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Dimitri Dziabenko 07-10-2007 10:45 AM

Hello to you all!

I think the standards for Women's squats are a little bit askew. It states that for a woman with 123BW, a 160lb back squat is considered "Advanced." My girlfriend is 126 and squatted 160 recently as part of the Crossfit Total. That would pretty much place her into the advanced category, but she has only been weight-lifting for 3 months. Maybe she is a genetic superior (although with the other categories, she is at around intermediate). Then I recall seeing Nicole Carroll squatting 245lb at around the same BW, which places her well beyond the Elite Category (without her being a powerlifter or something). That makes me wonder if the standards are accurate for the Women's Squat. What do you think?


Dimitri Dziabenko

PS: 160lb, I think is still pretty good and I am very proud (-_-)

Gant Grimes 07-10-2007 12:40 PM

Don't know the answer. I just know that Rip's been doing this quite awhile and that 160# squat sounds pretty good for a 126# woman.

Tables for the basic barbell exercises were developed from:
* definitions in "Practical Programming" by Kilgore, Rippetoe, and Pendlay
* the experience and judgment of the authors,
* the exercise techniques described and illustrated in “Starting Strength” by Rippetoe and Kilgore, and
* published performance standards for the sports of powerlifting and weightlifting.

Connie Morreale 07-10-2007 01:34 PM

i weigh about 126/7 and can squat 140. i considered this to be firmly intermediate. i know veronica just posted her squat as 185. she weighs in at 114 and is a competitive oly lifter. is your girl hitting well below parallel? if so, watch yourself. she might pull out a can of whoop a$$ if you give her trouble!

Mark Rippetoe 07-10-2007 03:08 PM

To clarify: the untrained, novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite categories "represent a performance that can reasonably be expected of an athlete at various levels of training advancement using standard full range of motion barbell exercises." The details of each category are further specified in the legend accompanying the tables. The numbers apply to non-specialists; it would be expected that an elite powerlifter perform far in excess of the elite numbers in the tables, and the various federations have their own criteria for performance level based on what actually happens within their competitive sport. There are 114 lb. girls in the Texas High School PL Association pulling 400 lbs., much stronger than Nicole (who would perform at the elite level in open PL competition if she cared to compete).

The fact that an exceptionally gifted athlete can perform ahead of expectations based on training time should not surprise anybody, nor should the fact that genetic doofusses wander around many gyms for years without getting anything accomplished through no fault of anybody but their parents.

The tables are a guideline for training, not an absolute evaluation of the competitive prospects of athletes participating in general strength training or CrossFit. Lon and I stand by the usefulness of the values in the tables, genetic freaks, and I don't care if Dimitri's girlfriend whips my butt.

Glenn Pendlay 07-10-2007 05:18 PM

I second the notion that there will always be a few freaks that operate far beyond the "norm". My ex-wife was able to do a set of 10 reps with 225lbs on the back squat weighing around 130lbs soon after graduating from college. In fact I think she did this once or twice at Rip's gym. This was with only a couple of years of training, and didnt require steady or really intense training to preserve. I coach a 60 year old woman who can squat 220lbs for a set of 5 on the squat, full, deep reps and without wearing a belt, she is a competitive weightlifter but actually doesnt do a lot of squatting in training anymore. I have another 14 year old girl built like a flagpole, about 5' 9.5" and around 130lbs, who has squatted 220lbs, she also is a competitive weightlifter.

You cant really judge novice to elite on womens squat by lifters far from the norm any more than you can judge mens deadlift numbers from a guy like Lamar Gant, who had a short spine, long arms, and weird strength, and deadlifted over 650lbs i believe in the 132lb class. Some people are just strange.

The majority of "freaks" will be freaks at one lift that they are particularly suited to, and normal at others. Of course there are some Eddie Coans that are freaks at everything.

Jennifer Conlin 07-10-2007 06:44 PM

I've been doing Crossfit for about two years now and over the last six months stated to work PL lifting into the mix. It's taken about six months to get a nice strong DL of 210. I never did back squats because I don't have anyone to spot me for the most part. So I only do it if I'm with Tom Brose or Jesse Woody. My second time doing back squats I got 195 at 137lbs. I failed at 205 but I think I was scared and lost focus.
Overall my thought is that because I do CF I'm a step ahead of your average gym rat trying to back squat. Both in confidence and over all fitness.

Rip, I've been playing with the idea of doing a PL meet just for fun. The thing that turns me off is the bench press. I've never done one and just lack interest in it. I also have a injured shoulder(rotator cuff, from a dog walking accident).
It just seems like a guy thing the bench press. Am I missing the point? Or just missing out because I don't want to bench press?

Dimitri Dziabenko 07-10-2007 08:40 PM

Thanks to everyone for answering!

I guess at 160lb with a 275lb squat (slightly above intermediate), I have some catching up to do! Both, my girlfriend and I, are 17, so I guess both of us have enough time ahead of us to reach that elusive Elite Category, despite the fact that she might reach it before me on the Squats ;)
I am currently on the Starting Strength/Crossfit Metcon workouts while my girlfriend does Crossfit only. I also recently bought Mark's Starting Strength/Practical Programming and will be sure to scrutinize the movements to gain an advantage for both of us, although I am the one that really needs it O_O

Dimitri Dziabenko

Glenn Pendlay 07-11-2007 09:51 AM


I would hope lack of interest in benching wouldn't stop you from competing in powerlifting if it interests you. For most, the bench is the smallest and least important part of the total, and not that big of a disadvantage if you aren't a standout performer. If you have rotator cuff injuries, you might try to take a narrower grip than normal, and keep the elbows pointed a bit more down than out, I had shoulder issues when I did powerlifting and those things helped me.

One further thing that I have noticed, is that if you train overhead strength through normal means (military press, any jerk variations) then you will probably be ok at benching with minimal practice. I have seen lots and lots of guys who didnt bench at all in training, but were strong overhead from their OL training, do very respectable bench presses with just a few workouts of practice on the lift. Best example I know of is Trey Goodwin, who did a 345lb bench press in competition at 165lb bodyweight and had only bench pressed maybe 3-4 times in the previous year. I cant remember how much he could jerk at that particular time, but I do know that he jerked over 400lbs off the rack soon after that, but at a slightly higher bodyweight.

The reverse is not, in my opinion, ever true. A 500lb bench will not make you a good overhead lifter without devoting considerable time working overhead. In fact it has been my experience that excessive bench pressing development before trying the overhead lifts actually makes it harder to develope strength overhead.

I hope you try that PL meet. I am sure it would be fun.


Connie Morreale 07-11-2007 11:38 AM

my shoulder is in rehab, tendonosis...very closely related to rotator impingment. not sure if your doggie mishap tore something or not but...the one thing i am forbidden to do until healed is overhead push motions. are you okay and painfree during and after overheads? not to get all in your business, but sometimes we push (no pun intended)when we should not.

i cant wait to get healed up and back to body weight bench presses and more! it is such a bummer to think of all the pr's i've missed with this injury. and i say this to you in love: shame on you for saying that the bench is such a guy thing! you are a crossfitter girl! nothing better then telling mr. globo gym that he can leave his weights on the bar when he is finished with his bench.

Jennifer Conlin 07-11-2007 03:27 PM

connie, That's funny about the bench press...your right I guess i should look at it from a CF girls point of view.
I don't have pain with OH presses not at the time I'm doing it. It's the day after that it hurts.
I think I need to get Mr. Rips book.
(Just FYI, it was a doggie mishap but not his fault. I jumped a fence to get a ball and fell on my face!)
As for a PL meet check this out
It sounds like fun!

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