The squat is one of the three basic powerlifting exercises and arguably the best lower-body exercise for building strength and mass in your legs.
Being such a staple exercise, most athletes want to know: “How much should I be able to squat?”
In other words, what are the squat standards by age and weight? What is a typical women’s squat weight by age and body weight? What are the average squat weights for men and women based on training level for experience?
In this guide to squat weight standards, we will look at the average weight for squats by sex, age, body weight, and training level, helping answer the question: “How much should I be able to squat?”
We will look at:
- What Is the Squat World Record?
- How Much Should I Be Able to Squat?
- How Much Should I Be Squatting?
Let’s get started!
What Is the Squat World Record?
Before we look at squat weight standards for females and males, let’s look at the squat world records.
Squat world records are based on how the squats are performed (raw squat world record, assisted squat world record, etc.).
The raw squat world record for men is 490 kg (1,080 lb), held by American powerlifter Ray Orlando Williams, who set this unassisted squat world record on March 2, 2019.
For women, the unassisted squat world record is 280 kilograms (617 pounds).Bonica Brown recently set this raw squat record at the 2023 IPF Sheffield Powerlifting Championships.
How Much Should I Be Able to Squat?
There are numerous websites that report different squat weight standards, such as squatting standards for powerlifters and competitive weightlifters.
While these standards for squat weights are applicable for advanced strength athletes, if you are more of a recreational weightlifter, you might wonder:
- What is a good squat weight for men?
- What is a good squat weight for women?
- What is a good squat weight for beginners?
- What is a good squat weight for 50 year olds?
The list could go on and on, but the point is that answering the question: “How much should I be squatting?” will understandably vary based on your age, sex, body weight, and training level.
Below, we have compiled tables that show the average squat weight by sex, the average squat by training level, the average squat weight by age, and the average squat weight by body weight for men and women.
Strength Level reports average squat weights or squat standards for men and women by age and body weight based on fitness level by aggregating data from their community members who have logged 18,084,385 squat lifts.
Based on this data, here are the average squats standards for men by age:
The table below shows the average squat weights for males by body weight in pounds and kilograms for each level of athlete.
To determine the squat weight norms for men like yourself, find your body weight in pounds or kilograms on the left, and then you can see the average 1RM weight for squats in pounds or kilograms for each strength training level in the columns to the right.
So, how do you interpret this table of squats weights standards?
If you ask the question, “How much should I be able to squat?” you should look at your training level and then see the average squat 1RM to weight by age and the average squats weight by body weight for peers with your same training level and size/age to see how you compare.
A “good back squat weight for men“ would be squatting a weight that is at or above the squat norm or squats weight standard for your age or body weight and training level.
According to the training levels given on Strength Level for back squatting weight 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 male squat standards charts is to look at how much you can lift for barbell squats and then see where your back squat 1RM falls in the training levels.
If you are below the back squats standard based on your training level and age or weight, your barbell squats strength is below average.
On the other hand, if you can squat more weight than the average barbell squat weight standards for men of your age or weight, you are above average for the back squat 1RM standards relative to your peers.
One important caveat to bear in mind when looking at these average weights for back squats is that the barbell squat weights are self-reported by users on a website.
That said, with over 18 million squat lifts logged, the average squat 1RM weights here are certainly crowdsourced from a very large pool of data.
How Much Should Men Be Able to Back Squat?
The following chart shows the average squat weight for males in pounds, kilograms, and percentage of body weight using Strength Level data:
|Strength Level||Weight (kg)||Weight (pounds)||Bodyweight Ratio|
|Beginner||64 kg||141 lb||0.75x|
|Novice||93 kg||206 lb||1.25x|
|Intermediate||130 kg||287 lb||1.50x|
|Advanced||173 kg||381 lb||2.25x|
|Elite||219 kg||483 lb||2.75x|
Based on these male squats standards from Strength Level, when all of the data for barbell squats is aggregated, the average squat weight for men is 130 kg or 287 pounds at the intermediate level, which is equivalent to squatting 1.5 times body weight.
Thus, men who are squatting bodyweight loads with their back squat 1RM are considered to be somewhere in between the average beginner squat weight for men and the average novice squat weight for males.
If we are trying to look at the average weight for squats for men overall, we can look at the squats standards and the mean body weight for men.
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.
For men, squatting 0.75 times body weight is the average squat bodyweight percentage for beginners, so a good beginner squat weight for the typical man would be at or above 141 pounds.
For intermediate lifters, a good squat weight for men of average size would jump up to 287 pounds, while a good back squat weight for men at the elite level would be squatting body weight times 2.75, or about 483 pounds for the typical American male body weight.
How Much Should Women Be Able to Squat?
Strength Level records similar squat weight standards for women.
The table below shows the female squat weight standards by age, presented in pounds and kilograms based on training level:
The following table shows the average squat weights for women by body weight.
Here again, you can find the female back squats standards by body weight in pounds and kilograms based on training level:
Finally, this last table presents the overall women squat weight averages when all of the female squat weights for beginners through advanced weightlifters are aggregated by training level:
|Strength Level||Weight (kg)||Weight (pounds)||Bodyweight Ratio|
|Beginner||30 kg||65 lb||0.50x|
|Novice||48 kg||107 lb||0.75x|
|Intermediate||73 kg||161 lb||1.25x|
|Advanced||103 kg||227 lb||1.50x|
|Elite||136 kg||300 lb||2.00x|
From this data pooled from over 18 million recorded barbell squats, the average squat 1RM for women squat weight at the beginner level is 65 pounds or 30 kg, or squatting half your body weight.
For intermediate-level lifters, the average female squat weight is 161 pounds or 73 kg, which equates to squatting bodyweight times 1.25.
As with the average back squats 1RM for men, we can determine a good squat max for women using these squats weights standards for females along with the average body weight for adult women.
According to the CDC, the average body weight for an adult female in the United States is 170.8 pounds.
Therefore, a good beginner squat weight for females is 83 pounds.
A good squat 1RM for women at the intermediate level is 161 pounds.
Again, keep in mind that these squat weight standards are based on the average American woman in terms of body weight.
You can find out how much weight you should be able to squat based on your actual body weight using the tables provided earlier.
How Much Should I Be Squatting?
When you first start performing squats in your weightlifting workouts, you may be curious about the typical starting weight for squat workouts or what a good beginner weight for squats is.
Knowing how much weight you should be squatting can help you feel like you are reaping the benefits of squats and on par with the squat standards for men or women who fall within your age or body weight class.
In fact, regardless of your training level, most athletes want to know: “What is a good squat weight, or how much should I be squatting?”
Interestingly, while these questions may seem similar, what constitutes a “good squat weight“ can be determined based on squat standards or the average squat weight for males and the average squat weight for females.
On the other hand, the answer to “How much should I squat?” has much more to do with the average squat weight based on your training level and goals.
For example, a good beginner squat weight, a good squat weight for women, or the average squat weight for seniors will help you determine if you are on par with your squatting abilities based on your peers.
But, how much weight you should be squatting in a workout should be determined instead by whether you are trying to increase strength vs build muscle and how much you can squat with proper form based on your current fitness level.
Essentially, you may be above or below the average squat weight for your body weight, age, or sex; the squat weight needs to be appropriate for you and your fitness goals, not squat standards.
If you are trying to increase strength, you will perform barbell squat reps in each set with a higher percentage of your squat 1RM weight.
Generally, you will lift at least 85% of your 1RM for 2 to 5 reps and 3 to 5 sets to improve squatting strength.
If your goal is to build muscle, also known as hypertrophy training, you should use lighter squat loads, typically somewhere between 70 and 85% of your back squats 1RM for three sets of 8-12 reps.
All that said, your strength training program should be individualized to you.
Remember, you can get better at squatting with consistency and supplementary leg exercises.
For the best exercises to strengthen your legs to improve your max squat weight, check out our guide to the best leg workout for mass here.