How Strong You Can Get In 6 Months (as a natural lifter)

How strong you can get in 6 months

Half a year of consistent training is no small undertaking. So you better have reliable strength standards to ensure you’re getting the best results you can from your workouts. This post explains how strong you should expect to get in 6 months.

Untrained beginners typically get stronger by around 50% in 6 months. This is for the 5 main compound lifts; bench press, shoulder press, barbell row, squat, and deadlift. A good training and diet plan is essential for maximizing strength gains.

The numbers in this post are based on my personal training experience and research from user-generated strength databases.

I was able to get 30 to 50% stronger on my compound lifts.
I was able to get 30-50% stronger in my compound lifts in the first 6 months of training.

Key Takeaways

  • Strength is commonly measured by 1-rep max on the 5 main compound lifts.
  • Beginners can get stronger the fastest, increasing their compound lifts by 30-50% in 6 months.
  • The rate of strength gain decreases with experience by around 50% year on year.
  • Everyone has a natural limit to how strong they can get.
  • Lift heavy in a low-rep range and progressive overload to increase strength.

How To Strength Is Measured

Strength is commonly measured by taking a 1-rep max (1RM) on the 5 main compound lifts; bench press, shoulder press, barbell row, squat, and deadlift. 1RM refers to the maximum amount of liftable weight for a single repetition on each exercise.

Using a standardized method for measuring strength is important because numerous factors affect how strong you can get in the next 6 months:

  • Gender. Men are naturally stronger compared to women.
  • Training experience. Beginners make strength gains more rapidly compared to trained lifters.
  • Bodyweight. Heavier people are usually stronger than lighter individuals.
  • Training program. Certain workout plans are more targeted toward maximizing strength gains.
  • Diet. Sufficient protein and calorie intake are essential to get strong in 6 months.

Why is strength usually measured by the compound lifts?

Simple- the 5 main compound exercises combined represent full-body functional power:

ExerciseType Of Strength Measured
Bench pressHorizontal upper body pushing
Shoulder pressVertical upper body pushing
Barbell rowHorizontal upper body pulling
SquatVertical lower body pushing
DeadliftFull-body pulling

Next, I’ll explain how strong you can naturally get in these lifts through 6 months of consistent lifting.

How Strong You Can Expect To Get In The Next 6 Months

Beginners can expect to get 30-50% stronger on their compound lifts in 6 months. Intermediate and advanced lifters gain strength much slower, at a rate of around 15-25% and 5-10% in 6 months, respectively. It is essential to lift heavy weights and apply progressive overload to get stronger.

How strong the average untrained beginner can expect to get in half a year:

ExerciseExpected Strength Gains In 6 Months (% of starting weight)
Bench press50%
Overhead shoulder press50%
Barbell row33%

Here are some examples of expected strength gains in 6 months based on training experience:

  • Beginner- a 100lbs bench press is expected to increase to ~150lbs by month 6 (50% gain).
  • Intermediates- a 200lbs bench press is expected to increase to ~250lbs (125% gain).
  • Advanced lifters- a 300lbs bench press is expected to increase to ~330lbs (10% strength gain).

Difference Between Muscle Strength And Size

The former relates to muscle performance and the ability to lift a heavy weight, whilst the latter refers to the enlargement of your muscles.

Muscle strength and size gains are related processes. This means you usually get bigger as you get stronger, and vice versa.

However, it’s also possible to get significantly stronger without getting bigger.

But generally speaking, strength and size go hand in hand.

Why Beginners Take The Fastest Amount Of Time To Get Strong

As an untrained beginner, you benefit from something called Newbie gains.

This refers to the initial 12 months of lifting where your naive muscles are particularly responsive to training.

As a result, newbies can usually build strength rapidly.

How rapidly?

It’s not uncommon for a beginner to put on over 10lbs of muscle in 6 months, whilst intermediates usually struggle to gain more than 6lbs and advanced lifters even less than that.

As a result of faster muscle gain rates, beginners get stronger much faster, compared to lifters who have more experience under their belts.

Do Strong People Have Better Physiques?

Difference between a strong body at month 6 vs a weak body at month 1.
Photo showing the differences between a strong vs a weak physique.

A stronger muscle is generally larger than a weaker muscle.

Therefore beginners often find it easier to make significant improvements to their current physiques, compared to trained lifters, since untrained lifters build muscle the fastest.

However, an aesthetic body doesn’t rely on just big muscles.

It also depends on your ability to build muscle whilst maintaining low body fat levels.

You can check out my 6-month muscle transformation for an example of what a skinny beginner can achieve in just half a year.

When Do You Notice The First Signs Of Strength Gain?

How long it typically takes a beginner to see the first results from a strength training program:

Months Of TrainingPerceived Strength Gains
1Barely noticeable strength gains.
2Beginning to notice strength improvements.
3Up to 25% stronger in all lifts which is noticeable
4Very noticeable strength gains in all lifts.
5Highly noticeable strength gains in all lifts.
6Up to 50% stronger in all lifts which is extremely noticeable.

Strength gains should follow the above pattern for your first year of training. After that, progress will begin to slow down (see next).

You can also go to my other post for the main signs that you are getting stronger.

The Natural Human Strength Limit

Everybody has a natural strength limit. This is mainly determined by genetic factors such as; body composition, height, hormones, and bone density. The average person can reach 300-650lbs on their main compound lifts with enough training years.

An important point to note is that strength gains are not linear. They instead follow the law of diminishing returns.

In other words; you can expect to see rapid strength gains as a beginner. But those gains will innately get slower the more you train.

These diminished strength gains are natural and happen to everyone.

The natural human strength potential limit.
Muscle size and strength gains are not linear but follow the law of diminishing returns!

Why do strength gains diminish over time?

It all comes down to the Newbie gains phenomenon that I touched on earlier. Well, this honeymoon period doesn’t last forever.

In fact, newb gains get progressively smaller after around 1 year of consistent weight training.

This explains why it’s much easier for a beginner to get stronger in 6 months than it is for an advanced lifter.

5 Tips To Reach Your Maximum Strength Potential In 6 Months

Realistically speaking, you won’t reach your full strength capabilities if you don’t follow a good training and nutrition plan.

Here are 5 of my best tips to build muscle and gain strength fast:

  1. Lift in a low-rep range using heavy weights. Anywhere between 3-6 reps per set are considered a low-rep range. I found 5 reps per set to give strike the ideal balance between muscular size and strength gains. Lift at least 85% of your 1-rep max to challenge your muscles for growth and adaptation.
  1. Follow a strength-based full-body split. Don’t just work on your mirror muscles. Give your legs some love too. The lower body provides stability to all your other lifts. So it’s essential to work on your legs to get as strong as possible in 6 months. My barbell workout plan is ideal for skinny guys looking to make maximum strength gains.
  1. Apply progressive overload. A good strength program has you overloading weight regularly. This keeps your muscles challenged so they keep getting bigger and stronger.
  1. Consume a bulking diet. Eating a calorie surplus is essential to get stronger in the next 6 months. The extra calories are funneled toward muscle growth and strength development. You can’t get jacked without a bulk!
  1. Eat at least 1g of protein per lb of body weight. Protein is the building block for muscle. So you better eat enough of it to get fitter, bigger, and stronger!

For more training and dieting tips, you can check out my skinny guys’ guide to building muscle at home.


How strong you can naturally get in 6 months depends largely on your training level.

Beginners gain strength the fastest and can expect to increase their 5 main compound lifts by 30-50% in half a year.

Intermediate and advanced rates of strength gain are slower at around 15-25% and 5-10% (respectively) in half a year.

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printables) I used to go from skinny to ripped!


I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

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