It is pretty natural for those who enjoy throwing around the weights to wonder how strong they are compared to others out there. It is easy to look around your gym and see what others are lifting, and if you are reading this blog and you own a copy of All About Powerlifting it is likely you are one of the strongest people in your gym.
Walk around Walmart or take a stroll through the mall and it seems like almost no one lifts. Maybe you really are super strong? Then you jump on Instagram or watch your Facebook feed and suddenly you are asking yourself if you even lift?
On social media as it seems as though the world is full of incredible lifters. In this day and age it takes literally a 5 minute search to see some insane feats of strength. Yet you just pulled 500 and you want to know how strong that really is?
A while ago I published one of my more popular articles on Tnation entitled “How rare is a 300 pound bench press”. In that article, I used a variety of sources to try to establish how common it was for a man to bench press 300 lbs at some point in his life (some sites claim it is 1 in 3000 which I think is just BS).
I did a fair amount of research as part of that article although admittedly there was a “gut check” response to it. My conclusion was that about 1 in a 100 men will bench press 300 lbs at some point in their life. For a long time, I have wanted to expand on that position to include other lifts, other strength levels, and to give women their own valid points of reference.
This article is my attempt to satisfy that goal. We are going to examine the competitive lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, and strict curl) and we are going to look at 8 different levels of ability, starting with something quite common and moving all the way up to incredibly rare. And we are going to do that for both sexes.
A Few Caveats
Accuracy: I am not claiming that the statistics presented here are perfectly accurate. I did some gut checking on the 300 lb bench press stat, and I am doing even more gut checking on these numbers.
Having said that, I have spent 20 years training people and teaching others to become personal trainers. I have racked up enormous hours in the gym (actually in a bunch of different gyms) working with regular people all the way to world champion powerlifters. So this is my “best guess”, take it or leave it.
Bodyweight: Absolutely bodyweight has a large factor on strength, but to try to factor that in further clouds an already cloudy issue.
In general, we are talking about a standard 200 lb male and a 150 lb female, but as the feats of strength increase the smaller sizes are essentially selected out of. But it goes without saying that is more rare for a 150 lb person to bench 500 lbs than a 350 lb person. If you are lighter than the standard, your odds are even lower to hit the weight so if you can hit a benchmark it is an even greater accomplishment. If you are noticeably heavier then it is easier to hit the weights listed.
Age: Age is also a factor and it is rarer for a 60 year old to hit these goals than a 30 year old, but again attempting to specifically factor that in doesn’t seem super feasible at least to me, others may know a better way. If you are older than 50 or younger than 20 the accomplishment is even more rare.
Form: Form obviously matters – we’ve all seen the dude claiming to squat 400 who in reality would struggle hit 275 to depth. I am assuming these lifts are performed at or very near a competition standard, although they don’t have to actually be performed in a competition to count.
If you look at the number of people who actually compete and reach these numbers then of course our averages would be smaller. The bench press is touching the chest with the butt on the bench, deadlifts are locked out, squats are to depth, and strict curls are up against a wall. These are raw numbers, I don’t care about a belt and wrist wraps but no suits or other supportive gear allowed.
Time: Physical standards change over time. We have seen an explosion in strength over the last 15 years. How long that will continue I don’t know, hopefully for a while. If it continues for another 15 years and even more people lift, then I may have to revise these numbers. If we examined people living 50 years ago it would be even more rare for them to be able to hit these numbers. Such is the nature of fitness.
Football and soccer ability have significantly increased in that timeframe as well, all you can do is analyze things in their current form. I am also aware that some of the lifts at the highest level on this chart haven’t been reached yet. I believe they are feasible and will be done in the somewhat near future. Time will tell if that prediction is correct or not. I set the strict curl standards intentionally high because fewer lifters contest that lift and I expect that to change over the future.
Drugs: I am assuming that the lifter is drug free. Drug use obviously makes these lifts easier to achieve. How much I don’t know for sure and it is likely to vary based on the individual, but if I had to guess I would say if drugs are used to reach a certain standard move its rarity up on row on the chart, so a 700 lb drug free squat is in my world about the same rarity as an 800 lb drug assisted squat.
|Odds of being able to perform the lift||Bench Press||Deadlift||Squat||Strict Curl|
|One on the planet||750||1100||1100||275|
|Odds of being able to perform the lift||Bench Press||Deadlift||Squat||Strict Curl|
|One on the planet||400||700||700||150|
What the Categories Mean
1:2 – This means that about 1 out of 2 people, or about half the population, will at some point hit these numbers in the gym
Genetics: Almost all healthy individuals can achieve these numbers with training; many can lift this much with no training
Competition: Almost every lifter including teens and masters will be lifting at or above these numbers
As a fitness professional, it is worth noting that even though most strength athletes would perceive this level of strength as quite rudimentary, from a fitness point of view if one has this level of strength then they can likely accomplish the vast majority of physical tasks their life might require them to do. To put it simpler, while these numbers may not make someone strong, they likely make them healthy.
1:15 – This means that 1 out of 15 people or 6.6% of the population will at some point hit these numbers in the gym
Genetics: Most but not all individuals can reach these numbers with dedicated attention to barbell training
Competition: The significant majority of lifters will be lifting at or above these numbers even at local competitions
1:100 – This means that 1 out of a hundred people will at some point hit these numbers in the gym. For many this is the landmark for one to be considered truly “strong” among the general population. This is the equivalent in terms of rarity to having a 145 IQ or a shoe size of 16 for men.
Genetics: Almost no one can do these numbers without training and a majority of fitness enthusiasts will never reach these numbers even with training
Competition: Lifters will start to be considered “good” at local competitions if they can hit these numbers
1:10,000 – This means that 1 out of ten thousand individuals will be able to hit these numbers in the gym. Most people at this level are considered “very strong” and they are considered strong even by strength athlete standards.
Genetics: Significant training is required to perform these lifts, no one walks around able to lift this weight. Only a small percentage of people will have the genetics to be able to lift this much weight.
Competition: These lifters will usually win local competitions and will hold their own in National level competitions. Often these lifts will be at or close to state records and perhaps even age group national records.
1:100,000 – This means in a giant football stadium filled with normal people, only one person in that stadium is likely to be able to achieve this feat. This is truly an elite level of strength.
Genetics: Only a very small number of individuals can achieve these levels even with extensive training.
Competition: These lifters will usually win the majority of their competitions except at large National or World events.
1:1,000,000 – These lifts are literally ‘one in a million lifts’ and generally very rare. Most individuals will never see these lifts performed in person outside of a competition.
Genetics: One must be blessed with good genetics and lots of hard work to be able to achieve these lifts particularly at lower bodyweights.
Competition: These lifts would like win their competition at any level in any category but perhaps SHW.
1:1,000,000,000 – This is a ‘one in a billion’ lift which means just a few people in the entire world have ever achieved this feat. These lifts are usually all-time world records.
1:7,000,000,000 – The ‘one in 7 billion lift’. This means there is likely only one person on the planet capable of this feat of strength. Need I say more.
For reference sake, at the most recent USAPL raw Nationals in Chicago, which typically has at least 20 lifters per class and draws some of the best in the nation, no males of any weight achieved a lift in the last 2 categories and just a couple of females were able to bench over 315.
I can access Instagram and find a woman squatting 450 lbs very quickly. But that isn’t normal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman squat 450 lbs outside of a national level powerlifting competition. That is a 1 in a million lift. But I did see a woman squat 300 lbs today at my gym. And she isn’t huge; she’s 150 lbs, trim, fit and strong. How rare is that? Well, in my world only about 1 in 10,000 women will be able to squat 250 lbs to depth. That is pretty damn rare. And while she may not win a national championship with that level of strength, that is certainly a level to be very proud and also a level that likely took a hell of a lot of work to develop.
I personally don’t think our psyche is set up to compare itself to literally 7 billion others out there, I think it is set up to compare itself to smaller social groups such as groups of 10, 50 or 100 folks. In most areas if you are in the 99% percentile we think of that as pretty awesome, but in lifting in seems we only really celebrate the mega-rare lift. There are 300 million people in America, so yeah a lot of women can bench press 115 lbs nationwide and yes most that compete in powerlifting can. But a female benching 115 lbs is strong. Set up a bench press outside of Walmart and have all the people walking through the doors give that challenge a go and see what happens.
What do you think? What does your gut tell you about these numbers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Fun and good stuff, probably roughly accurate plus or minus but the deadlift numbers seem high. I fell in the 1:10,000 group but I doubt on average deadlift is going to be that much above a raw squat. 1:100 group DL is 150 above squat for men. A 50-70 pound disparity is probably closer. USA powerlifting Raw nationals were just held deadlift numbers were usually closer to squat numbers than 100-150.
Hmmmm. 1% of men will pull a 1250 total at some point in their life. Seems pretty optimistic. 1 in 15 will hit the coveted 2-3-4. That seems insane.
I was on the Canadian Powerlifting team from 1978 to 1983 and placed 3rd in the world in 1983 and 4th, 5th and 6th. Also placed 2nd at the first World Games in 1981 and 2nd at the World cup in 1980. I had an exceptional coach of Bill Jamison. My father and both grandfathers were 5ft 6 in and were all coal miners. I am 4-11″ and lifted in the 114 lbs class. I lifted 451 lbs in the squat, at 114 lbs. at the Worlds in Calcutta india, 300 lb bench at 114 at the Provincial championships in London Ontario.. I also lifted in the 123 lbs class once with a 485 lb squat and a 300 bench just missed the 320 in the bench that day. In training weighing at 127 lb weight I lifted 500 lbs in the squat and my coach said it broke. Also at 127 lbs I benched with a pause 320 about 5 times in training. My two best totals were 1118 at 114 lbs. and 1218 at 123 lbs. One time they measured my body fat ration and it was at a 4% body fat, I was drug tested twice at the worlds and twice at the Canadian Championship. I usually lifted with a T shirt in the bench as the bench suits were not invented in 1983. I lifted with Inaba and Chuck Dunbar. I just wanted to pass on this history of my lifting days that I truly enjoyed. So pleased to see how power lifting has grown over the years. The strongest sport in the world. Not sure which ration that I would fall into. Your article was most interesting. Gods Blessings to you.
hey man what can i do to increase my benchpress please help
Your gut is telling you 1% of men can do a 300lb bench…. ridiculous and you rounded down from 150 to 100 at one point.. you’re just pulling numbers out of your ass.
Maybe 1 in 5000
More like 1 in 30,000
Dude probably works out in a bodybuilders gym where the all cycle on roids. No cap.
I’ve been in and around sports since 2004 and am a certified trainer through ACE. Its rare for males to do 225 lbs (four 45lb plates) on bench let alone even come close to a 300 lb bench.
I’d bet along the lines:
Bench Per Male Population
135 lbs 1:20
150 lbs 1:100
175 lbs 1:500
200 lbs 1 :750
225 lbs 1 :5,000
250 lbs 1:7,000
275 lbs 1:20,000
300 lbs 1:30,000
315 lbs 1:50,000 people
100 percent agree.. the numbers he is posting are way off. Ive been to a lot of state, national, and world class meets. My brother holds some world records. But according to the numbers in this post hes just kinda good. At one point my brother was tied with Ed Cohen.. and ranked in the top 10 in the world pound for pound.
If you think only 1 in 500 men can bench 175lbs, you have no clue what you’re talking about.
Your estimates are very inflated at the low end IMO. Not sure about the high end. I could bench 135 with no prior training in 6th grade. I’m average size and about half the guys in my gym class could too.
In the article he explains that he’s talking about how many guys could achieve these numbers with practice, not what men randomly pulled off the street can do. I think his numbers are pretty close when you look at them through that lens.
If you’re talking about randomly selected guys I think 135 might be 1 in 10 because of old people. Probably more like 1 in 5 if you just sample able bodied men under 45.
1/5000 people bench 225? in my highschool of 2000 there are several doing 225.
Seems ok to me.
took me a while to cover the 300 bench, 400 squat, 500 deadlift barriers.
550 deadlift is just under my max. benching around 320. sqautted 440.
Thank You for your information.
You are out of your mind on bench. I am a 53 year old male and today I benched 440 pounds. I have not seen anyone close to this number pretty much ever. Keep in mind i am also 6 ft 2 inch and 305 pound of muscle. I have been lifting 20 plus years.
The idiot writing this article fails to recognize several things.
Benching 440 pounds requires size/weight. 6 ft plus is optimal for wingspan to lift this kind of weight. Weight of 300 pounds plus and not fat. The diet alone is expensive. I make 6 figures to afford the diet, supplements ect. Time in the gym. I workout 5-6 days a week 2-3 hours a day to maintain the strength and frame to do this. Think about how many people actually have this kind of time and money in real life.
You gave to be able to recover from injury and stay motivated and recover and then get stronger. Trust me at these weights, muscle strains and pulls come with the territory. So having a good PT/trainer/MD is a requirement. Again, more money..
If less than 10 percent of men in the US are over 6 ft, and only 2 percent are 6 ft 2 inch and above, his numbers he quoted are a load of crap. I am not saying men under 6 ft 2 cant bench 409 plus pounds, i am saying to do it, you are most likely over 6 ft 2 inch tall. That is 2 percent of the male population and that would be assuming all 2 percent could do it, which most dont weigh enough and most men cant even with dedication and training.
Do you have pictures? I HIGHLY doubt you’re 305 pounds of “muscle” unless you’re on IGF, HGH, Insulin, and Trenbolone all at once..
You are much more likely to be at LEAST 25% body fat. You’re not all muscle and not under 10% body fat.
Wow thank you, there are not many of us you that I have heard of beside myself that over the age of 50 and can still press over 400lbs. Typically my bench workouts starting at 305 lbs and working up on 8 sets of four lifts two to three three times a week
At age 54 I hit max max ever of 440 but what you said is true I am 6’1” 260lbs. So physical size has a lot to do with it ! Before attempting heavy lifts at those weights I typically work from two to three to four plates per arm on a chest press machine. That is 180lbs per arm on simultaneous and alternating 180lbs one arm presses. If you can’t hit that then don’t get under a bench bar and try a 405 or you will get hurt!
I think these numbers are a little generous…even if you take performance-enhancing substances into account.
A little!!! Read my comment below.
Men reaching a 300 lb bench press is like 1 in 30,000.
I rarely see men even do 225lbs (four 45lb plates + bar). So where are all of these 1 in 100 men pushing up Six 45 lb plates? Lmao dude must only work out at a hgh, steroid full gym & is counting the same (not different) people he sees over and over for his stats. Lol
you are right. however, most men don’t train hard enough to reach the 2/3/4 lifts after a solid year. Also, i believe every healthy men should be able to do the 200/300/400/500 lifts on press, bench, squat, deadlift after 3-5 years in the gym. Watch Jason Blaha to understand.
So any guy, regardless of their body weight/height and composition should be able to do that? Pretty impressive for someone to manage those numbers within a year. Especially if they’re like 150-170 lbs, according to strengthlevel.com which I trust as a useful database of user logged exercises – that’s elite level strength for the lower end of that range and in the ballpark of elite for the upper range..
Obtained within a measly 3 years time frame.
Yeah, I suppose the average 150 lb man can achieve elite level strength after several years of training, right?
Weird how a lot of the freaky strong guys, whether they’re 150 or 220 lbs, putting up vids of themselves on youtube benching 350+ or squatting 500 almost always have like 10-15 years of consistent training under their belt.
Almost as if it takes far far far more effort to reach absurd levels of strength (if genetically even possible for the individual, with or without drugs) than the average perception-skewered/delusional niche elite-level PED enhanced internet powerlifter seems to think.
It is all perspective. I don’t argue with your numbers. A lot depends on the city you live in, the neighborhood, the type of gym and even what time of day you go to the gym. I find it hard to believe that 1 in 100 guys can bench 300 and deadlift 550 and squat 400, especially clean. I find it hard to believe that it occurs at the same level with those numbers. I have seen far more 300+ bench presses than 550 deadlifts and 400 squats. I have seen more 400 squats than 550 deadlifts. Just my experience in a northern Midwest large metro area at commercial gyms. Again 1 in a 100 doing a 300+ bench seems legit when you say it. Same with 1 in a 100 on 400+ squat. 1 in a 100 on 550 deadlift seems like far high to me. All said, I like the information and it does give some perspective (note: I deadlifted 545 no belt/no wrist wraps before our state’s last covid shutdown. Then injured my back deadlifting in my not too flat condo garage – I know dumb. I was the only guy at my old gym that could deadlift over 500 sans belt/wrist wraps. I am in the 475-495 range now that the gyms have been open about month, really looking to go for that 545 by end of summer again.)
Really like this take on the topic. Thanks for sharing
For me, myself I tend to for the most part agree to the numbers and equivalents proposed here. Although I competed many years off & on using gear in equipped powerlifting tournaments all over my numbers would then fall to between the 1:100,000 & 1:1,000,000 range. Never officially competing in Raw sanctioned tournaments however personally except only in the gym for curiousity’s sake and all that my numbers fall closer to that of 1:100,000 range for sure!;.. at least at one point in my life around my peak altogether about 15+ years ago. No blowing smoke or rounded numbers for personal ego here my friend. Real Talk! No BS!! Sounds about right though….
Great article! I have been wondering how i would rank in strict curl( I can’t find many guys outside of Instagram that do it) but doing a 145 lb P.R in my basement gym makes me feel okay! I thought after looking up strict curls on social media that I was a wimp ! you have a great point about social media not being the best way to assess your lifts! Thanks for the article
What is the article mainly about in your opinion? Im doing a literture review on this for school so It would help lol.
Informative Article. I am very glad to read this excellent post. Thanks by website where people get many essay ideas and inspiration. Thanks
I benched 345 lbs. and curled 151 lbs. Where does this rank me?
Obviously not accurate.
I’ve been training in and out of sports since 2004. I rarely see men even attempt over 4 plates on bench press + bar ( 225lbs). Even after moving to the coveted weightlifting world we call California. Out of the thousands of men I’ve come across in the fitness centers in Hollywood, over the past 5 years, only a handful I’ve run into barely hit 275 lbs on a max attempt with poor form & with help from a spotter, and only a few I’ve ever seen hit 315 (Six 45 lb plates + bar) and the dudes hitting this look like they run steroid clinics and weigh 230 + leaned out…. Not sure where you’re getting your info.
I could see 1 in 100 benching 300.
550 deadlift I feel like is probably a lot rarer. I have rarely seen people try to deadlift heavy unless they are doing CrossFit or training for a powerlifting meet.
Hard to tell on squats since a lot of guys in the gym squat with questionable form and iffy depth
The notion that the difference between roids and no roids is a 700 lb versus 800 lb squat is laughable, it can make a 700 lb squat turn into an 800 lb squat a few weeks into the first cycle. I’ve seen it first hand..
We provide students in the UK with the best UK assignment writing service. You may now effortlessly receive qualified aid with all of your academic writing!
Pretty accurate from my experiences. Deadlift does seem to run a little high but still awesome stuff. Thank you very much for sharing. Lol at some of the salty people in here. It’s like when they find out they don’t have the biggest dick and lose their mind.
There’s no way 1 in 100 men walking down the street will ever 1tm a 300lb bench.
Therefore the rest of the data is completely absurd and mostly a “gut check” biased by your admittedly rare physical experience.
Great article! Thank you
Homework can be hard and frustrating. But with our website https://domyhomework.club/math-problem-solver/ , you’ll never have to worry about homework again! Forget about the stress and refusing help from your friends. Get your homework done immediately and effortlessly, anytime, anywhere!
I first competed in 2000. I was surprised at how few people benched over 300 lbs. I was the first lifter at the meet to go over 400 lbs and I was in the 242’s. 1 guy did over 500 and was in the 275’s. I competed for 10 years and usually was the only lifter benching 500+ at the meets I competed in.
Meaningless without weight and age
is 135 bench good for 11 year old currenytly 171 punds and 5″10
im a high school freshmen (5’11, 14, 195) and I play 3 sports, Football, Wrestling, and Rugby.
I currently have a max bench of 275, 345 squat(w/depth) and a 405 deadlift, and im not even the strongest in my class. These numbers are completely off and it seems kind of odd that some highschoolers can bench more then half the worlds population of full grown men. (All of us are natural)
So if your standard for a 200 lb man to get the 2/3/4 plate (225/315/405) bench, squat, deadlift is 1:15 – 1:40, how would that same benchmark calculate for a 42 y/o, 163 lb man? Asking for myself lol.
Lol 1 in a 100? Even if you’re talking about only gym goers it’s still a ridiculous estimate and probably more than 1 in 300 of gym goers. Most people do not lift, and most people who don’t lift cannot bench their own body weight. So if you go out and see a 6 foot guy who weighs 230 pounds, but doesn’t lift, he is not benching 300 lbs.