough workout? If you were to do 5 sets of 5 reps, as heavy as possible in the squat monday, then deadlift wednesday, could you be ready to squat heavier on friday? A beginner may be able to survive this, but an advanced lifter probably couldn’t handle that volume very long.


#9

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:
Could I still be considered a beginner as I haven’t ever followed any kind of progression program and reap benefits from something like Starting Strength? I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts and opinions on a proper powerlifting program and how one gauges a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter.[/quote]

There’s a pretty simple way to find out. Run SS for 4-6 weeks and see whether you are able to progress or if you just slam into a wall at your current PR’s.

From your lifts, I suspect that you will stall on linear progression pretty quickly and would be best served moving to something like 5/3/1.


#10

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:
I apologize beforehand incase this is too long-winded. I would like to say I have about 3 years of training experience but the “experience” part can be be up for debate. I’m a former Marine so between being in field and deployments it was hard to keep any really consistency with weight training. When deployed most our training consisted of very crude strongman training. We just picked up heavy awkward shit and carried it around. We also never had any good food to accommodate growth. What I’m trying to say is most of our training we did was just off the seat of our pants and whatever we had to work with. While in the gym I just followed a typical body part split because I don’t know what the fuck else to do. I currently have a 205 OHP, 335 Bench Press, 225 Power Clean, 405 Squat, and 515 deadlift.

Could I still be considered a beginner as I haven’t ever followed any kind of progression program and reap benefits from something like Starting Strength? I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts and opinions on a proper powerlifting program and how one gauges a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter.[/quote]

That’s a really good question, and one I’ve asked myself for similar reasons. To clarify, I don’t have a service record or anything but until mid 2014 I trained and competed exclusively in kettlebell sport (low weight, super high reps) but by the end of 2014 my raw lifts at 187 were 396/220/473. Between July and August 2014 I had been doing very simple linear progression adding about 10 lb to my main lifts every week but by the end of August I simply couldn’t keep up with that rate of increase and stalled. Then I changed the increases to about 5 lb every two weeks and I found progress much better.

Anyway, I checked around online for an indication of where I sit and my squat and dead lift were edging closed to ‘advanced’ while my bench was on the novice/intermediate border. I guess that’s the problem with determining level by weight lifted because you could get someone really strong who is very inexperienced lifting weights that place them as intermiediate and someone who isn’t so strong with a fair degree of experience (five years or so) who may have trouble hitting advanced weights.

In answer to your question OP, I’d say you’d sit somewhere similar to me: intermediate, but edging towards advanced in terms of your knowledge of training.


#11

Even though I’ll get flamed for this I don’t really care.

You are a mentally a beginner, so therefore you are a beginner because you lack confidence in both your lifts and programming. You should be confident in your ability to at least be above those just starting with cookie cutter programs like “Starting Strength”. You are not weak, and therefore you are not dumb or ignorant to things that work and the things you need to do to get better. You had to do things right to get to this level of strength.

In my opinion to go from beginner to intermediate, you have to understand you are not clueless and you are not weak. You have to have enough insight to see what worked, and what didn’t. When you identify what didn’t work, you have to be grounded enough to both experiment with new methods and not completely succumbing to it and losing your grasp on your own training methods. You have to be open enough to actually believe the new methods may work, and closed off enough that you don’t become a blind follower to a person because they got something right.

To me that is what no longer being a beginner is. Confidence and competence.

And an easier way to think about it is like this…would you rather be Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Frankenstein? The monstrous product of someone else’s teachings and actions or the creator with untold potential?

Just my 2 cents


#12

Thanks for everybody’s input. Its greatly appreciated. I’ve just been running SS to see how long I can keep up with the progression. This week has been fairly solid. If anyone gives a shit Monday: BP 275 5x5, Squat 325 5x5, OHP 155x5, Deadlift 415 5x5 with pull-ups, rows, and some curls for assistance work. Wednesday: BP 285 5x5, Squat 345 5x5, OHP 165 5x5, Power Clean 185 5x5 same pull-ups, rows, and curls for assistance. Friday: BP 295 5x5, Squat 355 5x5, OHP 175 5x5, Power Clean195 5x5, pull-ups, rows, and curls.


#13

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Even though I’ll get flamed for this I don’t really care.

You are a mentally a beginner, so therefore you are a beginner because you lack confidence in both your lifts and programming. You should be confident in your ability to at least be above those just starting with cookie cutter programs like “Starting Strength”. You are not weak, and therefore you are not dumb or ignorant to things that work and the things you need to do to get better. You had to do things right to get to this level of strength.

In my opinion to go from beginner to intermediate, you have to understand you are not clueless and you are not weak. You have to have enough insight to see what worked, and what didn’t. When you identify what didn’t work, you have to be grounded enough to both experiment with new methods and not completely succumbing to it and losing your grasp on your own training methods. You have to be open enough to actually believe the new methods may work, and closed off enough that you don’t become a blind follower to a person because they got something right.

To me that is what no longer being a beginner is. Confidence and competence.

And an easier way to think about it is like this…would you rather be Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Frankenstein? The monstrous product of someone else’s teachings and actions or the creator with untold potential?

Just my 2 cents[/quote]

I just re-read this the other day and I really appreciate your input. It really made me start thinking which isn’t always a good thing when I start thinking about training. While I progressed on SS it didn’t “feel” right doing someone else’s stuff. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough work. While what my normal workouts would probably get flamed as grossly “overtraining” (I hate that word/concept) it obviously worked for me. Even by most standards I was malnourished and not getting nearly enough sleep I was still progressing.

Your Frankenstein quote hit me like a sack of potatoes. Yeah, what I do may be unconventional and frowned upon by most of the “fitness” community, and may not be optimal, it still worked so fuck it.

I think I just read too much stuff on training and made me overthink everything way too much. I got overly concerned with the most optimal way to train.


#14

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Even though I’ll get flamed for this I don’t really care.

You are a mentally a beginner, so therefore you are a beginner because you lack confidence in both your lifts and programming. You should be confident in your ability to at least be above those just starting with cookie cutter programs like “Starting Strength”. You are not weak, and therefore you are not dumb or ignorant to things that work and the things you need to do to get better. You had to do things right to get to this level of strength.

In my opinion to go from beginner to intermediate, you have to understand you are not clueless and you are not weak. You have to have enough insight to see what worked, and what didn’t. When you identify what didn’t work, you have to be grounded enough to both experiment with new methods and not completely succumbing to it and losing your grasp on your own training methods. You have to be open enough to actually believe the new methods may work, and closed off enough that you don’t become a blind follower to a person because they got something right.

To me that is what no longer being a beginner is. Confidence and competence.

And an easier way to think about it is like this…would you rather be Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Frankenstein? The monstrous product of someone else’s teachings and actions or the creator with untold potential?

Just my 2 cents[/quote]

I just re-read this the other day and I really appreciate your input. It really made me start thinking which isn’t always a good thing when I start thinking about training. While I progressed on SS it didn’t “feel” right doing someone else’s stuff. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough work. While what my normal workouts would probably get flamed as grossly “overtraining” (I hate that word/concept) it obviously worked for me. Even by most standards I was malnourished and not getting nearly enough sleep I was still progressing.

Your Frankenstein quote hit me like a sack of potatoes. Yeah, what I do may be unconventional and frowned upon by most of the “fitness” community, and may not be optimal, it still worked so fuck it.

I think I just read too much stuff on training and made me overthink everything way too much. I got overly concerned with the most optimal way to train. [/quote]

It pretty much boils down to: if it works for you, it works for you, doesn’t it? I do pretty much the same thing. I set out my own programming and see where it takes me. If something doesn’t work so well or I think something else will work better, I change things up. If I’m wrong, I go back to what I know works.


#15

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Even though I’ll get flamed for this I don’t really care.

You are a mentally a beginner, so therefore you are a beginner because you lack confidence in both your lifts and programming. You should be confident in your ability to at least be above those just starting with cookie cutter programs like “Starting Strength”. You are not weak, and therefore you are not dumb or ignorant to things that work and the things you need to do to get better. You had to do things right to get to this level of strength.

In my opinion to go from beginner to intermediate, you have to understand you are not clueless and you are not weak. You have to have enough insight to see what worked, and what didn’t. When you identify what didn’t work, you have to be grounded enough to both experiment with new methods and not completely succumbing to it and losing your grasp on your own training methods. You have to be open enough to actually believe the new methods may work, and closed off enough that you don’t become a blind follower to a person because they got something right.

To me that is what no longer being a beginner is. Confidence and competence.

And an easier way to think about it is like this…would you rather be Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Frankenstein? The monstrous product of someone else’s teachings and actions or the creator with untold potential?

Just my 2 cents[/quote]

I just re-read this the other day and I really appreciate your input. It really made me start thinking which isn’t always a good thing when I start thinking about training. While I progressed on SS it didn’t “feel” right doing someone else’s stuff. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough work. While what my normal workouts would probably get flamed as grossly “overtraining” (I hate that word/concept) it obviously worked for me. Even by most standards I was malnourished and not getting nearly enough sleep I was still progressing.

Your Frankenstein quote hit me like a sack of potatoes. Yeah, what I do may be unconventional and frowned upon by most of the “fitness” community, and may not be optimal, it still worked so fuck it.

I think I just read too much stuff on training and made me overthink everything way too much. I got overly concerned with the most optimal way to train. [/quote]

I’m glad what I said could have such a positive effect! You got from it what I hoped you would. In my opinion becoming a freethinker in the lifting world is the best thing you can do because you will figure out what’s best for you better than anyone else. You said yourself you think you read and think too much about lifting; you clearly have enough information stored up there than and you have the experience, so you’ll be able to de-engineer you’re old methods that worked and apply knew things you’ve learned since than to evolve yourself. Fuck going back and taking someone else’s square one path because you’re “supposed to” lol.

And if you are overtraining, you’ll figure it out yourself. You’re body will tell you and you’ll adjust. But until than for all you know you’re doing what’s perfect for you, so go for it.

And just looking back at Frankenstein… hey even he had to fail countless experiments before he could find the right “formula” to make his monster. He didn’t waste time and just sitting and thinking about that perfect formula, he went out, experimented, and evolved his methods. You’ll find your optimal way to train sooner or later lol

And don’t worry we’re all overthinkers whether we like to admit it or not.


#16

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Clint Friend wrote:

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Even though I’ll get flamed for this I don’t really care.

You are a mentally a beginner, so therefore you are a beginner because you lack confidence in both your lifts and programming. You should be confident in your ability to at least be above those just starting with cookie cutter programs like “Starting Strength”. You are not weak, and therefore you are not dumb or ignorant to things that work and the things you need to do to get better. You had to do things right to get to this level of strength.

In my opinion to go from beginner to intermediate, you have to understand you are not clueless and you are not weak. You have to have enough insight to see what worked, and what didn’t. When you identify what didn’t work, you have to be grounded enough to both experiment with new methods and not completely succumbing to it and losing your grasp on your own training methods. You have to be open enough to actually believe the new methods may work, and closed off enough that you don’t become a blind follower to a person because they got something right.

To me that is what no longer being a beginner is. Confidence and competence.

And an easier way to think about it is like this…would you rather be Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Frankenstein? The monstrous product of someone else’s teachings and actions or the creator with untold potential?

Just my 2 cents[/quote]

I just re-read this the other day and I really appreciate your input. It really made me start thinking which isn’t always a good thing when I start thinking about training. While I progressed on SS it didn’t “feel” right doing someone else’s stuff. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough work. While what my normal workouts would probably get flamed as grossly “overtraining” (I hate that word/concept) it obviously worked for me. Even by most standards I was malnourished and not getting nearly enough sleep I was still progressing.

Your Frankenstein quote hit me like a sack of potatoes. Yeah, what I do may be unconventional and frowned upon by most of the “fitness” community, and may not be optimal, it still worked so fuck it.

I think I just read too much stuff on training and made me overthink everything way too much. I got overly concerned with the most optimal way to train. [/quote]

It pretty much boils down to: if it works for you, it works for you, doesn’t it? I do pretty much the same thing. I set out my own programming and see where it takes me. If something doesn’t work so well or I think something else will work better, I change things up. If I’m wrong, I go back to what I know works. [/quote]

That’s half the battle, the other half is just knowing and being confident in your own programming so that you don’t get derailed from it from falling back into being a blind follower.

So yea doing your own programming, evolving it, and using you’re brain to filter in good suggestions and bad ones even if they come from guys with more experience, size, and strength than you.


#17

[quote]kjmont wrote:
That’s half the battle, the other half is just knowing and being confident in your own programming so that you don’t get derailed from it from falling back into being a blind follower.

So yea doing your own programming, evolving it, and using you’re brain to filter in good suggestions and bad ones even if they come from guys with more experience, size, and strength than you.[/quote]

To be fair, stronger lifters do have valuable knowledge and/or practical experience that we can learn from. But I can understand that there will be situations where listening and respect don’t go both ways. In general it’s important to learn principals that are the pillars for strength, what top powerlifters of all weight classes and even strongmen and weightlifters followed to get to their current level. You only need to filter methods/ideas that are based on preference because some may or may not work, even if they are preached as one of the pillars.


#18

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]kjmont wrote:
That’s half the battle, the other half is just knowing and being confident in your own programming so that you don’t get derailed from it from falling back into being a blind follower.

So yea doing your own programming, evolving it, and using you’re brain to filter in good suggestions and bad ones even if they come from guys with more experience, size, and strength than you.[/quote]

To be fair, stronger lifters do have valuable knowledge and/or practical experience that we can learn from. But I can understand that there will be situations where listening and respect don’t go both ways. In general it’s important to learn principals that are the pillars for strength, what top powerlifters of all weight classes and even strongmen and weightlifters followed to get to their current level. You only need to filter methods/ideas that are based on preference because some may or may not work, even if they are preached as one of the pillars.[/quote]

Absolutely agreed on everything you said, I meant more as filter out bad advice DESPITE someone being at a high level. I was speaking more on people just blindly following advice that is given, just based on the fact that it is usually good advice. There is always something that can be learned from every method, I am just saying don’t follow in their footsteps without thinking about it first.

I’ll admit I am not the clearest when I speak and leave alot of holes in what I say.


#19

I fully agree with both of you. And its not like I’m coming up with some revolutionary new way to train. Everything I’ve done has been done by someone at one time or another. When I started to read more about training, (Russian, Bulgarian, and almost everything Louie Simmons ever wrote), the more I realized I had been doing what they were doing and not even realizing it. It kind of just shows that hard work is going to beat the best program if its done half-assed.


#20

Semper Fi Devil Dog!! NEVER settle for second best. Fuck how “advanced” you are. just keep plugging away and get shit done brother. Fighting mindset is infinitely superior to being “advanced”. You are at war with the Iron and Gravity, make it your bitch and summon the meteors.

Don’t be the “big fish, small pond” . Always seek ot bigger and better things.

As a fellow vet, thank you for carrying the torch brother. and thank you for your sacrifice. OO-RAH!!