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  1. #1
    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    How much weight should I be lifting? Goals?

    So I've been doing the fierce 5 program. I'm also on a cut, but I am trying to gain strength. I don't know what my goal should be in terms of how much weight I am lifting, but I am a beginner, so here is what I am curious about. Are the weights I am lifting good? Average? What should I aim for?

    I weigh 144 lbs and I am 5 ft 9" tall.

    Back Squat 3 Sets of 5 reps: 110 lbs, per rep
    Dumbell Bench Press 3 sets of 5 reps: 45 lbs per hand, per rep
    FacePulls 3 sets of 10 reps: 52.5 Lbs on pulley machine, per rep
    Calf Raises/ Tricep Pressdown super set 2 sets of 15 reps for Calf and 2 sets of 10 reps for Tricep: 60 lbs barbell in one hand while raising, and 37.5 lbs on pulley machine, per rep


    Workout B:
    (substitute) Narrow "grip" Leg Press 3 sets of 5 reps: 180 lbs of plates, per rep
    Overhead Press using dumbells 3 sets of 5 reps: 35lbs in each hand, per rep
    RDL 3 sets of 8 reps: 135 lbs, per rep
    Lat Pulldown 3 sets of 8 reps: 100 lbs on machine, per rep
    Curls from superset: 2 sets of 10 reps: 20 lbs plates on barbell (don't know how much this short zig-zag barbell weighs), per rep

    Another problem is the pulley machines I use: they are different in each gym I use. In one gym I can do 37.5 lbs, and on another it says 80. Are all the pulley stacks mislabeled? I don't understand why they are all different.

    Last additional problem: When doing facepulls, my weak link is that the stack pulls my body forward. I can do the exercise easily, but my body is not anchored in place, so I need to use extra leg strength just to hold myself from being pulled forward.
    Last edited by AdamFrostburg; 12-23-2020 at 09:34 AM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    The goal is to improve as much as you are able to improve. Keep following F5 progression and that should happen (depending on how much you try to cut).

    You could find averages like on the exrx website and compare yourself to them - but what good will that do?
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  3. #3
    Sekiro faithbrah's Avatar
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    - narrow stance leg press is probably the word you're looking for
    - i understand gaining strength on a cut can be hard, but even taking that into account those numbers are low (at least your squat, that should easily go up)
    - the short zig-zag barbell is called "ez bar", weighs around 10 kilos
    - the pulley issue is annoying, i also had to "recalibrate" some of my machine lifts when switching gyms recently
    - with those stats you shouldn't be cutting anymore, i'd say 140 lbs is the absolute lowest you can go

    iirc you have some training history but never really made consistent progress, so looking at your lifts they are way below average. comparing it to the general non-lifting population they are okay though. if it makes you feel any better, my lifts are a bit low for ~2 years of lifting as well
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  4. #4
    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    - narrow stance leg press is probably the word you're looking for
    - i understand gaining strength on a cut can be hard, but even taking that into account those numbers are low (at least your squat, that should easily go up)
    - the short zig-zag barbell is called "ez bar", weighs around 10 kilos
    - the pulley issue is annoying, i also had to "recalibrate" some of my machine lifts when switching gyms recently
    - with those stats you shouldn't be cutting anymore, i'd say 140 lbs is the absolute lowest you can go

    iirc you have some training history but never really made consistent progress, so looking at your lifts they are way below average. comparing it to the general non-lifting population they are okay though. if it makes you feel any better, my lifts are a bit low for ~2 years of lifting as well
    Good feedback. Which of my lifts are low? Which ones should I focus on most to improve upon? What amount of weight should I make as a goal for my weak lifts? Keep in mind, I am doing 3 sets of 5 reps for most of these, or 3 sets of 8 for some.

    EDIT: Edited OP to reword dumbells instead of barbell on overhead press.
    Last edited by AdamFrostburg; 12-23-2020 at 09:36 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    Good feedback. Which of my lifts are low? Which ones should I focus on most to improve upon? What amount of weight should I make as a goal for my weak lifts? Keep in mind, I am doing 3 sets of 5 reps for most of these, or 3 sets of 8 for some.
    i'd keep an eye on the squat progress without "hard focusing" on anything specific

    set your own goals. at one point i was checking symmetricstrength and tried to hit intermediate levels before cutting, then cut for a long time and now i'm looking to hit intermediate again
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    Good feedback. Which of my lifts are low? Which ones should I focus on most to improve upon? What amount of weight should I make as a goal for my weak lifts? Keep in mind, I am doing 3 sets of 5 reps for most of these, or 3 sets of 8 for some.
    You may have missed the point of the above feedback. If you're doing F5, just follow the program as written. You don't need to focus on anything specific or establish weight goals for specific exercises.
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    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    You may have missed the point of the above feedback. If you're doing F5, just follow the program as written. You don't need to focus on anything specific or establish weight goals for specific exercises.
    I guess what I'm asking is I don't know what levels are considered beginner or intermediate.

    All the online tables only list 1RM, or even 5RM. But they don't take 3 sets into account. Even when following the F5, I want to know when I enter a new fitness tier, or if I should even pause the F5 for a little bit to focus on getting my squats up, for example.
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    Sekiro faithbrah's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    I guess what I'm asking is I don't know what levels are considered beginner or intermediate.

    All the online tables only list 1RM, or even 5RM. But they don't take 3 sets into account. Even when following the F5, I want to know when I enter a new fitness tier.
    you can sort of estimate them. if you can do 3x5 on a lift, it's pretty safe to assume you could do 6-7 reps in one set. it's also safe to say you're still beginner tier and it's going to take some time to hit intermediate

    then again, i've heard those lean more towards powerlifting where strength is prioritized and ROM (range of motion) can be shorter so it's not 100% accurate for bodybuilding
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    I mean you set your own goals we don’t set goals for you. Whatever you want to achieve go for it. But I will tell you your number are still definitely beginner numbers. Not trying to be mean or put you down but that is just what they are.
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    Your goal should be to be better next week than you were the week before
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    https://www.google.com/search?q=stre...&client=safari

    Try google search “strength level exerciseName” and click on the link. Everything you need is there

    Also don’t worry too much about it imo and try and keep getting better. Don’t ignore the deload and resets in the Fierce 5 program. Do them. They help you grow by giving your muscles a break. During that break the muscles grow past how big they were before or at the time you failed.

    You need to give time to muscles for recovery. You should not be resetting every week lol but every 3 to 7 weeks maybe - and that’s totally normal and fine.
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  12. #12
    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TryingBB View Post
    https://www.google.com/search?q=stre...&client=safari

    Try google search “strength level exerciseName” and click on the link. Everything you need is there

    Also don’t worry too much about it imo and try and keep getting better. Don’t ignore the deload and resets in the Fierce 5 program. Do them. They help you grow by giving your muscles a break. During that break the muscles grow past how big they were before or at the time you failed.

    You need to give time to muscles for recovery. You should not be resetting every week lol but every 3 to 7 weeks maybe - and that’s totally normal and fine.
    Deload and Reset? What are those? I have a print off of the Fierce 5 instructions, and it doesn't say those words in there.
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    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    I also noticed that the weight of my squat went up by 10 lbs in a single exercise session when I learned to start taking and holding my breath and tightening my core before descending, then I exhale when going back up. That made the squat significantly easier. This happened yesterday, which is why I'm asking this question today. I just want to get to the point where I can have a single 45 lb plate on both ends of the bar when doing 3x5 squats (which should take me about 2 weeks according to the F5 program).
    Last edited by AdamFrostburg; 12-23-2020 at 11:36 AM.
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    Deload and Reset? What are those? I have a print off of the Fierce 5 instructions, and it doesn't say those words in there.
    I use the search function on this forum and dig out old responses to the questions I have (eg the one you also asked ). Not trying to be an ass - just saving you the trouble of asking and so many of the users here responding.

    Here is the link to fierce 5 that I know and I used in the past.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...31&pagenumber=
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    To chime in on the part about machine weight discrepancy, try not to think about it. You may not be able to use RPE effectively yet, depending on your practice thus far, but look at the weight as arbitrary. Does the number you're lifting on the current machine closely match the weight, in terms of intensity and rate of exertion? Then you're likely very close to providing the stimulus you did in the previous session.

    Start thinking about your sets and RPE now without diving too much into tracking it. You should be fine with linear progression for a time. But the sooner you start getting comfortable with the concept of RPE and the feel of your body when you workout, the less time you'll have to figure it out later, and it can be really effective as far as modulating your intensity in training once you become an intermediate and beyond.
    Life is constant learning. Give advice about things you know. Ask questions about things you don't.

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    Chihuahua in the rain Corbets's Avatar
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    Since no one has said it yet: cable machines have pulley ratios. Typically, you’re pulling 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 of the actual weight of the stack. Based on the numbers you listed, I’d say you probably went from a 1:2 machine to a 1:4 machine.

    But whatever. Just lift hard and heavy. Push yourself. Follow the progression scheme defined in F5. And don’t focus on being "intermediate" - intermediate just means switching to a program with slower gains, because you’ve exhausted the fast beginner gains. You want to stay on a beginner program as long as your body will let you for fastest progress. It’s a bit counterintuitive for the newbie, but more advanced programs are slower, not faster.
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    Originally Posted by Corbets View Post
    Since no one has said it yet: cable machines have pulley ratios. Typically, you’re pulling 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 of the actual weight of the stack. Based on the numbers you listed, I’d say you probably went from a 1:2 machine to a 1:4 machine.

    But whatever. Just lift hard and heavy. Push yourself. Follow the progression scheme defined in F5. And don’t focus on being "intermediate" - intermediate just means switching to a program with slower gains, because you’ve exhausted the fast beginner gains. You want to stay on a beginner program as long as your body will let you for fastest progress. It’s a bit counterintuitive for the newbie, but more advanced programs are slower, not faster.
    Plus, some machines are in lbs., some are in kgs.

    OP, bulking would be your quickest route to getting stronger, especially since you're still beginner. You need a caloric surplus to build muscle, then you cut to reveal the muscle. At 144 lbs 5'9" you'll look almost completely untrained.

    Rough goal numbers might be: sq 315x5, bp 225x5, RDL 275x5, OHP 135x5, row 200x5.
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    I know I am kinda small. But I only want to drop a few more lbs of belly fat. Get down to 140 before I start a clean bulk. I just have a tiny bit more fat I want to get rid from my mid section. My primary goal is to get as close as I can to achieving chiseled abs, or atleast some level of closeness to that. I am also taking in close to 180-200g of protein every day to ensure that I am not losing any muscle, and I think I am maintaining that goal.

    The hard part is my body likes to trick me. Some days my belly looks more puffy, and other days it looks super lean and you can almost see the muscle behind it. It seems to vary based on water, bloating or some other biological mechanisms. It changes day by day, and it seems to happen on days when my body wants MORE calories, not less. I've learned to ignore it and focus on my daily macro intake and see how things progress.
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    I'm also on a cut
    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    I weigh 144 lbs and I am 5 ft 9" tall
    Does anyone else see a problem with this?

    You’re already light. If you cut, you’re going to end up looking like a skeleton.

    You could easily bulk to 175 without getting fat if you continue to train hard and follow the program. You’ll also be a hell of a lot stronger.
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    Originally Posted by Ironface View Post
    Does anyone else see a problem with this?

    You’re already light. If you cut, you’re going to end up looking like a skeleton.

    You could easily bulk to 175 without getting fat if you continue to train hard and follow the program. You’ll also be a hell of a lot stronger.
    This is exactly what he should do. A long term lean bulk
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    Originally Posted by safcpaul View Post
    This is exactly what he should do. A long term lean bulk
    To add to this - bulk slowly. 0.4 to 0.5lbs per week gain which should be about 200 calorie daily surplus.

    Initial month or two can be higher surplus. Like 400 daily calories
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    Registered User AdamFrostburg's Avatar
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    Okay, so I am going to start thinking about bulking pretty soon. I do have another question though in terms of eating/workout timing.

    So should I workout in the evening, or the morning? I figure morning is best because afterwards my muscles will be in recovery mode, and so the rest of the meals I eat during the day will contribute to that recovery. If I eat in the evening, all the previous meals in the day will be wasted, and only have my post-workout protein shake to contribute to my muscle recovery once the workout is done, or any meals that I do subsequently eat post-workout. Is this the case, or does it not matter?

    In other words: Does protein consumed prior to the workout count to recovery?
    Last edited by AdamFrostburg; 12-27-2020 at 10:19 PM.
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  23. #23
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    Okay, so I am going to start thinking about bulking pretty soon. I do have another question though in terms of eating/workout timing.

    So should I workout in the evening, or the morning? I figure morning is best because afterwards my muscles will be in recovery mode, and so the rest of the meals I eat during the day will contribute to that recovery. If I eat in the evening, all the previous meals in the day will be wasted, and only have my post-workout protein shake to contribute to my muscle recovery once the workout is done, or any meals that I do subsequently eat post-workout. Is this the case, or does it not matter?

    In other words: Does protein consumed prior to the workout count to recovery?
    Meal timing doesn't make any difference. No protein or other nutrition will be wasted. Everything you eat during the day counts towards recovery, as your body is continually repairing itself with the food/nutrients in your body.
    2020 maxes
    Squat 185
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    Workout Journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1630928323&viewfull=1#post1630928323
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Meal timing doesn't make any difference. No protein or other nutrition will be wasted. Everything you eat during the day counts towards recovery, as your body is continually repairing itself with the food/nutrients in your body.
    Nutrition is absorbed over days - not minutes or hours. I think the most impact you’d feel is if you don’t get any carbs all day. Besides that, Try to get your daily macros...if you don’t hit 1g per lb of body weight today - so be it - try not to make a habit of doing that and catch up tomorrow. You will not magically loose muscle lol

    Also, think about it - entire chicken breast or streak don’t go straight to your biceps soon after you eat it. It has to go through stages in your stomach and intenstine before getting absorbed and remaining of it discarded into the toilet (hopefully into toilet)

    I did this analysis paralysis - kept my busy reading and chit (still does haha) but didn’t really make a big difference. Know all this theory but still have my own set of issues making progress.

    Keep lifting. Keep eating. You’ll grow if your lifts keep improving. We all gonna make it
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    Registered User PsychSea's Avatar
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    You're a beginner, just keep following the program and do your best! You're still starting and you should not really read too much on the numbers you're putting out, btw you are strong af.
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  26. #26
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    Everyone is going to progress a little differently depending on their body and genetics. You can't compare what one person is doing for weight to yourself. You can only compare yourself to your former self

    Most people will find they are stronger on some lifts than others. My deadlift is far and away my best lift and I get bigger traps by carrying and extra bag of groceries from the car. My squat sucks (barely more than my bench). I used to be able to touch my elbow on a basketball rim though so it's not like I'm genetically weak legged, just built different than a guy who goes to a 315squat right away but could never jump over a phone book.

    So I cannot compare my squat to Clarence Kennedy or a Johnny Candito. I can only compare it to what I could do last year, last month or last workout.
    Last edited by ezra76; 12-28-2020 at 10:30 AM.
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    So I've been doing the fierce 5 program. I'm also on a cut, but I am trying to gain strength. I don't know what my goal should be in terms of how much weight I am lifting, but I am a beginner, so here is what I am curious about. Are the weights I am lifting good? Average? What should I aim for?

    I weigh 144 lbs and I am 5 ft 9" tall.

    Back Squat 3 Sets of 5 reps: 110 lbs, per rep
    Dumbell Bench Press 3 sets of 5 reps: 45 lbs per hand, per rep
    FacePulls 3 sets of 10 reps: 52.5 Lbs on pulley machine, per rep
    Calf Raises/ Tricep Pressdown super set 2 sets of 15 reps for Calf and 2 sets of 10 reps for Tricep: 60 lbs barbell in one hand while raising, and 37.5 lbs on pulley machine, per rep


    Workout B:
    (substitute) Narrow "grip" Leg Press 3 sets of 5 reps: 180 lbs of plates, per rep
    Overhead Press using dumbells 3 sets of 5 reps: 35lbs in each hand, per rep
    RDL 3 sets of 8 reps: 135 lbs, per rep
    Lat Pulldown 3 sets of 8 reps: 100 lbs on machine, per rep
    Curls from superset: 2 sets of 10 reps: 20 lbs plates on barbell (don't know how much this short zig-zag barbell weighs), per rep

    Another problem is the pulley machines I use: they are different in each gym I use. In one gym I can do 37.5 lbs, and on another it says 80. Are all the pulley stacks mislabeled? I don't understand why they are all different.

    Last additional problem: When doing facepulls, my weak link is that the stack pulls my body forward. I can do the exercise easily, but my body is not anchored in place, so I need to use extra leg strength just to hold myself from being pulled forward.
    Like others said, compare yourself against yourself. When starting out it seems impossible to follow this principle, but you really should try - going for strength for the sake of strength is a recipe for injuries and proper form and progression is more important. But as we probably all have at some point, you probably will end up looking at online "strength standards" and get frustrated anyway. But maybe these reflections will help a bit:

    Some online calculators are based on self-reported data from users (e.g. "strengthlevel.com" which is one of the first you find when you search the web) and those are guaranteed to be inflated as there is no way of checking whether the data are accurate. Exrx is better as I think it is based on actual performance data. Notably, the bench press numbers on exrx are consistently lower, and more accurate (how often do you actually see a 170 pound individual bench 225 lbs for reps at a gym?), suggesting that calculators based on online surveys probably overestimate what should be considered "strong".

    Also, some people tend to look at these calculators and get discouraged because "I have been lifting for X years and cannot reach the appropriate strength standards yet". But bear in mind that these numbers are averages calculated based on a selected sample of lifters and don't necessarily apply to a "random" gym goer, yet alone a "random" man from the general population. The only way to actually know what "strong" after 5 years of lifting means is to do an experiment where you force a random sample of gym goers (or better, a random sample of men in general) to work out for 5 years and then measure their bench, squat and deadlift 1 rep max.

    I'd bet the average strength in either of those random samples would be lower than the online strength standards.
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  28. #28
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamFrostburg View Post
    Last additional problem: When doing facepulls, my weak link is that the stack pulls my body forward. I can do the exercise easily, but my body is not anchored in place, so I need to use extra leg strength just to hold myself from being pulled forward.
    Sit down and brace your legs against the machine.

    Or gain weight.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    Everyone is going to progress a little differently depending on their body and genetics. You can't compare what one person is doing for weight to yourself. You can only compare yourself to your former self

    Most people will find they are stronger on some lifts than others. My deadlift is far and away my best lift and I get bigger traps by carrying and extra bag of groceries from the car. My squat sucks (barely more than my bench). I used to be able to touch my elbow on a basketball rim though so it's not like I'm genetically weak legged, just built different than a guy who goes to a 315squat right away but could never jump over a phone book.

    So I cannot compare my squat to Clarence Kennedy or a Johnny Candito. I can only compare it to what I could do last year, last month or last workout.
    To add to this - I’m more than likely fuking up somewhere but my squat is 30lbs less than my bench and half of my deadlift. It’s embarrassing. My chick could probably squat more than me :-/
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  30. #30
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    As others said, 144 is pretty light, although I've been as low as 145 (at 5'-10") for bike racing and still had some muscle left over from gymnastics. It's pretty small, but I was still heavier than most people I raced against. So don't worry, you're not bike racer skinny yet lol. If you're already in a groove on your cut I don't think it would hurt to finish it up and hit 140 before bulking, as long as you then do start bulking rather than perpetually try and stay skinny.
    Cutting........................................................176 lbs
    2020......................375 / 285 / 505..............185 lbs
    Pre-COVID..............335 / 295 / 499..............185 lbs
    July 1, 2019................9 week cut.................164 lbs
    Late April 2019.........285 / 275 / 440.............178 lbs
    Oct, 2018..............175x6 / 145x6 / 275x5......163 lbs
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