Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Want to see where you stand compared to others?
Do you want to see how well you compare to the male strength standards or female strength standards?
Us humans, by nature are very competitive creatures.
We're always trying to one up the other people around us, even if we don't realize it.
Even if we won't admit it, we always want to be better than the person next to us at whatever it is that we're doing.
And in the gym regarding our lifting capacities, the story is no different.
Wouldn't we all like to see whether we're stronger and fitter than the average man or woman?
In this post, I'll be sharing with you the strength standards for both men and women surrounding the most popular exercises, in order of the following list:
Barbell back squat
Barbell bench press
Running speed (not really a strength standard but we'll include it)
Then, towards the end of the article we'll also give you some tips and strategies you can use to help you reach the next training level with your performance!
With that being said, let's get into it!
Before we jump into the first strength standards for the number of push ups you can do, I do need to clear something up.
There are always going to be lots of genetic factors that are out of our control, but have big impacts on our ability to lift heavy weight in the gym.
For example, a person with naturally longer limbs (perhaps a taller individual) is going to likely struggle on exercises such as the pull up and bench press, where the range of motion is considerably longer than that of a shorter person.
Aside from this there are other genetics factors such as our ability to put on size and gain strength, which can differ greatly from person to person.
I know guys that have been training for over two years, and were quickly overtaken in deadlift maxes by a guy that had been training for less than a year.
I know both the guys train hard, and I'm sure there's just a big difference in genetics there.
Some people are also going to start out stronger than others, for no apparent reason at all.
Some people will get to the gym and be able to bench press 135lb or 60kg their first time, whereas others will struggle to do half or two thirds of that weight.
Some people will be able to deadlift 225lb or 100kg first try, whereas others might have to lift consistently for a couple of weeks or months to get there.
Now I could ramble on and on about this, but I think you get the point.
There are always going to be genetic differences out of our control that have an impact on how we compare to the strength standards.
Sometimes, technique can be modified and training can be adapted to suit this, but otherwise it's not really something that we can change, and therefore not something that we should be worrying about.
The strength standards that I am giving you today are going to be collected from various powerlifting results, as well as existing strength standards such as the one at strengthlevel.com.
Oh, and if you don't know what your one-rep max is, you can head over to this calculator here and plug in a recent set that you took to failure and you'll get a rough estimate of what your one-rep max would be.
Now we can actually get into the strength standards.
Each strength standard will be split into 5 levels of training experience:
For the barbell exercises, we'll give you a strength standard relative to your bodyweight, and also give you guidelines for absolute weight for the heavier individuals (as the relative strength standards start to break down once you get really heavy).
Strength Standards for Men and Women
Please note that we are assuming you have proper technique on all of these exercises and are not cheating in any way to try and gain a competitive edge.
Remember, you are only cheating yourself.
How Many Push Ups Should I Be Able To Do?
Ah, the push up.
The classic bodyweight exercise that we all learnt how to do as kids.
Great for building strength and muscle mass in the chest, shoulders and triceps.
Almost everybody on the planet has attempted a push up at least once in their lifetime.
But just how many push ups should the average man or woman be able to perform?
0 - 10 reps
0 - 3 reps
10 - 20 reps
3 - 8 reps
20 - 40 reps
8 - 20 reps
40 - 50 reps
20 - 35 reps
50 - 60+ reps
How Many Pull Ups Should I Be Able To Do?
Next we've got the pull up.
Another classic bodyweight movement that's great for targeting the muscles of the back and the biceps.
The pull up, along with several other exercises we're covering today are part of the list of the 7 foundational exercises that you should be performing to build foundational strength and muscle mass.
Many actually regard this to be the king of all bodyweight exercises, as having the ability to pull one's own bodyweight up against gravity is a pretty impressive feat of strength most can't perform.
They truly are one of the toughest exercises to master.
Here's the number of pull ups you should be able to do.
0 - 3 reps
0 - 1 reps
3 - 8 reps
1 - 3 reps
8 - 15 reps
3 - 6 reps
15 - 25 reps
6 - 15 reps
How Much Should I Be Able To Squat?
The barbell back squat is one of the main powerlifting movements that people compete to lift the most weight in.
It's the best indicator of lower body strength, and is important for you to master if you're wanting to truly express how strong you are.
It's a great movement to build strength and muscle in your quads, glutes, hips and back.
But how much should we be able to squat?
20-60kg or 0.9x BW
20-40kg or 0.5x BW
60-80kg or 1.25x BW
40-60kg or 0.75x BW
85-100kg or 1.5x BW
65-80kg or 1.x BW
140kg or 1.75x BW
95kg or 1.25x BW
165kg+ or 2x BW+
110kg+ or 1.5x BW+
How Much Should I Be Able To Bench Press?
The barbell bench press is your foundational upper body pressing movement to build raw pressing power and muscle mass in the chest, shoulders and triceps.
It's considered to be the single most important upper body exercise by many athletes and fitness coaches. Especially for men.
And how strong should you be on this exercise?
Let's find out!
20-40kg or 0.5x BW
0-20kg or 0.2x BW
40-65kg or 0.8-1x BW
30-40kg or 0.5x BW
65-80kg or 1.25x BW
40-60kg or 0.75x BW
140kg or 1.5-1.75x BW
60-80kg or 1x BW
160kg+ or 2.25x BW+
95kg+ or 1.25x BW+
How Much Should I Be Able To Deadlift?
The barbell deadlift is the single best indicator of human strength.
It engages pretty much every muscle in the body, and is also your heaviest free weight lift out of any exercise.
If you were to pick just one exercise to do for the rest of your life, this would probably be it for most people.
So what are the deadlift strength standards for men and women?
40-60kg or 0.75x BW
30-50kg or 0.4-0.5x BW
115 - 120kg or 1.5x BW
60kg or 0.85x BW
150kg or 1.75-2x BW
90kg or 1-1.75x BW
200kg or 2.5-3x BW
120kg or 2-2.25x BW
240kg+ or 3.5x BW+
160kg+ or 2.5xBW+
Aside from just the usual strength training exercises that we do in the gym and out in the calisthenics parks, we do need to measure our own running capabilities as well and see where we stand against others in our categories in terms of cardiovascular fitness.
Just being strong and muscular isn't enough.
Ideally, we should also be physically fit and athletic.
Let's see how you compare!
This table shows the (slightly rounded) 5 kilometer run times for men and women of all fitness levels, which you can compare your own scores to!
Progressing to the Next Level
If you're a competitive person (like many of us here at Gympulsive), you're going to want to move yourself up the ranks and progress further through the levels until you're at that 'Pro' stage.
And while it is going to take some time and some hard work, the good news is we've got some helpful tips and pointers to give you a slight boost!
Let's get right into them.
Make Sure You're Training Hard
The key thing that you have to remember when you're trying to move up into the next level of training experience is that you have to train hard.
Whether you're trying to improve your lifting capacity on a major compound exercise or trying to improve your 5km run time, you need to make sure that you're training hard.
You don't have to be going all out every single day (that's unsustainable), but you do need to make sure that you're putting in the time and the hard work.
Over the course of each week, you should be putting in 4 or 5 hours at the very least.
Focus on Form and Technique
If you're still in the earlier stages of training (either the 'Noob' or 'Beginner' category, your best bet to advancing into the next levels is actually going to be mastering your lifting form and your training technique.
By learning how to perform your exercises more optimally and not only doing them in a safer but more efficient way, you're going to be giving yourself the best chance possible to succeed and see progress.
There are lots of places where you can learn the proper form or technique for an exercise, and a quick search on Google or Youtube should do the trick!
We've even got lots more great content here on Gympulsive which you can check out (use the site search feature and see if we've got answers to your questions).
If you don't already know this by now, progressive overload is hands down one of the top three aspects that you have to understand and master when it comes to fitness and building muscle.
Put in the most simple terms, your body grows by adapting to the stress that you put it under over time.
Your body sees that the stress that you put it through is challenging, and grows bigger and fitter in order to adapt so that the next time you do that exercise at that given intensity, it's not going to be as difficult.
However if you don't continually increase the intensity of your workouts in some way, you're not giving your body a reason to keep on growing and you're quickly going to run into plateaus.
If you're serious about reaching your goals, you've got to do more than just work out.
The work doesn't just stop when you leave the gym.
You need to be ensuring that you're getting enough sleep, enough food, enough water and getting the right macros in every single day.
Make sure you're taking at least 1 rest day each week, and that you're properly getting the recovery your body needs.
Oh, and also do your stretching.
Be Intentional About Addressing Weak Points
If you want to reach for those higher training levels ('Advanced' or 'Pro'), you're likely going to have to start getting serious about honing in on your weak points and really taking the time to minimize them.
For example, if you find that you've got a sticking point during the deadlift towards the lockout position, you might want to look to perform banded deadlifts to help with that.
Or, you could lower the weight slightly and briefly pause at your sticking point to strengthen it and get yourself comfortable in those positions.
One of the main reasons that many people never reach their goals in fitness is due to the fact that they're expecting too much too soon.
Fitness is something that's ongoing, and it's likely going to take you years on end to reach the goals that you set for yourself if they're big enough.
Trust the process, and give yourself some time to get there!
You'll move up through the ranks eventually.