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Thread: Ideal strength to weight ratios

  1. #1
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    Default Ideal strength to weight ratios

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    In reviewing a personís strength to weight ratios on the various lifts, would the following be appropriate goals for a non competitive lifter-both men and women 40+ range:

    Bench press- 1.25x -1.5x bodyweight
    Squat- 2x bodyweight
    Deadlift-2.5x bodyweight
    Press-Bodyweight
    Cleans-?

    And to the extent there is significant variation in any given area, would you agree that this area should receive more attention? Looking for balance here.

    Obviously every person is different. Theyíre capabilities differ in regard to upper vs lower, pushing vs pulling, etc. Iím just looking for a general guideline. Iím setting goals and trying to stay realistic. And as a female, Iím interested in opinions on this range for my group.

    Information on menís ratio are welcomed since that will likely interest more of the group.

  2. #2
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    A 250 lb man who presses 250 is more impressive than a 170 lb man who presses 185. Strength to weight ratios are biased in favor of lighter people - think gymnastics - while absolute force production is easier to achieve when you're bigger. This is one reason why, excepting over-fat people and truly competitive weight class athletes (nationally or better), we are in favor of gaining weight, getting stronger, and not giving a fig about any ratios.
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  3. #3
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    I appreciate your reply. Iím a 43 y/o, 118 lb woman who stands 5í2 (with good PR). So, Iím not looking to put on any weight for the sake of strength. I was thinking that the above ratios were reasonable goals for someone in my situation. And I was considering to the extent that there are greater spreads between my abilities and the ratios, this would reflect areas requiring more focus.

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    OK, then I'll talk about the other reason I don't like these ratios, regardless of bodyweight factors. Same reason Rip hates his own strength standards table. Same reason we all want to roll our eyes into the next zipcode when we hear of a doctor telling a 5'10" 225 lb lifter with 15% bodyfat that he's obese at his physical. These are useful things only when looking at large populations and trying to figure out trends at that population level, but attempting to apply that data to any one individual is useless.

    Since most people aren't serious weight lifters or have abnormally high levels of muscular bodyweight, the actuaries can estimate risk reasonably well for millions of people based on BMI. But that alone, applied to an individual with vastly different conditions, makes the doctor look foolish.

    Any given individual's genetic potential is subject to a massive amount of variance. Trying to extrapolate goals for a specific individual based on these kinds of population level norms or averages is, to me, a gigantic waste of time. Train as a Novice for as long as you can till you're not a Novice anymore. The train as an Intermediate for as long as you can till you're not an Intermediate anymore. Then as an Advanced lifter. After five years, someone your size with world class genetics may have a 350 squat, very good genetics 250-300, above average 185-225, average maybe 150-175, below average 135ish, and a really bad set of strength genetics might not be much above 100. Those are just random estimates, but the larger point is - there is absolutely no way to know.

    Even being given numbers like "you should expect to get to about X" is a waste of time to me. Even if that's the mean or the mode or the median that a coach has seen over thousands of trainees - there is still a vast swath that's done better or worse. If you can do better, aiming for the moon when you could be aiming at the stars will hold you back. If you have less potential, you'll just get frustrated by not hitting unachievable numbers that you think you're supposed to hit.

    Just train intelligently and let the numbers fall where they fall.

    Maybe others see things differently but I see no use at all in these types of ratios or charts as applied to any one specific individual.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Williams View Post
    In reviewing a person’s strength to weight ratios on the various lifts, would the following be appropriate goals for a non competitive lifter-both men and women 40+ range:

    Bench press- 1.25x -1.5x bodyweight
    Squat- 2x bodyweight
    Deadlift-2.5x bodyweight
    Press-Bodyweight
    Cleans-?
    If you are a masters lifter with those kind of numbers you are a competitive lifter.

  6. #6
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    I appreciate your explanation. I will do my best to focus on the present day and continue to press through the LP. I have always had a weirdo, compulsive sort of personality, so setting goals is a huge part of it for me (which has benefits and drawbacks). Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Williams View Post
    I appreciate your explanation. I will do my best to focus on the present day and continue to press through the LP. I have always had a weirdo, compulsive sort of personality, so setting goals is a huge part of it for me (which has benefits and drawbacks). Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Much appreciated.
    You're still on your LP? Ha. Yes, then my reply is even more relevant. Plow through your LP and take it as far as you can.

    But to be clear, I think milestone numbers on the bar, or even bodyweight multipliers, are GREAT goals to have to self motivate your training. Entering a meet (even as a "participant" and not a "competitor") is, too. But as for what those milestones should be, that just varies so goddamn much person to person that, without knowing a whole lot more about you, even a general guideline is like trying to apply BMI to an individual, as I wrote above. As an example, I coach a bunch of early 30s guys who have more or less trained together with me for the past few years. One is revving up to try a 135 press soon and is super stoked about it, and has a lifetime bench goal of 225 that he's still far away from. Another is about to crack the 200 press barrier, after recently smashing the 315 bench milestone. Obviously these two guys - who have been training for a similar amount of time and similar age - have vastly different genetic capacities. They still use number milestones on the bar as motivation, but it would be gut wrenchingly frustrating for the first guy to be aiming for a 200 press ad 315 bench, numbers he'll never achieve due to no fault of his own. He literally could not do a single rep with an empty 45 lb bar the day we started, so now, a few years later, hitting 135 will mean more than tripling his press strength. Whereas if the second guy was only aiming for the goal numbers of the first guy, he would have quit training very soon after the end of his LP, when he hit them as an early intermediate.

    There's no population wide "general guideline" that can be properly applied to the level of the individual without knowing a ton more about the individual.
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  8. #8
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    Michael- I really do understand. I have been around gyms and strong women enough to know that anything I accomplish will be impressive only to myself.

    The ratios I shared are not where I am today, but I thought they might be reasonable longer term goals. I benched this morning 5x3 at 144 (Iím slow peddling it in hoping to get myself closer to doing sets at 155 for now). Bench is my best lift. I only squatted 200 for 5x3, I had to go way back and work on my terrible form. But I am now getting lower thanks to my terrible video posted previously. Videos from behind are more honest on that mark. And I only deadlifted 230 @ 1x5 (just started the deadlift and again 4 weeks ago). My press is at 100 for 5x3, and I will increase by the lb from here. I didnít want to misrepresent my capabilities. Not particularly strong, and nowhere near those ratios now. But maybe 6 months from now? I have to have goals.

  9. #9
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    Ah ok, now I have some info to go off of. If you have those numbers on your LP, then I'd guess that you are at least above average genetically, maybe more. So aim high - I don't know if those exact ratios are applicable, but assuming your lifts are of appropriate technical quality - squats deep, benches touching your chest, etc..., then you should have good potential.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    OK, then I'll talk about the other reason I don't like these ratios, regardless of bodyweight factors. Same reason Rip hates his own strength standards table. Same reason we all want to roll our eyes into the next zipcode when we hear of a doctor telling a 5'10" 225 lb lifter with 15% bodyfat that he's obese at his physical. These are useful things only when looking at large populations and trying to figure out trends at that population level, but attempting to apply that data to any one individual is useless.

    Since most people aren't serious weight lifters or have abnormally high levels of muscular bodyweight, the actuaries can estimate risk reasonably well for millions of people based on BMI. But that alone, applied to an individual with vastly different conditions, makes the doctor look foolish.

    Any given individual's genetic potential is subject to a massive amount of variance. Trying to extrapolate goals for a specific individual based on these kinds of population level norms or averages is, to me, a gigantic waste of time. Train as a Novice for as long as you can till you're not a Novice anymore. The train as an Intermediate for as long as you can till you're not an Intermediate anymore. Then as an Advanced lifter. After five years, someone your size with world class genetics may have a 350 squat, very good genetics 250-300, above average 185-225, average maybe 150-175, below average 135ish, and a really bad set of strength genetics might not be much above 100. Those are just random estimates, but the larger point is - there is absolutely no way to know.

    Even being given numbers like "you should expect to get to about X" is a waste of time to me. Even if that's the mean or the mode or the median that a coach has seen over thousands of trainees - there is still a vast swath that's done better or worse. If you can do better, aiming for the moon when you could be aiming at the stars will hold you back. If you have less potential, you'll just get frustrated by not hitting unachievable numbers that you think you're supposed to hit.

    Just train intelligently and let the numbers fall where they fall.

    Maybe others see things differently but I see no use at all in these types of ratios or charts as applied to any one specific individual.
    That is an important and very true statement. Thanks Michael for bringing that point to the general attention.

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