Strength Standards for Men and Women

strength training

How to Evaluate Your Fitness Level

Strength training is an essential component of overall fitness and health. It can help you build muscle, improve bone density, and boost your metabolism, among other benefits. However, not all strength levels are equal, and the ideal strength standards vary depending on factors such as age, gender, and body weight. In this article, we will discuss how to evaluate your fitness level using strength standards by age and weight.

Why Strength Standards Matter

Strength standards are essential because they provide a framework for evaluating your fitness level objectively. They help you set realistic goals, track your progress, and identify areas where you need to improve. Moreover, strength standards can motivate you to work harder and challenge yourself.

What Are Strength Standards?

Strength standards are guidelines that define the minimum level of strength required to perform specific exercises or lift certain weights. They are based on a combination of factors, such as age, gender, and body weight, and are often expressed as a percentage of your body weight. Strength standards can vary depending on the exercise, the equipment used, and the training program.

How Are Strength Standards Determined?

Strength standards are determined by collecting data from a large sample of people and analyzing it to determine the average strength level for a particular exercise or weightlifting activity. The data is usually broken down by age, gender, and body weight to provide more specific standards. Several organizations and websites provide strength standards based on different criteria, such as powerlifting competitions or military fitness tests.

Strength standards for men

The following strength standards are based on the one-rep max (1RM) for each lift, as a percentage of body weight. These standards are for raw lifts (no lifting equipment, such as belts or knee wraps) and assume proper form and technique.


  • Beginner (untrained): 80% of body weight
  • Novice (trained for 3-9 months): 115% of body weight
  • Intermediate (trained for 1-2 years): 150% of body weight
  • Advanced (trained for 2-3 years): 190% of body weight
  • Elite (trained for 4+ years): 240% of body weight


  • Beginner (untrained): 100% of body weight
  • Novice (trained for 3-9 months): 145% of body weight
  • Intermediate (trained for 1-2 years): 190% of body weight
  • Advanced (trained for 2-3 years): 240% of body weight
  • Elite (trained for 4+ years): 300% of body weight

Bench press

  • Beginner (untrained): 70% of body weight
  • Novice (trained for 3-9 months): 100% of body weight
  • Intermediate (trained for 1-2 years): 135% of body weight
  • Advanced (trained for 2-3 years): 170% of body weight
  • Elite (trained for 4+ years): 215% of body weight

Note: The percentages indicate how much weight you should be able to lift as a percentage of your body weight. For example, if you're a beginner who weighs 150 pounds, you should be able to bench press 105 pounds (70% of your body weight).

Strength Standards for Women

Strength standards for women also vary based on their age, weight, and fitness level. Here is a general guideline for women based on their age and weight:

Bench Press

  • Beginner: Under 45 pounds
  • Novice: 50-80 pounds
  • Intermediate: 85-115 pounds
  • Advanced: 125-155 pounds
  • Elite: Over 185 pounds


  • Beginner: Under 65 pounds
  • Novice: 80-120 pounds
  • Intermediate: 135-185 pounds
  • Advanced: 225-265 pounds
  • Elite: Over 315 pounds


  • Beginner: Under 95 pounds
  • Novice: 105-155 pounds
  • Intermediate: 185-245 pounds
  • Advanced: 305-365 pounds
  • Elite: Over 435 pounds

Again, it's important to note that these standards are not absolute and can vary based on an individual's fitness level and training history.

How to Improve Your Strength

If you're not meeting the minimum standards in a particular exercise, don't get discouraged. Improving your strength takes time and effort, but it's definitely achievable with the right approach. Here are some tips for improving your strength:

1. Focus on form

The first step to improving your strength is to focus on your form. Proper form is crucial for preventing injury and maximizing your gains. Start with lighter weights and work on perfecting your form before adding more weight.

2. Increase the weight gradually

Once you've got your form down, it's time to start adding more weight. But don't make the mistake of going too heavy too soon. Increase the weight gradually, aiming for small increases each week. This will help you avoid injury and build strength safely.

3. Mix up your routine

To continue making progress, it's important to mix up your routine. This means incorporating a variety of exercises and changing up the weight, sets, and reps you do. This will help prevent plateaus and keep your body challenged.

4. Fuel your body properly

Eating a healthy diet is essential for building strength. Make sure you're getting enough protein to support muscle growth, as well as plenty of healthy carbs and fats for energy. Drinking enough water is also important for staying hydrated and performing your best.

5. Get enough rest and recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise when it comes to building strength. Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night, and take rest days as needed to allow your muscles to recover. Stretching and foam rolling can also help prevent injury and promote recovery.


Q: Can strength standards be used for all types of strength training exercises?

Yes, strength standards can be used for all types of strength training exercises, including compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench press, as well as isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions.

Q: How often should I check my progress against strength standards?

It's recommended to check your progress against strength standards every 4-6 weeks. This allows you to track your progress over time and make any necessary adjustments to your training program.

Q: Can I still make progress if I'm below my strength standards?

Yes, you can still make progress if you're below your strength standards. Everyone starts somewhere, and as long as you're consistently working towards improving your strength, you'll make progress over time.

Q: What if I'm above my strength standards?

If you're consistently lifting above your strength standards, you can adjust your training program to focus on other aspects of strength training, such as improving your form or increasing your endurance strength.

Q: Are strength standards the same for powerlifting and bodybuilding?

No, strength standards can vary depending on your goals. Powerlifters may have higher strength standards for the squat, bench press, and deadlift, while bodybuilders may focus more on relative strength and endurance strength for hypertrophy.


Strength standards by age and weight can be a helpful tool for tracking your progress and setting goals. But it's important to remember that everyone's body is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach to building strength. With the right mindset, approach, and effort, anyone can improve their strength and reach their goals.


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