How much should I be able to lift?

 In Strength and Conditioning, Training
One of the questions I get is how much should I be able to lift? In other words, is there a strength standard? Actually, there is an acceptable strength standard that we use for the average male and female. So if you are looking to create a goal based on how much you can lift, here is how you would do it.


First, figure out where you currently are (baseline). This is done by testing, just like your FTP test but for strength.


Start by warming up. This should be a very thorough warm-up. 10-15 minutes on some type of cardio machine, bike, treadmill, or rower. Then move to the lift that you are going to test. oh, warmup isn’t done yet. I start out with about 50% of what I think I am going to accomplish and do a set of five. I then go to about 70%, and do another 5, then 85% and do a set of 3 reps. Now I am ready to go.


I pick a weight that I know I can do that is greater than 5 reps but less than 10 reps. I do the lift to form. If I get to 10, I rack it, consider that just another warmup, and add weight. Once I get to the point that I fail on the last rep, say 6, I mark the number down and move to the next lift.


Now take that number and go to and enter it into the 1RM calculator. Now you have the first portion of the equation.


So what lifts should I do to set a benchmark?


As cyclists, the legs and glutes are the primary movers so squat and leg press.


However, we have to have a strong posterior chain, so a deadlift is added.


Lastly, as non-professional athletes we need to ensure symmetry of our bodies, so bench press, dip, pullup, and pushups.


Here is the list:

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Leg Press
  • Push-up
  • Dip
  • Pull up


What’s the male standard?

BWT is Body Weight
Squat – Decent – 1.5 x BWT, good – 2 x BWT, and great 2.5 x BWT
Bench Press – Decent – 1.25 x BWT, good – 1.5 x BWT, and great 2 x BWT
Deadlift – Decent – 1.5 x BWT, good – 2 x BWT, and great – 2.5 x BWT
Leg Press – Decent – 410lbs, good – 720lbs, and great 1000lbs
Push-up – Decent – 30, good – 60, and great 90
Dip – Decent – 20, good – 40, and great 60
Pull up – Decent – 10, good – 20, and great 30


What’s the female standard?

Squat – Decent – 0.75 x BWT, good – 1.25 x BWT, and great 2.0 x BWT
Bench Press – Decent – 0.5 x BWT, good – 0.75 x BWT, and great 1 x BWT
Deadlift – Decent – 1.0 x BWT, good – 1.5 x BWT, and great – 2.0 x BWT
Leg Press – Decent – 180lbs, good – 360lbs, and great 450lbs
Push-up (military style) – Decent – 5, good – 25, and great 50
Dip – Decent – 1, good – 15, and great 30
Pull up – Decent – 1, good – 5, and great 12


What should your aim be on each exercise as a cyclist?

Squat – good to great
Bench Press – decent to good
Deadlift – good
Leg Press – great
Push-up – decent
Dip – decent
Pull up – decent

Write my goal!

So you are a 175lbs cyclist and let’s say that you did your squat and did 7 at 145lbs. In the 1RM calculator, your 1RM would be 175lbs.
So your three-month goal maybe.
  • Increase my squat 1RM from 175lbs on 6 November 2021 to decent (262lbs) by Feb 6, 2022.
A six-month goal maybe
  • Increase my squat 1RM from 265lbs on 7 Feb 2022 to good (350lbs) by May 6, 2022
The off-season is where you will get your greatest strength gains. Everyone should have a few lifting goals on their training plans.
Got questions? email [email protected] or tweet your question to @kylecoaching
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