How Much Weight Can the Average Man Lift, Including Bench Press, Deadlift and Squat?

Bench press training
Based on bench press standards and the average body weight of an American male, an untrained or novice man can often lift between 135 and 175 pounds.
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"Average" is a tricky word when it comes to weight lifting. Fitness level, body type and exercise experience make for a lot of variation. But weightlifting standards can help you get a grasp on roughly how much weight a typical man can lift.

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Beyond the bench press, you can also take a look at the current men's standards for tried-and-true tests of strength, such as the deadlift and squat. These numbers help paint a broader picture of how much weight the average American man is able to lift — or should be able to lift under normal conditions — at different fitness experience levels.

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Throughout this page, the terms used to describe sex and gender are the words used in the original sources.

What Are Strength Standards for Men?

Strength standards are an estimate of the one-rep max weight for different types of exercises, according to ExRx.net. In any weight-lifting category, standards are based on lifts properly performed with no additional gear (except lifting belts, which are allowed).

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As you look through the national standards for different lifts, keep in mind that these numbers don't exactly show how much the average man can lift, per ExRx.net. These numbers are based on about 70 years of gathered performance data. So it's totally normal if your personal records don't exactly match the standard for your body weight.

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Instead, these values are a rough example of what an "average" healthy adult man can lift, based on their body weight and experience level. Here, the data are broken down into three categories, including untrained (no prior lifting experience), novice (several months of experience) and intermediate (a few years of experience).

Bench Press Standards for Men by Body Weight

The bench press can serve as one indicator of your strength in other exercises, according to a small March 2013 study in the ​Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.​ Researchers found that those who had higher max loads for the bench press also lifted more weight for at least four other exercises, including hammer curl, barbell biceps curl, overhead triceps extension and dumbbell shoulder press.

"Bench press has been a staple exercise for both testing and training the upper body strength of athletes in many professional sports including American football and basketball," write researchers, noting its consistent use as a measure for upper-body strength in numerous studies among the non-athlete population, too.

Body weight plays a key role in how much weight an individual is able to lift.The average American adult man weighs about 199 pounds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And the average, untrained 198-pound man bench presses about 135 pounds, according to ExRx.net.

Use the chart below to get an idea of how you compare to the national average for the bench press.

National Bench Press Standards by Body Weight

Body Weight

Untrained

Novice

Intermediate

148 lbs

110 lbs

140 lbs

170 lbs

165 lbs

120 lbs

150 lbs

185 lbs

181 lbs

130 lbs

165 lbs

200 lbs

198 lbs

135 lbs

175 lbs

215 lbs

220 lbs

140 lbs

185 lbs

225 lbs

242 lbs

145 lbs

190 lbs

230 lbs

275 lbs

150 lbs

195 lbs

240 lbs

319 lbs

155 lbs

200 lbs

245 lbs

320 lbs

160 lbs

205 lbs

250 lbs

Source: ExRx.net: "Bench Press Strength Standards"

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Deadlift Standards for Men by Body Weight

In addition to the many benefits of deadlifting — like strengthening your glutes, legs and back — this classic barbell lift is a reliable and repeatable way to assess one-rep maxes, according to a small March 2018 study in the ​Journal of Strength and Conditioning.

Use the chart below to get an idea of how you stack up against the national average deadlift, according to ExRx.net.

National Deadlift Standards by Body Weight

Body Weight

Untrained

Novice

Intermediate

148 lbs

125 lbs

235 lbs

270 lbs

165 lbs

135 lbs

255 lbs

295 lbs

181 lbs

150 lbs

275 lbs

315 lbs

198 lbs

155 lbs

290 lbs

335 lbs

220 lbs

165 lbs

305 lbs

350 lbs

242 lbs

170 lbs

320 lbs

365 lbs

275 lbs

175 lbs

325 lbs

375 lbs

319 lbs

180 lbs

335 lbs

380 lbs

320 lbs

185 lbs

340 lbs

390 lbs

Source: ExRx.net: "Deadlift Strength Standards"

Squat Standards for Men by Body Weight

Alongside the bench press and deadlift, the squat is another solid indicator of overall strength, according to a small May 2015 study in the ​Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.​ Researchers found the squat to be a good measure of improvements in strength and explosiveness in training.

You can use the chart below to get an idea of how your squats compare to the national average squat standards.

National Squat Standards by Body Weight

Body Weight

Untrained

Novice

Intermediate

148 lbs

100 lbs

190 lbs

230 lbs

165 lbs

110 lbs

205 lbs

250 lbs

181 lbs

120 lbs

220 lbs

270 lbs

198 lbs

125 lbs

230 lbs

285 lbs

220 lbs

130 lbs

245 lbs

300 lbs

242 lbs

135 lbs

255 lbs

310 lbs

275 lbs

140 lbs

260 lbs

320 lbs

319 lbs

145 lbs

270 lbs

325 lbs

320 lbs

150 lbs

275 lbs

330 lbs

Source: ExRx.net: "Squat Strength Standards"

Overhead Press Standards for Men by Body Weight

Shoulder presses help build upper-body strength and core stability, and they can even help improve your overall posture.

Use the chart below to get an idea of the national standards for the men's overhead press.

National Overhead Press Standards by Body Weight

Body Weight

Untrained

Novice

Intermediate

148 lbs

70 lbs

95 lbs

120 lbs

165 lbs

75 lbs

100 lbs

130 lbs

181 lbs

80 lbs

110 lbs

140 lbs

198 lbs

85 lbs

115 lbs

145 lbs

220 lbs

90 lbs

120 lbs

155 lbs

242 lbs

95 lbs

125 lbs

160 lbs

275 lbs

95 lbs

130 lbs

165 lbs

319 lbs

100 lbs

135 lbs

170 lbs

320 lbs

100 lbs

140 lbs

175 lbs

Source: ExRx.net: "Press Strength Standards"

Beyond Average: World Records

Stepping well outside of the average, the International Weightlifting Federation tracks the most exceptional weightlifters' records at the Olympic games. As per IWF rules, athletes perform a series of snatch and clean-and-jerk barbell lifts, with the best weight of each individual lift being added to an overall total.

These are the current world records for the clean and jerk.

  • 55-kg (121-lb) weight class:​ 366 pounds, Om Yun Chol (People's Republic of Korea), 2019
  • 61-kg (134-lb) weight class:​ 384 pounds, Eko Yuli Irawan (Indonesia), 2018
  • 67-kg (148-lb) weight class:​ 414 pounds, Pak Jong Ju (People's Republic of Korea), 2019
  • 73-kg (161-lb) weight class:​ 437 pounds, Shi Zhiyong (China), 2019
  • 81-kg (179-lb) weight class:​ 459 pounds, Karlos Nasar (Bulgaria), 2021
  • 96-kg (212-lb) weight class:​ 509 pounds, Tian Tao (China), 2019
  • 109-kg (240-lb) weight class:​ 531 pounds, Ruslan Nurudinov (Uzbekistan), 2021

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