Athlete Benchmarks: How Much Weight Should You Lift?

Think you're strong? See if you can reach these lifting benchmarks on 6 common exercises.

How much do you bench? This is probably the first thing you'll get asked when you talk about working out.

But the million-dollar question is, how much weight should you be able to lift on the Bench Press—or any exercise for that matter? Many athletes can't answer this question. They have no idea whether they're strong on a lift or if they need serious improvement. They can only compare themselves to other people lifting next to them, which—let's just say is not all that reliable.

Simply put, stronger athletes are more effective athletes. You need to have consistent strength across your entire body. This serves as the foundation for nearly every athletic movement—sprinting, jumping, battling with an opponent and performing your skills.

If you lack strength in one or more lifts, you probably have a strength deficiency that effects how you play on the field. For example, if your core is weak, an opponent can more easily knock you out of position. Or if your legs are weak, you won't have the strength and power you need to quickly accelerate off the line.

That's why it's important to test your strength with exercises such as Squats and Deadlifts, to ensure that your strength measures up across the board. Below, Mark Roozen, owner of Coach Rozy Performance, who frequently travels to China to work with Chinese national teams, provides general recommendations for how much a high school junior or senior athlete should be able to lift.

You need to consider a few things when reviewing these guidelines from Coach Rozy:

  • The minimum strength number is the absolute least amount of weight or reps you should be able to perform on a lift. There's still plenty of room for improvement, even beyond the elite level.

  • If you're a young, developing athlete, don't be intimidated by these numbers. Squatting twice your body weight might seem impossible at this point, but over time you will build the strength you need to crush these tests.

  • It's OK if you fail a test. That identifies an opportunity for improvement. Problems arise only if a strength issue goes unaddressed.

  • You can only lift as much weight as possible with perfect form. Sometimes you can just muscle the weight up and down, compensating for strength and mobility issues. If your technique breaks down, lower the weight and try again without sacrificing form.

Back Squat

Back Squat

The Test: One-Rep Max Test

Minimum: A weight equivalent to your body weight

Elite: Twice your body weight

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The Test: One-Rep Max Test

Minimum: 1.5 times your body weight

Elite: 2.5 times your body weight

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Bench Press

Bench Press

The Test: One-Rep Max Test

Minimum: A weight equivalent to your body weight

Elite: 1.5 times your body weight

How to Get Stronger: Fix 7 Causes of a Weak Bench Press



The Test: Max Pull-Ups (from a full hang)

Minimum: 10 male / 5 female

Elite: 20 male / 10 female

How to Get Stronger: 3 Exercises To Help You Do More Pull-Ups



The Test: Max Push-Ups in 60 seconds

Minimum: 20 male / 10 female

Elite: 50 male / 30 female

How to Get Stronger: Strengthen Your Upper-Body With Pyramid Push-Ups

Farmer's Walks

How to Perform Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

The Test: Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells for 10 Yards

Minimum: Total weight equivalent to 80 percent of your body weight

Elite: Total weight equivalent to your body weight

How to Get Stronger: Building Your Farmer's Walk Strength

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock