T Nation

"Are You Strong?"


I feel like the female side of the chart is okay. I’m between decent and good for most of it, but men who lift have such vastly different body weights there can’t be a solid number OR a percentage…

However inaccurate this may be, it makes me proud of my wife who has been coming to the gym with me and learning the 4 big lifts without ever complaining about grueling assistance work or buttloads of volume, all while dealing with a surgically repaired club foot she had as an infant that has resulted in her right calf muscles being atrophied and half the size of her left leg, and an ankle that is shifted way out of alignment. She scores decent or good in every category. Nothing like a strong woman/mother.


Oh, I know you weren’t. No offense taken.

Puff: “Hey, neat! This is kinda fun!”

Then nearly everybody else with some variation about how stupid this is.


Dead wrong here, ma’am. Men are built to do pull-ups - wide back, smaller hips. And plenty can’t do a single one. Women have bigger butts, they have boobs, they have far smaller backs and smaller arms, and proportionally larger legs usually. Even female marines are judged on flexed arm hang time and not pull-ups because they’re so difficult for women. One strict pull-up for a woman is badass, and I always admire any woman at the gym busting out pull-ups. Be proud.


For me, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion


In the end, we all have to become comfortable with ourselves and what we can accomplish.

Take me. I knew a guy who would proclaim “You can’t please a woman sexually without a 13 inch penis.”

This upset me for a long time. It undermined my conference in that area, I used to think why are women even bothering when I don’t “measure up”.

After a long period of reflection, I became much more comfortable with things. I simply had enough amd thought “Dammit! I have no control over any lack of size in that area. Instead, I’ll work out what’s satisfying regardless of appendage size and I will do my damned best with the 9 inch penis that I do have.”


Is anybody great at skull crushers?

I always used them for reps to completely exhaust the triceps, not to try to hit a max or % of body weight.


Hmmmmm… :zipper_mouth_face:


I feel like there are lots of weird things on this chart ranging from a seeming inconsistency in the definitions of decent, good, and great to some rather weird choices for exercise selection for 1RM.

Squat: I suspect that most women can hit a 95lb squat. My wife is 110lbs and basically doesn’t do resistance training. She squatted 95lbs for reps the first time I took her to squat. Compare that to the fact that you’ll rarely see a man squatting 315 to depth in a commercial gym. Also, the gap between a 405 squat and a 455 squat isn’t really all that large. I’d consider the 455 squat and the 495 deadlift to be pretty average in a decent gym.

Military press: This one probably needs some bodyweight standards. A 225 press is massive for someone under 180lbs. There are those that can hit it, but I’d consider it far and away the most impressive of the “great” standards.

Leg Press, BO Row, EZ bar curl, Skull Crusher: How many people track a 1RM in any of these exercises? I guess the EZ curl is contested in some PL feds, but otherwise I don’t know why you’d do any of these for a 1RM.

Elbow planks for time? really?


60 dips in 1 set? 26 pull-ups in 1 set?



I like boobs.



Damn man, I would just give up if I were you!




It’s relative. You can’t train for years and not have gotten substantially stronger if you’ve achieved a respectable amount of size, BUT it’s not the end goal. There are so many ways to make your muscles strain harder without just continually adding weight to the bar, that work much better for anyone trying to hit specific muscle groups, bring up weak points, Create a balanced symmetrical physique,… or (most important IMO), not stress your joints.

I was damn strong (for a not-powerlifter!) at 30. 385 bench, 500 dead, 550 squat,… BUT I didn’t look like a bodybuilder. Pecs lagged delts, quads lagged glutes, and arms weren’t close to the size they would eventually be when I finally figured out the BS behind the “get stronger to get bigger!” Gym dogma.

Even when I was competing as a pro, there were plenty of guys larger than me who weren’t even close to using The weights I was (and I had already backed off my “max” working weights years ago to make smarter progress).

It’s cool if people wanna have a goal so they can mentally feel they’re strong, but if a great a great physique is your goal, it won’t matter. If being a great PLer is your goal, the lifts you compete in will matter, not a silly chart. This is like one of those FB quizzes everyone takes hoping they get something cool so they can post it on their page -lol.



Thanks, Kleinhound. I think you accidentally responded in the wrong thread. Please be sure and tag the people next time so we’ll know who you’re happy for.


According to the picture thing? Yes.

According to my ambitions and goals? Hell. No.


Ouch! Ripped out of flame free in order to get flamed! That is cold (in a flamey type of way)!


You always seem to worry an excessive amount about articles like this. Would you feel better if it said great was 10 pull ups? No, because that’s too easy. Similar to the old Wendler article where he said strong was being able to squat and dead 500 for 20, do ~20 pull ups and run a 6 minute mile. Most people on the planet can’t do that and that’s why it’s a standard because you reach for something harder when you realize you’re below someone’s average. If you squat 500 for 18 and deadlift it for 15, you’re still a strong motherfucker and that’s the purpose of these articles: to push you further.


I don’t know where TN got the data for the chart in the article so…

I’m not sure if I can post the link here but if you look for Strength Level, there are strength standards for more lifts, including Trap Bar DLs, and the OLY lifts. It may feel less arbitrary because their data tells you how many lifters reported their lifts, and then gives you a percentage. ie… “Of 4 million people on the BP… you are at the 77% tile for your weight.” For what that’s worth. Some people find this kind of thing interesting or fun - and they’re Annoying or stupid. Not everyone likes these things, obviously. Lol.

Stone cold.

Going over to the Flame Free thread to flame antiquity (and by extension anyone who decided to play - me) was a bit cold, don’t ya think? I’m sure we’ll all recover. :wink: And I’m hoping @Kleinhound will tag me next time he makes progress on a lift, or posts a progress picture so I can return the enthusiasm. Made a new PR? “Cool. I’m very happy for you.” Your Bench is getting better? “I bet you feel pretty great. Cool. I’m very happy for you.”

These things are just one way to look at progress. Usually we just support each other. Let’s try to not be negative about every freaking thing.

Edited for clarity


50 yrs, 148 lbs

Between “decent” and “good” in the Main Four … hoping to reach “good” by the end of the year.

1.86x BW squat
1.28x BW bench
1.89x BW deadlift
0.87x BW OHP

pullups, dips, and pushups just beyond decent right now, so same “get to good” goals here.


One of the several definitions of standard and the one I think of first is:

an average or normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc.

Standard is closer to average in my perspective. In school the passing standard is a C.

So I find it irritating when experts in a field use the term to describe things that are well above average.

And this isn’t a repeat or anything new. This is one of the articles I was referencing the first time I mentioned my dislike for them. I guess I should be more careful about being redundant.