In this question (How do you motivate yourself to keep exercising?) I read it's good practice to set fitness goals.

Because I kept losing motivation and my goal was just to get more muscle, I wanted to set real measurable goals for my fitness gains.

I'd like some short term goals and 1 long term goal.

I'd like to measure these goals for the first excersize I am doing each day.

  1. Pull-ups (currently 4 clean reps)
  2. Bench-press (currently max 60 kg, 5 clean reps)
  3. Squats (currently max 80 kg, 5 clean reps)

I weigh approx 78 kg and I split my work-out threeway at the moment and my aim is to go too the gym 4 times a week:

Back- biceps chest - tricep shoulder - legs

I am planning to switch these around after 6 weeks of excersize.

Is there a good algorithm to set some goals, so I can stay motivated? (getting married in may, suit will be measured on in april)

3 Answers 3


Adding 5% weight (rounding-up to the nearest 5 kilos) every 8 weeks of training to any given lift for any given rep-range is a reasonable goal. 10% would be aggressive, but do-able.

These numbers assume you're past the novice/untrained stage of gains.

A couple other bits of unsolicited advice:

1.) Don't forget that weighted pull-ups is a good way to measure things rather than number of reps. Keep track of your body-weight if you do drop some weight. Use a backpack or a weighted vest.

2.) I would add Deadlifts to your routine. Otherwise you might see hamstring and low-back development lacking. Don't neglect core-strength either.

  • I am just using those excersizes to measure my gains and to check if my goals are being reached. I have the deadlift added to my routine. But thanks for your suggestion. As your question really answered my question, I accept your answer :).
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 7:30

There are strength standards out there that define the progression from untrained to novice to intermediate to advanced to elite. Just as an example, at your body weight your squat needs to go up to 113 kilos (1RM) to hit intermediate.

You'll need to do the conversion to kilos, but these give pretty clear numbers on what you should be able to do. Even better, they keep you honest as far as favoring one type of lift and letting others fall. It can be pretty sobering to know that (strict) overhead pressing your bodyweight is actually realistic.

The nice thing about being on the earlier side of the strength standards is that you'll have more rapid improvement and it's an easier program. You can do full body compound barbell work three days a week for an hour a day, have your diet in check, and increase load weekly if not more often.

Dump the isolation work you're doing. Your body can handle handle way more load right now and big compound lifts fit the bill.

Read up on Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength program.


Your question is very subjective. The short answer is, there is no magic formula for setting goals. However, there are guidelines. Try to be realistic. For example, if at the moment, you can't bench press 300 lbs, don't set that as a goal. Rather, set the goal to be increasing the amount you can currently lift. Sometimes, goals have nothing to do with the act of working out. In fact, I believe you've stated a goal in your post: making sure your suit fits in April. The most important thing to remember is that goals imply a long term commitment to the process of fitness. Once you reach a goal, set another. That's how you keep improving. Otherwise, what would you do when you reached your goal?

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