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How Strong Should You Be as Noob, Intermediate, and Elite Athlete Level?

Do you consider yourself strong enough? How do you think you compare with the average? Find out how strong you should be in different categories depending on how long you have been going to the gym.

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 you beSource: Anastase Maragos

The categories he came up with are based on his 10+ coaching experience and the average strength of his students and data from competitive powerlifting events.

Also important to note that the standards of how strong should you be are based on body weight ratios, so it is less reliable at high bodyweights.

How Strong Should You Be?

In the video, Jeff Nippard explains some basic standards that people should be able to lift.

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

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

Read More: New Upper Lower Split Program, the Most Effective Workout for Leg Day?

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