T Nation

How Much Progress?


Compared to set, rep schemes, exercise choice, rest, etc., an aspect of training that seems to be completely neglected is the actual measure of success. I'm training for strength, so my measure of success is determined by how much weight I'm putting on the bar, and based on that I can determine how to manipulate all the other parameters to continue making gains.

It's emphasized that you're always supposed to be improving, but I want to see some numbers. I'm not trying to limit myself, but want to get some idea of the norms.

I am a beginner; I've been training for nine months, and still do a full body workout three times a week. I've been focused on strength for about six weeks most recently using a ME/DE type approach. The 3-4RM for both my squat and deadlift have consistently been going up by 5 pounds a week. For squats, I'm at 3x4x210, and for deadlift, 3x3x320.

On the other hand, some elite level power lifters might make 5 pounds of progress in a year, or have meet lifts that vary from month to month.

So, my question: How much progress could/should someone be making, at various levels of strength, and experience. I know I won't be making 5 pounds a week improvement forever, but I want to be able to determine if a plateau just means I needing a variation in my routine, or I'm just experiencing the natural progression of reaching a certain level.

What I'm really looking for is a strength vs. progress curve, to make sure I continue making the most gain possible, and there's probably enough data points here to put one together.

So, what do you lift, and how much more do you lift now than you did one month ago?


Looking back on some of my numbers the ones that jump out at me are rack deads from August 3rd I believe were 405 for 8, today I did 455 for 8 from one pin hole lower. I do a neck press movement and that was with 145 for high reps, the other day it was 165 for similar. Reverse grip press was being done with 145 five weeks ago and Friday I'm planning on 175-185. Squats are up 30 lbs for 20 reps.

I only do each movement once every two weeks so my jumps are larger but 5 lbs a week over time adds up to a lot.