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 Post subject: Beginner-->Intermediate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:59 pm 
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I've thought about this off and and on and a recent post spurred me to pipe up and ask.

In all honestly, this doesn't readily apply to myself at the moment, I'm happy with my routine; it's still challenging, interesting and I feel there is still ample progress yet to be made.

But, at what point should one start looking at intermediate lift routines? Is it when you've stopped making progress on your current one? But if that were the case, integrating a different 'beginner' routine would probably help too, no?

Is it time period intervals? A year? Two years? 5? (More than that would be an advanced lifter, I presume.)

Anyway, thanks for your time and appreciate any feedback.

-Nick


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:54 am 
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The time can vary pretty wildly - theres two major factors and a ton of tiny ones, but the main two IMO are lack of progress (you consistently cannot add weight per session, like 35% of the time [everyone misses adding weight from time to time, but talking frequently even though eating enough] and being unable to recover from the stress of a beginner routine (stuff has got heavy, your technique is fairly good/established, so it's definately the weight).

I changed from novice to intermediate after about 9 months of stronglifts 5x5 - The squats made me feel like I'd been poisoned (every session has 5x5 squats in stronglifts) - I needed more and more sleep, and felt sluggish, I just couldn't keep doing 75 working reps of 5rm squats in 5 days - it wasn't moving much and I think my overall energy was taking a hit from them. So it was time to periodize my lifts and give more breathing room to add weight slowly.

The best thing I've done (IMO...) is to go from novice, into 8 weeks of German Volume Training (10x10) because I'd been smashing away at 5x5 for so so long without much variation - threw me a decent curveball. Texas method felt a bit useless to me and too close to 5x5, so I looked into 5/3/1, liked the idea of more volume less chasing 1rms, liked Wendler's attitude (Straight talking but without an ego, aggressive approach but smart) so went for 5/3/1 - loving it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:03 am 
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NickAbe57 wrote:
...But, at what point should one start looking at intermediate lift routines? Is it when you've stopped making progress on your current one?
When you're no longer able to increase linearly. That doesn't mean just when you plateau on a particular program. You need to give a couple of resets a chance, maybe change up your rep/set scheme a little, change your accessories around a bit.
NickAbe57 wrote:
But if that were the case, integrating a different 'beginner' routine would probably help too, no?

A change to a different linear program may or may not allow you to make more progress. It might, especially if it uses a significantly different set of lifts, and a different rep/set scheme. But in general, I'd encourage someone who had plateaued, thried some resets, made other changes not to change to another linear program, but to go to something with a simple periodization approach.[/quote]

NickAbe57 wrote:
Is it time period intervals? A year? Two years? 5?

You can't say. For some, it might be a few weeks, for some a year or two. And, no, just because one has lifted for more than two years definitely does not make them an advanced lifter (me, for example).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:12 am 
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Pardon me while I pontificate for a second, but I've seen threads like this lately and it is driving me nuts.

Trust me, if you are still trying to put yourself in some box, and label yourself a beginner or intermediate or whatever, you are, in fact, still very much a beginner.

Being an "intermediate" or "advanced" lifter goes far and beyond being able to set up the big three and pushing some arbitrary amount of weight. They make those weight charts to satisfy newbs who constantly want ot be more than what they are. Because when you truly move bast the beginner stages, you realize it doesn't matter, and 99.9% of people who aren't beginners would rather be. (In the sense that progress is easy, not in the starting over sense.)

The progression thing: I don't care if you need 60 day cycles to add 5lbs to your bench, you can still very much be a beginner even though you've been lifting for 15 years and your body has adapted to linear progression.

You can't measure where you are, and you only know you're not a beginner long after it passes.

I liken it to turning 30. When you are in your early 20's you think you are king and know it all. God forbid you went to college and read a couple books, because then you are god's gift to any subject. Then you get a career and a kid or two, age a bit, and suddenly you realize you don't know $h1t, never have, and never will. When you hit that point in lifting, you aren't a beginner anymore.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:25 am 
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Erick, that's true, except that we (or rather well-known writers) have used the words "beginner" or "novice" to define the phase when linear progression happens, and gains are fairly easy, and "intermediate" to define the need for something else. I agree that it's not important to be able to label yourself with a getter-sounding tag. People can be old, and still be like most of us were in our early 20s (sorry to all of you who are in your early 20s--you'll understand some day). I'd agree that people can lift weights or do other exercise for a long time, and still be immature in their attitudes toward what they are doing.

but for the intent of the OP's question, I think what I answered serves the purpose.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:34 am 
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Here's my theorem...
Using calculated 1RM....
A beginner's 1RM/BW ratio will increase rapidly.... because of newbie gains -- a newbie's BW doesn't change much.
An intermediate lifter will make gains in their 1RM and have an increasing BW (due to adding lean muscle mass) -- however, the 1RM/BW ratio will not change much.
An advanced lifter's BW will stabilize and make slight but steady gains to their 1RM... the 1RM/BW ratio starts increasing again....slowly.

Maybe I should add an assumption about %BF? -- otherwise this doesn't apply to overweight lifters.
Just off the top of my head, I'd say a %BF>25 = beginner.

Just another edit to clarify....
This is based on 5/3/1's four lifts.

Use the 1RM from the AMRAP of the 3rd wave (5/3/1+).
BW would be based on the average BW over the cycle -- taken every day.


Last edited by bam on Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:52 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:

but for the intent of the OP's question, I think what I answered serves the purpose.


Without a doubt. I think you have to use those terms and labels based purely on human nature, and aren't wrong or anything in doing so. Plus it makes it infinitely easier to explain things, which you more often than not do a damn good job of by the way.

I was just rambling, pontificating, what-ever you want to call it, in general about the subject.

People (myself included at a time) are in such a rush to "not be a newb" anymore, that they miss teh forest for the trees sometimes.

IDK, I haven't been getting a lo9t of sleep lately, maybe I'm just being a jerk, lol.



bam wrote:
Here's my theorem...
Using calculated 1RM....
A beginner's 1RM/BW ratio will increase rapidly.... because of newbie gains -- a newbie's BW doesn't change much.
An intermediate lifter will make gains in their 1RM and have an increasing BW (due to adding lean muscle mass) -- however, the 1RM/BW ratio will not change much.
An advanced lifter's BW will stabilize and make slight but steady gains to their 1RM... the 1RM/BW ratio starts increasing again....slowly.

Maybe I should add an assumption about %BF? -- otherwise this doesn't apply to overweight lifters.
Just off the top of my head, I'd say a %BF>25 = beginner.


Dude, you either didn't read or ignored my post. It is some much more than how much you lift. And BF% has absolutely zero to do with what stage you are at.

Andy Bolton is a prime example to disprove you theory. He pulled in the 600's (or some outrageous number like that) first time he ever pulled from the floor. The dude is also WELL over 20% BF, and is/was a world record holder in the deadlift.

Now I know he is a genetic freak with good leverages, but it still serves as a perfect example that BF or 1RM has very little to do, particularly in a vacuum like I'm interpreting your post, with whether or not your a beginner or advanced...

In terms of programing and choosing what direction to take your training approach and such, yeah these labels, 1RM & BF can be very helpful in deciding what direction to take, but they are all just small parts of a larger puzzle all dependent upon each other in order to determine what "stage" a trainee is at in pursuit of his or her goals.

Outside of picking a program based on how their body is adapting to a certain stimuli, most people would be better served not concerning themselves with what stage they are at, and just focus on moving forward down the path without much concern of where on the path they are. There is no "end game", no place where it stops. So it really doesn't matter where you are, as long as you are moving forward.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:05 am 
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nygmen wrote:
Dude, you either didn't read or ignored my post. It is some much more than how much you lift. And BF% has absolutely zero to do with what stage you are at.


Dude, focus on the ratio.... 1RM/BW. That's where I think the difference between beginner, intermediate and advanced lie. The BF part was just to account for people who are overweight. If you think the BF% should be higher, OK, good for you -- whatever.
And if you think there's more to it than that, OK. Express your thesis. But you should understand that just because you disagree doesn't mean everyone else is wrong.
Have you considered posting over at bodybuilding dot com? I think you'd get better reception over there.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:19 am 
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Quote:
Outside of picking a program based on how their body is adapting to a certain stimuli, most people would be better served not concerning themselves with what stage they are at, and just focus on moving forward down the path without much concern of where on the path they are. There is no "end game", no place where it stops. So it really doesn't matter where you are, as long as you are moving forward


This is helpful as was the age analogy. (As someone NOT in their early 20's that analogy really resonated).
As I mentioned, for the time being it matters little to me as I'm happy with my routine and progress. And despite what may have been implied from my post, I'm in no big rush to be anything other than what I am when it comes to lifting weights. But in the interest of future concerns, down the line when the linear progression stops completely, or worse as in the first replier to the post, my body can't take the toll; this is where I'm coming from with my inquiry.

Thanks for the help and offering different perspectives/contexts.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:49 am 
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NickAbe57 wrote:
As I mentioned, for the time being it matters little to me as I'm happy with my routine and progress.


Yeah, this is what really matters. Are you better than yesterday?

You're not competing with anyone but yourself. You don't need to hit any ratio or any of that to make progress, or to be happy with where you are. You just have to be better than where you were yesterday and be able to look yourself in the mirror that you're giving it as much as you should.

But yes, Doc is right, and the stages etc do help with programing, and fixing yourself when you're in a rut and the like. Just don't get caught up in trying to be an intermediate for the sake of calling yourself one, or trying to hit some arbitrary number because it will make you an advanced lifter.

Focus on achieving your goals, and how you're going to get there, and the rest of it will fall into place.

bam wrote:
Dude, focus on the ratio.... 1RM/BW. That's where I think the difference between beginner, intermediate and advanced lie. The BF part was just to account for people who are overweight. If you think the BF% should be higher, OK, good for you -- whatever.


You are completely missing my point. Or ignoring what I'm trying to say. I'm not sure at this point.

Your lifts or 1RM/BW ratio, ultimately don't matter, what-so-ever, standing alone, in determining what stage you are at.

They just don't, not on their own, and in some instances not at all.

Will it help you program? Sure, but not as a stand alone ratio, not at all. You have to factor in a plethora of other things.

Quote:
And if you think there's more to it than that, OK. Express your thesis.


I have been. What more can I say?

Quote:
But you should understand that just because you disagree doesn't mean everyone else is wrong.


I don't think everyone else is wrong, I know you are in this instance. You're too focused on one piece of a much much much larger puzzle.

But you'll figure this out in time on your own.

Quote:
Have you considered posting over at bodybuilding dot com? I think you'd get better reception over there.


Didn't know I didn't get a good reception here. (Outside of teh stephon kid... lol)

But you know what, why would anyone want to hear an "opposing" opinion. People make such great progress in a vacuum, never considering new or different information. What was I thinking? God forbid people look at things from more than one angle.

And if that is some sort of stab at my methods or approach to training, my results speak for me. I'm one of the most open people on this board about my progress, it isn't hard to find.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:09 am 
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Bam, this has been discussed ad-infinitum on this board and it's unversally accepted that the beginner/intermediate/advanced distinction is related to the rate of progress and recovery requirements and has nothing to do with actual lifts or 1RM/BW ratios. I think Eric is being very patient with you.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:29 am 
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Everything Nygmen said.


I've been lifting 20+ years. There's a reason that the first question you get here is "what are your goals?". Because the relationship of your current state to where your goals are is what really determines how "advanced" you are. There is a generally accepted hierarchy for strength training and it's been referred to here already. If your goals are not strength gains then you should use a different yardstick.

after 20 years I still consider myself a beginner for certain training modalities.

For others I think I may not be a beginner.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:52 am 
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DEFINITIONS

Beginner means ONLY that you can add weight every session. A stall may occur, but you can deload 10-20% and resume adding weight past the stall point. One-size-fits-all also works at this stage, so Stronglifts can work for a great many people of very different body types and genetic potentials.

Intermediate means that session-over-session stops working, you hit a hard stall. An intermediate expects weekly gains on a more complex program. One-size-fits all begins to weaken and the requirement for personal tweaks to a generic program increases through the intermediate stage.

Advanced, and after that, elite, means progress requires more complex and personalized programming with gains coming perhaps once/month.

CONFUSION

To make it confusing, weaker people move through the stages faster. A skinny older guy will become "intermediate" sooner than a younger more muscled guy, so the older skinnier guy is more "advanced" though the younger guy will likely develop more strength. Example: I'm middle aged and very thin by nature, so I moved from "beginner" to "intermediate" faster than many, but I lift lighter weights than many "beginners." The confusion can be straightened out by remembering the definitions apply to individuals. So I am intermediate not in relation to other lifters but because I cannot make session-over-session gains.

BEGINNER: BORING AND BRUTAL

On a one-size-fits-all beginner program like Stronglifts or Starting Strength, you can get to a point where you are doing heavy squats and deadlifts on the same day. After weeks and months this gets brutal and also boring.

So another reason to switch to intermediate before you've exhausted the potential of a one-size-fits-all beginner program is simply to add to the enjoyment. Intermediate programs can be more interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:21 am 
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so tempting to not.. post..... ah...

I like BAM
I dont like his theory. FAT is too independent of Lifting Progression to be used as a tool. High Correlation in Ratios, for sure, usually.

That being said, to echo othres, WTF cares?
Along those lines, I'm doing a more intermediate style, maybe? program than a large lifts only linear straight sets beginner program. Am I missing out on some gains, not sure. Likely the Squat progressing slower, but I have to manage my body and goals, and recovery, and fat loss needs (have you seen those videos!) And, I"ll say, I'm enjoying it more now, whil still squatting (120 reps) and deadlifting (80) reps every 3 weeks.

RobertB,
And 9 months on 5x5 squats? That is nuts!
What had you worked up to by then #450+ :)

Finally, how can anyone criticize nygmen? He's helpful and honest. I like those qualities. Plus, have you seen his ego lately!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:43 pm 
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bam wrote:
nygmen wrote:
Dude, you either didn't read or ignored my post. It is some much more than how much you lift. And BF% has absolutely zero to do with what stage you are at.


Dude, focus on the ratio.... 1RM/BW. That's where I think the difference between beginner, intermediate and advanced lie.

I think your ratio isn't at all relevant to the discussion. It doesn't apply to older lifters, probably doesn't fit women well. Doesn't take physiology into account. Sound nice to have a math formula to define things, but I think it would misclassify people badly enough to do them a real disservice if they tried to use it for making decisions about their training.
bam wrote:
...And if you think there's more to it than that, OK. Express your thesis.
Well, what do you think he did/is doing?
bam wrote:
But you should understand that just because you disagree doesn't mean everyone else is wrong.
What hole did you pull that out of??? He NEVER said anything of the sort. You are the one who is flaming someone just because you don't agree with them. Sheesh. Double sheesh!
bam wrote:
Have you considered posting over at bodybuilding dot com? I think you'd get better reception over there.

Ok, now I'm really steamed. Erick has been an important, valuable part of the family on this forum for a long time, and we wouldn't want to get along without him. He provides a perspective that few of us are able to add, knows a lot, and understands the hard work and commitment needed to get strong. It's a clear sign if immaturity (which is, in part, what this thread is about) to suggest he move to a different forum.

You're in your early 20s, aren't you?

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