Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press Guidelines for Women…

Woman Deadlifting

In my last video blog on Westside and CrossFit, I mentioned the 300/400/500 Bench Press/Squat/Deadlift numbers Stuart McRobert advocates as a guideline for male athletes. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the numbers were for WOMEN. So, I did a little digging and came up with some answers. (Oh, BTW, by “Squat” I mean the Back Squat :-))

As Stuart says on page 88 of “Beyond Brawn:”

“The 300-400-500 figures are based on the prototypical, experienced and successful [drug-free male athlete] who weighs about 190 pounds and is around age 30, at about 5ft 9in height.”

I think that 300/400/500 is about right for any natural (not using steroids) male athlete with reasonable work and life commitments outside the gym. I know mostly CrossFitters (as opposed to Powerlifters) and can’t think of any off the top of my head who greatly exceed those numbers.

So, what does all this mean for women?

Stuart goes on to say that women should expect to achieve around 55-70% of these numbers depending on age and body weight. He also says that women tend to be weaker in the bench press relative to the Squat and Deadlift, in general. That might indicate that the Bench Press number below needs to be adjusted down even a bit further.

Here are the lower and upper limits for the three Powerlifts – for women – based on Stuart’s suggestions:

Bench Press: 165-210 pounds

Squat: 220-280 pounds

Deadlift: 275-350 pounds

These numbers are just a guideline…

I’d be very curious to hear what all the women who read this blog and follow Strong is the New Skinny on Facebook have to say about the numbers above.

  • Are they accurate in your experience?
  • How far away from or above them are you?
  • Are you working toward them as goals?

Either way, hopefully these numbers give you something to think about and – possibly – a reasonable standard to keep in mind as you work toward your training goals.



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About Adam

Adam Farrah has been studying and experimenting with Paleo approaches to health, eating, living and moving since 2005. Connect with Adam on Google+


  1. If these are one rep max numbers…the bench numbers seem very low for women in my opinion.
    I do 225 with a bad neck and 2 shoulder injuries and am almost 50.

  2. I’m fairly new to powerlifting and weightlifting in general. I am frequently told I am “naturally strong.” I am 31 years old, 5’6″ and a solid 160lbs. 165/255/315 are my current numbers but they have been rising rapidly, give me 6 months! I think the numbers listed seem a bit low.


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