Squat to Bench Press Ratios: How Much More Should You Squat?

squat to bench press ratios and how much more should you squat

Have you ever wondered if your squat strength is proportionate to your bench press strength? We know our squat should be stronger than our bench press, but exactly how much stronger should it be?

So what is the best squat to bench press ratio? It is considered respectable for men to squat 250% and bench 160% of their body weight; and for women to squat 200% and bench 120% of their body weight. Therefore, an ideal squat to bench press ratio is 156% for men and 167% for women.

In this article, I will discuss how these ratios vary across weight classes, provide data for the differences between elite lifters compared to novice lifters, and suggest what to do if your strength ratio is off.

After reading this article, check out my guide on squat to deadlift ratios

Squat To Bench Press Ratios Based On Bodyweight

squat to bench press ratios based on bodyweight

The following data represents the squat and bench press results of elite and novice lifters across all International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) weight classes:

  • Men’s Results Across Weight Classes
  • Women’s Results Across Weight Classes

Squat To Bench Press Ratios: Men’s Results Across Weight Classes

The results show that on average the 66 and 74-kilogram classes have the strongest squats in relation to their bodyweight.  The data also shows that the 74-kilogram class, as a whole, has the highest squat-to-bench ratios; meaning they squat a higher percentage of their bench press.

In addition, we can see that as the weight classes get heavier from 83kg-120+kg there is a downward trend in relative strength for the squat and bench press. This suggests that the higher the weight class, the less relative strength the athletes have.

53kg

 Squat 2.6xBW, and Bench 1.7xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.53 (153%)

59kg 

Squat 2.6xBW, and Bench 1.7xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.53 (153%)

66kg 

Squat 2.7xBW, and Bench 1.8xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.51 (150%)

74kg

 Squat 2.7xBW, and Bench 1.7xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.52 (159%)

83kg

 Squat 2.6xBW, and Bench 1.8xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.48 (144%)

93kg

 Squat 2.5xBW, and Bench 1.6xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.56 (156%)

105kg

 Squat 2.3xBW, and Bench 1.6xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.44 (144%)


120kg

 Squat 2.1xBW, and Bench 1.4xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.5 (150%)

120+kg

Squat 2.1xBW, and Bench 1.4xBW; therefore, a ratio of 1.5 (150%)

Squat To Bench Press Ratios: Women’s Results Across Weight Classes

women's results across weight classes

The results show that on average the 47-kilogram class tends to have the strongest squats and bench presses in relation to their bodyweight. The data also shows that the 84+ kilogram class, as a whole, has the highest squat-to-bench ratios; meaning they squat a higher percentage of their max bench press.

As was the case with the men, we can see that as the weight classes get heavier there is a downward trend in relative strength for the squat and bench press. This suggests again that the higher the weight class, the less relative strength the athletes may have.

43kg

Squat 2.0xBW, and Bench 1.2xBW; therefore, lifters in this class generally squat 167% of their bench press.
 

47kg

Squat 2.1xBW, and Bench 1.3xBW; therefore, lifter’s in this squat roughly 162% of their bench press.

52kg

Squat 2.0xBW, and Bench 1.2xBW; therefore, they tend to squat around 167% of their bench press.

57kg

Squat 2.0xBW, and Bench 1.2xBW; therefore, they squat on average 167% of their bench press.

63kg

Squat 2.0xBW, and Bench 1.2xBW; therefore, lifter’s squat around 167% of their bench press.

72kg

Squat 1.9xBW, and Bench 1.1xBW; therefore, athlete’s in this class squat 173% of their bench press.

84kg

Squat 1.7xBW, and Bench 1.0xBW; therefore, the average lifter in this class squats 170% of their bench press.

84+kg

Squat 1.8xBW, and Bench 1.0xBW; therefore, these lifter’s squat approximately 180% of their bench press.

Elite Vs Novice Squat To Bench Press Ratios

Elite athletes are characterized by individuals in the IPF who achieved a Wilks score of  ≥ 400. Novice athletes are represented in the data by those who had a Wilks score of ≤ 320.

Men

Elite

Elite men had an average squat-to-bench ratio of 150%, meaning they squatted 150% of their max bench press.

They were also able to squat an average of 2.8x their bodyweight, with the 53-83kg class squatting 3xBW and the 93-120+kg ranging from 2.8-2.4xBW respectively.

Elite men benched an average of 1.9x their body weight, with 53-83kg classes having a 2xBW bench and the higher classes of 93kg-120+kg, ranging from 1.8-1.6xBW respectively.

Novice

Novice men had a smaller squat-to-bench ratio, and only squatted 123% of their max bench press. 

They squatted an average of 1.6x their body weight, and benched around 1.3x their bodyweight.

It should be noted that there is more variation in the data for novice lifters, as some are true beginners, and some are seasoned lifters who have not managed to total enough to achieve a 320 wilks score.


Conclusions

From this data, we can conclude that in order to be more competitive at a more elite level (400+ wilks) we need to squat close to 3X BW and bench nearly 2X BW to ensure a squat-to-bench ratio of around 150%.

Women

Elite

Elite women had an average squat-to-bench ratio of 171%, meaning they squat 171% of their max bench press.

Elite women were able to squat an average 2.4X BW, with the 52kg class being the highest at 2.6xBW, and the 84kg class being the lowest with 2.1xBW.

The average bench for elite women was 1.4X BW, with the 84kg and 84kg+ being 1.2X BW and all other classes at or above 1.3X BW.

Novice  

Novice women who competed had a slightly lower squat-to-bench ratio, which showed that they typically squat 160% of their max bench press.

The average squat for novice women was 1.6xBW, with the 72kg and 84+kg classes having only 1.4xBW squats and all other classes being more than or equal to 1.5xBW.

Novice women were able to bench 1.0xBW, with the lowest benches being 0.8-0.7xBW across the 72kg-84+kg classes respectively.

Conclusions

We can conclude that having a squat to bench ratio of around 170%, squatting around 2.4xBW, and benching around 1.4xBW will set us up to be more competitive in the sport.

Squat To Bench Press Ratios Will Depend On Individual Leverages

squat to bench press ratios will depend on individual leverages

There are certainly outliers in the collected data because some lifters perform exceptionally well in certain lifts due to ideal leverages. These leverages benefit lifters by giving them a mechanical advantage which allows them to lift more weight.

An example of favorable leverages is having shorter arms for a stronger bench press. Those who have shorter arms have less range of motion in the bench press, usually allowing them to press more weight than those with longer arms.

If you are an individual with long arms, check out our article where we give 5 Tricks For Bench Pressing With Long Arms.

In the squat, a common example of ideal leverages is a lifter with shorter legs. A lifter with shorter legs has less distance to travel to reach a competition standard of depth, when compared to lifters with longer legs. Therefore, the shorter lifter’s leverages give him a greater advantage to squat more weight.

To find your optimal squat technique based off your leverages, check out our complete guides on The Best Squat Back Angle For Your Size & Build and How To Squat With Long Legs (10 Tips)


While having ideal leverages for a certain lift gives these athletes an advantage, it may put them at a disadvantage for other lifts (short arms in the bench vs short arms in the deadlift). We have to work with our genetics to improve our strength and technique.

We discuss more about how to pick your deadlift stance based on your leverages in order to lift more weight.  Check out our article on the conventional vs sumo deadlift

What To Do If Your Squat To Bench Press Ratio Is Off

what to do if your squat to bench press ratio is off

If our squat to bench press ratio is off, we are losing kilos to put towards our total. To address this issue, I recommend the following:

  • Dial-In Your Technique
  • Increase The Frequency Of The Movement
  • Identify Which Portion Of The Lift Is The Weakest Link

Dial In Your Technique

Oftentimes, we develop movement patterns that are not ideal. This can be because we are not aware in the learning stages that we are doing the lift incorrectly, or perhaps we have just been ego-lifting and are in denial about taking some weight off the bar to correct our technique.

Once we take a step back, we can assess whether our current way of performing a lift is working for us or against us.

For example, If I am 6ft tall and I tend to squat with a very narrow foot stance, I am having to travel so far in order to hit depth that I’m really making the lift harder than it needs to be. I should instead, take a wider stance (hip width or slightly wider depending on comfort) and lessen the distance I need to travel to reach the competition standard for depth.

Other examples of technique flaws could be, a wild bar path, extreme lordosis (arching of the back) or kyphosis (rounding of the back), aggressive knee cave, or restricting the knees from traveling forward.

Increase The Frequency Of The Movement

Whenever we are underperforming a certain lift, we should assess how often we are currently training the lift. If our squat numbers aren’t up to par and we’re only training the squat movement pattern once a week, we should re-evaluate our program.

When a certain lift is struggling we need to focus more of our efforts on this movement by training it more frequently. My recommendation is to train this lift a minimum of two times per week. 

For more resources on increasing your training frequency, read our articles on: 

Identify Which Portion Of The Lift Is The Weakest Link

identify which portion of the lift is the weakest link

When one part of a lift is inadequate, the whole lift is affected, because we must then alter our movement pattern to compensate for this inadequacy or else potentially fail the lift.

I recommend you video the lift, at lighter and heavier percentages, to see what part of the movement is the first to breakdown, or which portion of the lift you tend to fail. One we see this we can assess what muscles and therefore which part of the movement is weak.

For example: If I watch a video of my squat and I notice that as the weight gets heavier, I tend to shift my weight towards my heels out of the bottom position and let my hips rise first (also knows as the Good Morning Squat). This also happens to be where I fail a lift.

With this information, I can conclude that I need work on my position out of the hole. It also hints that my quads may be too weak to push in this position, forcing me to shift the weight into my heels.

Once we identify which part of the lift is causing issues, we can include the proper variations and supplementary exercises to help correct the issue.


Struggling in the bottom of the squat like me? Check out my guide on
How To Fix Losing Tension In The Bottom Of The Squat for 8 possible solutions. 

Final Thoughts

Having these points of reference helps to provide insight on where to direct our efforts, and what standards we need to achieve to become more competitive in our weight class. Using the presented data to set goals for our squat and bench press, is the best practical application of these values. 

Want more resources on training the weak portion of your bench press?  Check out: