Weightlifting Performance Standards

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The standards (not norms) presented in the linked tables below represent a 1RM performance that can be reasonably expected of an adult athlete at various levels of training advancement using standard full range-of-motion barbell exercises with no supportive wraps or suits.



In the tables linked above, the term:


Expected level of strength in a healthy individual who has not trained on the exercise before but can perform it correctly. This represents the minimum level of strength required to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a sedentary individual.


A person training regularly for a period of 3-9 months. This strength level supports the demands of vigorous recreational activities.


A person who has engaged in regular training for up to two years. The intermediate level indicates some degree of specialization in the exercises and a high level of performance at the recreational level.


An individual with multi-year training experience with definite goals in the higher levels of competitive athletics.


Refers specifically to athletes competing in strength sports. Approximately 2% of the weight training population will attain this level.

Submaximum loads may be used to estimate one rep maximum values using the One Rep Max Calculator.

Tables for the basic barbell exercises were developed from:

    • definitions in "Practical Programming" by Kilgore, Rippetoe, and Pendlay
    • the experience and judgment of the authors,
    • the exercise techniques described and illustrated in “Starting Strength” by Rippetoe and Kilgore, and
    • published performance standards for the sports of powerlifting and weightlifting.

Provided by Dr. Lon Kilgore, PhD


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