Friday, January 8, 2010

stacking up

Last night's surfing brought me to a 2008 post by Gubermatrix on strength standards for women. The idea is to help you figure out reasonable goals, based loosely on the distribution of accomplishments of other women lifters.

Note the comparison is not with all other women, but other women who are regular gym-goers. Big difference. Being of "good" strength when the comparison set is women strength trainers probably puts you in the 95th percentile of all women, especially in the US.

Here's the relevant table. Read Gubermatrix's excellent post for further explanation, and also where the numbers came from. The percentages refer to percentages of body weight.

Table of strength standards for women
Good Very Good Excellent
Deadlift 125 % 175 % 225 %
Squat 100 % 125 % 175 %
Bench 50 % 75 % 100 %
Press 50 % 75 % 100 %
Pushups (full) 15 30 50+
Dips (full) 5-10 15 30+
Pullups (dead hang) 1 10 20+

So, how do I stack up, as of January 7, 2010?

Deadlift: a bit over "good" (135%)
Squat: comfortably under "good." I'd all it the "you've been lifting for how long?" zone (80%)
Bench: a shade under "excellent" (97%)
Press: a smidge over "good" (55%)
Pushups: very good
Dips: very good
Pullups: within sight of "very good" (8 reps, dead hang wide grip)

None of my numbers for the first four lifts refer to 1-rep maxes, which I don't like to do anymore.

In some sense, the chart tells me what I already knew: my squats are, in a word, pathetic. But it's nice to get some affirmation of what's possible, and also what I've already accomplished on the upper body lifts.

How about you? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? ...

b. strong//


  1. Wow. According to this I pretty much suck. :)

    Deadlift - 56%, never tried higher. So well below good.

    Squat - also 56%, not as far under good as deadlitf.

    Bench - 48%, so just under good.

    Press - 36%, further under good.

    Pushups, full - 39. Above excellant in those. I've been working hard for those.

    Dips - 3x10, 10 second rest between sets of as close as I can get to full with my equipment.

    Pullups - I can almost do 1 now.

    Wow. I have some work to do. :)

    -Shannon in ATL

  2. Nah, you don't "suck". Gubermatrix points out that it can take years to get to "good," even if you're working toward strength goals as opposed to other kinds of fitness goals (e.g., fat loss, cardio endurance).

    If you're at the "excellent" level in all your lifts, you're probably competing, or should be.

    No "grade" inflation here!

    Thanks for stopping by ...