Squats: they’re the bread and butter of any strength training regimen, but how much should you really be squatting?
In this straight-shooting guide, we’re unpacking the average squat weights for men and women.
Whether you’re curious if your 225-pound squat is hitting the mark, or you’re aiming to join the 315 club, we’ve got the lowdown. Stick around as we break down the stats, set the records straight, and give you the insights to power up your own squat game.
- Understanding Squat Strength Standards
- Average Squat Weights for Men
- Average Squat Weights for Women
- Squat Form: Technique and Safety
- Progression and Personal Goals
- Training Tips to Boost Your Squat Game
- Recovery and Frequency
- Frequently Asked Questions About Squat Weights
The Squat Squad: Who’s Lifting What?
Now, when it comes to how much you should be squatting, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Your buddy at the gym might be hoisting a small car on his back, but that doesn’t mean you should, too. A lot of factors come into play – like gender, your weight class, and experience level.
Guys generally have more muscle mass, which can mean heavier lifts. Ladies, on the other hand, might not be stacking the bar quite as high, but that doesn’t mean they’re not crushing it.
And let’s talk about experience – if you’re a newbie, you’re not going to be squatting the same as the seasoned vet giving you the nod across the gym.
Squatting: Not Just for Show
But hey, it’s not just about the numbers. Squatting has a laundry list of benefits that go beyond just getting stronger.
We’re talking better mobility, improved balance, and even a lower risk of injury in your day-to-day life. Plus, let’s not forget the calorie burn – because who doesn’t love a good calorie burn?
Understanding Squat Strength Standards
What’s Your One-Rep Max and Why Should You Care?
Let’s talk one-rep max (1RM). This golden number represents the heaviest weight you can squat for a single, solid rep without turning into a wobbly noodle. It’s not just a badge of honor to flaunt in the gym; it’s a crucial compass that guides your entire strength program.
Knowing your 1RM sets the stage for a workout plan that’s as personalized as your playlist.
Scale and Barbell: A Balancing Act
Now, don’t get it twisted—your body weight plays a big role in this. It’s not about how heavy the bar is; it’s about how heavy the bar is for you. Picture this: a featherweight boxer squatting double their body weight is just as impressive as a heavyweight lifter doing the same. It’s all about the ratio.
So, before you start comparing your squat to the Hulk’s next to you, remember—it’s you vs. you.
Gender Gap in Gains
Let’s chat about the guys and gals in the squat rack. Yes, there are differences in squat strength between genders, and it’s not just locker room talk. Men typically have more muscle mass, which can translate to heavier lifts.
But get this: women may have an edge with their typically greater leg-to-body ratio. So, ladies and gents, it’s not a competition—unless it’s a friendly one, of course.
Average Squat Weights for Men
According to Strength Level, this is approximately how much a man should be able to squat:
It’s evident that the more you weigh, the higher your level of strength; hence, your ability to squat more weight skyrockets.
As mentioned above, age is a crucial determinant of how much weight you can put on a bar. A 60yo male will never lift as much as a healthy, trained 21-year-old lifter regardless of how much strength training the elderly can endure.
Here’s a summary of the average squat by age:
In this table, we can notice how the maximum weight peaks around 25 years old and starts to decline after the 40s. Although there are outliers, this is the case for most of the population.
To summarize, here’s how much you should squat, based on your experience level:
The Untrained Lifters
If you’re just stepping into the squat rack, welcome to the club! For the untrained bros, the average squat is often around 60-70% of your body weight. It’s like the first level of a video game; everyone starts here, but nobody stays here.
Leveling Up: The Novice
After a few months of consistent training, you’re likely to hit the novice stage. Here, you might be squatting closer to 110-130% of your body weight. Think of it as unlocking the first achievement badge in your lifting career.
The Intermediate Path
Now we’re getting into the meat and potatoes of squatting. As an intermediate lifter, you’re looking at hoisting about 140-160% of your body weight. This is where the rubber meets the road, and your dedication starts to show.
Advanced: The Seasoned Squatters
For the advanced dudes, it’s about pushing back squats up to 190-210% of your body weight. You’ve been in the game for a while, and your squat numbers are starting to get serious.
The Elite Circle
And then we have the elite, the crème de la crème of the squat world. These guys are squatting anywhere from 240-280% of their body weight. It’s not just lifting at this point; it’s art.
Current Men’s Squat World Record
To give you a bit of perspective, the current world record for a squat is a mountainous 1,311 pounds (595 kg), set by Nathan Baptist. That’s like squatting a grand piano… on a good day.
Average Squat Weights for Women
The following table shows the body weight and all the squat lifts in pounds (lbs).
Source: Strength Level
It is clear how the body weight affects relative strength and the amount of weight you can squat on a single repetition.
Source: Strength Level
As observed with men, the strength peak happens around the mid-twenties, with the decline somewhere between 40-45 years old. Muscle mass begins to decrease, which makes the upper body and the posterior chain less capable of managing heavy loads.
Again, here’s how much a women should be able to squat, based on your experience level:
New Kids on the Block
Starting out? No sweat. Untrained women typically squat roughly 50-60% of their body weight. It’s like the first chapter of your strength story, and guess what? It only gets better from here.
The Novice League
After a few months of getting those squats in, novices can often squat around 70-80% of their body weight. You’re past the prologue back squat now, and the plot is thickening.
The Intermediate Journey
Intermediate lady lifters, you’re likely squatting a cool 90-100% of your body weight. That’s right, you might just be squatting yourself, which is pretty darn impressive if you ask us.
Advanced: The Power Players
Advanced women in the weight room are hitting numbers like 110-120% of their body weight. You’re in the major leagues now, where the weights go up, and the records start to shake.
The Elite Squad
And for the elite? We’re talking a hefty 130-150% of body weight. These women are not just lifting heavy; they’re setting the bar (pun intended).
Current Squat World Record for Women
To give you a glimpse of the peak, top female powerlifters are squatting upwards of 4-5 times their body weight. We’re looking at you, Leah Reichman, with your jaw-dropping, 880 pounds (399 kg) current world record for squats.
Squat Form: Technique and Safety
Squat Like a Pro: Form First, Ego Last
Squatting isn’t just about slapping weight on the bar and dropping it like it’s hot. It’s about technique, safety, and the sweet, sweet symphony of muscles working in harmony. Let’s break it down, step by step.
- Stand Tall: Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Imagine you’re about to sit on a throne—because you’re royalty in this gym kingdom.
- Bar Placement: Position the barbell just below the nape of your neck, resting it comfortably on your traps. Think of it as a crown—wear it with pride, but make sure it fits just right.
- Grip It Good: Grab the bar with a firm, wide grip. Pretend you’re holding onto the last slice of pizza at a party—secure but not crushing it.
- Brace Yourself: Take a deep breath in, hold it, and brace your core like you’re about to take a punch from a kangaroo. Don’t worry, no kangaroos here—just a metaphor.
- Unlock the Hips: Start the descent by sending your hips back and bending your knees. It’s like you’re closing a car door with your rear because your hands are full of groceries.
- Keep It Tight: As you lower down, keep that core braced, chest up, and eyes forward. No slouching—this isn’t your posture at your desk job.
- The Sweet Spot: Lower yourself until your hips are parallel with your knees. If you’re not sure what parallel looks like, think about the horizon—flat and endless.
- Knees Out: Push those knees out so they’re tracking over your toes. Imagine you’re trying to show off your snazzy gym shoes to the person next to you.
- Drive Through the Heels: Push the floor away through your heels as if you’re trying to leave a dent in the ground. Rise up, keeping that bar path as straight as your intentions to finish this rep.
- Exhale on Effort: As you reach the top, exhale like you’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake—make a wish for more gains.
Common Squat Faux Pas
- The Dreaded Good Morning: If you’re bending forward too much, it’s not a squat—it’s a “good morning.” Keep that chest up like you’re showing off a superhero emblem.
- Diving Knee Disaster: Knees caving in? Push them out like you’re squashing a bug—sorry, bug.
- Bouncy Castle Bottom: Bouncing out of the bottom of a squat? Control it down, control it up—this isn’t a playground.
Spotters and Gear
- Spotters Are Lifesavers: Literally. A good spotter is like a best friend—they’ve got your back. Don’t be shy to ask for a spot; it’s like asking for a spot in the parking lot—it’s just sensible.
- Gear Up: Wrist wraps, belts, and the right shoes can be game-changers. It’s like bringing the right tools to a BBQ—nobody wants to flip burgers with their fingers.
Progression and Personal Goals
Baby Weights to Big Plates
Starting with the bar is nothing to scoff at. So, begin with a weight that feels challenging but doable for a solid set of 5 reps.
When you can hit those reps with a form that’s cleaner than your Sunday best, it’s time to add a little more iron to the bar. Think of it like leveling up in a game—only the prize is bigger muscles and bragging rights.
Goal-Setting: Your Personal Roadmap to Gainsville
Now, let’s talk goals. Not the “I want to squat a truck” kind, but the kind that’s just a stretch away. Use those strength standards we chatted about earlier as your guide. Find where you are on that spectrum and set a marker for the next level.
It’s like setting your GPS to a destination that’s just a little further down the road—totally reachable with a bit of drive (and maybe some good tunes for the ride).
Progressive Overload: The Secret Sauce of Strength
And here’s the not-so-secret secret: progressive overload. It’s the concept that’s as simple as it is effective—gradually increase the weight, frequency, or volume to keep challenging your muscles. It’s like adding a little more spice to your favorite dish; it keeps things interesting and, oh boy, does it make you stronger.
Training Tips to Boost Your Squat Game
Optimize your squat depth… experiment and find the ideal depth for you. People with good ankle mobility usually squat more by going deeper and getting the bounce.Jeff Nippard
Mobility: The Squat’s Best Friend
First up, mobility. Think of it as the oil in your squat engine. Without it, you’re just a rusty Tin Man, and nobody wants that. Here are a couple of moves to get you limber:
- The Ankle Rock: Give those ankles the love they deserve. Rock back and forth over your toes and heels to turn stiff ankles into supple squat machines.
- The Hip Opener: Get down in a deep squat and use your elbows to gently push your knees out. It’s like telling your hips, “Hey, let’s be friends with squats.”
Breathe Like a Pro: The Power of the Exhale
Breathing might just be the most underrated tool in your squat toolbox. Here’s the scoop:
- Inhale on the Way Down: Like you’re gathering all the courage in the world.
- Hold It at the Bottom: Like you’re about to make the jump to lightspeed.
- Exhale on the Way Up: Like you’re blowing away the competition.
Heel Drive and Foot Placement: The Foundation
Your feet are your foundation. Get this right, and you’re golden:
- Heel Drive: Imagine you’re squashing a bug under your heel every time you push up. Sorry, bug, but gains are on the line.
- Foot Placement: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out. It’s like setting up a tripod—stable, strong, and ready for action.
Gear Up: The Squat’s Sidekicks
Learn to use your training gear better or consider investing in some if you don’t have any… A belt isn’t a passive tool, you’re wearing it to enable your body to work harder and smarter.Jeff Nippard
Last but not least, let’s gear up:
- Weightlifting Belts: These bad boys can help brace your core, which is like having a superhero’s shield around your waist.
- Knee Wraps: They’re like a bear hug for your knees, giving you that extra support and warmth.
Recovery and Frequency
Why Recovery Could Be Your New BFF
Think of recovery as your personal squat cheerleader. It’s there to pump you up, repair those worked muscles, and prep you for the next epic gym session. Without it, you’re like a phone on 1% battery—about to shut down at any moment.
Leg Day Frequency: Quality Over Quantity
Now, how often should you be squatting? Imagine your leg days are like your favorite TV show. You don’t want to binge-watch until you’re sick of it. Aim for 2-3 times a week—enough to keep it interesting and see progress without overdoing it.
Eat, Sleep, Squat, Repeat: The Recovery Cycle
Let’s break down the recovery cycle:
- Nutrition: Your muscles are like a new puppy—they need the right food to grow and thrive. Protein is your muscle food. Feed them right after your workout, and they’ll grow big and strong.
- Sleep: This is where the magic happens. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality Z’s. It’s like giving your body a full charge overnight.
- Active Recovery: On your off days, don’t just sit there like a lump. Get moving with some light activity—think of it as a gentle nudge to your muscles saying, “Hey, we’re in this together.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Squat Weights
What is a good squat weight?
A “good” squat weight is as personal as your playlist. It’s less about hitting a number and more about squatting a weight that challenges you but still allows you to maintain rock-star form. For beginners, starting with just the bar (45 pounds) is respectable. As you get stronger, a good squat weight is often around 1.5 times your body weight.
Is 225 a heavy squat?
Whether 225 pounds is heavy depends on who’s doing the squatting. For some, it’s a warm-up weight; for others, it’s a goal to conquer. Generally, squatting 225 pounds can be considered a milestone for intermediate level lifters. So if you’re repping out 225, you’re in solid territory.
How rare is a 315 squat?
Hoisting 315 pounds in a squat is like joining an exclusive club. It’s a weight that many strive for, but not everyone reaches. It’s a sign that you’ve moved from the realm of intermediate to advanced, so if you’re squatting 315, you’re doing more than just turning heads—you’re setting standards.
How much can the average man squat?
The average man, depending on his weight and fitness level, might squat anywhere from 135 to 225 pounds. For a novice, hitting a squat that’s equal to their body weight is a solid benchmark. As for trained lifters, they often squat 1.5 to 2.5 times their body weight. Remember, “average” is just a number, not a goalpost.