T Nation

"Average Joe Strong" Strength Standards

Had a discussion with my employees today and that led a bunch of us guys talking about what are numbers that maintainable for a huge portion of life that would quantify as “strong” but nothing special.

Obviously a lot of us train to not be average, but if you had to quantify that in numbers for lifts, what would you say?

I was thinking along the lines of the following for reps.

Squat - 275
Deadlift - 315
Bench - 205
OH Press - 135
BB Row - 185
Chin-Ups - 10
1 Mile Run - Under 8

None of those numbers pop out but seems to be well rounded individual. Nothing special, just average.

EDIT: Changed the premise and the average numbers!

1 Like

I’d be pretty impressed if I saw a 65 year old guy hit those numbers, I think. And I’d be happy with that mile time now haha

2 Likes

Nothing special at all, haha.

2 Likes

I don’t max out on my lifts and I never max out on my running either. I just do a 50 meter run and then use a One Mile Max Calculator to estimate my one mile time. So much easier that way.

25 Likes

Holy shit, I laughed hard.

6 Likes

I’m picturing my fat co-workers right now and I think a 225 bench, 115-135 OHP, 315 squat, 365 Deadlift, 8 pull ups, and an 8:30 mile would be respectable and sustainable.

5 Likes

If we are going by those standards, I’m pretty average lol

Those “standards” are still “goals” for me!

found this online:

A runner who is 17 to 21 and in good health runs a mile in about 6:30 if he is in the top 1 percent of that age group, according to standards set by the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Guide. Runners should shoot for a time of approximately 8:18 if they want to be in the 50 percent bracket for the age group.

So I’d say maybe your 6:30 is a bit quick for ‘average joe strong’. A lot more than 1 percent of gym goers are hitting a 225 bench.

Your chin up number is insanely high, and you’re definitely setting that mark with a small guy in mind. I think I’m a little stronger than an average joe, and 15 consecutive strict chin ups is probably right around what I can do. I really don’t go over 10. 15 chin ups is pretty special imo, particularly if you’re talking about someone who’s over 200 lbs or so.

I think I can more or less roll with the other numbers.

2 Likes

I would think about changing your description, I think it’s misleading. If I’m reading your original post correctly, it looks like more of a list of what any normal adult male who devotes a couple years to training hard and eating right can achieve and maintain. The trouble is, the drive and commitment to do that is far from average, so the word average in the title is sort of confusing the issue.

As a list of things any adult male should be able to achieve with effort, I think it’s mosty reasonable. I can beat everything except the mile run right now, although the bench would be a challenge because of my injury history, as a 53 year old whose body has seen some miles, who started out as a 5’8" 125# 18-year-old with hardly an ounce of athletic ability. I would say that the chin-ups and overhead press skew to the more difficult side, and the run is at another level entirely, and they’re all somewhat size-dependent. These sorts of exercises in theorycraft are always interesting to me.

1 Like

According to NPR, the average American male is 5’9" and 195.5 lbs with nearly a 40" waist. Let’s say they devote some time to training, and become 5’9", 180 lbs, with a 35" waist.

I’d adjust those standards to:

Bench: 185
OHP 95
Squat 225
DL: 275
Chin ups: 7
Mile time: 8 min

Those sound “low” for many of us, but someone who is average-sized, in their 30’s, and has trained to be “average Joe strong” would probably be quite pleased with them.

1 Like

With this premise, I would say that his original numbers hold up okay, at least on the lifts. For the chins and mile, yours look better.

Honestly I think most of the Marines I knew barely cleared a 6:30 mile. I’d say sub 8. I have legs like a gazelle so I can still run a sub 6 mile but some people just never get good at running. Also 15 pull-ups is a bit much, I’d say 8 good, strict dead hang pull-ups.

1 Like

I think some of you are way too indoctrinated in the gym culture, the average person can barely OHP the bar let alone do a chin up.

If we’re talking ‘‘strong’’ average: 95lbs OHP, 5 chin ups, 185 atg squat, 135 bench, 225 deadlift.

In fairness its average joe strong, not average joe. I don’t think average joe would look at someone putting up those numbers and think “yea, that’s pretty strong”

Other than the row, chin-ups and 1 mile, I think OP has it about right.

I think If someone has the SBD and press mentioned, then a 180 Row and 8 chin ups would still be considered “yea pretty strong”.

Dont think 1 mile run time comes into considerations of strength. At all.

This is exactly why I think the title is misleading. This perception is very different from ‘average person who puts a couple hard years in at the gym’, which is what was actually being presented.

So I guess I am talking about the “casual” gym goer. You know the one that goes in a sometimes and doesn’t really have a plan but does some random stuff. That’s who I define as the average joe. I have a friend who is:

6’0
180lbs
33 years old

Back Squat - 245 @ 3x6
Bench Press - 205 @ 3x8
Deadlift - 315 @ 3x3
OH Press - 115 @ 3x8
Chin-Ups - 10 @ one set
BB Row - 165 @ 3x10

I view that as pretty average because he goes to the gym maybe once a week. His deadlift is probably 315 because of leverage and because he played sports growing up and plays bball like 1-2x a week. He also changes windows out in homes.

But I view his stats are purely average joe. Nothing special at all, but “strong” for someone who doesn’t live in the gym and goes casually.

EDIT: I changed my OP so the thread makes more sense.

Your buddy is stronger than 90% of the casual gym goers I’ve witnessed in person, but I haven’t witnessed many casual gym goers doing more than a few of the movements you listed.

Of course, this also demonstrates that nearly anybody who does those types of movements with any consistency over any meaningful length of time will almost certainly be much stronger than the average person. You really need to spend a lot of time on the internet to fuck something like that up.

1 Like

OH Press for 3 sets of 8 at almost 2/3 bodyweight sounds about as average as the 6:30 mile.

Does prove that playing bball can make you really strong… (that’s a joke, to be clear)

The fact that 115 @ 3x8 sounds more than average is mind blowing to me lol.

Maybe @JZT had it right and we’ve been in the gym too much to really understand what “average” really is.