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.