November 29, 2023 2 min read

Minimum Strength Goals to Maintain Through Adult Life

I love strength.

I think being as strong as humanly possible is cool and something that I strive for because, well, why not?

But what if you don’t care about being as strong as a Norse god? What if you have other goals but want to be in pretty good shape; look good, feel good, perform (generally) well? How strong do you need to be in order to accomplish that?

I’ve observed over the years that there wouldn’t be much you couldn’t handle in your day-to-day life if you accomplish these numbers and maintain them for the majority of your adult life. Some may seem on the low side. This is because I have generalized across the gender spectrum and body types to be applicable to most people. 

Without further ado:


  • Deadlift: 1.5 – 2 times bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Squat to BELOW PARALLEL: bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Farmers Carry: at least 50% of bodyweight in each hand for 60 feet
  • Bench Press: 75% of bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Overhead Press: 50% of bodyweight
  • Chin up: 3 – 5 reps if you’re a man and the ability to hold chin above the bar and lower under control if you are a woman

Certainly these numbers would not impress anyone on InstaTube. That’s not the goal. These simply represent the minimum standard we should all try to maintain for the majority of our lives (16 – 80ish). All of these numbers can be reached with minimal weekly time commitment, no more than 3 hours per week, and are within the grasp of anyone willing to do the work to get there. The amount of muscle you will carry from this amount of strength will be enough to keep anyone independent as they age. I suspect that it will also help prevent many of the diseases of modernity that plague so many in the western world.

Putting these in real numbers, let’s use a 183 pound person, which is the average weight between American men and women.

Deadlift: 275 - 365 for 1
Squat below parallel: 185 for 1
Farmers Carry: 90 per hand
Bench: 140 for 1 
Overhead Press: 90 for 1
Chin ups: as stated above

Let me restate that these are MINIMUM standards, you absolutely can, and should, strive to be stronger than this. The bigger your base of strength, the longer you will meet and exceed these minimums. In other words, the 50 year old who can do significantly more than this will have a much easier time hitting them at 75 than a 70 year old who has never made an effort to strengthen their body.

Since these numbers are based on body weight, it should be clear that weighing less, or at least having less fat at a given weight, will make it much easier to accomplish these standards. A 200 pound man with 120 pounds of lean mass (and, thus, 40% body fat) will have to work much harder than the 150 pound man with 120 pounds of lean mass (20% body fat). Conveniently, that is also what leads to optimal health.  

Can’t hit these numbers? Looks like you have some work to do.

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