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How Strong Should I Be? A Guide for Noobs, Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite and Freak Lifters

Discover the “magical number” of your squat, bench press and deadlift.

Do you consider yourself strong enough? How do you think you compare with the average? If you’re wondering “how strong should I be” then you have landed in the right place.

Find that out depending on which category you find yourself in depending on how long you have been going to the gym. For that, we turn to Jeff Nippard.

Jeff Nippard is a natural professional bodybuilder who shares tips and training programs on his YouTube channel. His latest video dives deep into how strong should you be depending on your history of going to the gym.

He divided every possible athlete into 6 categories:

  • Noob – 3-6 months of lifting
  • Beginner – 6 months to 2 years of lifting
  • Intermediate – 2-5 years of lifting
  • Advanced – 5 years of lifting
  • Elite – 5-10 years of lifting
  • Freak – +10 years of lifting

Note: genetics play a crucial part in how much a person’s strength develops over time. To become a “freak,” genetics has to be in your favour, Jeff Nippard explains.

How Strong Should I Be?

The list below will show how strong your one-rep max should be to each category.

Noob

Male

  • Squat: 45-135lb (20-61 kg)
  • Bench: 45-95lb (20-43kg)
  • Deadlift: 45-135lb (20-61 kg)

Female

  • Squat: 45-95lb (20-43 kg)
  • Bench: 0-45lb (0-20kg)
  • Deadlift: 45-135lb (20-61 kg)

“You should be able to progress your level by just working on your technique while incrementally adding a minimum amount of weight to the bar each and every workout generally in the 3-6 rep zone for strength work.”

beginner athlete decides to start crossfit

Beginner

Male

  • Squat: 1.25x bodyweight
  • Bench: bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 1.5 bodyweight

Female

  • Squat: 0.5-1x bodyweight
  • Bench: 0.5x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 0.5-1x bodyweight

“Most people should be setting new PR nearly every workout still adding minimum increments of 5 pounds to the bar or one extra rep in that same 3-6 rep range.”

Intermediate

This is when people usually hit their first plateau in their strength development.

Male

  • Squat: 1.25-1.75x bodyweight
  • Bench: 1-1.5x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 1.5-2.25x bodyweight

Female

  • Squat: 1-1.5x bodyweight
  • Bench: 0.5-0.75x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 1.25-1.75x bodyweight

This time, due to plateau, rather than hitting 3-6 reps, vary your training. Jeff Nippard exemplifies one scenario.

3-5 reps with higher exertion where you go to almost failure. A few days later, working the same muscle group, you should ddo a more hypertrophy workout, in which you hit 6-10 rep range with a lower exertion.

Advanced

Male

  • Squat: 1.75-2.5x bodyweight
  • Bench: 1.5-2x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 2.25-3x bodyweight

Female

  • Squat: 1.5-1.75x bodyweight
  • Bench: 0.75-1x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 1.75-2.5x bodyweight

According to Jeff, not necessarily everyone can reach an elite level and it would also involve a lot of sacrifice in the gym, which most people are not willing to do. However, becoming an advanced athlete is reachable to the majority of people.

“Regardless, this is the point where you’ll need to become much more methodical with your programming and likely have to run specialisation phases where you narrow in on one lift while putting the others at maintenance.”

Elite

Male

  • Squat: 2.5-3x bodyweight
  • Bench: 2-2.5x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 3-3.5x bodyweight

Female

  • Squat: 1.75-2.25x bodyweight
  • Bench: 1-1.25x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: 2.25-3x bodyweight

Freak

Male

  • Squat: >3x bodyweight
  • Bench: >2.25x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: >3.5x bodyweight

Female

  • Squat: >2.25x bodyweight
  • Bench: >1.25x bodyweight
  • Deadlift: >3x bodyweight

So, how strong should I be? Depending on how often and for how long you’ve been going to the gym, you should look at the info above. If you have more questions, check out Nippard’s video below.

VIDEO – How Strong Should I Be?

Read More: How to Make Muscle Gains At Every Level

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