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View Full Version : What Do You Guys Think Is "Strong" for Bench, Squat, Deadlift


UW_Husky88
03-03-2010, 09:07 PM
I'm just curious what you guys think. I've been hanging around the bodybuilding.com forums, and over there, you aren't considered strong if you don't bench, squat, deadlift 300, 400, 500 respectively :shock:.

Obviously, there's a very extreme demographic being targeted on those forums, so for us mere mortals, what do you think are respectable numbers for each (I know it varies by weight, but in general)?

I think a bench of >200 (preferably 225+), a squat >275 (preferably 300+) and a deadlift of >315 (preferably 350+) puts you in the very strong hierarchy, but I want more opinions on this.

Ken Honecker
03-04-2010, 01:02 AM
I'd add a bit to those numbers simply because I'm a fairly large framed fella with more of a football players body. Years back I read benching your body weight and squating that plus 50 was good. I kind of feel that a bench of 250 and a squat of 300 is pretty solid for a normal person. I'm afraid all I've ever done is stiff legged deadlifts so don't have a number for that lift.

I think you'd need to add 100 lbs to those numbers to be even aproaching the very strong hierarchy. Heck I played football with a guy that claimed he benched 300 when he only weighed 160ish.

tricky
03-04-2010, 01:15 AM
I've been hanging around the bodybuilding.com forums, and over there, you aren't considered strong if you don't bench, squat, deadlift 300, 400, 500 respectivelyBB member here . . . go for the 300-400-500. ;)

300-400-500 are just numbers to aspire for, and have been for at least the 15 years I've lifted. You can also look at your FFMI and compare. 22 is kinda the rough number for "muscular guy."

The Watchman
03-04-2010, 02:19 AM
I think "strong" for bench, squat and deadlift - even for mere mortals like me - would be 1.5x bodyweight, 2.0x bodyweight and 2.5x bodyweight for a male.

I (and many others) would not describe me as anywhere near strong, and I'm currently at 1.2x (my bench sucks), 1.8x (to powerlifting legal depth, of course) 2.25x.

I think getting to these numbers will help one's tennis game (ie explosive strength improves with increases in max strength). Going beyond this, I think, may start detracting from one's tennis game (ie explosive strength might start to decline with increases in max strength).

autumn_leaf
03-04-2010, 03:59 AM
i'm just a pretty weak individual. 5'8'' and lanky. so far i've been squatting 70lbs. started at 40lbs last month (feb.) and have been moving upward.

also the important thing here is that people have proper form and a full range of motion. there's a lot of people at the gym squatting like 200+lbs and only doing 1/2-3/4 range.

for bench..umm...i think i can do about 90lbs lol.

strong is a relative term. i like the idea of the guy above me doing how many times your weight for an exercise instead of a flat weight to be considered strong.

Ken Honecker
03-04-2010, 05:30 AM
I agree with that system in part except it penalizes a person for having a large frame. Lets fact it most of us don't walk on our hands so really a 200 lb person shouldn't be able to bench much more if any than say a 160 assuming both have the same level of fitness.

As for the flat weight numbers I reckon people are figuring 180-200 pound fellas.

jrod
03-04-2010, 05:41 AM
I've always been perplexed by those who place value on this kind of strength. It doesn't translate to anything really meaningful in tennis. I am considerably stronger than my son. He's a scrawny 15 year old yet he can hit the ball with substantially more weight and pop than me.

Djokovicfan4life
03-04-2010, 06:06 AM
i'm just a pretty weak individual. 5'8'' and lanky. so far i've been squatting 70lbs. started at 40lbs last month (feb.) and have been moving upward.

also the important thing here is that people have proper form and a full range of motion. there's a lot of people at the gym squatting like 200+lbs and only doing 1/2-3/4 range.

for bench..umm...i think i can do about 90lbs lol.

strong is a relative term. i like the idea of the guy above me doing how many times your weight for an exercise instead of a flat weight to be considered strong.
How is it even possible to squat 40 lbs when the bar weighs 45? I agree that lots of people cheat on the range of motion, but it's not hard at all to get 200+ legitimately. My buddy at the gym (ex-powerlifter) said that my squats were going about 3-4 inches below parallel and even someone as weak as myself got to 235 lbs for 3 sets of 5 after 3 months of training. I know this isn't a powerlifting forum or anything, but still, 200 lbs is nothing.

mike53
03-04-2010, 06:18 AM
How is it even possible to squat 40 lbs when the bar weighs 45?

Use dumbbells - 2x20

Sleepstream
03-04-2010, 06:41 AM
I don't care about bench.

But to me, 500+ is strong for the squat, and 600+ is strong for the deadlift.

SlapShot
03-04-2010, 07:23 AM
Depends on your size.

My bench is respectable (245 at 175 lbs of body weight), but my squat and deadlift suck (300 and don't know, since I haven't done deads in probably a year) compared to my bench.

UW_Husky88
03-04-2010, 07:38 AM
I've always been perplexed by those who place value on this kind of strength. It doesn't translate to anything really meaningful in tennis. I am considerably stronger than my son. He's a scrawny 15 year old yet he can hit the ball with substantially more weight and pop than me.

So you're telling me that if technique is equally good, the guy who can barely bench his weight will be more powerful and athletic than a guy that can bench 1.5x his weight easily? You're telling me that the reason tsonga hits big has nothing to do with his size and strength?

Interesting theory...

LeeD
03-04-2010, 07:39 AM
I'm kinda with Jrod....
I don't bench anything ever.
However, on a leg press machine, just 10 years ago still pushed in the lower 400's. Since I windsurf maybe 150 days a year, I have to pull over 400lbs to set my downhaul every day...:shock::shock: and I do it by hand, no machine.
Almost no other windsurfer, except the really strong guys, can come close.
When I rig my North wide sleeve slalom sails, I pull close to 480lbs to set tension, but that is getting harder.
Can any of you do 20 extended pushups? I can.
And I can hang from a horizontal bar, legs straight in front of me, and lift from there to bring legs over the bar and rotate my body up and over.

SlapShot
03-04-2010, 08:45 AM
So you're telling me that if technique is equally good, the guy who can barely bench his weight will be more powerful and athletic than a guy that can bench 1.5x his weight easily? You're telling me that the reason tsonga hits big has nothing to do with his size and strength?

Interesting theory...

I think that they are two separate things. Yes, you need to have "functional" strength to be able to hit the ball big, but it also comes from leverage and flexibility. It's a delicate dance between strength and flexibility.

I have been on a regular lifting program for the past 18 months, and I am much stronger now than I was 2 years ago, and I happen to also be hitting the ball much bigger with less effort. But I also am much more flexible now, and also have had access to good coaching for those 2 years, which helps just as much as my increased strength.

We can play the "all things being equal" game, but IMO, things aren't equal. It's a balance between increased strength and increased flexibility, and trying to balance those to maximize your tennis.

LeeD
03-04-2010, 08:57 AM
As said, things CANNOT be equal.
When someone says that after lifting for 2 years, they get bigger and stronger, and can now hit a tennis ball harder.....it's true! They have also played tennis two years longer!!!
Federer can't lift peanuts compared to you guys.
Neither could DJ or Murray.
But they hit pretty hard for stringbeans who get sand kicked in their faces at any beach.
Yes, Tsonga can hit harder. As could Roddick, Blake, and a whole passel of hard hitters. But can they play as well?
This IS supposed to be a tennis based forum.

Kobble
03-04-2010, 09:02 AM
I would say 1.5X bench and squat is really good for a recreationally trained person.

jrod
03-04-2010, 10:23 AM
So you're telling me that if technique is equally good, the guy who can barely bench his weight will be more powerful and athletic than a guy that can bench 1.5x his weight easily?

Not exactly.... My point is that when it comes to tennis, there are a number of things one can do to improve ones game, strength being one element. If folks were to prioritize on what they needed to work on in order to improve the most (stroke technique, footwork, conditioning, strength, etc.), I don't see strength as coming out near the top of the list. You can be the strongest guy out there on the court. Without good technique and sound footwork it doesn't necessarily translate into a more effective game. There is so much other lower hanging fruit for both developing juniors and club players...


You're telling me that the reason tsonga hits big has nothing to do with his size and strength?

Interesting theory...I don't recall saying that...interesting interpretation though.

jrod
03-04-2010, 10:25 AM
I think that they are two separate things. Yes, you need to have "functional" strength to be able to hit the ball big, but it also comes from leverage and flexibility. It's a delicate dance between strength and flexibility.

I have been on a regular lifting program for the past 18 months, and I am much stronger now than I was 2 years ago, and I happen to also be hitting the ball much bigger with less effort. But I also am much more flexible now, and also have had access to good coaching for those 2 years, which helps just as much as my increased strength.

We can play the "all things being equal" game, but IMO, things aren't equal. It's a balance between increased strength and increased flexibility, and trying to balance those to maximize your tennis.

Good points SlapShot....flexibility is key in tennis, particularly in harnessing ones strength efficiently.

shissncg
03-04-2010, 10:46 AM
Back to the original question I think that relative to bodyweight a bench of 1.5x, and squat and deadlift of 2x are strong, a bench of 2x and squat and dead of 3x are very strong.

LeeD
03-04-2010, 11:09 AM
Lifting dead weight strong and playing tennis strong are two different animals, which you all know.
A weight lifter is strong lifting weights. Make him hit a tennis serve, and he's weak.
A tennis player can crush a forehand....make him lift 400 lbs and he's weak.
How strong do you need to be to play great tennis? That is the question. The answer is, of course....Federer, DJ, Murray.....

r2473
03-04-2010, 11:21 AM
Are you interested in single rep maxes or what you can do for a decent amount of reps and sets? To me, single rep stuff is of very limited value. I would concentrate more on what you can rep for say 3X5 or something like that.

That said:

-Bench Press: Try to rep 1X your bodyweight.

-Squat: Try to rep 1.5X your bodyweight

-Deadlift: Try to rep 2X your bodyweight


These goals should be sufficient and "fairly" challenging for most. If you reach these goals, at that point you should have a pretty good idea if you want to go for more or not.

If you watch most guys in the gym, many have met the above bench press goal, but few meet the squat and deadlift goals (as an aside, watching people do "partial squats" with more weight than they can obviously handle is fairly funny. In my gym, even the "partial bench press" is catching on).

For some strange reason, guys put lots of effort into the bench but little into other things. Strange when you think about it. In a practical sense, the bench press is of significantly less value than lots of other exercises. But, the bench just happens to be the de facto "macho" exercise. Go figure.

Djokovicfan4life
03-04-2010, 11:42 AM
Lifting dead weight strong and playing tennis strong are two different animals, which you all know.
A weight lifter is strong lifting weights. Make him hit a tennis serve, and he's weak.
A tennis player can crush a forehand....make him lift 400 lbs and he's weak.
How strong do you need to be to play great tennis? That is the question. The answer is, of course....Federer, DJ, Murray.....

I don't lift weights because I think it'll put extra MPHs on my shots. I believe that it will decrease the likelihood of injuries from tennis because strong muscles/joints are less prone to injury than weak ones.

Actually, I lift weights because I just enjoy lifting and getting stronger. But when I'm not breaking my arm squatting I do believe that it will help my tennis by reducing injuries.

ALten1
03-04-2010, 07:27 PM
Are you interested in single rep maxes or what you can do for a decent amount of reps and sets? To me, single rep stuff is of very limited value. I would concentrate more on what you can rep for say 3X5 or something like that.

That said:

-Bench Press: Try to rep 1X your bodyweight.

-Squat: Try to rep 1.5X your bodyweight

-Deadlift: Try to rep 2X your bodyweight


These goals should be sufficient and "fairly" challenging for most. If you reach these goals, at that point you should have a pretty good idea if you want to go for more or not.

If you watch most guys in the gym, many have met the above bench press goal, but few meet the squat and deadlift goals (as an aside, watching people do "partial squats" with more weight than they can obviously handle is fairly funny. In my gym, even the "partial bench press" is catching on).

For some strange reason, guys put lots of effort into the bench but little into other things. Strange when you think about it. In a practical sense, the bench press is of significantly less value than lots of other exercises. But, the bench just happens to be the de facto "macho" exercise. Go figure.

In almost every gym I've been a member of the leg section is usually fairly open while the benches are always in use.

A guy with short arms and barrel chest will typically bench more than a guy with long arms and thinner chest. Does that make the guy with shorter arms stronger?

Same with squats. A guy with wide hips and short legs can typically squat way more than a tall guy with narrow hips.

I don't think strength can be measured by a number on the side of a weight plate

BTW I've seen a few back injuries from leg press machines. People load them up with weight and then roll their back/butt reaching for the platform with their feet.

tricky
03-04-2010, 08:41 PM
For some strange reason, guys put lots of effort into the bench but little into other things.

It's a natural progression for people.

Stage 1: I Want To Be Buff -- I do this to get chicks. Chest and a lot of arm work
Stage 2: I Want To Be Strong -- I do this to impress other dudes. Back and lat work.
Stage 3: I Want To Be Solid -- I do this for myself. Squat and lower back.

Not necessarily about having higher or better priorities. Integration.

TnTBigman
03-05-2010, 05:42 AM
I won't rest untill I can bench 400lbs 3-4 times. 80lbs to go. Current 1RM is 345lbs. I avoid heavily weighted barbell squats and deadlifts. Too much strain on the lowerback. And although it has not been proven scientifically, I think overuse of those exercises will decrease my height through wear and tear (my personal belif guys). Weighted lunges, single machine leg press and curls do just fine for fitness and tennis.

r2473
03-05-2010, 11:16 AM
In almost every gym I've been a member of the leg section is usually fairly open while the benches are always in use.

A guy with short arms and barrel chest will typically bench more than a guy with long arms and thinner chest. Does that make the guy with shorter arms stronger?

Same with squats. A guy with wide hips and short legs can typically squat way more than a tall guy with narrow hips.

I don't think strength can be measured by a number on the side of a weight plate

BTW I've seen a few back injuries from leg press machines. People load them up with weight and then roll their back/butt reaching for the platform with their feet.

I was just giving "off the rack" advice.

Of course "tailored" advice will suit any particular individual much better.

Sumo
03-05-2010, 11:30 AM
Lifting dead weight strong and playing tennis strong are two different animals, which you all know.
A weight lifter is strong lifting weights. Make him hit a tennis serve, and he's weak.
A tennis player can crush a forehand....make him lift 400 lbs and he's weak.
How strong do you need to be to play great tennis? That is the question. The answer is, of course....Federer, DJ, Murray.....

I think you'd be surprised how much a lot of elite players can dead lift.

LeeD
03-05-2010, 04:40 PM
Yeah, I'd worry Fed, DJ, and Murray would dominate in the Strongman contests.

Sumo
03-05-2010, 07:55 PM
Are they going to win a strongman contest? No.

But they are all amazing athletes, and having the ability to change direction and accelerate the way they do takes a ridiculous amount of strength.

If I were to guess dead lift weights....
Fed - 850lbs
Nadal - 1200lbs
Tsonga - 2.5tons
Tomic - 6lbs

FastFreddy
03-06-2010, 07:01 AM
I won't rest untill I can bench 400lbs 3-4 times. 80lbs to go. Current 1RM is 345lbs. I avoid heavily weighted barbell squats and deadlifts. Too much strain on the lowerback. And although it has not been proven scientifically, I think overuse of those exercises will decrease my height through wear and tear (my personal belif guys). Weighted lunges, single machine leg press and curls do just fine for fitness and tennis.

Good luck with 400 3-4 times is a tall order. I am sure if you do 400 once you will be happy. I also just leg press, lunge, bench and deadlift. What's your current weight I did 365@ 185 pounds. The last time I benched since ripping my cuff was 385 @ 205 pounds. I did bench 425@ 223 on the smith, I always wanted to do 465 on the smith that's 5 plates on each side and the 15 pound bar. On the smith I would get 15-20 reps for 285 @ 209 pounds.

r2473
03-06-2010, 07:13 AM
^^Any reason you used the smith machine for the bench press?

onehandbh
03-06-2010, 08:57 AM
This one time, I had to pick a weight where I could basically squat many sets
one after another for 1-1.5 hours straight and I was able to do it with 185 on
the smith. No way I could do more than a few sets with 185 normally.
I was surprised how much easier it was for squats.

Djokovicfan4life
03-06-2010, 09:23 AM
This one time, I had to pick a weight where I could basically squat many sets
one after another for 1-1.5 hours straight and I was able to do it with 185 on
the smith. No way I could do more than a few sets with 185 normally.
I was surprised how much easier it was for squats.

And that's one of the many reasons why the Smith Machine is a waste of time for most people, IMO.

TnTBigman
03-06-2010, 10:05 AM
Well there are different smith machines out there. The one in my gym just has the rods that guides the built in attached 45lbs barbell, and the hooks that can secure the barbell incase they are too heavy or the users is fatigued by just turning the barbell. No pully system attatched to it so there is no "mechanical advantage" comming into play. I like this version of the smith machine since I've been working out by my self, on my schedule. I can lift heavy without a need for a spotter. No probs doing flat and incline benchpress. I'll admit though, it is easier to use the smith vs the regular free barbell since on the smith imbalances between left, right and core balance muscles for the benchpress is eliminated. But I can't complain. I'm lifting heavier and safer. No rotator cuff and wrist injuries.

FastFreddy, I'm 255lbs, 6ft 1". I can bench 320lbs 4times right now. I warm up with 225lbs (4 45 plates + bar) for 20 reps for chest. I've already maxed my gyms pulldown machine for back @ 300lbs. No mechanical advantage there, casue setting the machine @ 250lbs, I can fully suspend my body weight by holding the bar and the weight does not budge. So I'm mixing in both max reps (3 sets) and negatives (3 sets ~6 reps). I'm at 260lbs for back using negatives. I think I've plateaued on shoulder dumbell side raises. I'm stuck at 47lbs 6 reps (alternating between L and R. using Weider adjustable dumbell plates) per dumbell for about 5 weeks now. I really don't see a benefit of going to 50 lbs mostly becasue I'm afraid of injury. High reps low weights.....that just screams of wear n tear and injury for an already poorly blood supplied joint. Don;t know yet what I'm going to do next for shoulders.
For legs, I alternated between single leg (current 185lbs) 6-8 reps, and both together (current 225lbs) 12-15 reps. I think legs benefit from high reps, and it amazes me how one can quickly become breathless doing leg exercises. Gets you sweaty and the blood pumping really fast in the first set.
I like the system I'm using. I'm lifting progressively heavier, getting stronger with minimal injury and joint issues, as well as seeing changes in my body. I cycle (heavy weights vs negatives) every 3 weeks and I havent skipped a workout (or thought about skipping) since the new year.

r2473
03-06-2010, 10:46 AM
FastFreddy, I'm 255lbs, 6ft 1".

Wow. You are carrying a lot of extra bodyfat.

I'm guessing you are around 28% - 30% bodyfat?

FastFreddy
03-06-2010, 11:03 AM
^^Any reason you used the smith machine for the bench press?

Well after having shoulder surgery (cuff) on my left and right shoulder and now going for a 2nd on my right shoulder. It's safer and I don't need a spot. Plus I can set up my rom with the safety stop and not go to deep. With the smith I don't worry about balance and just push hard.

FastFreddy
03-06-2010, 11:09 AM
Well there are different smith machines out there. The one in my gym just has the rods that guides the built in attached 45lbs barbell, and the hooks that can secure the barbell incase they are too heavy or the users is fatigued by just turning the barbell. No pully system attatched to it so there is no "mechanical advantage" comming into play. I like this version of the smith machine since I've been working out by my self, on my schedule. I can lift heavy without a need for a spotter. No probs doing flat and incline benchpress. I'll admit though, it is easier to use the smith vs the regular free barbell since on the smith imbalances between left, right and core balance muscles for the benchpress is eliminated. But I can't complain. I'm lifting heavier and safer. No rotator cuff and wrist injuries.

FastFreddy, I'm 255lbs, 6ft 1". I can bench 320lbs 4times right now. I warm up with 225lbs (4 45 plates + bar) for 20 reps for chest. I've already maxed my gyms pulldown machine for back @ 300lbs. No mechanical advantage there, casue setting the machine @ 250lbs, I can fully suspend my body weight by holding the bar and the weight does not budge. So I'm mixing in both max reps (3 sets) and negatives (3 sets ~6 reps). I'm at 260lbs for back using negatives. I think I've plateaued on shoulder dumbell side raises. I'm stuck at 47lbs 6 reps (alternating between L and R. using Weider adjustable dumbell plates) per dumbell for about 5 weeks now. I really don't see a benefit of going to 50 lbs mostly becasue I'm afraid of injury. High reps low weights.....that just screams of wear n tear and injury for an already poorly blood supplied joint. Don;t know yet what I'm going to do next for shoulders.
For legs, I alternated between single leg (current 185lbs) 6-8 reps, and both together (current 225lbs) 12-15 reps. I think legs benefit from high reps, and it amazes me how one can quickly become breathless doing leg exercises. Gets you sweaty and the blood pumping really fast in the first set.
I like the system I'm using. I'm lifting progressively heavier, getting stronger with minimal injury and joint issues, as well as seeing changes in my body. I cycle (heavy weights vs negatives) every 3 weeks and I havent skipped a workout (or thought about skipping) since the new year.

Nice numbers 255 you are pretty thick for 6'1. I like the cybex smith with the 15 pound bar over the 45 pound bar on some smith. For 400 3-4 reps that means 430-440 for a single good luck.

UW_Husky88
03-06-2010, 11:24 AM
I think a lot of you guys are misunderstanding what I'm saying about strength. Yeah, obviously, if you're going to play tennis, you have to be good at tennis. I just hate this myth that gets tossed around by tennis players especially where they assume that the minute they touch heavy weights they'll become some roided out freak with no athleticism whatsoever.

To take a very simple example, we can all agree that sprinting/quickness is an integral part of tennis, right? Well, take a look at the fastest/most athletic athletes in the world IMO, sprinters and NFL running backs. You'd be surprised how strong/muscular these guys are, and yet, they are still faster and stronger than the very best tennis players.

Technique is a large part of tennis, which is why guys like Federer can win, but for the rest of us that aren't blessed with wicked forehand technique like that, adding a solid weight regiment will help other integral parts to your game and thus help your game improve even if your technique progress isn't rising as quickly.

</rant>

autumn_leaf
03-06-2010, 11:24 AM
How is it even possible to squat 40 lbs when the bar weighs 45? I agree that lots of people cheat on the range of motion, but it's not hard at all to get 200+ legitimately. My buddy at the gym (ex-powerlifter) said that my squats were going about 3-4 inches below parallel and even someone as weak as myself got to 235 lbs for 3 sets of 5 after 3 months of training. I know this isn't a powerlifting forum or anything, but still, 200 lbs is nothing.

I know the weight bars weigh 45lbs, but I wanted to start out slower so I used the preweighted barbells. I think those goes as low as 20lbs in the gym at me school.

TnTBigman
03-06-2010, 12:54 PM
lol. yeah I'm big. I good 25-35lbs of fat off would do me well (I highly doubt my bf compo is 76lbs). I wear a size 38 Levi straight cut jeans and size 18 (34/35) longsleved dress shirt. Not the heaviest I've weighed though. In 2002, stepped on a scale in Sears and saw 290lbs :O . Really poor time in my life- and had serious bouts with lower back spasms. The lowest I've been since then was 240lbs in 2006 (cardio 3x a week @ 20 mins each for 2 months). But no where near as strong as I am now. Back then I was struggling to bench 250lbs and curl 35lbs dumbells.

r2473
03-06-2010, 03:11 PM
lol. yeah I'm big. I good 25-35lbs of fat off would do me well (I highly doubt my bf compo is 76lbs).

Just curious, what would you estimate your bodyfat percentage?

onehandbh
03-06-2010, 06:18 PM
Well after having shoulder surgery (cuff) on my left and right shoulder and now going for a 2nd on my right shoulder. It's safer and I don't need a spot. Plus I can set up my rom with the safety stop and not go to deep. With the smith I don't worry about balance and just push hard.

That's the huge plus of smith machines. safety. I've seen people wreck
their shoulders on the bench or almost cave in their sternum dropping the
weight. Pretty amazing that you're able to retain so much strength after
those surgeries. Any specific rehab program that you did to help with that?
Rotator cuff exercises you recommend, etc for prevention?

FastFreddy
03-06-2010, 06:22 PM
That's the huge plus of smith machines. safety. I've seen people wreck
their shoulders on the bench or almost cave in their sternum dropping the
weight. Pretty amazing that you're able to retain so much strength after
those surgeries. Any specific rehab program that you did to help with that?
Rotator cuff exercises you recommend, etc for prevention?

I just did my pt 3 times a day plus seeing the pt for 15 weeks. Then after I always done 3-4 pt movements before tennis and lifting.