What Percentage of Body Weight Should You Be Able to Deadlift?

Young woman lifting barbell, portrait

The deadlift both tests and builds the strength of your legs, hips and back. If you do it properly, with good technique and training, you should be able to lift more weight weight than on many upper-body exercises. Like other lifts, your ability to move heavy weights depends on your size, gender and skill. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any strength-training program.

Just Starting

If you are a new lifter, don't focus on the amount of weight you lift. Focus instead on developing good technique to prevent injury and so that the weight you can lift increases naturally. Novices are starting lifters. You fall into this category if you have been training less than a year but know the fundamentals of the lift. On average, a woman who is a novice may lift roughly 100 percent of her body weight. A man who is a novice can expect to lift roughly 133 percent of his body weight.

With Some Experience

You're an intermediate lifter if you've been training at least a year, but less than two years. Many recreational lifters fall into this category. As an intermediate lifter, you may not have a long-term strength or performance goal, but use deadlifts regularly as part of your workout routine. A woman with intermediate experience can expect to deadlift 120 percent of her body weight. Male intermediate lifters can deadlift roughly 150 percent of their body weight.

When You're Seriously Training

Advanced lifters are serious athletes with serious performance-based goals. Beginning powerlifters and competitive weightlifters fall into this category. Athletes who have strength goals such as throwers and football players who have trained for two to three years fall into this category as well. If you are an advanced lifter, you can deadlift roughly 160 percent of your body weight if you are a woman. A man can expect to deadlift roughly 200 percent of his body weight.

Serious Strength Training Standards

Elite athletes are serious strength athletes. While not world class, experienced powerlifters and weightlifters fall into this category. Other power athletes whose position or discipline relies on strength and who have been training for five years or more may fall into this category. There is no upper limit to what you can reasonably deadlift as an elite athlete. Anyone wishing to consider themselves an elite deadlifter should pull 200 percent her body weight or, for men, 260 percent of his body weight.