I looked at a bunch of strength standards from different people or organisations. Some go from ‘untrained’ through to ‘elite’, covering every possible stage. Others go for the simpler ‘decent, good, great’ classification, comparing regular gym goers. My sources were:
- Lon Kilgore, Weightlifting Performance Standards on exrx.net (these are also available in the book Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore, which I highly recommend)
- Crossfit North Athletic Skill Standards
- Are You Strong? Find out right now with these strength standards! by Tim Henriques (from T-Nation)
These standards should be relevant for adult women who are strength training on a regular basis so I chose three levels of Good, Very Good andExcellent. It’s important to say that Good is good compared to other gym goers, not compared to untrained people. So Good is certainly a level to be proud of. Good is a level of strength that it is possible to gain after six months of regular training but is likely to be a couple of years or more for many trainees.
Very Good can take another couple of years on top of that and requires commitment and consistency. Reaching this level would put you above the majority of gym goers, even those who do regular strength training.
Excellent is a very advanced level, where you are probably starting to compete at national or international level. At this point you want to be comparing yourself to the other athletes in your federation and weight class rather than your fellow gym goers. Here are the standards, expressed as percentage of bodyweight:
Table of strength standards for women