The stigmas around women and weightlifting are enough to keep many out of the gym and far away from the power rack.
But many women aren’t afraid to build a little muscle and pump some iron.
Some women even take weightlifting just as seriously as men and hold their own quite well in the gym. Seriously, have you seen Beth Phoenix, Ronda Rousey, and Becky Lynch?
So just how much can the average woman lift?
What about the World’s Strongest Woman?
Keep reading to find out.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does the World’s Strongest Woman Lift?
- How Much Can the Average Woman Deadlift?
- How Much Can the Average Woman Bench Press?
- How Much Can the Average Woman Squat?
- 4 Weightlifting Tips for Women (Set New PRs ASAP)
- Weightlifting Abilities: Men vs. Women
- How Much Weight Can the Average Woman Lift?
How Much Does the World’s Strongest Woman Lift?
Becca Swanson has done it all, from professional powerlifting in the late 1990s to strongwoman competitions in the early 2000s. She even dabbled in the world of professional wrestling in 2009.
But Swanson’s true claim to fame is being the only woman to lift:
- Squat: 854 pounds
- Bench Press: 600 pounds
- Deadlift: 694 pounds
She’s also the only woman in history to join the 2,000-pound club, putting up a total of 2,050 pounds in a single powerlifting meet.
None of this is surprising when you compare Swanson’s size to her brute strength.
She sported 54” shoulders, 17.5” biceps, and 27” quads in her prime.
How Much Can the Average Woman Deadlift?
The deadlift tends to be the heaviest lift that serious lifters can pull off across the board—that goes for both men and women weightlifters. The average woman should be able to deadlift a bit more than she can squat, at between 100% to 125% of her overall body weight.
Here’s how that breaks down at different body weights.
- 100 Pounds: 100-151 pounds
- 120 Pounds: 117-171 pounds
- 140 Pounds: 132-190 pounds
- 160 Pounds: 146-207 pounds
- 180 Pounds: 159-222 pounds
- 200 Pounds: 172-237 pounds
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How Much Can the Average Woman Bench Press?
Whether it’s due to hormones, body composition, or another physiological factor, women tend to have stronger lower-bodies than upper-bodies. That helps explain why the average woman can only bench press between 50% and 75% of her total body weight.
Take a look at what that means at particular body weights.
- 100 Pounds: 46-78 pounds
- 120 Pounds: 58-93 pounds
- 140 Pounds: 68-107 pounds
- 160 Pounds: 78-119 pounds
- 180 Pounds: 88-131 pounds
- 200 Pounds: 97-141 pounds
How Much Can the Average Woman Squat?
Given the ample lower-body strength of the average woman (combined with the desire for toned glutes), it shouldn’t be surprising that women can squat near as much as they can deadlift. So the average woman is likely able to squat between 75% to 125% of her body weight.
Below, we’ll lay out body weights and how that translates to squats.
- 100 Pounds: 79-124 pounds
- 120 Pounds: 95-143 pounds
- 140 Pounds: 109-160 pounds
- 160 Pounds: 121-175 pounds
- 180 Pounds: 133-190 pounds
- 200 Pounds: 144-203 pounds
4 Weightlifting Tips for Women (Set New PRs ASAP)
Are you not within the “average” range for your current bodyweight? Are you merely looking to exceed these “average” standards and take your time at the gym to the next level?
Take a look at these tips to send your bench press, squat, and deadlift PRs through the roof.
Get the Right Lifting Gear
It’s not always your strength that keeps you from adding another weight plate to your squat, deadlift, or bench press. The lack of appropriate gear can limit your gains as well.
Palm blisters force you to lose your grip on dumbbells or make lifting painful.
The solution: Weightlifting gloves or chalk.
Your max deadlift far exceeds your forearm strength, so you have to cut sets short.
The solution: Wrist straps or lifting hooks.
Your core doesn’t provide the intra-abdominal pressure you need for heavy squats.
The solution: Weightlifting belt (here’s what we recommend).
Our top-rated belt is the Dark Iron Fitness weight lifting belt. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
Focus on the Big Five Compound Lifts
Nobody says it’s useless to do bicep curls, tricep extensions, or even standing calf raises. But if you want to increase your PRs on the compound lifts, well, stick to compounds lifts!
Here are some recommendations to maximize your strength gains:
- Do several sets of each compound lift 2 to 3 times per week.
- Target sets of up to 6 reps each at 80-90% of your 1RM.
- Prioritize good form before progressive overload.
- Center your attention on the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and row.
You should always start your workouts with compound lifts.
Feel free to close out your gym workouts with exercises that target the minor muscles, like the biceps, triceps, and calves.
Looking for a workout to get started? Check out The Fierce Five Beginner Workout for Muscle Gains.
Don’t Be Fearful of Getting “Bulky”
Unless your testosterone levels are abnormally high or you’re using steroids, getting bulky is extremely difficult as a woman.
But that doesn’t stop many from believing the myths.
You don’t have to stick to high-rep sets so that you don’t look like the Hulk.
Nobody says you have to prioritize squats and deadlifts for a toned lower body.
You can reasonably pursue the same workout routines as the guys and not see the same results in terms of your figure—which could be good news or bad news for you.
Why not try a workout that’s targeted for fat loss like this 4 Day Split Workout Routine for Muscle and Weight Loss.
Change Your Diet
To maximize your strength gains in the gym, you need to be giving your muscles what they need to recover and grow.
Protein is important.
You should be looking to consume, at minimum, 0.8 grams per pound of body weight every day. Chicken, eggs, beans, nuts, and yogurt make great additions to any strength-building diet.
Eating more calories is also in order.
It’s hard to pack on muscle mass and improve your strength when you’re not fueling your body as such. A healthy diet is always essential, but there’s no need to be on a weight loss diet.
Weightlifting Abilities: Men vs. Women
The Guinness World Record for the heaviest deadlift of all-time (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) is a whopping 1,104.5 pounds.
Now, wait a second!
That’s over one and a half times as much as the current deadlift record for women (Becca Swanson), standing at just 694 pounds.
Why can men lift far more than women?
The most likely explanation is that men can have over 7 times as much testosterone as women. Testosterone plays a critical role in muscle growth and strength, accounting for the difference.
Muscle fiber type is also a hot topic in this ongoing debate.
Women’s muscles tend to recover more efficiently post-workout than men. But typically, men have more Type II muscle fibers, known for producing greater power output during lifts.
You also have to consider how bodyweight, height, and stature differ between men and women, and how this might impact weightlifting abilities.
How Much Weight Can the Average Woman Lift?
The average woman can lift between 50% and 125% of her body weight for the three major lifts (bench press, deadlift, and squat).
That equates to:
- 100-125% of her body weight for the deadlift
- 50-75% of her body weight for the bench press
- 75-125% of her body weight for the squat
So if you’re looking to bump up your lifts to meet or exceed these “average” standards, invest in solid gym gear, focus on the compound lifts, follow workout principles, and eat a good diet.
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