“There are huge genetic differences,” Jeff Nippard, Are You Stronger Than Average? (Noob To Freak)

I made the mistake of reading the comments. Are 95% of the lifters out there doing it to prove something? Is ego-lifting the dominant motivator for doing the damn thing? I love having some kind of “rational” and quantitative milestones to compare myself against as much as anyone, but there’s something about the “what strength level are you” conversation that seems particularly fragile and validation-seeking.

Jeff does a good job framing the conversation in his video to be about using these tools to help inform us about what kind of programming might be best for us. It’s too bad that it seems like so few of his commenters took that message to heart. Myself? My squat and deadlift strength levels fall comfortably in the middle intermediate level of his chart, with my bench press (surprisingly to me) approaching the “advanced” column. According to Jeff, this means I’m primed for some nonlinear lifting strategies, and that works for me. I’ve been moving towards building in a mix of rep ranges into my training for the last little while already. I find it reassuring to see that my thinking seems to be more-or-less in alignment with his recommendations.

Anyway, the video ends with some footage of the wonderful recent records hit by the now officially freaky Jessica Buettner, who has quickly become my favorite lifter to watch–she expresses so much joy when she lifts! So, that’s a bonus.

How strong should you be? As strong as you are. But, if you’re looking to figure out what to do next to improve your game, maybe these guidelines will help you focus your training to get to the next level.

Did you watch the video? I’d love to hear what you think about it. Leave a comment below or find and follow Progressive Strength on Facebook to join the conversation over there.

4 thoughts on ““There are huge genetic differences,” Jeff Nippard, Are You Stronger Than Average? (Noob To Freak)

  1. I am a little skeptical about his benchmarks for bench press. I started lifting in May and have struggled some with squat and deadlift form. I can now deadlift a bit more than 75% of my bodyweight happily, and my squat sets are at 70% of bodyweight. But I can also bench 67% of my bodyweight (one-rep max, so not quite the same as squat/deadlift), and I’m confident I’ll be able to bench 75% of my bodyweight with good form by the end of the year. So something seems a little weird there.

    Can we also talk about the “women as afterthought” vibe in that video? I was irritated with the way I had to rewind and hit pause to see the values for women, because he’s like, “And these are the numbers for women, moving along now to talk more about guys.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Jamie!
      Every time I see these sorts of charts, I find myself wondering how much data we have to back them up. So, does the fact that you and I both found the bench numbers surprising mean we’re just both genetically lucky or does it mean we need more data on women lifting so that we make better models? I honestly have no idea how to interpret it.

      I love that you point out the “women as an afterthought” vibe! I was finding myself doing exactly the same thing–pausing them so I could get out my calculator. Of course, for me, the “standard” woman of 140 pounds is a never-gonna-happen thing, too! I’m pretty sure I’d be contest prep ready at that weight. Anyway, I’m always paying attention to who the “you” is in a video or conversation like this, and I think every time but once, Jeff made sure to say something like “if you’re male,” but one time he simply say “if you can lift blah-de-blah” and what he really meant was “if you’re *male* and can lift, etc.” So, I’m sure that adds to the feeling of exclusion for us! I’m certain most of his audience is male, AND it’s such a chicken-and-egg thing, since if we are excluded over and over again, it’s less likely we’re going to get involved in the lifting world in the first place. What do you think?

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      1. Totally agree about the chicken/egg nature of the problem. Part of the mental load of lifting for me is that I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be doing my thing in this male-dominated space — which was not an issue when I was doing Pilates classes or whatever else! The weight room is not a very welcoming place for women, in my experience so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I’m sorry to say that has been exactly my experience, too. I started at a community center, and it was just downright toxic. My new gym is better, but there’s still issues with the assumption of who belongs or is expected to be where (cardio/machines vs. free weights). I often wonder how many women don’t lift because they don’t feel like they “belong.”

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