T Nation

What's Strong for a Natural?

I wondered what you guys think is strong for natural lifters who weigh under 180 pounds in the big 4?

The answer is going to vary deepening on whom you ask deepening on their point of view…
Along with what context your putting it in.
Are you asking for your general gym rat…Fitness buff or someone whom wants to be competitive in some form of strength sports.


IMHO, 3/4/5 in the big three gets you in strong category as a human / non-competive lifter. But it’s weak in other ways as well - many people are much stronger in this site for example. Plus, gender, age, health would need considered. But if you put up 3/4/5, I’ll call you strong.


2x body weight bench, 3x body weight dead and squat.


I’m tall and lanky and still chasing the 3/4/5 numbers. Close but not quite there (probably because I’ve never chased any one of them with a focused training approach). That being said, I can suplex a 180lb man easily. I say strong is being able to perform some WWE type movements on other grown men.


Left the suplex peice out. This counts too. I’ll call you whatever you want to avoid being suplexed.

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Lol, I got to do this to a friend in a training scenario. Two cops trying to arrest one bad guy. He was the bad guy and lunged at my partner. He got to go for a ride :smile:

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Nothing related to powerlifting, I meant strong for a bodybuilder

Oh damn, and you’re a cop. I’d add ‘sir’ after ‘strong’ depending on the scenario.

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You mentioned the Big 3 but left the Military press out of the equation. I’ve seen some people specify a 185 pound press as good , what do you think?

I think 185 is excellent. To keep it simple, I’d probably just say 2/3/4/5 if you looked at all 4. For me, I don’t OHP high weight for fear of a shoulder injury, so if I see someone even doing anything close to 200 with strick form, I consider it respectable. If you’re 180 and able to lift your BW, your strong IMO. Moreover, I’d probably even dial some of the aforementioned loads down from a BB perspective.


My personal, scientific scale:

2/3/4/5 - probably one of the stronger guys on his block, in his office (assuming he is not in physical labor)

2+/4/5/6 - really fucking strong, one of the strongest guys at most average commercial gyms, strong for Tnation

3/4/6/7 - really, really fucking strong.

Big 3 - 2000lbs+, you could call my mother whatever you want and I smile and nod.


I’d definitely put these guys into the category of special and genetically gifted. And by that I don’t mean they didn’t work hard to get there; they just have some mechanical advantages that we can’t control such as limb length, tendon insertion, points, muscle fiber type, etc.

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Game Changers’ here are good basic standards for bodybuilder/general fitness strong…


The 2/3/4/5 that has brought up i would say is more than reasonable IMO


Do you have to clean the bar first for the press?

Does a Sumo Deadlift count?

You have no business pressing a weight if you can’t clean it first. Also my knees hate wide stance squatting or deadlifting so I stay away from it

Why would you say genetically gifted though? Honestly, if we are talking plates, or even pounds for that matter, I wouldn’t say those are crazy for someone who busts their ass for years. I trained with a guy I grew up with for awhile and he was squatting 500 at 22 fairly easy. He was nothing special. I’ve pulled 545 on multiple occassions before my injury, benched 335 after not benching for months and hit a 205 ohp after training it specifically for 4 months all pre injury and I grew up unathletic, borderline obese as a child and started training seriously at 18. Aside from a 405 bench, I really dont see 200+ or 2 plate + ohp, 300 or 3 pps bench, etc. only possible for the genetically gifted.

Wanted to add too, my father is a mechanic and has been one for 30 years. One day when I was younger at home benching he worked in with me and hit a 365 flat back no leg drive bench with no warm up. He hadn’t trained more than push ups and sit ups every morning in around 15 years. Granted his body is meant for powerlifting (5’6" 200 pounds with abs through a beer gut and a size 10.5 shoe with xl glove sized hands) but still.

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I hate people like this tbh