How to Progress to being an Intermediate Lifter

Andrew Jansen

A practical guide to:

  1.  not be that guy on Instagram always complaining about being injured, or
  2.  the guy who talks about how he benched three plates when he was 22.

With some planning – you will get out of the first year, and be a life-lifter. Who wouldn’t want to do this forever?

Why Does it Matter?

Powerlifting and strength training is a pursuit – not a hobby – not a sport. From the first day, you make a fist to celebrate a PR, you will keep looking for that feeling over, and over, and over again.

The greatest thing about powerlifting is there is no end. However, three things will stop your pursuit dead in its tracks. Injury. Plateaus. Life getting in the way.

The payoff for avoiding those things is building a lifelong endeavour, as rewarding from day one until you can’t physically get to the gym. I’m currently 34, and I started lifting at 14. I have 20 years of hanging out with friends. 20 years of blowing off steam. 20 years of overcoming obstacles. 20 years of learning. I have no real injuries, I’ve never had to take a significant layoff – and somewhere between all those squats a still got a degree and started multiple businesses.

Step One – Do it for the fun of it

If you don’t like a certain style of training, don’t do it. Personally, I max out a lot. I find it fun. Yes, maybe I could be stronger if I didn’t, but I don’t care. I was lucky enough to start lifting prior to the deluge of internet articles, and between challenging my brother to a bench off, or trying to break the gym record, I never lost enthusiasm.

Programming is important, but not as important as showing up. Showing up has a huge element of enjoying what you do. Here are some easy tips:

  1. Figure out if you are a low, mid, or high rep guy or gal. Everyone has their preference
  2. Have a loose plan of your priorities. If physique is your goal, don’t get crazy upset when your lifts are going up. Try to do one thing at a time, and do it well. You will feel better when you have singular success, then multiple failures
  3.  Find someone or a gym you like training at
  4.  Start a friendly bet with someone at the gym – first to 20 chins, first to squat 140 for 10, whatever, make some fun happen. 

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