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Average Shoulder Press By Age, Sex + Level, How Do You Stack Up?

Although the bench press, squat, and deadlift are the three main powerlifting exercises, the barbell shoulder press is also a key upper-body lift.

As such, most athletes want to know: “How much should I be able to shoulder press?” In other words, what are the barbell shoulder press standards by age and weight? 

What is a good shoulder press weight for men and women? 

In this guide to the average shoulder press weight, we will look at the average barbell shoulder press weight by sex, age, body weight, and training level, helping answer the question: “How much should I be able to shoulder press?”

Let’s get started!

A shoulder press.

How Much Should I Be Able to Shoulder Press?

Unlike the barbell bench press, deadlift, or back squat, there are fewer available barbell shoulder press standards, but we can find the average shoulder press weight by age, sex, body weight, and training level by looking at various sources.

Strength Level reports average 1RM shoulder press weight for women and men by age and body weight based on fitness level by aggregating data from their community members through 4,087,637 lifts.

Based on this data, here are the average shoulder press 1RM weights for men by age:

Average Shoulder Press: Men

Age BeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
YearsLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKg
1556258539121551647521196
20642997441386318785241110
25663099451426519287248113
30663099451426519287248113
35663099451426519287248113
40663099451426519287248113
45622894431356118283235107
50582688401265717178220100
5554258237117531587220493
6049227534107491456618685
654520673096441316016876
704018612887401175315169
753616542577351054813561
80321548226931944312155
85291343206228843810849
9026123918562576359744
A shoulder press.

We also created a table that shows the barbell shoulder press standards for men are based on body weight in pounds and kilograms for each training level.

Find your body weight in pounds or kilograms on the left, and then you can see what is considered a good shoulder press weight for men of your same body weight and strength level in the columns to the right of your body weight.

Body WeightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
LbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKg
110503215542583381175315671
120553918622892421295916977
1305945207032102461406418182
1406451237735111501506819488
1506857268539120551617320593
1607363299242128581707721698
17077693199451366218082227103
180827534106481456618986238108
190868036113511526919890248113
200918639119541607320794257117
210959141126571687621598267121
22010097441326017580224102276125
230105102461386318283232105285130
240109107491446518986239109293133
250114112511506819689247112302137
260118117531567120292254115310141
270123122551617320995262119318145
280127127581677621598269122326148
2901321326017379221100276125333151
3001361366217881227103282128341155
3101411416418383233106289131348158
A shoulder press.

So, how do you interpret this data? If you ask the question, “How much should I be able to lift for the overhead press?” you should look at your training level and then see the average overhead shoulder press weight by age and the average barbell press weight by body weight for those in your same training level to see how your barbell shoulder press 1RM compares.

A “good shoulder press weight“ would be pressing a weight that is at or above the barbell shoulder press max norm for your age or body weight and training level.

According to the training levels given on Strength Level for overhead pressing standards:

  • Beginners have just started weightlifting 
  • Novice weightlifters usually have less than six months of training
  • Intermediate lifters have been training for six months to 1-2 years
  • Advanced lifters have been lifting weights for more than two years

The other way to look at these shoulder press weight standards is to look at how much you can lift right now based on your training level and then see if it is above or below age-matched peers or those who weigh the same as you.

One important thing to bear in mind when looking at these average max shoulder press weights is that the data is self-reported by users on a website. 

That said, with over 4 million logged lifts, the average overhead press weights here are certainly crowdsourced from a very large pool of data.

A shoulder press.

How Much Should Men Be Able to Shoulder Press?

The following chart shows the average male shoulder press weights in pounds, kilograms, and percentage of body weight using the Strength Level data:

Strength LevelWeight (kg)Weight (pounds)Bodyweight Ratio
Beginner30 kg66 lb0.35x
Novice45 kg99 lb0.55x
Intermediate64 kg142 lb0.80x
Advanced87 kg192 lb1.10x
Elite112 kg248 lb1.40x

Based on these barbell shoulder press standards from Strength Level, when all of the barbell press averages data is aggregated, the average overhead press 1RM weight for males just starting out is 66 pounds or 30 kg. 

A shoulder press.

If we are trying to look at the average shoulder press weight for men overall, we can look at the male overhead press standards and the average body weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average body weight for an adult male in the United States is 199.8 pounds, so a good shoulder press for an intermediate man would be 160 pounds.

How Much Should Women Be Able to Shoulder Press?

The table below shows the average shoulder press weight for women by age, presented in pounds and kilograms based on training level using data from Strength Level:

Average Shoulder Press: Women

Age BeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
YearsLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKg
15241141196429914112255
202712472173331044713963
252813482275341074914365
302813482275341074914365
352813482275341074914365
402813482275341074914365
452712462171321014613662
50251143206630954312758
55231040186128884011854
60211036165625803610849
651993315512373339744
701782913452065308740
751572612411958267835
801462310361652247032
851252110331547216329
90115199291342195625
A shoulder press.

The table below shows the average barbell press for women by body weight in pounds and kilograms based on training level:

Body WeightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
LbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKgLbsKg
904116731145224783510749
1004519935165625833811452
11050221038176128894012055
12055241142196530944312657
13059261245206931994513260
140642913482273331034713762
150683114512377351084914265
160733315542580361125114767
170773616562583381165315169
180823817592787401195415671
190864018622890411235616073
200914219642993421275816475
210954420673096441305916876
2201004621693198451336017178
23010547217132101461366217580
24010949227333104471396317881
25011451237635106481426518283
26011853247835109501456618584
A shoulder press.

Finally, you can see the overall averages for women’s shoulder press weights:

Strength LevelWeight (kg)Weight (pounds)Bodyweight Ratio
Beginner13 kg28 lb0.20x
Novice22 kg48 lb0.35x
Intermediate34 kg75 lb0.50x
Advanced48 kg107 lb0.75x
Elite65 kg143 lb1.00x

According to the CDC, the average body weight for an adult female in the United States is 170.8 pounds.

Therefore, a good beginner shoulder press weight for women who are just starting out is 36 pounds.

Again, keep in mind that these norms are based on the average American woman in terms of body weight. 

You can find out how much weight you should be able to press overhead based on your actual body weight using the tables provided earlier.

For the best exercises to strengthen your shoulders, check out our shoulder workout here.

A shoulder press.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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