Your lifting age isn’t the number of years you’ve been training. It represents a stage of development of a lifter characterized by how close they are to the limits of their genetic potential. There are novices that have been lifting on and off for years.
How you train depends on your lifting age, so it’s important to have an idea of where you are on the continuum. Novice, intermediate, and advanced lifters have some common characteristics and I’ve listed them here for you.
- Untrained or lifting has been in consistent
- Furthest away from genetic potential
- Most rapid progress during this phase.
- Full recovery in 48-72 hours.
- Likely to see progress from one session to the next.
- Training programs should be simple, without a lot of different exercises
- Whole body, 3 times a week.
- Time in this phase varies from person to person, but if consistent, it lasts 3-6 months if training is consistent.
- Closer to genetic potential for size and strength.
- Starts when novice progression slows.
- Progress takes longer. Don’t expect to progress from session to session.
- Full recovery takes longer. May need a week.
- Workout splits need to change to allow for individual body parts to recover.
- Use upper/lower, push/pull type of splits.
- Incorporate more exercises to train more movement patterns and learn new skills.
- Training programs evolve to include blocks of time where volume can be cycled up or down.
- Takes 6 months to 2 years of consistent, intentional training.
- Most people will voluntarily stay in this stage.
- Longer than 2 years of consistent, intentionally programmed training.
- Very close to genetic potential.
- Takes a long time to make improvements.
- Weekly organization less effective; periodization over a longer time span is needed.
- Lower number of exercises needed.
- Full recovery can take weeks.
Think of these phases as a continuum with blurry edges. Novices will progress if they lift consistently and use progressive overload. Intermediates need intentional and smart programming to progress to the advanced phase.
The only lifters that need to progress to the advanced stage are competitors in a lifting sport. People interested in being fit and strong can reach their goals while in the intermediate phase.
The important take-away is that if you train consistently and purposely, it’s normal if your recovery time increases and your progress to slows down a bit.
Lifting My Spirits League of Lifters
We are female lifters in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond. Science-based info in a community of women who train to be badass. We train to be stronger, bigger, and with a focus that goes beyond general fitness. All levels welcome from beginners to advanced.
Lifting My Spirits Healthy Eating Community
We are into flexiblility and sustainability! We talk a lot about science and eating for results. No food shaming here!
Practical Programming for Strength Training 3rd Edition, Mark Rippetoe & Andy Baker
The Muscle & Strength Pyramid: Training, Eric Helms, Andy Morgan, Andrea Valdez
Hi! I’m Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50’s.
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don’t train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.