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What Is Strong? Real World Strength Standards For Raw, Natural Lifters


What is strong?

We live in a world filled with 1000 pound squat and 800 pound bench press Youtube videos. Kind of makes you feel weak, doesn’t it? It sure makes me feel weak.

There are a couple of key things you need to know about most of these lifts.

1000 Pound Squats and 800 Pound Bench Presses?

How are these guys able to move Herculean amounts of weight? Here are 2 major reasons.

#1 – Training Gear. The guys putting up these monster numbers are for the most part using training gear. What is training gear? Training gear includes the use of specialized squat suits and bench shirts that are designed to help powerlifters add hundreds of pounds to each lift.

So when you see a guy benching close to 800 pounds with a bench shirt on, there’s a good chance he “only” benches 500 without a bench shirt. The same goes for squats suits.

A squat of over 700 without a squat suit is fairly rare. Add in a squat suit, along with knee wraps and squat briefs, which go under a squat suit to help move even more weight, and these guys are squatting over 1000 pounds.

Training gear is not magical though. It requires an amazing amount of dedication and practice, and few can master it.

#2 – Drugs. Another factor adding to these monster totals is an obvious one – steroid and human growth hormone usage. Now it is certainly not my intention to label everyone with a big lift as a drug user.

I’ve seen some pretty staggering natural lifts in my day. With that said, drug use is fairly common in the sport of powerlifting, and I’m not going to lie to you and pretend it’s not.

There are some natural-only federations. Outside of this realm, your guess is as good as mine as to who is clean and who isn’t.

Anti-Gear, Anti-Steroids?

Before we move on any further, I want to make something very clear. The point of this article isn’t to bash lifters who use training gear or drugs.

This article exists to provide natural and raw strength standards to lifters who will never use either. Period, end of story.

I respect the iron, and the men and women who move it, and am not here to judge or stir up debates.

Raw, Natural Strength Standards

Let’s dive into the topic of raw, natural strength standards by analyzing the national records of several drug-free powerlifting federations. Some of these federations are large, and some modest in size.

  • 100% Raw
  • NASA
  • UPA-AD

These numbers will give you somewhat of a reasonable look at “elite” strength levels. They are not meant to be elite standards in and of themselves.

I will make an attempt to define my opinion of elite standards later on.

National Raw Records for Men
Weight Class USAPL 100% Raw NASA ADFPF UPA-AD
 132  479.50  530.90  275.58  247.50  None
 148  473.75  550.90  473.99  445.50  220
 165  534.50  530  512.57  447.70  529
 181  562  601.10  540.13  500.50  529
 198  573  610  644.85  550  600
 220  650.25  650.30  699.96  583  633
 242  705.25  700.70  650.36  621.50  705
 275  766  850  755.08  599.50  640
 308  854.25  826.70  766.10  599.50  704
Bench Press
National Raw Records for Men
Weight Class USAPL 100% Raw NASA ADFPF UPA-AD
 132  314  330.40  231.48  187  None
 148  337.25  360.40  294.31  302.50  165
 165  402.25  400  363.76  374  314
 181  385.75  385  363.76  385  364
 198  443  425  418.87  374  412
 220  523.50  490  451.94  423.50  425
 242  462.75  485.60  415.57  451  457
 275  501.50  585  507.06  511.50  440
 308  546.50  520  476.19  484  501
National Raw Records for Men
Weight Class USAPL 100% Raw NASA ADFPF UPA-AD
 132  578.50  450  358.25  341  None
 148  523.50  540  567.68  473  353
 165  661.25  630  567.68  535.70  567
 181  677.75  641.10  617.29  638  600
 198  706.50  661.30  661.38  671  630
 220  727.50  672.40  677.91  654.50  677
 242  699.75  760.50  722.01  704  645
 275  832.00  800  705.47  632.50  650
 308  843.25  760.50  810.19  665.50  744

So, what do these numbers tell us? The first thing I noticed is that the following lifts are extremely hard to achieve:

  • Squat – 600 pounds
  • Bench Press – 400 pounds
  • Deadlift – 650 pounds

It’s safe to say that if you hit these numbers, you’re well into Elite territory for a raw, natural lifter. It should also be noted that it is darn near impossible to hit a 2000 raw, natural powerlifting total. Only a small handful of natural lifters have performed this amazing feat.

The lifting standards I am about to present are merely guidelines. Use them to assess your progress, and potential for future gains.

Don’t be discouraged by the numbers of the top one percent of lifters. You can make amazing strides forward without having the best genetics, so remain patient and train smart. If you do so you will exceed your expectations.

Before I move forward, here are some simple definitions for standards names.

  • Pro Strength – The very best of the best. Superhuman. Supreme strength.
  • Elite Strength – You should be extremely competitive at a National level powerlifting meet.
  • Extremely Strong – You will be one of the top lifters at most local, natural powerlifting meets. Your strength levels land you in the top 1% of humanity.
  • Very Strong – In the muscle building and strength training realm, this would be considered intermediate level strength.
  • Strong – Your lifts are around a 200 raw bench, 300 raw squat and 400 raw deadlift. This doesn’t seem strong compared to powerlifting records, but you are still stronger than 90% of men walking the earth.

Raw Natural Strength Standards Based On Weight – Men

Pro Natural Raw Strength Standards
Men – By Weight
Weight Squats Bench Deadlifts
 132  430  270  440
 148  460  300  470
 165  500  330  540
 181  540  350  580
 198  570  380  610
 220  610  410  640
 242  640  430  660
 275  670  450  680
 308  700  470  700
Elite Natural Raw Strength Standards
Men – By Weight
Weight Squats Bench Deadlifts
 132  400  250  410
 148  425  280  435
 165  465  305  500
 181  500  325  535
 198  530  350  565
 220  565  380  595
 242  595  400  610
 275  620  420  630
 308  650  435  650
Extremely Strong Natural Raw Strength Standards
Men – By Weight
Weight Squats Bench Deadlifts
 132  325  205  330
 148  345  225  355
 165  375  250  405
 181  405  265  435
 198  430  285  460
 220  460  310  480
 242  480  325  495
 275  505  340  510
 308  525  355  525
Very Strong Natural Raw Strength Standards
Men – By Weight
Weight Squats Bench Deadlifts
 132  290  185  300
 148  310  210  320
 165  340  225  365
 181  365  240  395
 198  385  260  415
 220  415  280  435
 242  435  290  445
 275  455  305  460
 308  475  320  475
Strong Natural Raw Strength Standards
Men – By Weight
Weight Squats Bench Deadlifts
 132  250  155  255
 148  265  175  270
 165  290  190  310
 181  310  205  335
 198  330  220  350
 220  350  235  370
 242  370  250  380
 275  385  260  390
 308  405  270  405

I used the following multipliers to determine these numbers:

  • Elite = Pro x 92.5%
  • Extremely Strong = Pro x 75%
  • Very Strong = Pro x 67.5%
  • Strong = Pro x 57.5%

The Last Word on Natural Strength

Most of you aren’t competitive powerlifters, nor do most of you have the goal of weighing 270 pounds or more. So with that in mind, I want to end by presenting you with an easy set of natural strength standards to remember.

The following goals are perfect for the lifter who wants to get big and strong, but who may never have any interesting in competing in bodybuilding or powerlifting. Reach these goals while focusing on conventional hypertrophy (muscle building) rep ranges, and you will not only add muscle to your frame, but also have the power and strength to back it up.

  • Bench Press – 300 pounds
  • Squats – 400 pounds
  • Deadlift – 500 pounds
  • Power Clean – 225 pounds
  • Overhead Press – 225 pounds
  • Barbell Row – 300 Pounds

There have been fewer than 85 men who have ever hit a 2000 raw powerlifting total. Of these men, only a very small handful accomplished this feat while competing in major drug-tested federations. I hope this helps put powerlifting numbers in perspective.

The use of bench shirts, squat suits, steroids and growth hormone has made it difficult for most natural athletes to understand just what strong means. I see far too many strong forum lifters refer to themselves as weak, simply because they do not understand what reasonable natural standards are.

They talk themselves out of competitive powerlifting because of a misguided vision that everyone is putting up 2000 pound totals. Not true at all.

A 1200 pound 3-lift total (bench press, squats and deadlifts) is more than 95% of gym rats will ever accomplish. A 1500 pound 3-lift total is a huge accomplishment, and will be hard to beat at most local, natural powerlifting meets.

For those of you who are doubting this, let me leave you with some numbers from my first powerlifting experience.

In 2011 I competed at a local ADFPF meet. This was my first competition and I had no idea what to expect. I certainly had no clue that I would be the strongest lifter at the meet.

My 3-lift total was 1501 that day. The second best total was approximately 200 pounds below this level.

This reveals that a 1300-1500 pound total at most local, raw and natural powerlifting meets is fairly impressive. Those that achieve these levels usually move on to national-level competitions.

I currently hold 2 national-level deadlifting records, one in the ADFPF, and one in the UPA. Certainly not a legendary achievement (far from it), but my records do provide further evidence that a 1500-1600 pound total is noteworthy in the natural lifting world.

Did this article help? Let me know in the comments. I would also like to know where your strength levels currently are, and what natural goals you are after.

Good luck, and smash PRs!

Mick Madden
Mick Madden is the primary content writer for Muscle and Brawn.
  • Dan P. Aug 29,2015 at 10:57 am

    Hi, I am 21 years old and a junior in college. I been power-lifting for almost a year now. Simply the best therapy away from the stress of work and school.
    As of this week my lifts are: Bench Press (225 lbs), Squat(275 lbs) and Dead-lift(355 lbs) @ 138 lbs bw.
    I’m looking forward to competing at a local meet in Hawaii, sometime in 2016.
    Until then, I got a date with a squat rack.

  • John Aug 28,2015 at 4:30 am

    I am 48 and haven’t lifted anything for 12 years other than beer bottles. I found this article to be extremely useful. After 8 weeks I am doing sets of 4 reps with 220 lbs for bench, up to 3 reps at 240 on squats and 3 reps of 280 on Deadlift. Obviously not great. I am 205 lbs but should be under 180. Thanks for the motivation. I know I can do more on deads but the squats are my weakest. And advice on squats? I don’t have any serious knee or back problems.

  • Fila Aug 18,2015 at 8:35 am

    This a great article, It was a real eye opener! I am 18 and have only been powerlifting for about 6 months. I train with guys that are at the elite level which makes me feel weak but this makes me feel better.
    I am 67.5kg, my last meet I totaled 919lbs.
    squat: 308lbs
    bench: 209lbs
    deadlift: 402lbs

  • Fila Aug 18,2015 at 8:23 am

    This a great article, It was a real eye opener! I have only been powerlifting for about 6 months and I train with guys that are at the elite level which makes me feel weak but this makes me feel much better. I am 67.5kg, my last meet I totaled 919lbs (417kg).
    squat: 308lbs
    bench: 209lbs
    deadlift: 402lbs

  • Roger M. Woodbury Jul 1,2015 at 4:04 pm

    I began to train with a trainer in 1992 after retiring (the first time). The gym closed and my life changed about six year later. Two years ago my doctor advised me to lose some weight and get more exercise. My wife and I made a major change in our diet (we went completely “Paleo”) and I dropped 50 pounds. A year later my wife bought me a membership to the local gym and I began training again at age 70, after nearly fifteen years without darkening the doors of a gym. This month at the WABDL competition in Portland, I set the state RAW record on the flatbench (187+) and the strict curl (95.5 lbs.). I set these records breaking the records I set in February. I have begun training for next May’s event now. I am 198 pound class.

  • Nolan May 15,2015 at 1:00 pm

    I weighed in at 216 this morning

  • Nolan May 15,2015 at 12:59 pm

    This article was awesome and very helpful. My buddy was trying to get me to enter a powerlifting meet but I was I was apprehensive because I thought I wouldn’t be able to compete because almost everyone there would be on drugs while I’m not but I feel better about it now. I’m currently 19 and my weights are 375 on bench, 535 on deadlifts and 485 on squats not very gaudy but I’ve still got a lot of time to improve .

  • Chris Apr 11,2015 at 5:15 am

    I’m looking to reach to 500kg (1102lb). For a ‘regular guy’ who is 85kg (187lb) this is good enough. Currently sitting around 400kg.

    One thing that bothers me though… Whenever I go to gym, I see a lot of people who are not putting in effort. Guys have all the gear but whenever they train, they are not even breaking a sweat. It’s like people have no dedication at all.

    • James Retarides May 15,2015 at 5:43 pm

      There is a lot more to strength than 3 lifts

  • tyler chovanec Mar 11,2015 at 1:54 pm

    Great article, i was really curious ti see where I stand and what level I could possibly reach in a powerlifting meet. I have never done powerlifting before but was a collegiate decathlete and about a year ago I converted into the weight training focus. Weighing 160 i have a total of ~1215# with belt for squat and dlift. Could you recommend a website with listings of local powerlifting meets?

  • Donite Bennett Mar 9,2015 at 12:01 pm

    I’m 19:

    I bench 400, Squat 725 and power clean 300. I am looking for legal ways to improve my strength for the collegiate football level.

    • Donite Bennett Mar 9,2015 at 12:02 pm

      I also weigh in at 288 currently.

  • statdaddy(youtube) Jan 9,2015 at 11:56 pm

    I have never taken anything to aid my lifting. Here are my milestones using a weight belt:

    age 31 weight 181 pounds: benched 340 pounds in a touch and go bench press contest, 3rd place
    age 35 weight 195: bench 380 pounds in the gym, form probably not good enough for contest
    age 45: surgery in right shoulder, concentrated on decline after this
    age 48 weight 220: decline bench of 420 pounds, put on youtube, form not the best
    age 53 weight 207: 31 full reps, wide grip, on decline bench with 225 pounds, form not good on last few reps.
    other personal bests on decline bench: 20 reps at 315 / 12 reps at 365 / 3 reps at 400

    • statdaddy(youtube) Jan 10,2015 at 12:06 am

      I did the 20 reps at 315 pounds in the gym one day when Dave Batista came in. I asked my buddy if he thought I could hang with Dave on decline reps at 315 and felt motivated to do the 20. Dave was impressive. Every time he kicked the bag, the whole gym shook. He also looked like he was ready to fight anyone that stared at him.

      • statdaddy(youtube) Jan 10,2015 at 12:10 am

        Check out my buddy Mike Woods who had a 4 page spread in Muscle and Fitness magazine in August of 2001. He was cool enough to drop my name in the article (Stu Long). I kid everyone that I am the only person in the world to have their name appear in both Muscle and Fitness and New England Journal of Medicine (Letters to the Editor).

  • explosive Nov 17,2014 at 12:06 pm

    I am 3 years old, i bench 2000,squat 5000 and deadlift 10000 pounds raw. and i’m not even trying. (some of you guys are pathetic)

  • aldo picano Nov 8,2014 at 4:21 pm

    56 yeas old weight 84 kg Italian man drug free no supplement or another stuff just good pasta and pizza
    bench 200 kg is this normal ?

  • gerald campbell Oct 31,2014 at 9:00 pm

    i am 80 yrs old and weight 165 lbs and bench press 275.00. how do i get rated in the world compatistion.

    • gerald campbell Nov 24,2014 at 6:24 pm

      ii am also 80 and weight 165lbs . i just completed a wabdl lift in vagus and set a new raw record. now i am looking to bench 300 lbs by the end of 2015.

      • gerald campbell Jan 17,2015 at 5:43 pm

        thank you,but i sm looking for a reply to my question.

      • Claire Ashton-Heckathorn Feb 27,2015 at 12:56 am

        Gerald, I’m very impressed with your lift. O
        Hope you will achieve your 300# bench. I competed in 21 i meets from 1989 until 2003. I had planned to to train an
        D compete until I was 75 but spinal disease interrupted. ,my plan. I can tell you truthfully that I never felt any better than when I was llfting. Be strong.
        .Claire Ashton-Heckathorn..w

  • STARoSCREAM Oct 9,2014 at 7:08 am

    I’m 31 and have been lifting since i was 13. never juiced nor wear any gear, not even a back belt.
    At a weight of 194
    Bench – 440
    Squat – 535
    Dead – 545

    Squats and deads need work but it is a slight ego boost to be up there in bench at least. My belief is always go heavy and to failure. I suppose ive been lucky to do this most of my life without sustaining any major injury. It’s what i usually recommend when others ask about it.

  • Bill Sep 25,2014 at 12:57 pm

    I am looking to discuss via E Mail some other guys in my age bracket (68 yr) strength levels.

    I do not know how well I Bench Press as at this date I can do 325 Lbs but not with a competitive pause.I weigh too muc h right now at 252 I got to lose

    Us older guys are considered over the Hill but I would like to think we can hold our own. I am not interested in impressing anyone but we just can not let the Hollywood lifters beat us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Sep 10,2014 at 8:25 am

    We live in a world of comparisons and competition. Competition is great inasmuch as it requires one to try to achieve their personal best, to make the most of their God-given abilities. On the other hand, living by comparisons is a lousy way to live. That is not to say having a reference point is unhealthy, it’s not (meaning, I enjoyed the article and thank you for it!). But judging oneself constantly in comparison to others can either lead to pride or depression. There will always be people who are greater/lesser than us. I’ve found that encouraging others to achieve and be their best is a good way to live. I also believe that was the spirit in which this article was written, so thanks again!

  • nathan Aug 31,2014 at 9:00 pm

    Well, I guess I’m in the very strong category. I’m 17, I weigh 140 pounds exactly and can bench 205, squat 315 and deadlift 325 and I do believe that I’m doing pretty dang well for just over two years of lifting. Stay sexy

  • Cameron Rankin Aug 17,2014 at 3:50 am

    These are accurate numbers in my experience. I am 73 inches and 226 and I have an extensive history of lifting from age of 13 until now I am 35. After playing football in Texas and ever since I have had physically demanding job to this day and I get allowed time to workout. Last Max Out middle of July this year. I did manage to get 585 on squat. I felt like I might could have gone higher but decided not too. I did not max out on dead lift although I perform the exercise regularly as part of my routine. And for bench I have gotten into 330 range no problem. Rep it multiples times with good form but I could not yet beat the 360 mark. I use a football strength regimen although I have not played in nearly 16 years in addition to swimming and various cardio exercises. Now do not get me wrong there are a few guys that are stronger than me but they are very imposing and muscular dudes that you see at the gym all the time you know. If your putting up 500/300/500 your a strong dude. If your hitting 1500 mark that’s amazing. I’d agree that 2000 lb mark is freakish strength. I have never seen it done. Even under the best circumstances it is hard to avoid injury and and keep improving. I work with some very strong and talented dudes but never 2000 lbs for the big 3. Great Article!

  • Noah Aug 13,2014 at 7:15 am

    Thank you very much for this article. This will give me some very reasonable expectations as to what I should expect, and provides me some motivation to get my weight down a bit.

  • Bryan Aug 12,2014 at 5:46 pm

    I like your artical but I know a lot of men and women who are loaded with roids in at least two of these federations. They have national records. I think we’re going to have to really break down what a drug free federation is.

  • TexRan858 Jul 30,2014 at 2:19 pm

    YAY! I’m in ‘Pro Natural Raw Strength Standards’ for benchpress.

  • James Jul 24,2014 at 11:27 pm

    Love this page. LOVE IT. I’ve only just started and am nowhere near any of these targets and won’t be for months or even years, but it’s great to understand the natural top 10th percentile. I’m an ectomorph with skinny wrists and getting near simply strong would be great for me. I also taken time to understand the weight proportions and they helped me realize I could be adding weight up slightly faster on some exercises and slow the add on others, because the body simply has capacities and limits I’m not familiar with. Just a great service of inspiration and context. Thank you.

  • timothy taylor Jul 19,2014 at 1:13 am

    i am 55 ican bench 200 for reps, squat 315 for 15 reps, dead lift 400 1 that ok , i am 5′ 3″ reply if you can i dont want to compete or any thing i do these lifts raw , i want to know if i am on the right track.

    • Austin Jul 24,2014 at 1:50 am

      I’m not the author but I’d say your doing great. Those numbers put you above many half our age.

  • JC Jul 9,2014 at 1:00 pm

    I weigh 165 and am currently right on the numbers for ‘Very Strong’. I’m going to make it my goal to hit the numbers for ‘Extremely Strong’ within 1 year. The categories above that are really impressive, maybe some day down the road!

    Awesome article, thanks!

    • Sandy Jul 16,2014 at 5:08 pm

      The AltaVista, VA News Paper interviewed the Police Chief and stated that he has a has a gym at home and said power lifting is a hobby. From 1992-95, he won consecutive world power lifting championships for drug-free athletes. He said about six months ago, he squatted 1,105 pounds five times. He has bench pressed 705 pounds

  • Josh Campbell Jun 24,2014 at 6:57 pm

    Great Article! Gives me added motivation to stay strong. Never used equipment; may be fun to try! Haven’t performed dead or squats for some time (usually sled for quads/calves). Current bench 455 at 217 lbs. no lift off; focus on heavy pauses with slow descent pretty regularly. 36 years old and one of the only guys at my gym consistently pressing 4 plates on my Saturday morning sessions. Thinking I may get some focused coaching someday soon just to see what I can do! Thanks for the research!

  • Austin Apr 23,2014 at 8:32 pm

    Great article, I found it very much in line with what I’ve noticed over the 30+ years I’ve been a gym rat.

    While I’ve always been, and will remain drug free, and gear free in my younger years (late 20’s – 30’s) I was well into the elite category, and now, at 55, I find myself in the 98th percentile of the Elite category which makes this old guy feel pretty good!!

    Thanks again.


  • Richard Apr 9,2014 at 5:47 pm

    I guess I am weak for real, I don’t do singles usually but according to the 1mr calculator my stats are:
    Squat 167
    Bench 136
    Deads 179
    Personal total: 482lbs

    at a weight of about 130lbs I should be at 650lbs total if I was ”Strong”

    • Magni May 30,2015 at 7:24 am

      I wouldn’t feel bad. At your weight most people have small joints and not a lot of muscle mass. Those who are putting up the numbers you see tend to have a lot of experience, sometimes exceptional genetics, and they are the rare ants you see that can outlift heavier guys at the gym. I wouldn’t let those numbers effect you in any way. For heavier lifters, it is perhaps easier to set reasonable goals based on these charts, but for the lighters guys I would just use it to recognize how exceptional some smaller lifters can be and pursue what you are capable of. On the flip side with the strength you have you also possess attributes guys like me are no doubt somewhat envious. To do decent bodyweight exercises we have to train our asses off and keep a crazy, strength to weight ratio to do well. You are probably quite good at chins, dips, and other bodyweight exercises at your weight and the numbers you are showing. If not a little priority work and you will be. Keep in mind as well guys like me in the 100 kilos range are a dime a dozen among lifters, but it definitely can be to your advantage to compete in the lower weight divisions. A strong lightweight is a rare thing in a lot of sports.

  • John Mar 9,2014 at 1:31 am

    Great article. Very enlightening. So according to this article I’m actually doing pretty well. I lift raw (but with knee wraps) in the 198# weight class but consistently weigh in at 190. I do not use a bench shirt or a squat suit and I have yet to be tested for PED’s. Actually, I would take it as a compliment and would be more than willing to give a sample for whatever tests are needed. My best numbers so far are 585 squat, 320 bench (weak compared to other 198ers I lift against), and a 580 deadlift. My short term goal is to officially, meaning in competition, squat and deadlift 600lbs and bench 350. Super long term goal for me, which I don’t even know if it’s even reasonable is I’d like to squat 655, simply because I want to see 6 gold plates on my back. Again great article.

  • Frank Brodeur Mar 8,2014 at 8:49 pm

    I have always been drug free and never used a bench shirt or squat suit. When I hit 40 years old and weighing 260 I benched 505 squated 745 and pulled 645 pounds. Belive it or not I curled 150 with one arm one. I did 5 reps with 450 doing good mornings, and 2 reps with 200 lbs on flat bench. 225 curls and 340 seated military press. Im 50 years old now and I plan on getting back to doing it all over agin. Thanks Frank the Tank

    • Frank Brodeur Mar 8,2014 at 8:52 pm

      Sorry that was 200 lbs dumbells on flat bench. Frank the Tank

    • Frank the Tank Mar 8,2014 at 10:22 pm

      I don’t know if my last reply was posted? So here it goes agin. I have always been drug free and never used a bench shirt or squat suit. I never competed also. When I turned 40 I benched 505 squated 745 and pulled 645. At that time I weighed 260. I curled 150 with one arm, I did 5 reps with 450 doing good mornings, 2 reps with 200 pound dumbells(flat bench) 225 pound curls and 340 military press. Im 50 years old and I plan on doing it all over agin. Why am I telling you this? Well because Im damm proud of what I done!!! “GO BIG OR STAY HOME” Frank the Tank

    • Ian Mar 29,2015 at 8:13 am

      Well done Frank. I lift similar weights to you. Approx 650/485/650 done raw and drug free. 45yrs old now and am just trying to train around a slipped disc lol. I have also hammer dumbell curled 60kg dumbells for 15 reps! Also lift 100kg in skulls for 6-10 reps. Frank, very little if any response to your post because 1. Jealousy and 2. People don’t believe you are drug free. More power to you sir, one of the real freaks out there! Sick of sycophants hero-worshipping juiced-up monkeys that couldn’t tie your shoe-laces sir! Also fed-up listening to how ‘hard’ these guys work at it. They train 5 years and talk about their ‘sacrifices’! Lol Try 25 yrs! These ‘champions’ (with only the odd exception) wouldn’t have the genetics or the balls to touch us Frank! Now lets see the overwhelming response to this post! Frank, you are much too modest and nice for these boards mate! Ian (Northern Ireland)

  • Jason Feb 14,2014 at 11:06 am

    Going to compete in my first meet in April. I plan on lifting in the 165 weight class.

    My gym PRs are:

    Squat: 365 lbs
    Bench: 275 lbs
    Deadlift: 405 lbs

    They are nothing special, but I guess my main goal is to not bomb out and simply get a total to improve on. It’d be great if I won my weight class, but I see guys putting up higher numbers at 165 than me. Just got rip the band-aid off and lift. Nervous as hell, but excited too.

  • John Jan 28,2014 at 3:42 pm

    For me, this article is long over due. I strength train because it feels great and no other reason. Comparing myself to lifters on the internet and not being sure who was taking steroids, I considered myself to be weak. According to this, I’m in the very strong category, and 10lbs shy on my bench press of being in the extremely strong category. It will be refreshing to workout feeling inspired, rather than frustrated and defeated. Thanks!

  • chrissy Jan 18,2014 at 4:49 pm

    My husband runs a small benchpress club & we put on a meet every year for the past 23 yrs.. we have lifters use shirts & we get raw lifters who come. I’ve been working out off & on for yrs but recently got serious/ hardcore about 2 yrs ago. I am a 100% raw female lifter my body weight is 172, I am benchpressing 190 lbs. Not bad for a 44 yr old woman:) I always looked at these other woman who r benchpressing 250 & 300 at 130 or 140lbs body weight & I was thinking why can’t I get that strong & my body weight is a good bit more. This is a great article really showing what to expect from a 100% raw lifting.

  • Dejan Jan 11,2014 at 8:32 am

    I have 1250 lbs total and I am 18 years old and 220 weight class.I thought that this is not pretty good,but now I am damn motivated to continue with powerlifting!

  • Gareth Jan 9,2014 at 6:37 am

    Great article… being an old diddy at 42yrs. 82.5Kg class a mere gym totals 220/145/250kg are mine. But find that in competition I drop around 50kg due to making weight. Aiming now to make the weight before the meets now.

    My excuse is that I did have a 19yr rest from competitions and carbo loaded (aka got a bit fat) for last 8 years.

  • Terry J. Booth Dec 30,2013 at 3:36 pm

    When I was in my early 40s (I’m a senior citizen now) I worked out doing 4 sets of 12 at 360 lbs. I didn’t know just how strong I was. At the time I weighed 187 lbs. I am still very strong, but I don’t work out like I did back then. People still notice though. They say I remind them of a silverback gorilla.

  • Arturo Gómez Dec 30,2013 at 11:32 am

    Where are cheese, there willl be a rat.

    If sports pays – premiums, private or public sponsorization – most that a money that people can win working, so there will be somebody who qwill made fraude.

  • Cutty Dec 28,2013 at 2:33 pm

    Great article! This really helps spell out what you should have your goals set at to not get let down. As hard as you train and as much time and effort you put into everything, some things are just not possible without gear and drugs.

  • William James Dec 28,2013 at 3:49 am

    Great article, I am currently at a 1200lb total (315 bench, 405 Squat and 485 Deadlift) and hope to get to 1300 soon. I will use your article as a motivator for the guys that I work out with that are trying to break the 1,000 lb total. How do you feel strength index factors in to this? My short term goal is to get to a 6 strength index @210lbs BWT /1260 total lift. Should this be used a as measurement of success over total lbs lifted?

  • mary Dec 28,2013 at 2:13 am

    very good article – but why there is no information regarding women??

    • Mick Madden Dec 28,2013 at 10:06 am

      I will be compiling an article for women in the near future.

      • Beth Mar 4,2014 at 7:09 pm

        Thank you :D I’m very new to powerlifting (only started a week ago) and I’m keen to see what I’m working towards :D I’m lifting comparatively light as hell weights at the moment (of course) but I’m hoping to stay in a lower weight category and work on getting to 2x body weight for now. I’m 59.6kg and lifted 50kg deadlift for 1 rep on Monday and I was pretty proud of the effort!

  • James Dec 27,2013 at 10:06 pm

    Excellent, excellent article.

  • Random Thoughts | Bret Contreras Dec 27,2013 at 1:35 pm

    […] HERE to see strength standards for raw, natural […]

  • Aaron Hague Dec 25,2013 at 2:13 am

    Thank you for this article Mick, clears many thoughts up and very interesting to see it all laid out like this. How did you come up with your multipliers for each level of strength?

    thanks again

  • Aaron Hague Dec 25,2013 at 2:12 am

    Thank you for this article, clears many thoughts up and very interesting to see it all laid out like this. How did you come up with your multipliers for each level of strength?

    thanks again

  • D Dec 24,2013 at 3:28 pm

    Hi there!

    Hope you find time to write the article addressing women’s standards!

    Thank you!

    • LisaJ Dec 26,2013 at 11:01 am

      I second that notion. I would love to know the stats for natural female lifters. Its hard to find data and even more difficult for someone newish to big iron to sift through the truth.

  • Kristin Dec 24,2013 at 9:30 am

    Y U no post women’s weights?

    • Mick Madden Dec 24,2013 at 10:02 am

      I haven’t had time to do that article yet.

    • michael moore Dec 24,2013 at 11:29 am

      i was 240lbs at RTB and benched 560 in the Fort Benning competition in 1999. Last Feb I did 500lbs weighing 275lbs (yes I have video of the last one), all my lifts have always been 100% natural. I don’t use wraps, or belts either

      • eddy Jan 3,2014 at 8:36 am

        thats impressive mate how old are you?

  • Old school Dec 24,2013 at 8:37 am

    Dear Ed, please change my second mention of squat to deadlift


  • Old school Dec 24,2013 at 8:34 am

    The tables above are quite helpful but all so called ‘drug-free’ feds have long been infiltrated by those on gear looking to get a cheap ‘world title’. I am a lifelong drug-free raw powerlifter and while I recognise and accept that steroid/growth hormone/insulin etc etc is a matter of personal choice, those availing of the same should not be competing in drug-free feds. They negatively impact our records and our totals and as your article makes clear, cause other lifters to have a skewed appreciation of their own abilities.
    It is not unlike sitting in an exam room with both question and answer papers, starting at the ten mile stage of a marathon course, or burning high-octane fuel while your competitors run diesel. Yeah, cheating,plain and simple. Another way of looking at things is it is truly exceptional to have raw clean lifters squat 2.5 times (or above) bodyweight, bench 1.75 (or above) bodyweight, and squat 3 times (or above) bodyweight. Anyone doing all three of these numbers raw and clean is a phenomenal lifter. I know my eyebrow raises whenever I see this type of lifting. Sadly it is seen much more often even at national meets. A bit like turning up at county athletics day and watching the men’s 100 metres first three placings all break 10 seconds. Drug-free feds spend (waste) a lot of member’s good money on urine tests which are easy to beat. Ask members to agree to twice yearly randomly selected hair testing and watch the ‘standards’ drop to where they should be.

    Disillusioned at times but determined!

    • sherm Jan 10,2014 at 5:14 am

      No doubt there’s plenty of cheats, but that’s only the start of it.

      Research indicates that at least some of the effects of steroids are permanent. They did a study on mice that found that steroids +training permanently increased the number of muscle cells in the fibers, and while those extra cells shrank after training ceased, they grew rapidly once training was resumed.

      So you could have guys who are technically “clean” and off gear when they compete in natural feds, but who are actually sporting permanent, ill gotten gains from their past steroid use.

      I’m not against steroid use, I just wish people would be honest about it.

      • Gottfried Osterbach Mar 13,2015 at 10:24 am

        That study doesn’t sound right to me. Anabolic use shouldn’t increase the number of muscle cells. That sounds more like HGH use to me and while they probably also use anabolics at the same time growing extra muscle cells without HGH seems physiologically impossible. Anabolics might make your muscles grow (not multiply) and help with recovery, but HGH from what I’ve heard from users basically causes new growth of muscle cells as well as pretty much everything grows. Their hat size is slightly larger, their shoe size often goes up several sizes, their hands grow larger, other parts as well as parts you don’t want to grow such as the heart, organs, and intestines will grow. You get the ability to transcend your frame in a Hulklike way at the expense of maybe not living to 50 or at least shortening your life span.

  • Will Johnson Dec 24,2013 at 7:54 am

    USAPL has listed state records for various age groups and weight classes for men and women. So you could take the same % used in this great article and apply them to the age and weight group that you fall in.

  • Keith Dec 23,2013 at 11:12 pm

    Great article!! I don’t compete in PL, but Olympic Lifting, and as a Master lifter (40yrs old), I fit into your “very strong” category (just have to bring bench up a tad). Interesting to see how it breaks down and how I would end up doing if I entered a PL meet, which I’ve been considering. Thanks!!!

  • Aric Dec 23,2013 at 6:48 pm

    Very interesting article. I’d like to see more articles about natural powerlifting/strongman numbers and competition/training. Being an all natural strongman I get discouraged from time to time but try to stay focused and keep pushing through show after show. Thanks for shedding some like on natural lifters!

  • chris Dec 23,2013 at 5:46 pm

    Do you have the same standards for women?

  • Al Thompson Dec 23,2013 at 7:09 am

    What is NASA?

  • Carlos Dec 9,2013 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for an awesome article. I will be competing in two weeks in my first meet and it will be raw. You have clarified a lot and given me numbers to shoot for in the future as long term goals. The article has given me confidence. In the gym I have squatted 305lbs, benched 250lbs with the pause on chest, and pulled 360lbs at 5ft 5in 156lbs raw, a good start. I thought I was weak, now I know I am STRONG and will get STRONGER. Thanks again, strength and health to you.

  • Jamie Parker Nov 30,2013 at 7:42 am

    This article was extremely motivational for me and makes me think I may be genetically fortunate. At 40 this year I hired a trainer at my local gym just to see if it would make a significant difference- I read a fair amount about working out but mostly in Men’s Health and similar and I can only afford 3-4 hours per week in the gym. The trainer put me on a cycle through hypertrophy, pre-force and force workouts and in the first 3 months we raised my max lift bench from 225 to 285, deadliest from 225 to 415 and squats from 265 to 445. We then stopped force and went back to hypertrophy. My weight varies between 180 and 190 due to a fanatical love of cheeseburgers, but reading this article makes me want to maintain at 181-183 and see in how close I can get to some of these records in January 2014 when I hit force again at 41.

    • steve Nov 30,2013 at 2:01 pm


      I was always under the impression most people deadlift heavier than they squat, if you can squat 445, you should be able to deadlift the same or thereabouts and not 415 or am I reading this wrong. If its true you need to concentrate your efforts in this area IMO.

      • Jamie Parker Nov 30,2013 at 5:30 pm

        Yes, part of the reason we switched off force was that at 415 I’m not using my legs much so we went to correct. I have miserable grip strength, especially in my left hand, so I was compensating badly with my back and forearm to not drop the weight. I have straps now and it seems to have ironed out the problem so I expect to hit the 500 range in January for deadlift- hopefully squat too.

        • Jamie Parker Nov 30,2013 at 5:32 pm

          and one of things we tried to improve my form was cleans, where I also have bad form, but it improved my deads.

  • Brian Walker Nov 27,2013 at 6:59 pm

    just did my first meet Usapl. I weighed 227 and totaled 1466 came in second in my class but was the strongest deadlifter at the meet i missed 688. squat 451 bench 364 deadlift 651

  • Eric Chastain Nov 14,2013 at 2:26 pm

    This article is great. I’ve lifted for several years and have always been “heavier”. I want to get leaner, but ive always been more concerned about strength. Thanks to this i’ve finally found a life lifting goal.
    I want to be ELITE at 220. Period.
    It’s nice to now know where im going. One day I WILL get there. :)

  • Old's Kool Gym Nov 11,2013 at 5:59 am

    Thanks for the eye opener.
    I will share this with the young lifters in my gym
    This will boost the moral.

  • steve Nov 5,2013 at 1:50 pm

    Great article, wish I knew all this when I was 30 and not 54, I currently weigh 89kg.

    I had been out the gym for a few years and only ever trained off and on with zero long term consistency, about 8 weeks ago I started on the “starting strength” program.
    To cut a long story short, I currently;
    Squat 120kg
    Bench press 80kg
    Deadlift 130kg
    Military press 50kg
    Clean had to reset this as my form is poor.

    All are 5 reps x 3 sets apart from deadlift one set of 5, all are done without straps/belts etc.

    Now, the reason I am posting is to gauge the strength standard for old guys like myself, I would be grateful if you could tell me what lifting weights a guy in their 50’s look to achieve, is there an age group chart I could look at.

    • Mick Madden Nov 5,2013 at 7:17 pm

      I am working on that next, but don’t have one currently.

      • steve Nov 6,2013 at 5:02 am


        That’s good to hear as I cant find that kind of info anywhere, as you are probably aware there are many different types of age group listings for such things as rowing and running but nothing for lifting, you would I think be the first to interpret that.
        Good luck with that but in the mean time what do you think I should set my squat target at given my age and something that’s achievable within the next 6 months and what kind of weight should I expect to add to the bar each month if I continue to train 3 x a week. I’ve set my current target @ 6kg a month by adding 1.5kg to my squat on a Friday, as I train Mon/Wed/Fri, do you think adding 36kg in 6 months for a 156kg 5 x 3sets total is achievable at my age. Will adding creatine to my diet help me achieve this goal.

        Steve Kane

  • George Nov 3,2013 at 11:13 am

    Amazing article ! I ve been working out for only 3.5 months now, and I am stunned to see that my lifts are about 80-90% close to the 1st category Strong. You are so right , Until I read this I thought I am a very weak man influenced by this massmedia ,and quite disapointed with my 177pounds x7 bench press/ 320X2 deadlift and 220×5 squat at 175 bodyweight , now to see that for 3 months of gym in my entire life I am quite close to be considered a strong dude feels quite good! Many thanks again mate!

  • Dominick Sep 24,2013 at 11:04 am

    Really great post for setting the record straight on a thing or two! Well, my initial goal of deadlifting 450 lbs doesn’t look that conservative after all! Even for someone my size (I’m 6’1″ 230 lbs), it is actually a Very Strong start according to your charts! Once I’m there, I’m sure to aim for a 5-plate deadlift (“Extremely Strong” — no wonder it is such a rare occurrence in gyms). I know now that my goals are far from low, yet they’re achievable. I have been training raw at my home gym for some months now. Of course, the weights I move are still more on the beginner side. Funny thing is that whenever I tell someone who doesn’t lift that I’m deadlifting in the 275-325 lbs range, he/she thinks I’m bragging!!! I’ll stay raw all the way.

    • Dominick Nov 17,2015 at 12:55 pm

      Replying to myself two years down the road! I’m now bigger and stronger (6’1″ 255 lbs) and have deadlifted 495 for a double. Funny thing = I tried and missed 505 (perhaps because I had an off-day)… and felt weak! Very important to keep at it and persevere!

  • James Sep 22,2013 at 11:01 am

    Great article. Exactly what I was looking for!

  • Kevin Aug 31,2013 at 4:10 pm

    Very nice article. Thanks for the info.

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