How heavy should you be aiming to lift?

Understanding what weights to be working towards in the gym can be extremely motivating and act as a measurable and tangible goal when it comes to lifting weights. Fitness blogs and “fitfluencer” accounts will often reel off information about strength standards we should all be lifting; but these tend to be based on an athlete or “gym rat” population which can be horribly demotivating for the normal person and make everything feel very unattainable.

Strength Standards for normal people

With our vast experience of training the office workers, the busy parents, the everyday-overworked-and-under-slept; we reckon we’re much better placed to give you some realistic strength standards or goals to aim for!

The first thing to remember is that everybody’s body is different, in terms of height, weight, body proportions and movement mechanics; and we may each have our own limitations on certain lifts; but here are some ballpark targets to aim for, presuming we are injury-free.

Deadlift Strength Standard

The Deadlift is the biggest lift for most people and should be the one we aim to move the most weight with. With consistent training it is very realistic to be able to deadlift the equivalent of your own bodyweight for a few reps, men and women alike. If you have reached this milestone, then 1.5x bodyweight is the next target to work towards; though this will definitely require some structured strength training to achieve.

Squat Strength Standard

The Squat should be your next heaviest lift and for most people this will be approximately 20-30% lighter than your deadlift, although this can reduce to around 10% for more experienced lifters.

Press-up Target

Achieving full, bodyweight Press-ups with good form and depth is harder than most people realise and is an achievement to be proud of. Due to naturally higher levels of upper body strength, men are likely to achieve full reps faster than women, but a realistic target to set is 2-5 good quality reps for women, and 10+ good quality reps for men.

How many Pull-ups?

Pull-ups are one of the most common goals people set themselves when joining the gym but, in reality, it is an immensely challenging goal to reach. But that’s not to say it’s not possible; it will just take a combination of consistent strength-training, often alongside improved body composition to increase your strength-to-bodyweight ratio. Again, men are more likely to reach this goal quicker and perhaps should set out a long term goal of 4-8 good quality reps, with women aiming for 1-3. Achieving this would put you in the top few % of gym-goers! To learn how to achieve bodyweight Pull-ups, check THIS OUT.

Strength Standard Summary

In summary, there are no strict numbers or formulas to calcaluate strength standards, but setting yourself some approximate and realistic targets will help to keep you motivated, with all small achievements along the way a cause for celebration. Many people who’ve never been to a gym before, or who’ve been training without any kind of progressive programming, probably don’t quite realise their potential and the above guidelines should hopefully serve as an inspiration as to just what you might be capable of, should you give it a go!…