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Where are you currently?

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Old 08-08-2008, 08:57 AM
Andrew.cook Andrew.cook is offline
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Default Where are you currently?

I know that there seems to be a lot of time and effort placed on whether you are an intermediate, and advanced, or *gasp* a BEGINNER in the realm of lifting.

While I have never fully understood the need to define where you are in your travels (lifting is a trip, not a destination) I suppose it is a necessary evil in order to define a plan of action or for a trainer to have some understanding where their pupil currently sits in regards to knowledge and experience. As with any trip, you have to know where you are in order to know how to get to your destination. This reminds me of one of my favorite jokes...

A traveller is hopelessly lost on a highway in Ireland. Travelling for hours and with the sun setting he finds a man wandering the road.
"Sir, I'm lost and in need of directions." The man thinks for a moment and says "Well, I don't know where you are going, but I wouldn't start from here!"

So in the need to know where someone is going, and where they have been we classify eachother as "experienced lifters" or "Novice." But what does it mean? Do a number of years earn you the right to dispense sage advice? perhaps you should have a 1600lb total on the big three in order to steer someone onto the right road? These means of measurement are fairly arbitrary, truthfully. Someone can lift for years and years and still be doing everything "wrong" in the most literal sense of the word. Likewise, I knew guys that were VERY strong but could not tell you how or why they got that way (thank you genetics!).

This article from EFS brings up some interesting thoughts about my own 16+ years under the bar. I can identify with this very well. Anyway, give it a read and think about where you are:
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:29 PM
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Kane Kane is offline
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Article accurately describes the average 'training life/evolution' of most lifters, ime.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:55 PM
Andrew.cook Andrew.cook is offline
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Indeed it does. But that is kinda the beauty of it. I think that most people will easily identify where they are from the article, as opposed to simply thinking that a 300lb bench makes them advanced or whatever.

If you need validation that you are advanced, you are not
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:22 PM
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iron_worker iron_worker is offline
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I've heard descriptions before that a beginner lifter is someone who can pretty much walk into the gym everytime/every week and lift more weight. Neural adaptations are a bit part of this.

An intermediate has been classified as someone who has to work towards progression but the progression is still at a reasonable pace and fairly consistent.

An advanced lifter is one who trains hard for a whole cycle and maybe manages to throw on 5lbs to the bar. Or something like that.

Thats how i see it anyways. I really liked that article though. I've done most of those things. lol

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Old 08-08-2008, 01:39 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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It's all just generalities. Really, everyone is a "model" unto themselves. But you can pretty much rest assured that a "novice" is going to have a period of "free strength" and really, "free fitness". Then you take them and put them on something fairly organized for the first time and they will progress even better. But there really is more to it than how someone can progress. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

For someone actually doing their job as a trainer the beginner, intermediate, etc models are nothing more than touchstones. It's one thing what happens on the internet or what a book tries to aim at a general audience...but if a TRAINER just says to you, what do you lift?...and then hands you a program; get a new trainer. It's about assessment. Testing. Most trainers don't do it and most of them are getting paid for what people can get for free on internet forums. Unless they want to pay someone to count reps.

I like the article and I think it's accurate. But it comes down to situations. Either you are going to give out general advise based on whatever general training models you accept; or you are going to take a whole lot of time and assess people more as individuals...or something in between.

Why do so-called beginners, on a beginner program, tend to stall out of bench first? What does this say about how they can train? And what does it say about some likely problems? And can they even do more than one pushup? Or pullup? You could go on and on...

I'm squarely in level 4, not that I am elite by any standared nor will ever be. But my training tends to be 60 or 70 percent planning and the rest thinking on my feet. Some things follow a more strict schedule though.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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