The central theses
Force standards are strength measures for various exercises that are based on your body weight and gender.
Force standards are useful for determining force targets and deciding which lifts work best. However, you can easily overestimate and underestimate how much you should be able to lift.
A good rule of thumb for establishing force goals is that you try to move up to the next category with the strength standards shown below, by getting stronger or maintaining your strength while losing body fat.
When you start lifting weights, your first, second and third priorities should be:
Try to add weight or reps every time you enter the gym, and do not worry about how you compare with others.
In fact, comparison with others at this time can be distracting, daunting, and counterproductive, since most others in the gym are stronger than you.
Fortunately, this will soon be the case if you complete a well-designed strength training and eat properly. You will quickly build muscle and strength and catch up with your colleagues.
However, as soon as the salad days of the winning phase of your newcomer are over, progress slows down considerably.
At this time, usually after 6 to 12 months of training, it is not enough to show up and do your best with every workout. You need to make a long-term plan, make sure you get stronger, and possibly even periodize your workouts to keep the wheels of the train running.
The first step in long-term planning is deciding what to aim for. And when lifting, this means you have to strive for strength standards.
Typically, these standards are built on what other lifters with similar characteristics can achieve.
While some people say you should never If you compare yourself with others, there are a few good reasons to do so as you progress:
It's a great way to set benchmarks and goals.
It helps you decide what your strongest and weakest exercises are.
So you can see how much progress you have made since the beginning of weight lifting.
Here, objective strength standards can be helpful.
Typically, these graphs classify your strength based on your 1-rep maximum (1RM) and your body weight.
However, if you plug in "strength standards" into old Google, you'll find a multitude of different diagrams that do not match.
For example, according to one table, your Squat 1RM could be classified as "Elite," but only by one other than "Good."
And you will ask yourself. , ,
Where do these numbers come from?
How strong am I compared to most serious athletes?
Why am I like that strongly in some exercises and so weak in others?
The short answer is:
Starch standards should serve as a starting point for setting goals and focusing on weaknesses. It is never a good idea to focus too much on this.
The long story?
Well, you will learn in this article.
At the end of this article you will know. , ,
What are strength standards and how are they calculated?
The best strength standards for men and women
How to use strength standards to set realistic and challenging goals
How to become as strong as possible
What are strength standards?
Force standards are strength measures for various exercises that are based on your body weight and gender.
They are often displayed as tables, like those by Mark Rippetoe:
As you can see, in this case you would be assigned to different categories – Cat. L, Cat. Ll, Cat. Lll etc. – based on your body weight in the left column and your 1RM in the corresponding row.
Sometimes strength standards are also displayed as a multiple of body weight, such as:
Squat: 2 times body weight.
Bench: 1.5 times body weight.
Deadlift: 2.5 times your body weight.
In other cases, the strength standards are based on a rep-max instead of a 1RM.
For example, one common strength standard for pull-ups and chinups is 10 times body weight. This means that you should aim for 10 repetitions of your body weight (maximum 10 repetitions).
Where do these standards come from?
Originally, power standards were developed by powerlifting organizations to assess their competitors.
Powerlifting is a sport that aims to be as strong as possible on the track squat. Bank, and deadliftThese are some of the best indicators of your whole body strength.
Your "Power Score" is the sum of squats, bench presses and deadlifts (1RM) called yours total, If you are in squat 300, bank 200 and deadlift 400, your total is 900 (300 + 200 + 400 = 900).
Other exercises like that Military Press. pull-up, and Barbell row are not used in powerlifting, but many coaches have developed strength standards for those who are based on what they have learned in working with thousands of athletes.
You can also find strength standards for exercises such as barbell curl, leg press, and skull breaker, though most people do not set goals for them.
Usually, you can take a good snapshot of your whole body strength by looking at your squats, bench presses and deadlifts. If you are strong in these three lifts, chances are good that you are strong in most lifts.
Powerlifting strength standards are created by looking at the totals of all lifters in a powerlifting association and then ranking them based on the percentage of lifters that are able to achieve different totals.
Subsequently, different categories are created based on these percentiles.
For example: resistance standards are for the United States of America Powerlifting (USAPL) Federation:
If you're wondering why these numbers seem so high, it's because they're powerlifting buzz-the sum of squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
"Elite" in this case means that you belong to the best 2.5%. In other words, you are stronger than 97.5% of the other people in this group who are already made up very strong power lift. You're damn strong if you're elite.
At the other end of the spectrum we have "class 5", which includes people who are only stronger than 10% of the other lifters in the USAPL.
This still means that you are stronger than most recreational athletes, but at the bottom of the totem pole in this powerlifting association.
The numbers at the top of the table are body weights in pounds. The heaviest people are in general will be the strongestTherefore, most strength standards are based on relative strength or how much you can lift at a given body weight.
However, there is a problem with relying on powerlifting strength standards:
They are based entirely on data from individuals whose sole purpose is to squat as much as possible, press on the bench, and operate Deadlift. Many of them will be genetically gifted for strength sports, and many will also use steroids to increase their numbers (though the USAPL tests for drug use, these tests are not difficult to cheat on).
If you are interested in powerlifting, be sure to use power standards for powerlifting. If you're a recreational athlete who just wants to be healthy, muscular, and strong (and natural), then I recommend you stick to strength standards based on data from athletes like you that we'll cover next.
Summary: Force standards are measures of strength for various exercises based on your body weight and gender. Most power standards for power lifts will give you unrealistically high numbers. It is therefore best to use strength standards that are oriented towards recreational athletes.
Use this training and flexible diet program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat in just 30 days and build muscle – without starving yourself or living in the gym.
The best power standards for every weightlifter
There are three types of strength standards that you can follow:
The strength standards of Tim Henrique, which are based on a multiple of your body weight.
Mark Rippetoes strength standards that divide the lifters into five categories ranging from the weakest to the strongest.
Powerlifting force standards that are generally far too high for recreational weightlifters.
Personally, I recommend you to start with the first option.
While not quite as accurate as Mark Rippetoe's strength standards, all these standards are only estimates. You'll soon find that some of the numbers appear high and others low because of your current strength.
Starch standards by Tim Henrique
Tim Henriques is a powerlifting and powerlifting trainer who has worked with thousands of athletes and coaches over the past few decades. He is also author and author of Everything about powerlifting, one of the best books on the subject until today.
He developed these strength standards to give his athletes simple goals that they could use for their training.
Henriques subdivides weightlifters into three categories:
DecentThis should be achieved after about 6 to 12 months of consistent strength training.
Some genetically gifted people may be able to achieve these standards without strength training, but almost everyone should be able to achieve it within a year.
If you are decent, you will not be "strong" in weightlifting, but you will at least be "not weak".
GoodYou should achieve this after about 1 to 3 years of consistent strength training.
Some genetically gifted people may be able to reach those standards within a year, but most will not be ready for use until two to three years. Others may take up to 5 to 10 years to be followed by long pauses due to lifting, injuries, diminishing motivation and the like.
If you are good, you will probably be one of the stronger people in your gym and much stronger than the average person without training.
LargeThat's what you can achieve after 5 to 10 or more years of consistent strength training.
If you have average or above-average genetics for strength and muscle, a strong work ethic, and are not disabled by injuries, overtraining, or other lengthy lifting pauses, you can probably become an excellent lifter.
If you have below-average genetics and ethical condition, and take many longer breaks while lifting, you'll probably never be a great lifter.
Keep in mind that Henriques defines Great relative to the average lifter. Although a squat weight of 455 pounds is not considered "great" in many powerlifters, it is overwhelmingly strong for most gyms.
You'll also find that Henriques provides standards based on either an absolute weight or a multiple of your body weight. For example, a good squat for a woman would be 155 pounds or 1.25 x body weight.
You can use both standards because they are usually close to one another for most people of average weight or size.
The reason why he offers both options is that for many exercises, no standards have been set. While it is generally accepted that a 2.5 times body weight squat is a good gauge for an advanced male weightlifter, there is no such standard for such exercises as barbell rows or biceps curls.
In these cases, an absolute number as a strength standard makes more sense than a body weight multiplier.
With that in mind, here are Henriques' starch standards for decent, good, and great lifters:
Mark Rippetoes strength standards
Mark Rippetoe is a strength coach, author and author of initial strength and Practical programminghas done more to make heavy barbell training popular than maybe anyone else is alive.
Rippetoe has worked with tens of thousands of weightlifters, weightlifting trainers and athletes, using his extensive experience to create realistic strength standards based on the performance of natural recreational weightlifters.
These standards have proven to be extremely accurate over the years for most people. They also have the advantage of including five categories instead of Henrique's three starch standards, which means you have more "upgrade" opportunities.
In other words, it may take several years for a Good to switch to the Great Lifter in the Henriques system, but it can take only 6 to 12 months for a Cat III to move to the Cat IV Lifter in the Rippetoe system ,
Rippetoe divides weightlifters into five categories as follows:
Technically, someone with good genetics could be a Cat III weightlifter, even if he's just starting, and someone with bad genetics, programming, or discipline could be a Cat-1 weightlifter, even though he's been training for several years.
However, the categories of Rippetoe can generally be translated as follows:
Cat l = beginner (0 to 6 months experience in weightlifting)
Cat II = beginner (6 to 12 months experience in weightlifting)
Cat III = Intermediate (1 to 2 years experience in weightlifting)
Cat IV = Advanced (3 to 4 years experience in weightlifting)
Cat V = Elite (5+ years experience in weightlifting)
The strength standards of Rippetoe have the advantage of being in tabular form. This shows you exactly how much weight you should aim for based on your body weight and gender.
For example, if you are an adult 180-pound man who has been training for six months, you can look at the table and know that you should be able to exercise at least 128 pounds in bench press.
The disadvantage of this system is that it is a little annoying to find exactly how much you should be able to lift for each exercise and body weight. In addition, only standards for military press, bench press, squats and deadlifts are provided, while the Henriques system provides standards for these and eight more exercises.
As I mentioned earlier, it depends mainly on your personal preference which system you use.
Here are the strength standards of Mark Rippetoe:
Before we start setting starch goals, it is important to maintain the right perspective of the starch standards.
Summary: The two best strength standards are those of Tim Henriques and Mark Rippetoe. Which one you choose depends mainly on your personal preferences.
Why starch standards can be misleading
Everything else is the same, the more muscles you have, the more you should be able to lift.
People with more muscle generally also weigh more, which is why the strength standards for heavier and lighter people are higher or lower.
The problem is that "everything else" is rarely the same.
There are two main variables that can affect your estimates:
Let's take a look at these.
How your anatomy affects your strength
It is possible to have anatomical features that make it easier or more difficult for certain exercises to get stronger, regardless of your body weight.
The most important placeholder is here, where your sinews are attach to your bones.
Your tendons connect your muscles to your bones, and where they attach can increase or decrease the weight you can lift.
For example, if your biceps tendon is a few millimeters further from your bottom, it will improve the leverage of the bicep, allowing you to lift more weight.
However, if it is a few millimeters closer to your elbow, the leverage of the biceps decreases, which reduces the weight you can lift.
This is true regardless of how much muscle you have. It is possible for one person to be weaker than another, although it is more stressed because of less ideal tendon attachments.
The effects can be enormous.
Thanks to these small anatomical differences, a person can could elevator 25% more than others, even if they had the same amount of muscle mass.
Another important anatomical feature that can affect your strength is your skeletal proportions.
We all have the same muscles and bones in our bodies and they are all in the same general areas. However, there may be differences in how long or short our bones are and where our tendons attach to them.
These differences are usually small and only a few millimeters. However, this can be reflected in noticeable differences in strength.
Your bones act as levers, and how long or short these levers can dramatically affect how much you can lift.
For example, if someone has longer arms than the average, he must move the bar further to complete each repetition bench Press, If everything else is the same, they can not bench press as much as someone with normally long arms.
However, the same drawback can also be helpful for other exercises. Make long arms deadlift easier because the bar does not have to go that far when you get up.
So, if small changes in your anatomy can have such a drastic impact on your strength, then why bother looking at the strength standards?
Well, by definition, most people have mid-length limbs and tendon attachment points, so force standards can still give us an estimate of how we compare with others.
However, keep in mind that in some exercises, your anatomy may be better than others if you are significantly weaker or stronger in some exercises.
Summary: The strength standards give an overview of how much most people can lift at different body weights. However, because of the unique differences in your anatomy, your numbers can vary considerably.
How your age affects your strength
The second problem with strength standards is that most of them do not take age into account.
Logically someone who is in her 20s will be able to lift more than someone in their sixties.
The idea that after a certain age you can not build up any strength or muscle is wrongBut it gets harder, and you'll lose strength and muscle at a certain age.
Take a look at this table with the record strength totals for lifters of different ages:
As you can see, most people grow up to about 40 years old. After that, you do well to maintain your strength, let alone set new personal records.
This natural degeneration is caused by a number of physiological changes and can be minimized by Avoid injuries. a healthy diet, and train smartlybut your power will decrease as you get older, regardless of it How much muscle do you have?,
So if you're over 40 and your numbers are not as good as you expected, that's the reason. And if you are in your youth In the early 20's you have plenty of time to get stronger.
Consider these two aspects of how to use force standards to set weight-lifting goals.
Set power targets in 3 easy steps
At this point, it is probably very exciting to know how to use strength standards to set goals.
So let's get started.
The strength standards I have shown you at the beginning of this article and which you will use to determine your strength goals, are derived from those of Dr. med. Lon Kilgore was developed and introduced by Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength,
Together, these two trained, interviewed and analyzed more data from lifters than any other on the planet, which is why these strength standards are considered some of the best ever.
They created these strength standards using the same procedure I outlined earlier, but instead of using data from lifters, they used data from recreational athletes – serious strength athletes, but not the genetic elite.
You will also find strength standards based on self-reported data, such as those of power level, By enabling many different people around the world to contribute to the data, you can collect much more information. However, there are also some problems:
1. People often exaggerate their power.
Sometimes they'll just lie, but in most cases it's simply a matter of poor technique. It's not uncommon for someone to claim they've been benching 315 pounds. , , without mentioning the fact the bar never touches their chest.
This braggadocious behavior corrupts the data in strength standards charts.
2. People often enter incorrect data because, well, it's the Internet.
Many people enter incorrect information in online surveys just for the lolz, and there's no reason to think people would not do it for their one-rep maxes, too.
Lon Kilgore. Lon Kilgore.
You can therefore find strength standards based on national or world record one-rep maxes from powerlifters, but I do not recommend you to use these for the reasons earlier:
They are the genetic elite, not the norm.
Many of them have used or currently use steroids.
The only reason to use powerlifting standards is if you want to compete in powerlifting. And if that's the case, you'll need to look at the strength standards for whatever you want to compete with.
Here are the two most popular sets of powerlifting strength standards:
USAPL Strength Standards
USPA / IPF Strength Standards
Otherwise, I recommend you stick to the Starting Strength standards in this article.
So, with that out of the way, let's get into how to set strength goals using strength standards.
You first need to estimate your one-rep maxes for the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.
Step # 1: Estimate Your One-Rep Maxes
Strength standards are based on your one-rep maxes, or the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition through a full range of motion.
If you can not get it right, you will not be able to do it in the past 12 weeks, use the calculator below to estimate your 1RM based on how many reps you can get with a lighter weight.
Estimate your 1RM for your squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.
Estimated Reps and Weight Based on One-Rep Max
If you want to learn more about how to estimate your one-rep max, and why it's important, check out this article:
A Simple and Accurate One-Rep Max Calculator (and How to Use It)
Step # 2: Compare Your One-Rep Maxes to Strength Standards
First, do you decide to go with Tim Henriques' strength standards or Mark Rippetoe's. Which one you choose depends on your personal preferences, but I like Tim Henriques' standards the most.
Regardless of which strength standards you choose, make sure you use the strength standards for your sex.
If you're a man, use the strength standards for men. If you're a woman, use the strength standards for women. If you can not decide what you are, just make up numbers since they're fake anyway, like math and triangles.
The reason there are different tables for men and women is that men are more muscular and stronger than women on average, so both sexes require different standards.
Here are the strength standards again:
Tim Henriques' Strength Standards
Mark Rippetoe's Strength Standards
If you’re using Henriques’ standards, either use the numbers provided or the body weight multipliers.
For example, my best squat is 405 pounds, which would classify me as Good according to Henriques’ standards. I currently weigh 180 pounds, so I could also multiply my body weight by two (180 x 2 = 360) and use that as my strength standard.
Which method you use is up to you, but I suggest picking whichever is closest to your current 1RM. In my case, I’d just use 405 as my standard for Good.
If you’re using Mark Rippetoe’s strength standards, first pick which exercise you want to look at. I’ll use my bench press as an example.
After locating men’s bench press chart, I would locate my body weight in the far left-hand column. If your weight isn’t listed, use the category that’s closest to your weight.
For example, I weigh 180 pounds, so I would use the strength standards for someone who weighs 181 pounds.
Next, follow that row to the right until you find the number that is closest to your 1RM.
If the number is bigger than your 1RM, use the number to the immediate left of it. If the number is smaller than your 1RM, then use that number.
You always choose the lower number because each number indicates the minimum amount of weight you need to lift to reach that category. For example, if I bench pressed 260 pounds, I’d still be in the Intermediate category, because I didn’t quite get 275 pounds (which is the minimum for entering the Advanced category).
Once you’ve found the correct number, follow that column up, and you’ll find your strength category.
For instance, my 320-pound bench puts me in the Advanced category.
Repeat this process with all of your lifts.
Now, if you’re annoyed that you haven’t quite broken into the higher categories for all of your lifts, don’t worry.
Remember that you probably will have one or two lifts that slightly lag behind the others (for me it’s the deadlift), and that’s fine. The whole point of these standards is to find what you need to work on the most and to set goals for your future progress.
Let’s do that next.
Step #3: Set Reasonable, Challenging Strength Goals
Now it’s time for the fun part—deciding what you want to improve.
There are a few ways to go about this, but the simplest is to focus on whatever you’re worst at.
Let’s say your bench press and deadlift are both in the Intermediate category, but your squat puts you in the Beginner category. In that case, you need to stop skipping leg day and work on your squat,
Or, maybe you’re decently strong on all of your lifts. What do you do then?
Well, you can pick whatever you want to work on most, or get stronger on everything,
It’s really up to you.
You should also consider what parts of your physique you want to improve the most as well. Remember that strength and size are closely correlated, so the muscle groups most involved in whatever lift you focus on are also generally going to grow the most.
For example, if your bench press is your best lift according to the strength standards, but you still want your chest to grow more than your legs, back, or shoulders, then it makes sense to focus on improving your bench versus your squat, deadlift, or overhead press.
Once you’ve decided what exercise to focus on, a good rule of thumb is to try to move up one category from where you are now. Once you reach the next category, move up again. If you reach the Advanced category, though, you may want to set smaller goals such as “add 10 pounds to my bench.”
The closer you get to your genetic potential for strength and muscle gain, the harder it will become to gain strength and muscle, so you’ll need to adjust your goals accordingly. Once you reach the Intermediate level, plan on setting a new personal record (PR) every three or so months.
If you reach the advanced level, plan on setting a new PR every year, and plan on that PR being a much smaller improvement over your old one.
You can also boost your rankings as a lifter by gaining a small amount of strength while losing body fat and dropping into the next weight category.
For example, let’s say you weigh 148 pounds and can overhead press 95 pounds, putting you in the Novice category.
If you were to lose 16 pounds and get your body weight to 132, you’d only have to add 10 pounds to your overhead press to bump yourself up to the Intermediate category.
So, what’s the best way to get stronger, you wonder?
How to Get Stronger
One or more of your lifts is probably lower than you’d like.
To fix that, you’re going to need to follow a strength training plan that allows you to progressively overload your muscles.
That is, you need to organize your training in such a way that you can consistently add more and more weight to the lift you want to improve.
If you want to learn the best ways to do that, check out these articles:
The 12 Best Science-Based Strength Training Programs for Gaining Muscle and Strength
The Definitive Guide on How to Build a Workout Routine
Get Strong Fast With the 5/3/1 Strength Training Program
The Bottom Line on Strength Standards
Strength standards are strength benchmarks for different exercises based on your body weight and sex.
Although your first priority when weightlifting should always be to get stronger, strength standards help you decide what lifts you should focus on the most as you become a more experienced weightlifter.
The downsides of strength standards, though, are that they can over- or underestimate your strength because most don’t factor in your anatomy or age.
You can find many different strength standards online, but many of them are either based on self-reported data from random weightlifters or powerlifting records, both of which can be skewed due to various factors.
Instead, I recommend you stick with the strength standards created by Tim Henriques or Mark Rippetoe.
When deciding what exercise you want to improve the most, here’s what I recommend:
Focus on whatever exercise is your weakest (ranks lowest according to the strength standards).
Focus on whatever exercise trains the muscle group you want to grow the most (bench press for chest, squats for quads, etc.)
Try to get stronger on all of your exercises if possible.
At the end of the day, the only strength standard that really matters is your progress over time.
Are you stronger this month than last month? Are you stronger this year than the previous one?
If so, you’re on the right track.
If not, you need to make some changes.
So, while it’s fun to see how you stack up against others, focus on the things that are in your immediate control:
Do that, and you’ll get stronger.
What’s your take on strength standards? Would you like to share something else? Let me know in the comments below.
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