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Stronglifts for intermediates

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Apr 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Stronglifts for intermediates

Generally speaking Stronglifts was designed for novices and beginners, not for intermediate lifters. Therefore Stronglifts might not be the ideal fit for you. Check in this articöle whether you are an intermediate or not and if you should consider Stronglifts 5x5.

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What is Stronglifts ?

Stronglifts 5x5 is a lifting program focused on developing strength and muscle mass at the same time. With 5 sets of five repetitions on the squat, bench press, deadlift, barbell row and overhead press it fullfilled that purpose for me. If you want to know more about the program and my indepth experience with it, please check out my extensive Stronglifts 5x5 review.

What is an intermediate ?

I am all for definitions because I personally think half of the times we do not know what we are even talking about ( including me), because language & perception are a tricky thing.

Intermediate might not mean the same thing all over the world and for all different disciplines, even though anyone who speaks english for a while gets the idea of "someone somewhere in the middle of the skill tree" when you hear intermediate. 

Here are two  general definitions of intermediate:

  • occurring in the middle of a process or series

  • relating to or having the knowledge or skill of someone who is more advanced than a beginner but not yet an expert

So applied to lifting you can either come in from a knowledge perspective or how far you have progressed through a certain program. Usually when talking about intermdiates in lifting the second definition is more relevant.

While these were two general definitions, you can go find weightlifting performance standards. While the site is not much to look at, it has a ton of information on it. Here you will find following definitions:


An individual who has not trained on the exercises before, but can perform them correctly.


An individual who has trained regularly for up to several months.


An individual who has trained regularly for up to a couple years.


An individual who has trained multiple years.


An athlete competing in strength sports. Keep in mind, the standards shown in the tables do not represent the highest level of strength performance possible.

For your personal lifting level please refer to the website to find out details which are relevant to your body measures. 

So that you still get a rough idea of whether you are an intermediate or not I will use the average male weight based on this chart:

Country Average Male Weight
United States 191 lbs (87 kg)
Germany 182 lbs (82.4 kg)
Finland 181 lbs (82.1 kg)
Canada 177 lbs (80.3 kg)
United Kingdom 176 lbs (79.8 kg)
Chile 166 lbs (75.3 kg)
Brazil 160 lbs (72.7 kg)


So now when you combine this information with the weightlifting performance stndards you get this:

US, German, Finnish Intermediate lifter based on average weight

Bench Press 90kg

Squat 122.5 kg

Deadlift 142.5 kg

Canadian, British, Chilean Intermediate lifter based on average weight

Bench Press 85kg

Squat 112.5kg

Deadlift 135kg

Brazalian Intermediate lifter based on average weight

Bench Press 77.5kg

Squat 105kg

Deadlift 122.5kg

Again of course these are those averages as of 2016 regarding to weight. It might vary to a great deal for the individual lifter.

Should intermediates use Stronglifts 5x5 ?

It all depends on your goals, but generally speaking it is not the best program for intermediates as it is designed for beginners. It is in my opinion a great program to bring you from complete Novice to Intermediate and maybe even a bit beyond. It can be an option for someone more advanced who is injured and has to rebuild or train around it, depending on the nature of the injury. 

Which other options are out there ?

More suitable for intermediates would be madcow, the juggernaut method, Jim Wendler 531 or the Texas method, depending in preferences and style.

Further reading


Topics: Stronglifts 5x5, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman