Every day natty lifters are bombarded with videos of professional bodybuilders and powerlifters pushing and pulling extraterrestrial weights. Few realize that the numbers of the pros are unattainable by individuals who don’t use steroids. That’s a fact of life, and yet many are still suffering from a severe delusion that needs to be destroyed.
Today, I present you what I consider realistic squat, bench press and deadlift numbers for naturals.
For individuals with average genetics, 1.5 times their bodyweight (1.5 x BW) is the point beyond which things start to get really hard. Anything above that number should be considered a great achievement for a natural. If you are a medium size 170lbs natural who can squat over 255lbs for 6-8 reps with good form, consider yourself golden.
If you have really short femurs and a stocky build, you can reach a 2xBW squat or more. This means that if you weigh 170lbs, you may be able to squat 340+ for a solid set of 6-8 reps.
The squat may be a great exercise, but not everybody is built to squat big numbers. Lifters with short upper legs (femurs) have an advantage over tall lifters with long legs.
Individuals with inferior skeletons for squatting will eventually reach the numbers common for average people, but it will just take a little more time and work.
THE BENCH PRESS
Let’s be honest for a second. The bench press is why you’re reading this. You don’t really care about squats and deadlifts. You just want to know how much you will bench without pinning your glutes with extra long needles loaded with roids.
Lifters with short T-rex arms, broad shoulders and huge ribcages make the best bench pressers. This structure shortens the range of motion, provides stability and naturally allows the lifter to push more weight. Moreover, the recovery from training is faster.
An average person should eventually bench press 1xBW or more for a solid set. After conquering that point, the battle becomes harder. This means that if you weigh 170lbs and have average genetics, your bench press adventure will intensify after you reach 170lbs for a few reps. Anything beyond that will take more effort than normal. I don’t expect this crew to ever bench anything over 1.5 BW.
If you’re one of the chosen ones, you may reach a little bit above 1.5 BW and maybe even get close to 2 times your bodyweight. However, regardless of your gift, this feat will still take a significant amount of work and time.
At the bottom, we find lanky dudes with long gorilla arms, thin wrists, and naturally narrow shoulders. For those guys, bench pressing is an ego-shattering activity. Don’t feel bad guys. You have the whole NBA on your bench.
If you fall into this category, you reach 1xBW relatively quickly. You will also hit 1.5 BW eventually, but it will take a certain type of crazy to get there.
Who knows, maybe if you ignore everything else in your life, you could push the limits even further. The bench press simply does not love tall guys with long arms.
Just like the other lifts, the deadlift is also facilitated by a specific body type.
If you have really long arms, consider yourself a lucky monkey, for you will eventually pull bending barbells off the floor.
Furthermore, the recovery will be shorter – something that people with short arms won’t enjoy.
If you are a person with average proportions, you will easily deadlift over 2 BW. You may even go beyond that. Nonetheless, it will take a lot of effort and won’t be easy at all.
People with long arms, naturally strong spines and long fingers (better grip) will deadlift over 2 BW during their first year of training. Those guys will eventually pull 3xBW with the help of serious programming and dedication. If you’re a 170lbs natty lifter built to deadlift, you may pull between 450 – 510 lbs naturally.
Moreover, the deadlift, unlike the squat and the bench press, does not require the lifter to carry an insane amount of muscle mass because you’re not supporting the bar. You are pulling it. For that reason alone, many people consider the deadlift the natural’s opportunity to shine.
Unfortunately, or not, people with T-rex arms get owned when they deadlift. The range of motion is just way too long.
If you are a member of the T-rex arm crew, you will eventually reach the numbers of the average group, but the process will be longer.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself, bro. You are probably a great bench presser anyway.
P.S. If you want to learn more about the human potential for muscle growth, check out the book Potential: How Big Can You Get Naturally as well as the rest of the articles on the site.
I can deadlift 1.6 times my own body weight 4 sets of 8. One month left until i’ve done a full year. Would you say this is good i want to lift 2 times BW with the same sets and reps this time next year. Do you think this will be possible without a belt. My plan is to bulk for another year. Before i do a 6 month cut.
Of course, it will be possible. You will do it.
According to this I have only 60 pounds more to gain to my squat and I haven’t even trained seriously for a full 12 months.
I squat 365 for a max right now and haven’t tested it in a while. I only weigh 168 pounds. I should be able to squat 340 for 8 reps in less than a year. I can’t be done with progress after only 2 years of lifting
This article is horseshit. I just turned 20, been lifting for a bit over 2.5 years. My personal bests are a 455 squat, 315 bench, and 555 deadlift weighing in at 185. Sure it’s been difficult getting to this point, but my lifts are still going up.
No you are terrible u might as well give up if your numbers are that low hahaha loser
it’s been a long time since I last posted this close to a full 24 months (Started March 2015) since I started lifting weighting now around 61KG doing my own programming, had a few injures a long the way but nothing long term. Bench 87.5 High Bar Squat 135, Conventional Deadlift 162.5, goals for this year; High Bar Squat 150, Conventional Deadlift 180+ Bench 105.
This dude a hating little fella. That´s a great number actually, but the ignorant minded people try to bring people down.
I am 16, and 170 pounds. I have hit a max of 365 on squat, 235 on bench and haven’t hit a max attempt on deadlift yet. I did this within 8 months of signing up for a gym. Most of the time going in and messing around with weights I had never done.
I just stumbled across the article today and when I was scrolling through I thought the deadlift picture looked familiar. Turns out it looks familiar because I’m in it. That picture was taken during a powerlifting completion we had on our carrier.
I can remove it if you want. I can also write a caption of your choice underneath the photo.
Totally bullshit. My weight is 150 lbs and i squat 255 lbs for 12 reps. I havent even squatted for more than 7 months.
Totally bullshit. My weight is 150 lbs and i squat 255 lbs for 12 reps. I havent even trained squats more than 7 months.
I weigh 140 and squat 310, I’m a swimmer and pretty short, 5’6″, I’d that why I can squat so much?
boy be quiet i used to weigh 155 and was squatting well over 335its not that incredible
Can you do an article on what is possible for women, there’s women that DL 3 times BW, is that really possible?
Easy one this. Video or fuck off.
I way around 168 lbs 15 years old, Bench 175, Squat 245, Hang Clean 125, and Deadlift 255. What would be a tip that I could use to lift more. Is this good for my age?
Ik this ridiculously late just found this article but I’m sorta in boat I’m 145 bench 170 squat 205 deadlier 305 but do a build up like start bench at 195 and do almost until failure and add tens each set and ur good to go
Yeah I maxed again yesterday on my squat and I somehow got 335 and I feel really unproportional because my arms are so wea no matter how much I work on them
Well if you want a close comparison I weigh 150 at 6’1” and my bench is 160, squat is around 200 and my deadlift is 260 and I’ve been working out for around 2 months? I’d say we’re both in the novice category lol
I would love to see Mr. Thomas’ form on that squat. He’s probably doing 1/4 squats and thinks they count. If you’re not ass to ground or at least breaking parallel nobody cares.
Does this go for the ladies as well? I am just passed 1.5 x bodyweight in the squat and ONE stupid kilogram away from 2x bodyweight deadlift. Been stuck foe a while, slow progression. Is 1.5 x bw and 2x bw harder to achieve for women than men? 🙂 (I’d love to hear u say YES just so I could feel stronger :-P)
For women the requirements are actually lower. I guess that makes you even stronger than you thought.
Hi, interesting read. Can you tell me please, what is the source of these figures/estimates?
Also are these figures good for all ages ranges?
Thank you in advance.
He just guesstimates. They’re reasonable guesstimates, but guesstimates nonetheless.
fuck this, nobody should be able to do 6-8 reps of 1.5 their body weight. bullshit
If you work at it you should be able to… It’ll take a year or so of constant work… I weigh 136 and squatted 255 six times after not lifting for a month… It just depends
This post is garbage I’m 17 I’ve been powerlifting for one year I’m 5ft 9 and I weigh 190 Max bench 365 max squat 415 max deadlift 625
Clearly did not say max.. says your sets ‘could’ be the 2/1.5/3. Your one rep max is just for your ego bro
Which means you have great genetics ..
What can help trex arms deadlift straps?
People with short arms just have harder time deadlifting. Nothing will fix it.
Everybody is different but I’ve lifted for 6 months I’m 16 I weigh 195 I bench 250 I squat 450 and I deadlift 450. I’m going to compete in a USAPL comp in about 3 months do I have a good chance of winning in the locals atleast
Pick a fkn number and stick with it you low iq fk.
I want to look baby oil hot for my cellie in the can. I use him for dips
Never ceases to amaze me how strong people say they are on the internet, compared to real life.. All the “I’m 17 and I deadlift 625″… no you don’t champ you’re 17. You live with your mum and work at macdonalds.
“For people with average genetics, 1.5 times their bodyweight (1.5 x BW) or a little more is the point beyond which things start to get really hard.
Anything above that could be considered a great achievement by a natural”
Are you freaking kidding me? This is rubbish, who wrote this crap? I’m 46 yo, 192lbs and I squat 5×5 for 365 and can easily do a 1 rep of 405. I’m 100% natural and I don’t train really hard. If I truly wanted to train hard an push myself, I could easily surpass 405. Whoever wrote this should talk to M. Rippetoe. A squat of 405 or deadlift of 405 should be no great feat for a novice if trained properly.
You’re just under 2x BW, which is rather impressive, and well within the range he outlines for people with good genetics for squatting
How tall are you btw?? If you’re broad with short legs then I’m afraid to say that you’re in the good genetics category
Kojack got that roid rage.
When I observe guys at the gym, practically no one besides a trainer can do the numbers these young kids are barking about.
I weight 161 and today I pulled up 350 for 1RM after multiple 1RM’s below that building up. No belt. No Straps.
When you discuss (1.5 x bw) is that actual body weight or lean body weight. For example somebody that weight trains regularly but does zero cardiovascular and loves fries could be squatting 1.5 x bw then decide to cut up and all of a sudden be squatting 2 x bw without actually lifting anything heavier than before.
I think what folks miss in what the author is saying is that most folks who go to the gym aren’t thinking about fitness as life. I’ve gone out of my way to keep the gym a big part of what I do, but I’m getting a masters degree and working as a counselor, plus I’m maintaining a marriage and doing lots of other life things. At 190, I feel good benching 235-245 for 5 sets of 4-5 reps on flat bench, making somewhat steady progress. It’s taken me ages to get here, but I am by no means ashamed of not putting up roid numbers. I don’t buy into the money wizard hype, and neither should you. Author is a wise man.
I’m gonna start off by saying, this is bullshit. If you have the right mentality, genetics do not matter. If you push yourself hard enough it doesn’t matter how long or short your arms are. Personally I’m and ectomorph and I’m 5’11, 150, 16yrs old, 220 bench, 340 squat, 400 deadlift and a 200lb power clean, you can achieve anything you want. Your genetics don’t matter do what the fuck you want bros
Yeah I’m 90 pounds and just ripped a 1000 pound dead lift today, no sweat. I was actually on the phone while doing it ordering a new lamborghini with dolphin skin interior. I have thought about competing but I am to busy writing bullshit online.
I’m 44 years old, 6’1″ 260 lbs, and have been lifting for about three years and a half. I pulled 400 within my first eight months of lifting. Earlier this year, I lifted 525 with power to spare. I’m confident in eventually reaching 600+.
The deadlift is a very good lift for me. By comparison, my strict clean and press* is taking me months of dedicated hard work to move it from 210 to 225! (You can watch me hitting 195 x 3 on Facebook) *I enter in strongman competitions, where overhead strength is much more important.
I’ve been lifting for a while and have recently noticed that I’m developing mid to lower back pain. This was not triggered by a specific event but likely several compounded events. I keep working through the pain but lets be honest this is probably not the best idea. I don’t want to take too much time off as time off from the gym is psychologically devastating- what time of complementary workouts do you suggest I try while my body heals?
You could switch to light workouts and bodyweight exercises while your back is healing.
I guess because I’m a powerlifter, this article baffled me a little bit. I’m 17 years old and around 68 kg and I have been squatting for about 7 months. I just 150kg x5 and I don’t consider myself to have short femurs. My squat hasn’t showed signs of slowing down either (maxed out at 155×1 in mid November) so maybe rethink this article or address it more obviously towards bodybuilders.
somehow I highly doubt this starting training even if you was at 75 getting to 150KG in 8 months doesn’t sound realistic even with roids. have you got any video proof of your progression.
17 years old weighing 68 kg and squats 150kg for five reps… after 7 months?!! Bullshit
Im 180bw and deadlift 495lbs i’ve been training deadlifts for 5 months my arms doesnt reach muy knees how much can i lift naturally???
I hate that he says this is how far you can get naturally, and if anybody’s lifting more than this they’re most likely on steroids.
I have no idea why these numbers are so low…
i can bench 150% of my bw and deadlift over 200% of my bw. Not sure about the squat right now but my pr is 200% of bw.
And i dont even lift weights anymore. im about 150lbs currently or ~68kg. Anyone with average genetics can achieve this.
Why have you just asked why the numbers are so low and then proceeded to brag about numbers that perfectly fit what the article stated??
And are the numbers you stated your maxes?? Because the article was using the 6-8 rep range as examples
I would say these estimates are fairly accurate for most honest people. Started lifting 8 months ago coming from a running background (cross country). I kind of fit in the ecto category.
Current 5 Rep Maxes @155 BW:
– All with good form
Bench- 135 (Struggle)
Squat- 180 (Meh)
Deadlift- 265 (Feels good)
Military- 105 (Feels good, just wanted to include)
I agree with the author overall, although i do have a lot more room for growth as a novice. I did manage to pack 25+ pounds in the past 8 months 😉
Where do your calculations come from? I’ve been lifting for years, but not consistently. My numbers are within your parameters, but close to the limits. I am 5’10 194 lbs. I don’t typically max, but when I work out I generally bench 270 for 3 sets of 5. I squat 365 for 3 sets of 6. Deadlifts are 330 for 3 sets of 6. I got to those numbers lifting 3 – 4 times a week for 45 minutes. Granted I’m 35 and have been lifting since I was 16, but it’s hard for me to fathom I’m close to my limits with a fairly standard workout and not using a powerlifting program. I was thinking of getting serious and setting my sights on 405, but if this is true it’s depressing.
You can do it.
I’ve only been working out for about a month. I weigh 180 and can squat 255, deadlift 315. Just wondered if that’s a good start?
Very good numbers if your form is good too.
Your articles are great! It provides clever insights and realistic golds that can be translated to real experience working out as a natural lifter. I can confirm that being short and stocky benefits your bench press and squat but leaves you hanging on your deadlift. Keep doing what you are doing. I wish I had access to this type of articles back in the days when I started working out. You would have save me so much trouble. But as you know. Sometimes the only way to learn is the hard way. When reality finally sets in.
I consider your advice golden and I will follow up your articles. Is nice to have a break from the lies out there about unrealistic golds set up for a market that promotes steroids under the table and expect you to buy tons of unnecessary and ineffective supplements or testosterone boosters.
So I’m confused. I’m an average lifter, 22 yrs old, my deadlift is 6 to 8 reps is 395 (max 445), squat 345 (max 380), and bench 210 (max unsure maybe 230 or 240). Is there anything that should be increased to achieve your numbers? I am 158 and 5’10.
Well, just keep training. Your lifts are very good for your bodyweight.
Been lifting on and off 3 years now and just today weighing 190 i got 385 for 5 reps. Im only 5 10 and according to most charts im apparently overweight though i don’t look it. Is there some reason behind this or what? Im currently only 17
How much does age affect these numbers? I’m 55 and have been lifting upper body consistently for a year and started doing squats last month (but I’m still working on my depth as I have very tight hip flexors). Do the numbers start dropping off at a particular age or is there danger in pushing to my limits? Thanks!
I feel like the standards on this are way too low… I have femurs that are slightly on the longer side despite my shorter height, am 16 years old, and I have trained casually for only a little more than half a year.. My squat max is already considered good by this article at 2.4x my bodyweight, which roughly translates to a little above 2x bodyweight for 7 reps…
That is, I have only trained for less than a year without any crazy dedication, and I’m already at the limit of the average lifter? I don’t think so… There are plenty of people I see in real life where they are so much stronger.
Im 13,bench 3 times my. Bw, dl 5.times my bw and squat 6 times my bw. IDK how much I weigh though.
Also… my IQ is in the low 200s.
Just wanted to mention that.
Seriously though these numbers are easily reacable but start to slow down dramatically after this for a natty. Im gonna see how far I can get before I hop on.
You’re IQ isn’t in the low 200s with the your grammar skills. ? Bench three times your body weight. You weigh 100 lbs probably.
I am 50 y.old, started lifting at 46. I follow an on/off approach, lift for 6 months, quit for 2, then lift again.
My fastest progress was during the first year, on a stronglifts Bill Starr style 5×5 workout.
Now I am 188lbs. at 6’0 tall, and lifting:
Squat: 280lbs for 5 reps. 315lbs for 2 reps.
Bench: 185lbs for 5 reps.
Deadlift: 355lbs for 5 reps
Military press: 115lbs for 5 reps.
Progress from here on is turning out to be hard, recovery times are loooooong between workouts: I average 3 workouts every 2 weeks. Thinking about changing to an upper/lower split.
I am posting these numbers in case there are other older, newbie lifters reading this.
You are doing well. Thank you for stopping by.
These standards are ridiculously low lol.
1.5 bw squat is still a novice stage
I got 500×2 Squat
365 x 1 bench
At 245lbs natty
And I know plenty if stronger people standards.
1.5bw squat being “hard to get” natty is a joke
Are you 7’ tall?!
Those sentences always come from the keyboard of a liar or a fake natty. Unless we are speaking to the next André the Giant. ?
Hmm, these seem reasonable. I know I was at my limit after a solid three years of primary strength training. I still test my maxes a few times a year to ensure that everything is in order for the most part.
135 kg Bench Press
190 kg Back Squat
220 kg Conventional Deadlift
90 kg Press
+45 kg Pull-Up
All of the above have been my maxes for quite some time now, nearly four years now (25 now). I’m roughly 90 kg in bodyweight and 180 cm in height, although I’d estimate I’m 20% bodyfat. People usually underestimate their bodyfat and think they’re 10% if they can see their abs in very good lighting, when in reality they’re 15% if being generous. I have some mild vascularity in my arms, a flat stomach with slight abdominal definition, and some decent details in my quads. Although I store my fat mostly in my lower back, obliques, and glutes.
I still keep my cardiovascular health in check and do some running a few times a week, usually a 5k run and some conditioning work like bodyweight movements for high reps. I’m happy with my strength and I don’t mind maintaining it over the years while keeping my health in check with some moderate exercise and a good diet.
Good work as always, Truth Seeker.