13 SMART Goals Examples for Strength Training

Ready to take your strength training to new heights? Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or just starting your fitness journey, setting SMART goals is key to achieving optimal results.

SMART can be a tool for goal setting in strength training. But what exactly is strength training? Simply put, it’s a form of physical exercise that builds muscle strength and endurance through resistance and weight-bearing activities.

From pumping iron in the weight room to bodyweight exercises and resistance bands, strength training encompasses activities designed to challenge your muscles and enhance your fitness.

The benefits of strength training extend far beyond just building muscle. A study has shown that incorporating regular strength training into your fitness routine offers many advantages.

This article will explore examples of SMART goals for strength training to guide your fitness journey. Be prepared to supercharge your workouts, break through barriers, and make every rep count.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART goal-setting method can also be applied to strength training to help you achieve your fitness goals effectively. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s dive into each component of SMART:


Establishing specific goals in strength training is crucial for success. Instead of having a vague goal like “get stronger,” define what aspect of strength you want to improve.

For example, you could create a goal to increase your bench press by 10 pounds or perform 8 pull-ups without assistance. Doing so will foster a better understanding of your expectations.


Measuring your progress is essential to track your achievements. Instead of simply aiming to lift heavier weights, set quantifiable targets such as increasing your squat weight by 20% or reducing your mile run time by one minute.


When developing goals, be realistic and consider your current fitness level. Pursue goals that challenge you but are still attainable with consistent effort. After all, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure.


Ensure your strength training goals align with your overall fitness plans. Ask yourself why you want to boost your strength. Whether to enhance athletic performance, improve functional strength, or feel more confident, make sure your goals relate to your values.


A robust deadline for your strength training goals keeps you accountable and motivated. Rather than having an open-ended goal, establish a specific time frame for achieving your objectives.

To illustrate, perhaps you aim to complete a full push-up with perfect form within four days. You’ll know precisely when to reach the desired outcome, which will support your goal-setting endeavors.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Strength Training

Here are great examples of SMART goals for strength training:

1. Increase Maximum Deadlift

“The person will be able to reach the goal of increasing their maximum deadlift by 10 kilograms within 6 months. They will practice and increase the weight used for their deadlift exercises twice weekly.”

Specific: The statement outlines the goal of increasing your maximum deadlift and how you will do it.

Measurable: Track the progress of your deadlift by increasing the weight used for the exercise twice a week.

Attainable: Deadlifting can be challenging, but this is feasible with dedication and consistency.

Relevant: Improving the maximum deadlift is essential to gain strength and create muscle tone.

Time-based: You have 6 whole months to meet goal completion.

2. Strengthen Core Muscles With Plank Holds

“I will strengthen my core muscles by holding the plank position for 30 seconds three times per week. After 8 weeks of consistent efforts, I expect to be able to hold the plank for 60 seconds without taking breaks.”

Specific: The individual is explicit about how to promote strength in their core muscles.

Measurable: Record the length of time you can hold the plank regularly.

Attainable: You should be able to increase your holding times with consistent practice over 8 weeks.

Relevant: Strengthening your core will improve posture, stability, and balance throughout activities.

Time-based: Your SMART goal should be accomplished within 8 weeks.

3. Reduce Rest Time Between Sets

“I want to cut my rest time between sets from two to one and a half minutes within the next two weeks. That should allow me to get used to working out faster and benefit from more intense muscle-building sessions.”

Specific: The aim is to reduce the rest period between sets over two weeks.

Measurable: This is evaluated by cutting rest time between sets from two to one and a half minutes.

Attainable: Gradually reducing rest times fall within the bounds of reasonable goals.

Relevant: Reducing rest time increases the intensity of workouts, leading to better muscle-building results.

Time-based: There is a deadline of two weeks for this particular goal.

4. Find a Strength Training Partner

“I’ll locate a strength training partner within a month by asking around at my local gym and searching online for like-minded fitness enthusiasts. My partner should be committed to safety, understand proper form, and share the same objectives as me.”

Specific: The goal is clearly defined in terms of timing (one month) and desired qualities of a strength training partner.

Measurable: Success can be measured by successfully identifying a suitable partner.

Attainable: With enough diligence, one should have no trouble finding a suitable strength training partner within the given time frame.

Relevant: Finding a reliable and knowledgeable strength training partner is essential for maximizing every workout.

Time-based: You’ll have to find a training partner after one month.

5. Master Single-Leg Squats

“I will master the single-leg squat in three months by attending two weekly workouts focusing on leg strength and stability. I plan to perfect my form and increase weight loads over time.”

Specific: The goal is clear: to master single-leg squats within three months.

Measurable: Make sure you attend two weekly workouts focusing on leg strength and stability.

Attainable: This is achievable if the individual has patience and commits to their plan.

Relevant: Single-leg squats are essential for leg strength and stability, so this goal applies to the individual’s needs.

Time-based: The SMART statement needs to be achieved within three months.

6. Add Variety to Bicep Curls

“To build up my bicep muscles, I want to try three different types of bicep curls to challenge my muscle strength and endurance. This will include barbell, dumbbell, and hammer curls once weekly by the end of four months.”

Specific: The goal states precisely which exercises will be done and how frequently.

Measurable: You can track the number and types of bicep curls completed in a given week.

Attainable: This is doable because it only requires one weekly session to complete three curls.

Relevant: This goal is suitable because it focuses on building the biceps and challenging muscle strength.

Time-based: Four whole months are necessary to reach fitness success.

7. Incorporate Plyometric Exercises

“I will incorporate plyometric exercises into my workout schedule for the next four weeks. I am currently doing several weightlifting exercises each week, but adding plyometrics to the regime would increase the intensity of the workouts.”

Specific: This clearly states what type of exercise needs to be added to the fitness routine and when the goal should be achieved.

Measurable: Counting how many times plyometrics are done in a given week can provide a measurement of progress.

Attainable: This is feasible because plyometrics are not too difficult to learn, and four weeks is a reasonable amount of time to become familiar with them.

Relevant: Including plyometric exercises increases intensity and improves overall fitness.

Time-based: Accomplishment of this goal is expected after four weeks.

8. Target Different Muscle Groups

“I will target different muscle groups weekly when I do strength training. My current routine focuses mainly on my chest, arms, and back. Over the 12 weeks ahead, I want to work on my abs, shoulders, and legs.”

Specific: The SMART goal states the main objective, what will be done to achieve it, and the timeline.

Measurable: You could use a fitness tracker to target different muscle groups.

Attainable: This is possible because it would be realistic to work on different parts of your body over 12 weeks.

Relevant: This is essential because it ensures that you work out all the major muscle groups in your body.

Time-based: There is a 12-week window for completing the goal statement.

9. Engage in Interval Training

“Over the course of two months, I will engage in interval training twice weekly. To do so, I will join a high-intensity interval class at the gym or use an online program focused on interval training.”

Specific: Joining a class or using an online program are definite actions you can take.

Measurable: Determine whether you’re engaging in interval training twice every week.

Attainable: Two months is enough time to improve your fitness level if you commit and work hard at intervals.

Relevant: Interval training is highly effective in improving your strength and conditioning.

Time-based: You have a reasonable amount of time to complete this goal, which is two months.

10. Increase Grip Strength

“By the end of three months, I want to increase my grip strength from 70 pounds to 100 pounds by doing finger exercises daily and using a hand gripper twice a week.”

Specific: This goal outlines what you need to do (finger exercises) and how often you need to do it (daily).

Measurable: You could measure the amount of weight your grip can handle before and after training.

Attainable: Increasing grip strength from 70 to 100 pounds is achievable with consistent effort.

Relevant: Increasing your grip strength can help you improve at gripping exercises, like pull-ups and rowing.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated within the three months ahead.

11. Boost Shoulder Mobility

“I want to increase my shoulder mobility by 10% within two months. I hope to achieve this by doing at least 10 minutes of shoulder mobility exercises each day for my training program.”

Specific: The individual aims to increase shoulder mobility by 10% within two months.

Measurable: You will track how much your shoulder mobility increases as you consistently exercise.

Attainable: This is reachable because the person has been taking consistent action for two months to boost mobility.

Relevant: The goal is appropriate because it will make them stronger and help prevent shoulder injuries.

Time-based: The goal is time-bound since it has an end date of two months.

12. Increase Strength in Upper Body Exercises

“In the following three months, I will increase my strength in upper body exercises by dedicating at least four days a week to weight training and completing three sets of shoulder presses and lat pulldowns with weights ranging from 10-15 lbs.”

Specific: The goal states precisely which exercises are to be done and how often they will be completed.

Measurable: Strength can be assessed by increasing the weight of the exercises and noting how many sets are finished.

Attainable: This is doable since it defines a realistic timeline for achieving the desired result.

Relevant: Increasing upper body strength is vital to any fitness routine.

Time-based: The SMART goal should be completed in three months.

13. Refine Your Pull-Up Technique

“I want to increase my pull-up max from 10 to 15 by perfecting my form and ensuring each repetition is performed with the proper technique. For the 8 weeks ahead, I will also use a weighted vest for some of my sets to increase the difficulty.”

Specific: This is explicit because the individual plans to increase their pull-up max.

Measurable: Evaluate your fitness progress by counting how many pull-ups you can do with proper form and checking if you’ve achieved 15 reps at any given point.

Attainable: Anyone with an intermediate fitness level can achieve 15 pull-ups in 8 weeks if they are consistent and dedicated to their training.

Relevant: This relates to the person since it involves a goal that will benefit them physically and personally.

Time-based: Completion of this goal should occur within 8 weeks.

Final Thoughts

Throughout this post, we have explored the power of SMART goals in promoting success in strength training. It’s finally time to rise above the bar and unleash your inner potential.

Just remember to gauge progress regularly. Whether measuring your weights, recording your repetitions, or monitoring your running times, having tangible data helps you see how far you’ve come.

Surround yourself with a supportive community or find an accountability partner who shares your passion for strength training. They can cheer you on, provide guidance, and motivate you when the going gets tough.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.