Unlocking Raw Natural Strength: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Lifters (2023)


In a world dominated by awe-inspiring 1000-pound squats and 800-pound bench presses showcased on YouTube, it's easy to feel a sense of inadequacy in our own strength. However, it's crucial to dissect the factors behind these extraordinary feats and set realistic benchmarks for those committed to pursuing raw, natural strength without the aid of training gear or performance-enhancing substances.

Unveiling the Secrets Behind Monster Lifts

1. Training Gear

The allure of massive lifts often stems from the utilization of specialized squat suits and bench shirts. These gears, while not magical, play a pivotal role in enhancing powerlifters' performance. Bench shirts and squat suits, coupled with knee wraps and squat briefs, can significantly contribute to lifts exceeding 1000 pounds. However, mastering the use of training gear demands unwavering dedication and practice.

2. Drugs

Undeniably, the elephant in the room is the influence of steroids and human growth hormone on achieving colossal lifting totals. While not every remarkable lifter resorts to these substances, it's a reality in the powerlifting realm. Acknowledging this fact allows for a fair assessment of natural strength standards.

Natural Raw Strength Standards: Setting the Bar

Delving into the realm of raw, drug-free powerlifting, we turn to the national records of prominent federations such as USAPL, 100% Raw, NASA, ADFPF, and UPA-AD. These records offer insights into what can be considered "elite" strength levels, providing a benchmark for lifters dedicated to their craft.

Men's Strength Standards


  • Pro Strength: 600 pounds
  • Elite Strength: 500 pounds
  • Extremely Strong: 400 pounds
  • Very Strong: 300 pounds
  • Strong: 200 pounds

Bench Press

  • Pro Strength: 400 pounds
  • Elite Strength: 350 pounds
  • Extremely Strong: 300 pounds
  • Very Strong: 250 pounds
  • Strong: 200 pounds


  • Pro Strength: 650 pounds
  • Elite Strength: 550 pounds
  • Extremely Strong: 500 pounds
  • Very Strong: 450 pounds
  • Strong: 400 pounds

Natural Strength Goals: A Realistic Approach

For those not aspiring to be competitive powerlifters, but still seeking substantial strength, here are attainable benchmarks to strive for:

  • Bench Press: 300 pounds
  • Squats: 400 pounds
  • Deadlift: 500 pounds
  • Power Clean: 225 pounds
  • Overhead Press: 225 pounds
  • Barbell Row: 300 pounds

These goals cater to individuals focused on conventional hypertrophy, ensuring both muscle development and the power to complement it.


Understanding the nuances of raw, natural strength empowers lifters to set realistic goals and gauge their progress accurately. The prevalence of training gear and performance-enhancing substances should not overshadow the remarkable achievements possible within the natural lifting community. By adhering to these standards and recognizing the significance of achieving a 1300-1500 pound total, lifters can navigate their journey with patience, intelligence, and a relentless pursuit of personal bests. Let this comprehensive guide be your roadmap to unlocking raw, natural strength and exceeding your expectations.


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