So What is Strong? A Quick Look at Strength Standards

People ask me all the time about what does strong mean? I have heard numerous philosophical discussions that really bore me.  Yes, strength is relative and yes not everyone has to deadlift X amount of weight to be strong, but in the same breath when you want to talk about standards to gauge strength there should be a basic guideline to follow. And please don’t email me telling me that to finish a marathon that takes some serious strength, or talk to me about endurance sports. And yes I know gymnasts are freaks when it comes to being strong and they don’t deadlift. This discussion is for those that like to lift weights. When discussing some entry level standards to being considered not weak there are a few guidelines I use to gauge overall strength. And yes, when I think about strength I use the barbell as a standard. Sure there are numerous other methods, kettlebells, bodyweight, and other tools I am sure.  If you want to use kettlebells as a guideline use the strict press. If you are a man press at least half body weight with one arm. One rep should be the minimum, but honestly hitting half bodyweight for reps cold shouldn’t be a problem. If you are a a female, be able to hit 1/3 bodyweight for a minimum of one rep with a kettlebell and if you want to be a honey badger rep it out cold. Honestly, to all my kettlebell friends, if you want to get strong start using barbells as well. There is kettlebell strong, then there is strong. Sorry to break it to you, but deadlifting double beasts isn’t all that impressive. Now lets get to barbells. The initial basic entry level standards I have always used to gauge the beginnings of strength are the following for  men:

2 x body weight Squat : 2.5 X bodyweight Deadlift, and 1.5x body weight Bench, and 1 x body weight strict military press, and these are entry level standards.  This in my opinion is the minimum to say “well Im not weak”, but it doesn’t give you the right brag about being strong either. You want to start seeing real strength start exceeding 2.5bw squat, 3x bw Dead, 2x bw bench. When I look at this chart the real strong guys are in the Elite Division and most World class lifters exceed these numbers. For a more detailed strength standard chart I like the one below.

What is a good squat, deadlift, and Bench

A decent start on looking at strength standards


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