I'm obviously not a gym rat and I'm very ignorant about fitness, but I am trying to improve my health and overall body composition. To skip the point, I'm not certain on how to have a decent workout and what defines someone as physically strong. 

Though I'm not entirely sure of what I can do (or what my max is), the last amount of weight I've squatted was 205 lbs. which doesn't seem to be a lot since I believe most people can squat twice their weight (I weight 234 lbs. or so). I did 10 reps of 185 lbs. and 10 reps again of 205 lbs. My time in the gym is usually short and "lackluster" because of my ignorance and clueless. After that, I've about 20 hip abductions (outwards) of 130 and 150 (10 each), and 30 hip abductions (inwards) 130, 150, 170 (10 each). As I recall, I'm supposed to lift heavy weights at low reps in a certain amount of sets. However, with the leg press, I've made it to 330 lbs without realizing when I meant to chose 310. 

For upper body, my maximum appears to 230 or so on the lateral pulldown. Ultimately, I just want advice, to become stronger, and not be weak. Apparently, I'm "weak as shit" for what I've made it to, even though everyone works out at their own pace.

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First and foremost, don't ever worry about how much weight you can put up. It will eventually come if you keep at it. Second, the only way you ate going to be successful in the gym is to go in with a plan. You don't have to have a notebook and write down every move you make (though that does help) but you should at least know what muscle groups you want to work out everyday BEFORE getting to the gym.

Shane is right about the weight you should be doing for those exercises but getting there is a daunting task with little to no guidance. I would recommend to use a 5x5 or a 6x6 to work your way up to doing more weight. This is simply 5 (or 6) sets of 5 (or 6) reps. You should start light....As in laughable light and safely and slowly work your way up. When you get to heavier weights then you can get to the super low reps For Mass.

Next you need to make sure that you can give your muscles time to heal, roughly 48 hours. Split your time between push and pull and you will be close to that. Push will be chest, triceps, and shoulders while pull is back and biceps. Legs and abs are outcasts most of the time but are vital to having a well rounded physique. I like to do something like Monday triceps, Tuesday biceps, Wednesday shoulders/legs, Thursday back, Friday chest (opposite of international chest day).

However, at the end of the day it is all interpretation and trial and error. My routine may or may not work for you..but the principles are the same. Push, pull and have a plan.

There are several different schools of training, and definitions of "strong", but I am pretty old school and think you should focus on basic, functional strength. Could you survive a week of old-fashioned farm work? Then you are strong.

As for training, look into olympic lifts if you can - but do so through a club, because you shouldn't be doing it solo. Aside from that, you will never go wrong with deadlift, squat, dips, chins and press + core exercises like sidebends and weighted crunches.

And never, ever, forget to do grip work. Being able to deadlift twice your weight with straps but not even 1x your weight without is of absolutely no use.

Honestly man, your lat pull numbers are NOT bad at all. I weigh about the same as you do (I'm closer to 230, but makes little difference) and to date, I still only rep up to 150 on lat pulls. 

Each of us is physically different of course, so while you have good upper body strength (due to repeated injuries, I will NEVER, EVER be able to do pull-ups/chin-ups, my arm/shoulder sockets will not support the weight), you seem to be wanting/needing lower body strength.

I would suggest looking at what Benjamin was talking about in using sets of 5-6 reps, though once you have gained more experience in the gym, while working on those lighter weights (as in, light for you) bump up the reps to 10 or 12, then as you plan on and continue to progressively ad weight, lower the reps down. Most places I've seen suggest when you start a workout regime, to get a 1 rep max for that lift. You then base your workouts on a percentage of that weight. Sometimes I feel as though that can be a bit disheartening, because some guys may start off working with 80 or 90 lbs on the bar, because it's what the percentage of their original max was.

im not sure if it has anything to do with what you can bench press or lift id be more concerned about being able to open a jam jar that the wife can,t . 

I can already open jars wife can't.  

But I need to get more inshape I am 52 in 2 days I want to keep going strong.

Hard to gauge here unless you posted a video, esp of the squats.

I see guys load up the bar with three 45's each side, then proceed to squat about, from what I would do, 1/3 the way down and then head back up again, their poor knees wobbling from the reversal of all that weight at that point.

On leg press it's easy to get up to a lot of weight, FYI.

For me, I would consider myself strong if I could do multiple one-arm pushups, pull-ups, or a one-legged squat from a fully down position (with one leg extended).

Those posers who only do half, or third squats give a ton of people a bad name, lol. 

For myself, I currently rep 225 comfortably 6-12 times (depends on the working load of the workout), but Leg press closer to 600... Right now, the biggest limiting differential between those two numbers is the strength of my back/core muscles. Because if I cannot maintain proper form all the way to parallel, and back up, I will not squat it (my squat weight creeps up very slowly, but slower than I'd like... it's a trade for not working with a spotter/trainer)... My goal is to get my squat to within 50 pounds of my leg press, and get my Dead lift to at least the 3-400 lb. range. As I'm a front row forward in Rugby, this strength is very important (but more so in the core, which is the main concern as technique trumps strength almost any day of the week)


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