280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

Does your relative strength match these standards? In the following chart* you will find commonly accepted values for determining whether or not your strength is good, excellent or elite in the three power lifts.

Squat Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
Bench Press Male Female
Good >1.25 X bdwt >0.8 X bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to 1.75 X bdwt 1 X bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
2 X bdwt
greater than or equal to
1.25 X bdwt
Deadlift Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt

Relative strength means balancing out your lifting.  This requires adequate attention to each of the lifts; which in essence means your lifting should be in a ratio of one to the other across the board. It has been suggested by practitioners of the sport and the scientists who support these lifters that a ratio of 1:1.5:1.5 will provide the ratio for success. In this case the first number represents the bench press followed by squat and the dead lift 1 repetition maximum numbers.

*Adapted from Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength by Stoppani, J Human Kinetics 2006

Author: ActivelyFitSeniors

Danny M. O’Dell, M. A., CSCS*D is the co-owner of The Explosivelyfit Strength Training Gym, located in Nine Mile Falls, WA. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has a Master's Degree in Human Services and is a strength and conditioning coach in a local School District along with being a regular contributor to the Washington State Coaches Association magazine.